Saturday, March 23, 2013

It's Only Life

What does it mean what can you do about it, what can you say you don't even know about it, nobody talks nobody listens well, look around yeah look out your window they're, having a ball having a party well, come inside you can do what you like well, it's a nightmare it's all negative nothing matters and what if it did you could, lock your doors close all your windows and hide away, hide away it's only life it's only life only life

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Fowl Not Foul

A nice avian theme for Spring...

St. Francis of Assisi preaching to the birds:

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Newton in a Nutshell

Sir Isaac Newton
Portrait: Godfrey Kneller (1689)
How much of the universe is empty space? Isaac Newton wondered:
Newton's belief in the particulate nature was supported by his optical experiments. His view was that light is a stream of corpuscles, and in order to explain the fact that some material is transparent he assumed that some of the corpuscles pass through matter without encountering the particles of which it is composed. Matter must therefore consist mainly of empty space, and he made estimates of the size of the particles. His conclusion was that the particles must be extremely small that if all the particles in the solar system came together the total volume would be that of a nut. Later Joseph Priestly (1733-1804), in his "Disquisitions Relating to Matter and Spirit" (1777), first used the expression "matter in a nutshell" to describe Newton's ideas.* 
Newton's reasoning lacked a fuller understanding of how light interacts with matter. Light will resonate with matter if it encounters an energy match--but otherwise it passes on through or reflects away. Charged "corpuscles" like an alpha particle are another matter. Ernest Rutherford used them when he proposed atoms to be mostly space--cf. his famous "backscattering experiments." But electrons are not empty space--anyone who has seen electron densities as revealed in X-ray crystallography knows that atoms and molecules fill space quite densely.

 *Keith J. Laidler, The World Of Physical Chemistry, Oxford University Press: New York, 1993.
There's more on the origin of the expression "in a nutshell" here from Ask Yahoo. Others trace it back to Shakespeare.

Irish Tour 1974

This is what Jack White would sound like in the past:

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Pogue-a-Palooza Paddy's Day

I may as well just link their whole album called "Rum, Sodomy and The Lash." My favorite is the raucous "Sick Bed of Cúchulainn" (1985):

Another favorite is "I'm A Man You Don't Meet Everyday," a traditional Irish folk song. That is Cait O'Riordan singing (and biting Shane MacGowan on the shoulder below).  She married Elvis Costello and left the band--not sure in which order:

The Pogues' best known song, "Fairytale Of New York" (1988), is a duet originally intended for MacGowan and O'Riordan, but Kirsty MacColl (Ewan MacColl's daughter) immortalized it instead:

Friday, March 15, 2013

Democritus, the Laughing Philosopher

Rembrandt, The Young Rembrandt as Democritus the Laughing Philosopher (1628-1629)
According to convention there is sweet and bitter, a hot and a cold, and according to convention there is order. In truth there are atoms and a void.
~Democritus (ca 400 B.C.)
Democritus preached truth without proof more than 2000 years ago. He was forgotten but proven true in the modern age.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dirty Old Town

I was originally going to post the Pogues' version of this song but this version from the songwriter presented instead. I wrongly had thought that the song was about Dublin but of course it's about Manchester, England. I like the juxtaposition of optimistic love and grimy realism:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

All The Young Dudes

More hair-band than glam-rockers, "Mott The Hoople" had a brief shining moment thanks to David Bowie. The lyrics of the previous post reminded me of them:

Man On The Moon

Mott the Hoople and the game of Life (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Andy Kaufman in the wrestling match (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Monopoly, Twenty-one, Checkers, and Chess (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Mister Fred Blassie in a breakfast mess (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Let's play Twister, let's play Risk (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
See you heaven if you make the list (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Now, Andy did you hear about this one?
Tell me, are you locked in the punch?
Andy are you goofing on Elvis? [Hey, baby]
Are we losing touch?
If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon
If you believe there's nothing up his sleeve, then nothing is cool
Moses went walking with the staff of wood (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Newton got beaned by the apple good (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Egypt was troubled by the horrible asp (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Mister Charles Darwin had the gall to ask (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Now Andy did you hear about this one?
Tell me, are you locked in the punch?
Hey, Andy are you goofing on Elvis? [Hey, baby]
Are you having fun?
If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon
If you believe there's nothing up his sleeve, then nothing is cool

Here's a little agit [legend?] for the never-believer (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Here's a little ghost for the offering (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Here's a truck stop instead of Saint Peter's (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Mister Andy Kaufman's gone wrestling (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Now Andy did you hear about this one?
Tell me, are you locked in the punch?
Hey Andy are you goofing on Elvis, hey baby, are we losing touch?
If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon
If you believe there's nothing up his sleeve, then nothing is cool
(Buck, Mills, Stipe)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Catfish Blues (1941)

John Wayne On Liberals

I'm looking for the year on this one. I left a message over on YouTube and hopefully someone will come through.

