Van Halen performs Jump
British DJ Steve Penk put on the Van Halen hit Jump (3:48 video) after the M60 was shut down while police attempted to talk down a suicidal woman.
The Daily Mail reports that mental heath charities were not amused. The intended suicide did jump from the 30′ highway overpass, but sustained only minor injuries. Penk remains unrepentant.
Mormon cricket, Anabrus simplex
Fortunately for residents of the remote Nevada village, Mormon crickets don’t, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The residents of this tiny town, anticipating an imminent attack, will be ready with a perimeter defense. They’ll position their best weapons at regular intervals, faced out toward the desert to repel the assault.
Then they’ll turn up the volume.
Rock music blaring from boomboxes has proved one of the best defenses against an annual invasion of Mormon crickets. The huge flightless insects are a fearsome sight as they advance across the desert in armies of millions that march over, under or into anything in their way.
But the crickets don’t much fancy Led Zeppelin or the Rolling Stones, the townspeople figured out three years ago. So next month, Tuscarorans are preparing once again to get out their extension cords, array their stereos in a quarter-circle and tune them to rock station KHIX, full blast, from dawn to dusk. …
[Mormon] crickets are a serious matter. The critters hatch in April in the barren soil of northern Nevada, western Utah and other parts of the Great Basin, quickly growing into blood-red, ravenous insects more than 2 inches long.
Then they march. In columns that in peak years can be two miles long and a mile across, swarms move across the badlands in search of food. Starting in about May, they march through August or so, before stopping to lay eggs for next year and die.
In between, they make an awful mess. They destroy crops and lots of the other leafy vegetation. They crawl all over houses, and some get inside. “You’ll wake up and there’ll be one sitting on your forehead, looking at you,” says Ms. Moore.
They swarm on roads, where cars turn them into slicks that can cause accidents. So many dead ones piled up on a highway last year that Elko County, Nev., called in snowplows to scrape them off.
Squashed and dying crickets give off a sickening smell. “For us, it’s mostly the yuck factor,” says Ron Arthaud, a painter here.
Many springs, the infestation is negligible. But every few years, far bigger swarms hatch. From 2003 to 2006, armies of crickets went forth. They smothered the county seat, Elko, causing pandemonium as residents fled indoors. Realtor Jim Winer couldn’t, because he had to show homes. “I carried a little broom in my car,” he says, “and when I got out, I would sweep a path through the bugs to the house.”
Every half-century or so, plaguelike numbers hatch. The critters got their name in the 19th century after a throng of them ravaged the crops of a Mormon settlement. But “I don’t think they care about Mormons or Baptists,” says Lynn Forsberg, who runs Elko County’s public-works program. “I don’t think they care about anything.”
Including one another. Mormon crickets are programmed to march. Any cricket that falls by the wayside is eaten by others, ensuring that at least some cross the hot, barren stretches well-fed.
Following an unseasonably warm winter, some in Elko County fear a big crop this year.
Migrating crickets can be a road hazard
Jason Brown, Chairman of the Mathematics Department at Dalhousie University, applies math to solving a musical mystery.
It is here, in a cluttered mathematician’s office, under blackboards jammed with equations and functional analysis, that one of Western culture’s greatest mysteries has finally been solved: Why has no one been able to replicate the first chord in The Beatles’ pop hit “A Hard Day’s Night”? …
Mr. Brown realized he could use a discrete Fourier transform, a mathematical technique for breaking up complicated signals into simpler functions and known as DFT. He used digital equipment to show the chord as a series of numbers, tens of thousands per second, and then applied a DFT to convert the chord into dozens of simpler functions, each representing a single sound frequency.
Mr. Brown knew there is no such thing as a pure tone: Each instrument emits one sound for the note played and then sounds that are multiples of that note’s frequency, as the string vibrates back on itself. Of his dozens of frequencies, some were background noise and some–the ones he wanted to ferret out–were the notes the Beatles struck.
The professor started making deductions. The loudest notes were likely Mr. McCartney’s bass. The lowest had to be the original note played, since a string can generate waves along half or a third of its length, but not twice its length. But no matter how he divvied up the notes, something didn’t fit.
It is well-documented that Mr. Harrison played a 12-string guitar for the recording of “A Hard Day’s Night.” For every guitar note played, there had to be another one octave higher, since his guitar strings were pressed down in pairs.
