What I learned this week, May 14, 2017

After 500 years, Leonardo da Vinci’s music machine is brought to life

Rather than plucking the strings, as a harpsichord would, this instrument, called the viola organista, lowers the strings onto spinning wheels which are wrapped in horse hair. This acts as a bow would on a violin. The resulting sound gives the impression of a group of string instruments. The project took Zubrzycki 3 years and 5,000 hours to complete.


The Harlan Ellison Show

The star of the long-running Harlan Ellison show is 82 now. A stroke two years ago slowed him down somewhat, though not nearly enough to stop him from working. What his admirers fear above all is the loss of his voice—sometimes annoying, sometimes sappy, always funny, always insistent, and always arresting. As George Edgar Slusser puts it, “In its ubiquity and insistence, this voice becomes both guardian and guarantor of the stories, projecting a sense that here is not dead but living discourse—words spoken and re-spoken that are worthy of being guided through the years, mediated to other human beings, and reassessed in terms of their relevance again and again.”

It is this voice—Harlan Ellison’s voice—that deserves preservation for generations of readers, of writers, of 12 year olds who dream of other worlds.


What if We Discovered an Alien Civilization Less Advanced Than Our Own?

Fourth, what would we do if we really found rock-solid evidence of a pre-industrial civilization on a planet around another star? We couldn’t communicate with them by any currently known method. Unless physicists make some kind of wildly unanticipated new discovery, there is no practical way that humans could travel there, either. Potentially we could send miniature interstellar probes to examine the planet and learn more about its inhabitants. A project called Breakthrough Starshot is exploring the kind of technology needed to do something like that. Such probes would be so small and speedy that the aliens there would have no idea they were being watched


Oysters, Despite What You’ve Heard, Are Always in Season

The life cycle of a particular species, the temperature and quality of the water in which an oyster grows, and how the mollusk is handled after leaving that water all can affect its health and taste — and your health.

“Essentially if you buy oysters that are grown in healthy waters and they’re handled properly, then there’s no problem with eating them any time of the year,” said Donald Meritt, an aquaculturist at the Horn Point Oyster Hatchery at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.


Saudi Arabia Whines US Has Too Much Control Over World’s Oil

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has asked the U.S. to stop producing so much oil, according to a report Thursday.

OPEC’s report blames the U.S. in particular because hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has greatly increased American oil production. The new production has led a lengthy period of very low oil prices. OPEC claims raising global oil prices will “require the collective efforts of all oil producers” and should be done “not only for the benefit of the individual countries, but also for the general prosperity of the world economy.”


6 Reasons You Should Watch Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me Before Season Three Premieres


How Alamo Drafthouse Is Changing the Moviegoing Experience

 


I have had a crush on the actress Natalie Dormer, ever since The Tudors. I saw this short “The Brunchers” on ShortsTV and really enjoyed it – even if it isn’t anything more than a bit of fluff. I was glad to find it was available to watch on Netflix.

You’re welcome.

Prickly Pear

“Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.”
—-T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men

Prickly Pear in bloom The Alamo San Antonio, Texas

Prickly Pear in bloom
The Alamo
San Antonio, Texas

What I learned this week, November 21, 2014

10 DALLAS SECRETS YOU DIDN’T KNOW EXISTED

I actually knew about all but three of these, but an interesting list anyway.

Grave of Clyde Barrow and his brother, Buck.

Grave of Clyde Barrow and his brother, Buck.


When I was nothing more than a sprout (or in this case, an offshoot) and lived in the Canal Zone, I was fascinated by the bananas that grew everywhere. Although everyone grew a little tired of eating them all the time, it was really cool to watch them grow and develop – and to realize that there are many types of bananas – most superior to the Cavendish that we buy in our supermarkets.

But now, disaster. Something else to worry about.

Has The End Of The Banana Arrived?

Did you know that all bananas are slightly radioactive?


I stayed up too late last night to watch most of what is one of the best movies ever made.

I’ve always found this to be one of the most frightening scenes in any movie. Starting with Lundegaard hoplessly struggling with the list of VIN numbers and then having Marge figure out that something is very wrong – you see the end of a person’s life right here. It’s awful – even if it’s somebody as reprehesible as Lundegaard. Ya, Darn tootin’.

An oh ya, this scene. I actually Googled Normandale Community College (seems like a nice enough place) after I watched it. It must be a short path from Juco to turning tricks in a snow-bound truck stop. Go Bears.


The 60 Best Action Movies on Netflix

If you were to ask me (But why would you do something like that?) I would tell you I’m not a particular fan of action movies. However, looking at this list, I’ve seen all but about five of them. The others I liked (mostly) – so maybe I should try and finish it off.

If we do see all of them, or if we want more (I’ve been thinking I should write in first person plural more often) there there is always this:

The 101 Best Movies Streaming on Netflix 2014


29 Clever License Plates That Slipped Past The DMV


The start of the Denton Katy trail off of Swisher Road, in Lake Dallas.

The start of the Denton Katy trail off of Swisher Road, in Lake Dallas.

If you build bike paths, cyclists will come

The new bridge from the Santa Fe trail into The Lot

The new bridge from the Santa Fe trail into The Lot


Check out plans for the taproom with skyline views at Dallas’ Alamo Drafthouse

This is truly the best of all possible worlds.

Richardson’s first brewery, Four Bullets, bets on opening before end of 2014


How Long To Nap For The Biggest Brain Benefits


Stylish bike rider, French Quarter, New Orleans

Stylish bike rider, French Quarter, New Orleans

When Wins Aren’t Wins; When Sharing is Renting

Magazine Street, New Orleans

Magazine Street, New Orleans


Klyde Warren Park, Dallas, Texas

Klyde Warren Park,
Dallas, Texas

Texas, 3 Ways

I ate lunch at a splashy new dining spot at the edge of Klyde Warren, Lark on the Park, and chatted with the owner, the longtime Dallas restaurateur Shannon Wynne. When he commented, “Dallas has matured more in the last five years than in the past 25,” I asked him why this was. He guffawed in reply, “Well, it certainly can’t be the locals.” He added that the city had benefited greatly from new blood, and that they in turn had emboldened establishment Dallasites to reconsider the city’s possibilities.

While Mr. Wynne talked, I looked over his shoulder at the restaurant’s walls, which were covered with intricate chalk drawings that rotate quarterly: one by a local tattoo artist, another by a medical illustrator, a third depicting the University of Texas at Dallas’s top-ranked chess team. Meanwhile, outside, dozens of residents were tossing Frisbees, or ice skating. It occurred to me that while Dallas has always exhibited the capacity to surprise others, it had now succeeded in surprising itself.

Abby Magill, of Home By Hovercraft Klyde Warren Park Dallas, Texas

Abby Magill, of
Home By Hovercraft
Klyde Warren Park
Dallas, Texas

Milk Crate Bike in the reading area in Klyde Warren Park.

Milk Crate Bike in the reading area in Klyde Warren Park.