Money quotes: I always thought I was a liberal.
And: What else would there be in life if you lose optimism?

Chuck D from Public Enemy on John Wayne:
Elvis was a hero to most but he never meant shit to me you see, straight up racist that sucker was, simple and plain, mother fuck him and John Wayne.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Taxing Invention

The Leahy-Smith "America Invents Act" takes full effect next week. A little noticed provision of the act which passed through Congress two years ago and is already in effect is Public Law 112-29, sec. 14, 125 Stat. 284. This portion provides that:
(a) IN GENERAL.—For purposes of evaluating an invention under section 102 or 103 of title 35, United States Code, any strategy for reducing, avoiding, or deferring tax liability, whether known or unknown at the time of the invention or application for patent, shall be deemed insufficient to differentiate a claimed invention from the prior art.
(b) DEFINITION.—For purposes of this section, the term ‘‘tax liability’’ refers to any liability for a tax under any Federal, State, or local law, or the law of any foreign jurisdiction, including any statute, rule, regulation, or ordinance that levies, imposes, or assesses such tax liability.
(c) EXCLUSIONS.—This section does not apply to that part of an invention that—
(1) is a method, apparatus, technology, computer program product, or system, that is used solely for preparing a tax or information return or other tax filing, including one that records, transmits, transfers, or organizes data related to such filing; or
(2) is a method, apparatus, technology, computer program product, or system used solely for financial management, to the extent that it is severable from any tax strategy or does not limit the use of any tax strategy by any taxpayer or tax advisor.
(d) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to imply that other business methods are patentable or that other business method patents are valid.
(e) EFFECTIVE DATE; APPLICABILITY.—This section shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act [Sept. 16, 2011] and shall apply to any patent application that is pending on, or filed on or after, that date, and to any patent that is issued on or after that date.]
So from a patent examiner's perspective, whose job it is to evaluate an invention for novelty and nonobviousness under 35 U.S.C. 102 and 35 U.S.C. 103, any tax strategy will be considered indistinguishable from all other publicly available information that is relevant to a patent’s claim of originality. Tax strategy now belongs on the shortbut oddlist of other things unpatentable including laws of nature, scientific principles, human beings, Jerusalem artichokes, and perpetual motion machines.

The stated public policy is "to keep the ability to interpret the tax law and to implement such interpretation in the public domain, available to all taxpayers and their advisors."  Fair enough. A reasonable person might agree that we shouldn't encourage inventors to come up with ways to cheat on taxes, even if it's within the bounds of the law. But an unintended consequence may be to drive such undesired tax strategies underground and thus less available to the general public. People will always pay good money for novel ways to save on taxes.

The Jeffersonian bargainthe basis for our patent policywas to reward inventors with a relatively brief window of exclusivity in exchange for full disclosure. Jefferson was utilitarian on this point and wanted to promote and disclose technological innovation rather than to protect inventors’ moral rights to their discoveries.

El Paso Es Pasado

1959 was a special year one for pop music. After Buddy Holly's death and Elvis's hiatus, the initial flood of rock and roll ebbed. An undercurrent of American ballads, surf music, and folk music briefly flourished until the British invaded.

Marty Robbins' ballad tells the story of man who commits a crime of passion. He returns to the scene, still driven by passion and meets justice. The story romanticizes a simpler time when justice was meted out locally. That West is long dead. The East successfully foisted its values and mores. But where does the passion go?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Can't You See?

I missed the 20th anniversary of Toy Caldwell's death (1947-1993). He was an interesting guy: he volunteered for Vietnam (USMC), was wounded and discharged; he waited for his brother's discharge before forming the band. His loving wife, Ab, still maintains a website: link

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Conversations with Henry

Henry: I was part of the baby boom you know.

Me: Come on, weren't you too old? [Henry was born in 1915]

Henry: No I mean I helped do it.

Me: Do it?

Henry: What, aren't I "with it" enough?

Me: What are you getting at, Henry?

Henry: All those babies born after the war? That was lust, not love.

Thoughts on Love & Marriage

Shakespeare taught us:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments,

...but said nothing about the marriage of two bodies.

John Donne taught away from corporeal love as being true love:

Dull sublunary lovers' love
    —Whose soul is sense—cannot admit
Of absence, 'cause it doth remove
    The thing which elemented it.

Then there was the Bard of Hoboken:

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Into The Blue Sparkle

This band calls themselves Slacktone and piqued my interest in instrumental surf back in 2000: