Posts Tagged ‘radio’
“This is the patent age of new inventions for killing bodies, and for saving souls. All propagated with the best intentions.”*…
Sam Lavigne has created the ultimate tool for this, the Age of Intellectual Property: a program that transforms literary and philosophical texts into patent applications…
In short, it reframes texts as inventions or machines. You can view the code on github.
I was partially inspired by Paul Scheerbart’s Perpetual Motion Machine, a sort of technical/literary diary in which Scheerbart documents and reflects on various failed attempts to create a perpetual motion machine. Scheerbart frequently refers to his machines as “stories” – I wanted to reverse the concept and transform stories into machines…
Here’s some sample output, listed by invention title and source text:
“A method and device for comprehending theoretically the historical movement” (The Communist Manifesto)
“An apparatus and device for staring into vacancy” (“The Hunger Artist” by Kafka)
“A device and system for belonging to bringing-forth” (The Question Concerning Technology by Heidegger)
One can read the details– and try it for oneself– at “Transform any text into a patent application.”
* Lord Byron
As we ponder the protection of “property” that isn’t even ours, we might recall that it was on this date in 1903 that what was likely the first instance of electronic hacking took place. During a demonstration by Marconi of his wireless communications system at the Royal Institution in London, one of Marconi’s rivals, the magician and inventor Nevil Maskelyne intervened. As physicist John Ambrose Fleming was preparing to give the public their first demonstration of “radio,” Marconi was at his clifftop radio station in Poldhu, Cornwall, 300 miles away, preparing to send a Morse code signal. Though the audience was unaware of it, the assistant tending the receiving apparatus found it was already tapping out the word “rats,” repeatedly. Then it mocked, “There was a young fellow of Italy, who diddled the public quite prettily…” and more. Maskelyne was attempting– rather successfully– to make Marconi’s claims of “secure and private communication” appear foolish.
… an observation that gets truer with time. Whether built from scratch…
in the developing world…
or the developed…
… cities just keep on changing, as global commerce spurs development worldwide and millions move from rural to urban lives.
More “then and now” photos of other cities at “Before and After.”
* Joesph Brodsky
As we admit that it’s tough to keep ‘em down on the farm, we might send empathetic birthday greetings to Louis “Studs” Terkel; he was born on this date in 1912. Trained as an attorney at the University of Chicago, but graduating into the Depression, he decided instead to be a hotel concierge– a post he soon deserted for the stage. In one of his first gig as an actor, he had a cast-mate also named Louis, and was asked to pick a nickname; he chose the moniker of his favorite fictional character– Studs Lonigan, of James T. Farrell’s trilogy.
In 1934, Terkel began to do radio production for the Federal Writer’s Project, which led to his own program, which daily aired on WFMT in Chicago for 45 years. Over the years he interviewed Martin Luther King, Leonard Bernstein, Bob Dylan, Dorothy Parker, Tennessee Williams, and Jean Shepherd, among many, many others.
But Terkel is perhaps better known– certainly beyond the reach of Chicago radio– for his writing, largely oral histories of common Americans– e.g., Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression, Working, in which (as suggested by its subtitle) “People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do,” and The Good War”: An Oral History of World War Two, which won the Pulitzer Prize.
… or they could.
With 10-digit strings we can distinguish roughly 10,000,000,000 phones from each other. That assumes someone can have the number 000-000-0000, which is probably God’s number; and sure, maybe Satan has laid claim to 666-666-6666, so it’s not available; but we’re only being approximate here. The bottom line is that there’s enough space in principle for everyone in the USA to have 20 or 30 different cell phone numbers, if we use it efficiently.
But we don’t…
Read Geoffrey K. Pullam‘s thoughts on making more sensible use of our phone numbering system, in the always-illuminating Language Log.
* Nathaniel West
As we subscribe to sensible semiotics, we might recall that it was on this date in 1905 that the first U.S. advertisement for a radio receiver– the “Telimco Wireless Telegraph Outfit”– appeared in Scientific American.
What is the “7” in 7UP? We’ll never know for sure. The soft drink’s creator, Charles Leiper Grigg, went to the grave without ever revealing where he got the name. But there several interesting rumors regarding its origin.
When Grigg introduced his drink in October 1929, it had neither a “7” nor an “UP” in its name. He called it “Bib-label Lithiated Lemon-lime Soda.” Imagine trying to order that bad boy from a Taco Bell drive-through! Bib-label Lithiated Lemon-lime Soda is perhaps the single worst name for a soft drink in soda history. How did he come up with this extraordinarily crummy name?..
Besides having a very bizarre name, Grigg’s concoction hit stores just two weeks before the 1929 stock market crash. It also faced competition from about 600 other lemon-lime sodas. Despite all of these daunting factors, the new drink actually sold pretty well. Chalk it up to the cool, refreshing taste of lithium.
