Social Media Posts (March 1 to March 30)

See also: Index of all Social Media Posts

This fascinating 3 minute video essay tries to explain why people rarely smiled in older photos. (Be sure to watch until the end to see a Chinese man smiling!).

Here’s a fierce 1996 Ukrainian rock song which has been zipping through my head all day. As luck would have it, I got to see Bilyk perform the song live in Lutsk (a double billing with the Russian singer “Linda”). PS, Ukrainian music videos look way better now than they used to 🙂 .Might as well include a Linda track here as well. She’s really into mysticism/gothic rock, that sort of thing.

Here’s an early song by Missouri country singer Leona Williams. She was popular in the 70s, but is still kicking around…. Just love this song! (I had never heard about her until I heard her sing a very fine duet with George Jones). . Here’s that duet she did with George Jones:
It sounds contrarian to say this (and perhaps it is a sign of my age), but I just realized that I enjoy the slow movements in Beethoven’s major symphonies a LOT more than the fast and dramatic ones. The Adagio on symphony #9 is breathtaking in its beauty.IBID for Eroica’s Funeral March and 2nd movements of #3 and #5. (6th and 8th symphonies don’t really count, although the 1st movement of the “Pastoral” symphony is as good as any). In my callow youth, I remember my impatience with the 2nd movement of symphony 5. “Come on,” I would think, “Get to the good part!”. Now it is a shock to realize that the 2nd moment is in fact is in fact quite tranquil and satisfying, like the eye before the storm.
A few weeks ago I reviewed the latest concept album about the Greek gods by Monk Turner. Here’s my favorite track, a slow and elegiac meditation about spiritual abandonment. The subject is from the perspective of Hermes to the Greek people who are losing touch with (and faith in) the gods they previously worshipped….. The lyrics to all the songs in this album are amazing.
Here’s a great song by Ukrainian-born Anastasia Prihodko. Interestingly, she represented Russia for Eurovision one year, but after the Russian attack on Crimea and East Ukraine, she vowed never to perform in Russia again.
This week I discovered the really amazing video essays by Nerdwriter1. He is a literary and film critic who does 4-5 minute videos analyzing various topics on art and culture. Here’s his analysis on a poem by e.e. cummings. (If a video about a poem bores you, the other videos about movies are also amazing).
MATH PUZZLE: “There are 100 bags each with 100 coins, but only one of these bags has gold coins in it. The gold coin has weight of 1.01 grams and the other coins has weight of 1 gram. We are given a digital scale, but we can only use it once. How can we identify the bag of gold coins?” (This is based on a puzzle mentioned in an old Columbo TV episode. It’s a good one — and fortunately it’s not too hard — though you may have to think a while). Please don’t post the answer. It’s easy to google though. Check question #14 here or a more complicated mathematical explanation.
QUOTE: “The Nobel Peace Prize should go to the iPhone. It turns out that the light that most disinfects isn’t sunlight. It’s the blue light from the iPhone, recording and disseminating video of these vile abuses of power.” (from an article about a wrongful arrest of a NY postman).
This helpful chart compares the pros and cons of different light bulbs. The compact fluorescent light bulbs were much better than the old kind, but they contained mercury and their lifespan was significantly reduced with frequently switching on and of. The new LEDs not only last significantly longer, but they don’t have mercury and they turn on instantly!
Woman describes cheap date she had with Donald Trump. The restaurant didn’t accept credit cards, so he had to borrow money from her. “Relax,” he said, “I have the money. I’ll pay you back tomorrow!” He never did.
Here’s a great track from Patti Rothberg 1996 debut album, “Between the 1 and 9.” I must have listened to that album a zillion times in the early 2000s.
When asked who he speaks with for guidance on foreign policy, Trump replied, “I’m speaking with myself. I have a very good brain.”
A literary friend highly recommended a short story collection by Lucia Berlin; I said, “I have that book” and spent the next 30 minutes trying to find it in my apartment. Yes, I finally found it (and intend to read it), but not after vowing to “prune” my book collection by 100 books in the next month. QUESTION: Do you think I can succeed?
Here’s a long and fascinating profile (written in 1993) of Hilary Clinton’s days in high school and college. She was head of her college’s Young Republicans’ group during a period when college campuses were becoming increasingly radicalized. As she assumed leadership positions at college, she was viewed as articulate, moderately inclined and politically careful. A prescient quote at the end by one of her classmates: ““A lot of us thought Hillary would be the first woman president. I thought if ever in my lifetime there is a woman president it would be her.” (An article about Trump’s college years — equally fascinating – is in the comment section)
Equally fascinating profile of Trump’s college years. Basically he was viewed as cocky by classmates and teachers, but for the most part he was barely noticed on campus — he was too busy with business ventures off campus to care about college.He mainly flipped low-cost properties to make a profit. He rarely attended frat parties and never drank alchohol. Said one fellow student: “Don was a bright guy, but I’d say a disinterested student. What he was really interested in was how to make deals, and leverage financing. He was always looking for the quick deal, the fast kill. He looked with disdain at the grunt work….Tact wasn’t his strong suit then and it isn’t now. He was always kind of disdainful of the academic process. I could tell half the time he didn’t read the assignment. He’d bluff his way through it.”
A nice list. I am embarrassed to report that I have never read “Absalom, Absalom! — though now it’s on my short list.
Here’s another list of underrated Southern novels . Also, here’s a nice essay by a young writer about Absalom: QUOTE: Why, then, teach Faulkner? Why insist upon so regional a work, bearing such grotesque political anachronisms, even as secondary education moves nationally away from both? Two years removed, I’m ready to state that we do so because the biggest questions—those whose scope puts to the test the very notion of what it means to be educated—seldom arise spontaneously. We must dig them up where they’ve been buried—in the theater; on the canvas; in these particular, difficult pages.
I was talking to my 15 year old nephew about what I was like at the age of 15. At that age, my biggest interests were: Dungeons & Dragons, swimming, classical music and debate. Curiously, I had almost zero interest in TV shows, videogames, rock music and books, though I loved to read and write…. DO YOU REMEMBER THE THINGS YOU WERE INTERESTED IN AT THAT AGE?
At the GOP debate, Rubio’s defense of doing nothing about climate change is logically and morally ridiculous: “Because China and India do it too, therefore, the US has no responsibility to address the problem.” That’s like saying, “Because criminals steal a lot of money in other countries, the US doesn’t need to have laws and police to reduce the amount of stealing in this country.”
Another problem behind his logic: he assumes that CO2 reduction is NOT a good in itself. The moderator’s follow up question should have been: “Can you explain why having the USA reduce its greenhouse emissions is worse for the world than NOT having the USA reduce them?