But three frequencies for an F note were left, none of which were an octave apart. Even if Mr. Brown assumed Mr. Lennon played one F note on his six-string guitar, Mr. Brown still had two unexplained frequencies.
After weeks of staring at six-decimal-place amplitude values, Mr. Brown suddenly remembered how, as a child, he used to stick his head inside his parents’ grand piano to see how it worked. He ran to a nearby music shop, and poked his head inside the Yamahas there.
Sure enough, there were three strings under the F key, corresponding to the three sets of harmonics he had seen. Buried under the iconic guitar chord was a piano note.
Other problems have since yielded to Mr. Brown’s mathematics. Fans have always marveled at Mr. Harrison’s guitar solo in “A Hard Day’s Night,” a rapid-fire sequence of 1/16th notes, accompanied on piano, that seemed to require superhuman dexterity.
Mr. Brown noticed that a piano is strung differently in its lower octaves, with two strings, rather than three, under each hammer. He saw only two frequencies for each piano note in the guitar solo, suggesting that the solo had been played one octave lower than the recorded version sounded. It had also been played at half-speed, he concluded, then sped up on tape to make the released version sound as if had been played faster and at a higher octave.
What was the #1 song on …
– the day you were born?
– the day you graduated from high school?
– the day you were married?
– the day your child was born?
– the approximate date you were conceived?
Hat tip to David L. Larkin.
Praise for Times Past with Rock & Roll
A mildly vulgar video having fun with the graphics of Rock n’ Roll album covers. (Far too many from after my day.)
John J. Miller, in National Review, offers a list of the 50 greatest conservative rock songs.
No Zappa? (There’s a reason they put up statues of him in Vilnius and Prague.) No Zevon? (Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner will be annoyed.) No Randy Newman? (Not even Political Science?) This list could be much improved.
Hat tip to Brice Peyre.
John Lennon was shot to death 25 years ago today. His killer was an undistinguished and indistinguishable man named Mark David Chapman. He was arrested, brought to Central booking, and arraigned the next day, at which point he was remanded to the Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital Prison Ward for Psychiatric observation and evaluation. As it happened, I was on-call the night he was admitted… I had grown up with the Beatles and was saddened, though not surprised, when they broke up. They have left us some of the most memorable music from an era that produced an exceptional flowering of pop music in all its myriad forms. Their music will be with us for a long time.
I remember feeling sorrow for John Lennon myself, and thinking that his unfortunate death marked the end of a period of rock music history coinciding with my own generation’s youth. By that time, of course, John Lennon had developed the relationship with Yoko Ono, which seemed to bring him happiness, but which unhappily also led to the break-up of the Beatles, and which was leading Lennon into further and further depths of intellectual banality and embarassing displays of vanity.
The Solid Surfer speculates that John might have straightened out, given time, and that had he lived, he’d be a Republican today. Could be. I personally think Taxman on Revolver may well represent a better picture of John Lennon’s natural politics than Imagine. Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.
Bolshevik David Corn blames gun ownership by private citizens, and the National Rifle Association‘s defense of Individual Rights, for a madman’s act, and today, as then, believes more Gun Control is the answer to crime. I don’t recall Mark David Chapman having a New York pistol permit, which suggests that gun control laws don’t necessarily deter persons willing to break one law from breaking a second as well.
Mr. Corn will blame insufficiently strict laws in other US states (since Chapman purchased the gun in Hawaii), but no law would ever have prevented Chapman from buying an illegal gun, anymore than any law ever kept Chapman, Lennon, or millions of the rest of us back then from buying marijuana and other illegal substances. And the banning of firearms owned by tens of millions law-abiding Amerrican hunters, target shooters, and collectors, and ordinary people wanting a means of self defense would do nothing whatsoever to prevent crime. In fact, gun control increases crime by eliminating criminals’ fear of potentially armed victims. Not long after John Lennon’s murder, Bernard Goetz shot some assailants in the NYC subway, and in the period when the unknown subway gunman had not yet given himself up, street crime temporarily vanished.
Comrade Corn’s twaddle is worth a look, however, because the conniving Mr. Corn reveals how all he had to do was invent an imaginary organization, the so-called Citizens against Gun Violence, an “ad hoc citizens group” consisting of Mr. Corn, period; and a few photocopied fliers and some calls to the MSM later, he had a full-fledged moonbat rally of his own, and 15 seconds of fame.
Since unfortunately they did not hang him: