I’m a big fan of 99% Invisible, a podcast about design and architecture and… stuff. They rebroadcast a longer piece about U.N. Plaza in San Francisco, and it’s fascinating. I was living in Berkeley at the time much of this went down, and I was semi-unaware of it.

A post from the new desi blog, Brown Town, about Freddie Mercury.

My cousin Supriya has e-books in Hindi, Marathi, and Gujarati available. You know, for kids!

My very dear (but not so near) friend Charlotte has a new blog : Mary Magdalene Girl in which she will discuss gender and her un-diasporaing (not a word) by moving to Ireland.

Photos of yakuza. Unrelatedly, construction worker fashion in Japan.


This is an awesome approach to getting consensus on neighborhood boundaries in Boston. They should do that for Chicago!

A history of currywurst.

Classical Movies in Miniature Style. I like the horses in the Terminator II picture.

I have a rather long-ish commute on public transit, and sometimes it’s hard to get a seat on the train/bus, so I’ve been listening to a lot more podcasts. Here are a few which I’ve been enjoying recently:

  • 99% Invisible, which is a design podcast. I’ve been catching up from the beginning, but this little bit on flags may appeal to Chicagoans and San Franciscans.
  • Backstory is a podcast about American History. They usually take a theme (e.g. “national monuments,” “birth,”, “booze”) and do a number of segments running through different centuries.
  • Story Collider : story telling about science(-ish).

Music with giant Tesla coils.

Dogs and cats and babies can get along.


I’m being lazy about more ISIT blogging because my brain is full. So here are some links as a distraction.

Via John, George Boolos’s talk entitled Gödel’s Second Incompleteness Theorem Explained in Words of One Syllable.

D’Angelo is back!

This short video about a subway stair in New York is great, especially the music.

Crooked Timber is on a tear about workplace coercion and its proponents.

Luca’s thoughts on the Turing Centennial are touching.


Somehow, I had never heard of the Arnold cat map. Meow.

I am definitely guilty of reading and walking at the same time.

Serious Eats Chicago ate all the things at Hot Doug’s, to which I have still not gone.

The Bombay Royale is an Australian band that covers 60s era Bollywood tunes. They have a new album and a video for the title track. You can also get the mp3.

PZ Myers takes Kevin Drum to task for lazy utilitarian arguments.


The NIPS deadline is coming up, so I’ve been a bit harried. However, there are many cool things out there on the internet…

IIT Kanpur wants to open an office in the US to recruit faculty.

Via my father, don’t you wonder where the center of mass of a pizza slice is? This is more of an issue for those New York-style fans — in Chicago the deep dish is a little more stable.

A fascinating post from the NY Times about ephemeral islands which appear and disappear as sea levels shift.

Via BK, a musical film about coffee. It’s part of the Jazz Dance Film Fest, which promises to be my undoing, productivity-wise.

An interesting article on the Dalit movement in Maharashtra.

Tracks : Wiping the mat

A mix for Celeste LeCompte. I always come back to some tracks, but this has more new songs than old, I’d say.

  1. Rain on a tin roof
  2. The Evil One – James Blood Ulmer
  3. No One Gonna Honor Kill My Baby (But Me) – The Kominas
  4. Chaal Baby – Red Baraat
  5. American Dreamin’ – Jay-Z & Music Without Borders
  6. Desafinado – Ryuichi Sakamoto and Paula Morelenbaum/Jobim
  7. Survive It – Ghostpoet
  8. The Part You Throw Away – Tom Waits
  9. The Green Pastures – William Tyler
  10. 1445 Blue Lead Fences – Loch Lomond
  11. If I Had A Million Dollars – Miss Erika
  12. Cornbread And Butterbeans (Album Version) – Carolina Chocolate Drops
  13. Just squeeze me – Ella Fitzgerald
  14. All Night Long – Pert Near Sandstone
  15. Kithkin – Ampersand
  16. You Go Running – Deep Sea Diver


Links to videos and a special chair.