But even with its success, Griggs soon realized that Bib-label Lithiated Lemon-lime Soda was a little tricky to remember (you think?) or maybe he just got sick of saying it himself. Griggs changed the name of his drink to “7UP.”…
Here’s the most persuasive (and logical) explanation for the name: The “7” refers to the drink’s seven ingredients, and the “UP” has to do with the soda’s rising bubbles. This version is supported by an early 7UP tagline: “Seven natural flavors blended into a savory, flavory drink with a real wallop.”…
But as Deezen observes, there could be other explanations, among them:
Is 7UP an aphrodisiac? Remember Wilt Chamberlain, the great basketball player who claimed he had made love to 20,000 women in his lifetime? Well, Wilt the Stilt’s favorite drink was 7UP. According to Wilt, “I used to drink the stuff all the time.”…
Consider the other possibilities at “What is the 7 in 7UP?“
As we wonder if Mayor Bloomberg knows the answer, we might send melodious birthday greetings to Harold Baron “Hal” Jackson; he was born on this date in 1914. An avid sports fan and music lover who wanted to share his passions, Jackson broke one color barrier after another in the radio and music businesses.
While studying at Howard University, Jackson…
… approached the management of WINX, owned by The Washington Post, in 1939 about covering black sports events for the station. Told that station policy prohibited hiring black announcers, he took a different tack: he persuaded a white-owned advertising agency to buy time on WINX for a 15-minute interview and entertainment show, without revealing that he was involved. As he recalled, he showed up in the studio at the last possible moment and was on the air with “The Bronze Review” before management could stop him.
“When I started, the business was so segregated,” Mr. Jackson said in 2008. “Fortunately, that didn’t last long.”
Indeed, once the station’s color line had been broken, Mr. Jackson went on to host a music show there and to broadcast Howard University football and Negro league baseball. He also became a sports entrepreneur, assembling an all-black basketball team, the Washington Bears, which won the invitational World Professional Basketball Tournament in 1943. [New York Times]
He began to broadcast as a disk jockey as well, and was instrumental in bringing “black” music to audiences of every race. Jackson continued to host “Sunday Classics,” a program on WBLS in New York (one of a chain of stations he co-owned) until near his death earlier this year.
In 1990, Hal Jackson was the first minority broadcaster inducted into the National Association of Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame; in 1995, he became the first African-American inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame; he was given a Pioneer Award by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 2003; in October 2010, he was named a “Giant in Broadcasting” by the Library of American Broadcasting– and (your correspondent can attest) he was a genuinely nice guy.
There are about 2,286 delegates and 2,125 “alternate” delegates from across the United States gathered in Tampa, Florida, to formalize the nomination of the Republican Party’s candidates for the 2012 presidential election. They’ve been joined by about 15,000 journalists and media operatives from around the globe, each attempting to scrutinise every nuance of the proceedings, from back-room buzz to the dozens of speeches promoting the planks of the Republican platform and demonising those of the Democratic’s.
How to make sense of it all? Visual.ly helps:
click image above or here for larger version
As we brace for the deluge of red, white, and blue balloons, we might recall that it was on this date in 1922 that the first broadcast commercial aired, on AT&T’s radio station WEAF in New York. (It wasn’t until the 60s that political advertising, on radio but especially television began meaningfully to grow; that d=said, there’s no end to that growth in sight…)
- T.H. White
I love sports. Whenever I can, I always watch the Detroit Tigers on the radio.
- Gerald R. Ford
It’s not true I had nothing on, I had the radio on.
- Marilyn Monroe
As we settle into our Love Shacks for Valentine’s Day, we might recall that it was on this date in 1977 that the B-52’s played their first gig (in their hometown, Athens, GA). After their independently-produced “Rock Lobster” became a demi-hit, the band signed with Warner Bros., where their official bio read:
As a group we enjoy science facts, thrift shopping, tick jokes, fat fad diets, geometric exercising, and discovering the ‘essence from within.'” When taken together with the assertion that the band was “found in the Amazon River basin 40 years ago by Professor Agnes Potter and subsequently abandoned at Athens, Georgia.
Still together (though without Ricky Wilson, who died of AIDS in 1985), the B-52’s are widely credited with paving the way for what became “The Athens Scene”: a collection of local bands that, over the next several years, broke big (e.g., Love Tractor) and bigger (REM).
In these times of proliferating online reference resources, what’s a poor scholar to do? Dictionaries can be a particular problem: duelling definitions, eccentric enunciations… all against a backdrop of a language that’s evolving, in both vocabulary and usage, even as we speak…
Wordnik is a new way to discover meaning… Wordnik shows definitions from multiple sources, so you can see as many different takes on a word’s meaning as possible… We try to show as many real examples as possible for each word. These examples are ranked by how useful we think they are in helping you understand the meaning of a particular word, especially words that may not have traditional dictionary definitions… [Wordnik lists related words.] Our word relationships include synonyms, hypernyms, hyponyms, words used in the same context, a reverse dictionary, and tags…
All this– plus lists, images illustrating entries, recorded pronunciations, and a word-of-the-day at Wordnik.
As we choose our words both more carefully and more confidently, we might fling a fistful of rice in celebration of the nuptials of Sadye Marks (better known as Mary Livingstone) and Benjamin Kubelsky (or Jack Benny, as audiences knew him); they were married on this date in 1927.
Mary co-starred in Benny’s fabulously-successful radio series, and became famous for her occasional flubbed lines, many ultimately as legendary as the deliberately-crafted “illogical logic” of Gracie Allen or the carefully-scripted malapropisms of Jane Ace and (as Molly in The Goldbergs) Gertrude Berg. (Visit here for downloadable examples.)