Tag Archives | History

Ray Kurzweil receives Technical Grammy Award for lifetime achievement in music technology


Via KurzweilAI

Ray Kurzweil will receive the 2015 Technical Grammy Award for his lifetime of work in the field of music technology.

One of his primary inventions paved the way for re-creating acoustic instruments with electronic equivalents.

The Technical Grammy Award is a Special Merit Award presented by vote of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Trustees, for contributions of outstanding technical significance to the recording field.

Grammy Foundation | Technical Grammy Award recipient Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil is a best selling author, futurist, computer scientist and inventor. He is a current director of engineering at Google. Kurzweil is credited as the principal innovator of omni-font optical character recognition, text to speech synthesis and speech recognition technology.

He founded Kurzweil Music Systems in 1982 and in 1984 introduced the Kurzweil K250, the first computer based instrument that could realistically re-create the musical response of a grand piano and other orchestra instruments.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Bread and Circuses

800px-Jean-Leon_Gerome_Pollice_Verso

Pollice Verso by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Via San Diego Reader

Roman leaders mollified the masses by providing food handouts and violent games to enjoy. Is this happening again in America?

Bread and circuses. Back in the Roman Empire, those were the keys to diverting the public’s attention from political greed and corruption — and, particularly, from the massive gap between the rich and the poor.

Rome won so many wars that it was overrun with captured slaves, and they performed the physical labor. Idle, unemployed Romans were restive. Julius Caesar perfected the ideal appeasement: give them wheat to eat and violent entertainment to savor — or, bread and circuses (panem et circenses).

It worked. Generally, the plebeians neither starved nor rioted. Salivating, they would watch gladiators slaughter animals and each other. Those gladiators were mainly slaves, but as they won laurels, they could win their freedom and rake in donations from the crowd.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

“Superstition sets the whole world in flames” – Voltaire

J.D. Falk (CC BY-SA 2.0)

J.D. Falk (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Via BBC

Historian Tom Holland was one of those who tweeted Charlie Hebdo’s cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in the wake of the deadly attack on the magazine’s office. Here he explains the ramifications of defending free speech.

Religions are not alone in having their martyrs. On 1 July, 1766, in Abbeville in northern France, a young nobleman named Lefebvre de la Barre was found guilty of blasphemy. The charges against him were numerous – that he had defecated on a crucifix, spat on religious images, and refused to remove his hat as a Church procession went past.

These crimes, together with the vandalising of a wooden cross on the main bridge of Abbeville, were sufficient to see him sentenced to death. Once La Barre’s tongue had been cut out and his head chopped off, his mortal remains were burned by the public executioner, and dumped into the river Somme.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Satire – The Definitive Guide to Satire: Etymology, History & Lore

Image taken from page 9 of 'The House that Jack built ... With twelve cuts. [A satire in verse on the sale of gin and beer.]'The British Library

Image taken from page 9 of ‘The House that Jack built … With twelve cuts. [A satire in verse on the sale of gin and beer.]’
The British Library via Flickr.

Via Sarcasm Society

Satire is an indirect form of critique, in that it mocks or attacks an individual or idea by proxy. Satirical speech and literature is generally used to observe and judge the “evils” or morally questionable ideals held by individuals, groups and sometimes entire cultures. The attack itself is derived from what is known as the satirist’s social motive–these critiques illustrate what the satirist, within the context of their own world view, believes is “right” based upon what they ridicule as “wrong”. Jean Weisgerber’s Satire and Irony a Means of Communication states, “Satire is manifestly directed to people. It involves the victim it attacks and the public it tries to persuade, it restores to language its full status as a means of communication, its end is rhetorical.” [1]

The purpose of satire is primarily to make the audience aware of the “truth”.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Sustainable Ways to Feed the World Are Subverted by Corporations

Rosewoman (CC BY 2.0)

Rosewoman (CC BY 2.0)

Via News Junkie Post:

Humans’ relationship to food is one of the most fundamentally shaping aspects of our societies. The sole fact that the majority of the world’s population now lives in urban centers is the direct result of a process that began approximately 10,000 years ago. This process was the switch from nomadic hunting-gathering societies to urban sedentary ones. In fact, formal agriculture is the only means whereby an urban society can sustain itself, its population can increase size and density, and complex societal interactions can develop from an urban context. It could be argued that behind the entire construct of capitalism, as becoming sheltered and sedentary allowed our societies to develop an affection for material objects, lies formal agriculture.