James Baldwin debates William F. Buckley, Jr. I’ve only seen part of it so far, but it’s pretty interesting (via Ta-Nehisi Coates).

I’ve heard quite a bit about the treatment of agricultural workers in Florida, particularly in tomato farming, but this video with a representative of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers is a good introduction to what is going on there (via Serious Eats). The book Tomatoland is on my reading list.

I didn’t know the origin of the term swizzle-stick until now.

I’m a big fan of Cowboy Bebop, and Shinichiro Watanabe has a new show out called Sakamichi no Apollon (via MeFi). I watched the first episode, and the Art Blakey album Moanin’ features prominently, so I think I’m going to like this show quite a bit. It’s being streamed in a ad-heavy format on Crunchyroll.

That’s a lot of pendulums. That’s right, pendulums.

Why don’t you relax a little in the bear chair?

Concert Bleg : Chicago Chorale performs Vierne, Bach, and Schoenberg

I will probably repost this later, but I am singing with the Chicago Chorale in a few weeks. Luckily for me, I sang the two shorter pieces on the program in San Diego, but the centerpiece of this concert is the Vierne Messe Solennelle, which is a real showcase for the organist.

Voices Aloft

Sunday, May 13, 2012. 3:00 p.m.
Thomas Weisflog, Organ
Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn Avenue

Ticket Pricing
Reserved $35, General Admission $25, Student $20
Reserved and GA tickets will be $5 more at the door

The centerpiece of the concert is Louis Vierne’s Messe Solennelle, for choir and organ, composed in 1899. The greatest organist of his time, Vierne played and composed for the great Parisian organs of St. Sulpice and Notre Dame. As the Messe is one of the grandest compositions of the Golden Age of French organ composition, no organ in Chicago is more suited to this repertoire than the recently restored E.M. Skinner organ at The University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, now the largest organ in Chicago. Nor is any organist more suited to perform the work with Chorale than the Chapel organist, Thomas Weisflog. A heartfelt and sincere work, it also utilizes all of the sonic fireworks that the instrument and the choir are capable, entirely filling the Chapel with sound.

This concert will also feature two ethereally beautiful a cappella works: J.S. Bach’s double choir motet, Komm, Jesu, komm, and Arnold Schoenberg’s Friede auf Erden, utilizing the extraordinary acoustic properties of the chapel’s choir loft.


Via Brandy, Kenji breaks down perfect hard boiled eggs. See also sauceome.

Bret Victor talks about Inventing on Principle — the first half are a lot of demos of some pretty amazing applications of his major driving principle, which is that creators should be able to see what they are creating in real time. He sometimes waxes a little TED-like, but overall, quite inspiring.

My high school history teacher, Chris Butler, has turned his award-winning lecture notes and flowcharts into an iPad app which is available on the App Store.

Queen, live at Wembley. (via MeFi)

Some pretty cool visualizations of sorting. (via logistic aggression)

Jácaras and Ensaladas

I am singing with the UChicago Early Music Ensemble, a somewhat relaxed group led by David Douglass and Ellen Hargis of The Newbury Consort. I started rehearsing a bit late, so I’ve been playing catch-up. This year the repertoire is all music from Spain and Spanish colonies, and today we worked on two of the harder pieces in the program : an ensalada called La Bomba, by Mateo Flecha “El Viejo”, and a jacara by Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla. Too many words!

In looking for some recordings to get a better sense of the pieces, I came across this charmingly old King’s Singers TV special (check out those sweater vests!) acting out La Bomba in what appears to be the house from Clue:

Lucky them, they get multiple takes which makes it a bit easier to manage the crazy transitions in the piece. There’s also a multitracked recording on which is pretty good:

Unfortunately we are doing it up a third from there, much to the chagrin of my passagio.

We spent a bit of time trying to get the jácara up to speed, but singing Spanish that fast is hard! When I heard how fast this version went I almost lost it:

It looks like I have my work cut out for me, especially if I want to roll my r’s like that.