Tikkunista’s back, and before we get to Canadian politics and how the world’s struggles for power play out, here are some music and sounds. Groove to an awesome video, upbeat visually, spiritually, and musically. It’s from the Brown Rice Family, and it’s called Latin Goes Ska. You’ll feel happier for watching it. If you want to learn about some of those strange dance moves, this 3 minute video covers the A–Z of Dance. There’s a new Wu-Tang Clan album out, one that challenges the structure of the industry. Read about it: one copy only, sold by auction. (Didn’t work for Van Gogh, did it?) The Flaming Lips’ ‘Flaming Side of the Moon‘ syncs up with the Pink Floyd classic (as well as ‘The Wizard of Oz’). And they’re not dead yet (except for Graham Chapman): Monty Python releases a new video: The Silly Walks Song. A fascinating piece on Tom Lehrer explores where he is now, and why he gave up fame and stardom. It also features some previously unreleased songs. Jesse Winchester died this week– here’s a fine obituary, and a last great song, “Sham-A-Ling-Dong-Ding.” And if none of this music gets your cochlea dancing, here’s a useful link to hundreds of hours of high-quality nature sounds: birds, rivers, oceans, rain, or clouds. (Really, that’s what it says. Let me know…)
And now, it’s on to the Meaning of Life, or some approximations there-to. Alan Lightman, who is a dual professor of Literature and Physics at MIT, has some thoughts about Science and Spirituality, and finding Godliness in the Known and the Unknowable. Also from Brainpickings, a fascinating exploration of mood science and the evolutionary benefits of depression. (Tnx, Gord.) Too black? Here’s something I wouldn’t have believed: “Unsung Hero” is a deeply moving 3 minute meditation on kindness by Thai Life Insurance. Next week features the coming of the Apocalypse, with a Blood Moon eclipse on April 15th (CNN’s saner explanation here). After the IPCC report George Monbiot ponders which parts of the world to give up in the “adjustment” to climate change. Progress does depend on perspective: in The silencing of the Deaf, high-tech implants are being blamed for killing an entire subculture. (If you’ve read this and are curious, here’s a simulation of cochlear implants listening to speech and music. )
And after the chaotic noise of those implants, what could be more appropriate than looking at Canadian politics? The voices of the Québeçois were loud and clear this week, as they rejected the Parti Québeçois. Michael Den Tandt explores four catastrophic miscalculations in the Pauline Marois’ election campaign, Gerald Caplan makes the provocative assertion that the NDP was the landslide winner of Quebec’s election (they weren’t running, though that’s not why). For those of you who don’t have the numbers memorized, this interesting graph shows the percentage of popular vote in the last 44 years of Quebec provincial elections. Outside of Quebec, Bill C-23, the so-called Fair Elections Act, risks Canada’s democratic legitimacy and future fair elections. Why are the PC’s doing this? Two clues: in “Is Canada Tarring Itself?” the NY Times chronicles Harper’s desperado petro-state strategy. And CTV reports that the richest 86 people in Canada have as much wealth as poorest 11 million. Side note: your editor noticed this week that “Stephen Harper” is an exact anagram for “Panther Herpes”
So it’s a power struggle between the .01% of the haves, and the rest of us? The Guardian reports “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet: the supreme court just made US elections even more undemocratic and corruptible.” In Australia, the government may ban environmental boycotts. Venezuela’s struggle is widely misrepresented in western media. It’s the same struggle, between right and left, rich and poor. And there is resistance: while Donald Trump muses on the millions that stand to be made by privatizing education, Common Dreams offers four arguments that scream “save public education!”, and Esquire Magazine argues Edward Snowden is the best kind of American leader. On the other side, Doonesbury shows the GOP trying to buy a narrative from MyFacts©, supporting your reality since 2003. It’s almost enough to make one join the people who opt out of society—homesteaders, back-to-the-landers, anti-government survivalists.
Perhaps it’s time to move somewhere else? A useful first step is comparative homicide rates by country, world wide (2012). Globalpost offers possibly (?) useful listing of the cheapest and most expensive places in the world to get your drugs. How others see us: 10 Japanese Travel Tips for Visiting America (#4: Nobody is impressed by how much you can drink.) Know your competition: here are 10 great entrants from The 2014 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest (one taken with an iPhone!). Do you know the difference between a cruise liner and an ocean liner? Or what a bulbous bow is? All that, and some fine photos on Twisted Sifter. Either liner sounds way better than this, the least appealing form of transport you’ve ever seen. And on Reddit, a guy posts the story of meeting – and losing- love of life while travelling. Love of life shows up and posts back. Awww.
“It’s just a little bug in the system.” Some bugs are harmful, some are amusing, and some are helpful. It all depends on the colour of hat you’re wearing. Heartbleed is the big one this week, so you can either read Mashable on “The Passwords You Need to Change Right Now”, or The Guardian’s “Don’t Rush To Update Passwords, Security Experts Warn .” A man in China found a bug that allowed him to use his first-class airline ticket to get free meals in airport’s VIP lounge for almost a year…and then get a refund on the ticket. Learn the bug trick Dropbox uses to know when you’re sharing copyrighted stuff without actually looking at your stuff (and compress your files to get around them.) Here’s the website that will let you watch any sports event live, free. A little bug in the weather system results in the stunning photo of a tornado approaching a minor league baseball game. And a bigger bug in the military system: after Iraq and Afghanistan nearly 1 million soldiers traumatized with PTSD.
A selection of short and funny items. A class pranks their teacher for April fools’ day; teacher is very cool. Honey Maid Makes Love (and a Great Ad) Out of Homophobia. Eleven Weird Books that really exist (i.e. #6 Does God Ever Speak Through Cats?) If you ever have a lot of apples to peel, here’s how to use a power drill to peel them in seconds. Here’s a graphic showing the little-known fact that pregnant women are good sources of wifi. But the ne-plus-ultra is this great Generic Brand Video. Hilarious!
Sometimes when you try something really challenging, it works. Sometimes, not so much. Here’s a great video demonstrating the dangers of insecure high pressure cylinders in a highway accident. I think you’ll find it convincing. Some people do marvellous tricks and make it look easy– viewer discretion advised. Here’s a double backflip over a 180 ft wide halfpipe, and double something on a bicycle. Chance can make anything more challenging: this skydiver is almost struck by meteorite: his camera films it whizzing by. If you can find 11 like-minded friends, here’s a cool skipping-rope trick you can do. Or not. Everything is tougher the first time: here are 17 baby elephants learning how to use their trunks. (Tnx, Diana). The New Zealand All-Blacks perform their ritual dance, The Haka, in a rainstorm after winning the Hong Kong Sevens Tournament. Randall Rosenthal carves a block of wood so that it looks like a stack of magazines and papers; Bing Wright photographs sunsets, projects the images onto broken mirrors, then re-photographs the reflection; Liu Bolin paints his body to merge with his background. Go one, try to find him hidden in those Columbian bags. That’ll keep you going until the next issue, I suspect.