Like many, I was shocked to hear of Prashant Bhargava’s death. I just saw Radhe Radhe with Vijay Iyer’s live score at BAM, and Bhargava was there. I met him once, through Mimosa Shah.
Most people know Yoko Ono as “the person who broke up the Beatles” and think of her art practice as a joke. She’s a much more serious artist than that, and this article tries to lay it out a bit better.
Via Celeste LeCompte, a tool to explore MIT’s research finances. It’s still a work-in-progress. I wonder how hard it would be to make such a thing for Rutgers.
In lieu of taking this course offered by Amardeep Singh, I could at least read the books on the syllabus I guess.
Muscae volitantes, or floaty things in your eyes.
I’ve been in a non-blogging mode due to classes starting and being a bit overwhelmed by everything, but the news came out today that Microsoft Silicon Valley is closing. Although the article says that some researchers may find new homes at other MSR campuses, it’s not clear who is staying and who is going. As with all of the recent industrial research lab closures/downsizings, my first thoughts are to the researchers who were working there — even if one has an inkling that things are “going bad” it still must be a shock to hear that you won’t be going to the office on Monday. Here’s hoping they land on their feet (and keep pushing the ball forward on the research front) soon!
As an undergraduate I became interested in how timbre can be used to identify musical instruments. This was largely due to my first UROP (undergraduate research gig) with Keith Martin at the MIT Media Lab. Keith’s thesis was on identifying musical instruments from spectral features, and I worked a bit on this under Ryan Rifkin in a later UROP. I’ve been catching up on podcasts during my commute to campus this week, and a semi-recent Science Friday piece on the Steinway factory was on deck for this morning.
The piece talks about work in Agnieszka Roginska‘s lab at NYU, and in particular work from a paper from last year on measuring radiation patterns in piano soundboards. The radiation patterns are pretty but a bit hard to interpret, largely because I’m way out of the acoustical signal processing world. However, what’s interesting to me is that we’re still largely focused on overtones/cepstral coefficients. I wonder about how one might discover more interesting features to characterize this data. (I know someone will suggest deep learning but color me a little skeptical).
As a side note, one of the recent popular articles from JASA is on the acoustics of coffee roasting.
There’s a lot of talk about how the journalism industry is suffering and soon we’re going to be piled under an avalanche of Buzzfeed lists, reblogs of reblogs, doges.
My friend Celeste LeCompte and her friends have started a new venture called Climate Confidential — they are a collective of journalists and writers who will focus on environmental issues. They’re running a crowdfunding campaign on Beacon, a writer-focused site, to get started. I heartily encourage you lurking blog readers out there to support them.
The English version of the Japanese cooking site Cookpad was launched recently. The launch means more lunch for me!
In case you wanted to listen to old African vinyl albums, you’re in luck.
I have a burning-hot hatred of payday loan places, so this Pro Publica piece just stoked the fire.
Talking robots… in spaaaaaaaaace!
A tumblr on how we make progress in research.
My friend Amrys worked on the Serendip-o-matic, a tool that may be more useful for those in the humanities than us engineer types, but is pretty darn cool.
Via Inside Higher Ed I saw that Obama has nominated France Anne Córdova as the new head of the NSF. Córdova may be most famous as NASA’s Chief Scientist, but after leaving NASA she had a series of administrative positions, most recently as President of Purdue.
Do any of the readers of the blog have an opinion about this choice? Also, given the GOP’s oft-expressed dislike of the NSF, will she ever get an actual Senate confirmation?
An op-ed from n+1 on the safety of being brown.
Via Mimosa (I think), a profile of photographer Nemai Ghosh, who worked with Satyajit Ray.
Via my father, the story of Indian Jewish actresses in early Bollywood.
Things seems to be heating up on the LAC. Not a good sign.
The death toll in Dhaka keeps rising. This makes Matthew Yglesias’s reaction (see a stunningly poor example of self-reflection here) a bit more that the usual brand of neoliberal odiousness.
A rather pretty video of an L-system made by my friend Steve.
LACMA, which I finally saw with a friend in February, has decided to offer high-resolution downloads of many of the items in its collection. This Ganesha has a pretty impressive belly. Via MeFi.
This may answer David Bowie’s question.
This slideshow makes me want to go to Slurping Turtle again.
Sometimes I wish we could just name p-values something else that is more descriptive. There’s been a fair bit of misunderstanding about them going on lately.
This link is worth its own post. Please check out ProPublica’s article on data brokers — it’s very relevant to how much is already known (and sold) about you.
Aaron Swartz, who most recently made headlines for expropriating a large amount of information that was on JSTOR and making it available to the public, committed suicide. Cory Doctorow has a remembrance of Aaron and also a reminder of how we should remember how terrible depression can be. In making sense of what happened it’s tempting to say the threat of prosecution was the “cause,” but we shouldn’t lose sight of the person and the real struggles he was going through.