The industrial revolution, and in particular the “green revolution” of the 1960s and 70s, once again changed the way that our global society relates to food.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The man who revolutionized our knowledge of the human body

Drawn directly from the flesh. Public Domain Review/Flickr, CC BY-SA

Drawn directly from the flesh. Public Domain Review/Flickr, CC BY-SA

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

By Richard Gunderman, Indiana University-Purdue University

December 31, 2014 marks the 500th anniversary of the birth of one of the most important figures in the history of medicine. He authored one of the most elegant and influential books in scientific history. His investigations revolutionized our understanding of the interior of the human body and the methods physicians use to study and teach about it, reverberating throughout medicine down to the present day.

His name was Andreas Vesalius. He was born into a medical family in what is now Belgium. As a boy he showed a great interest in the dissection of animals, a predilection that disgusted his contemporaries. Yet he persevered, going on to study medicine at both Paris and Padua, then two of the great centers for anatomic research.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

History Lesson: America Is the Same Oligarchy It Was over a Century Ago

“Forget the politicians. They’re irrelevant. Politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, Congress, the state houses, the city halls. They’ve got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media news. They own all the big media companies so they control just about all of the information and news you get to hear. They’ve got ya by the balls.”

via Truthstream:

(Truthstream Media) When Americans see charts like this one which illustrate that virtually all the food on grocery store shelves basically comes from no more than 10 megacompanies, or hear statements like this one from our own Attorney General Eric Holder who told the Senate Judiciary Committee that some banks are just too big to prosecute, or check out studies like this one out of Princeton which openly declare we are not a democracy but an oligarchy…it’s kinda hard to believe we aren’t an oligarchy (because we are).

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Rupert Sheldrake on The Evolution of Telepathy

Via Rupert Sheldrake.org

My research on telepathy in animals, summarized in my book Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home and published in detail in a series of papers (listed below), led me to see telepathy as a normal, rather than a paranormal phenomenon, an aspect of communication between members of animal social groups. I see psychic phenomena as an extension of biology, which is why I, as a biologist, am interested in them. The same principles apply to human telepathy, and I have investigated little explored aspects of human telepathy, such as telepathy between mothers and babies, telephone telepathy (thinking of someone who soon afterwards calls) and email telepathy. I have designed several automated telepathy tests, some of which can be carried out through this website.

I think telepathy has evolved, like other biological abilities, subject to natural selection, and my lecture on the evolution of telepathy at Cambridge University is online here: Evolution of Telepathy .

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Individual vs. the Goo

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Via War Is Crime:

“The people” is a convenient term for “every individual.” This has been lost in translation. It has been garbled, distorted, just as the proprietor of an old-fashioned carnival shell game distorts the audience’s perception with sleight of hand.

Are “the people” one group? Well, that’s the ultimate Globalist formulation.

However, from the point of view of the free individual, things are upside down. It is his power that is primary, not the monolithic corporate State’s. From his point of view, what does the social landscape look like? It looks like: the obsession to organize.

I’m not talking about organizations that are actually streamlined to produce something of value. I’m talking about organizations that plan more organization of life.

If you want to spend a disturbing afternoon, read through (and try to fathom) the bewildering blizzard of sub-organizations that make up the European Union.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Robber barons and silicon sultans

Photo: Michael from San Jose, California, USA (CC BY 2.0)

Photo: Michael from San Jose, California, USA via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

Via The Economist:

IN THE 50 years between the end of the American civil war in 1865 and the outbreak of the first world war in 1914, a group of entrepreneurs spearheaded America’s transformation from an agricultural into an industrial society, built gigantic business empires and amassed huge fortunes. In 1848 John J. Astor, a merchant trader, was America’s richest man with $20m (now $545m). By the time the United States entered the first world war, John D. Rockefeller had become its first billionaire.

In the 50 years since Data General introduced the first mini-computers in the late 1960s, a group of entrepreneurs have spearheaded the transformation of an industrial age into an information society, built gigantic business empires and acquired huge fortunes. When he died in 1992, Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, was probably America’s richest man with $8 billion.

Read the rest
Continue Reading