The important thing about this policy is that it will apply not only to new wells but existing wells (which are estimated to account for 80-90% of methane emissions).

Here’s a dreamy folk-rock track by an Austin group I can’t get enough of. This singer is Patricia Lynn, now one of my favorite singers….

I just received an email that the Climate Hawks Vote group has endorsed Sanders over Clinton. The reasons are fairly obvious: Sanders support carbon pricing, while Clinton does not; Sanders opposes fracking while Clinton opposes it only under certain conditions; Sanders opposes new Gulf Coast drilling, while Clinton does not; the common refrain is that Clinton’s policies are more “pragmatic” than Sanders, but among climate hawks carbon pricing is viewed as the more “pragmatic” position.
Here’s an update about the Barker/Cypress Dam Renovation project in Houston. It is scary — though the key question is whether major storms will stress the dams before the renovation is complete (2019). My guess is that if there will be major storms before that date, they will happen in 2016 (the El Nino year).
Imagine if B-52s were born 20 years later and grew up in Australia, and you would have this awesome band. The video is pretty goofy, but the song really rocks!
Maybe it’s just me, but I’m REALLY excited that the Pee Wee Hermann movie premières on Netflix on March 18.
Can someone declare a moratorium for news reports that purport to see special significance in the rising popularity of search terms in search engines and social media? Occasionally it can be a useful proxy indicator, but more often it just reflects increased curiosity or awareness about something — not necessary an endorsement or sustained interest. Just because the number of search results for “Zika” have increased doesn’t mean that more people are worried about or think they have contracted it; it might simply be that more students are doing papers on it or people just don’t know what it is. I might use “Trump” in my search query, but that CERTAINLY does not suggest that statistically I am more inclined to be a Trump supporter. When I see reports that try to analyze Internet trends, I start to long for the days when people just got their predictions from bird entrails.
Here’s a powerful performance by fiddler/vocalist Gaelynn Lea that won 1st prize in NPR’s Tiny Desk concert contest. If you haven’t subscribed to the Tiny Desk concert audio podcast, don’t miss it. Once a week it features a live 15 minute concert recording in the NPR office of rising stars in music. This piece is slow, sad, textured; it intricately weaves the voice with the instrument. A real discovery!
This helpful chart on climate change underscores the policy differences between Clinton and Sanders. In election rhetoric, what a politician DOESN’T SAY is probably more significant than what a politician DOES SAY.×1265.jpg
Here’s a fantastic and rowdy track by a female-led hard rock band performing at SXSW this year.  I’ll put the link to the live performance on the comments, but the studio track on bandcamp  just has everything: punkish Joplin-esque screams, maximum reverb and B-52 warbling….. It knocks me dead!
For a limited time, NPR lets you download a zip file containing 100 free mp3s by musicians performing at SXSW. This is separate from the SXSW bit torrent which you can also download from another site.







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