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Posts Tagged ‘Alexander Selkirk

“The interesting question would be whether there’s a Darwinian process, a kind of selection process whereby some memes are more likely to spread than others, because people like them, because they’re popular, because they’re catchy or whatever it might be”*…

 

The Spice Girls released their first single, Wannabe, in 1996 but its legacy clearly lives on. Researchers at Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, England, and the University of Amsterdam named it the catchiest song of all time in a test of how quickly people can name a tune.

The researchers created an interactive site, Hooked on Music, to ask 12,000 people to listen to the 40 best-selling songs from each decade, beginning with the 1940s. People could identify Wannabe in 2.29 seconds, placing it at the top of the pile. Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, and Elvis Presley all have two songs in the top 20—though Billie Jean is only 15th, with some listeners taking 2.97 seconds to identify its iconic beat. (Who are these people?)…

See–and hear– the 10 catchiest songs at “Science: This is the catchiest song of all time.”

* Richard Dawkins

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As we battle earwigs, we might recall that it was on this date in 1709 that Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk was rescued after spending four years marooned on a desert island (Juan Fernandez, in the South Pacific, just over 400 miles off the coast of Chile).  Selkirk’s sojourn in a meme-free zone inspired Daniel Dafoe to create Robinson Crusoe, and William Cowper to coin an immortal phrase in his poem “The Solitude Of Alexander Selkirk”:

I am monarch of all I survey,
My right there is none to dispute;
From the centre all round to the sea,
I am lord of the fowl and the brute.

source

Written by LW

February 2, 2015 at 1:01 am

Toasted…

Readers will recall Catherine McEver’s “Embroidered Wonder Bread.”  Well, lest one think that this exhausted the artistic possibilities of that all-too-common comestible, there’s the work of photographer Henry Hargreaves.  Hargreaves arranges dozens of differentially-done slices of toast to create portraits of the Beatles, Jim Morrison,  Che, and (as above) Marilyn Monroe.

See them all at Hargreaves’ site (and be sure to check out his other series, including his elegant “Bacon Alphabet”). [TotH to VSL]

As we make a move for the marmalade, we might recall that it was on this date in 1659 that Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe was shipwrecked and marooned on the desert island that was his home for the next 28 years.  Defoe’s novel, based in part on the true story of shipwrecked sailor Alexander Selkirk, was titled The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver’d by Pyrates.

Title page of the first edition (source)

Written by LW

September 30, 2011 at 1:01 am

Science can be fun!…

From X-Ray Technician Schools,  the 100 Coolest Science Experiments on YouTube. (All of the usual cautions and disclaimers apply…)

As we polish our pipettes, we might recall that it was on this date in 1709 that Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk after spending four years marooned on a desert island (Juan Fernandez, in the South Pacific, just over 400 miles off the coast of Chile).  Selkirk inspired Daniel Dafoe to create Robinson Crusoe, and William Cowper to coin an immortal phrase in his poem “The Solitude Of Alexander Selkirk”:

I am monarch of all I survey,
My right there is none to dispute;
From the centre all round to the sea,
I am lord of the fowl and the brute.

source

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