Critical Section

Rock 'n Roll

Tuesday,  08/19/03  11:15 PM

I'm mountain biking with my good friends Bill and Jim, and one of the highlights has been Bill's incredible Rock 'n Roll collection.  1700 terrific songs on one little MP3 player.  Wow!  One great song after another.

Some reflections:

  • Isn't it amazing how much information the human brain can store?  As we're listening, the three of us recognize virtually every song and band, and know almost every note.  That is a lot of information.
    • And it can be random accessed so well: 
      "Remember Argent?" 
      "Oh, yeah, 'Hold Your Head Up'". 
      "Yeah, that was cool." 
      And we all have Argent's "Hold Your Head Up" playing in our heads... 
      (You probably do, too, right now, huh?)
    • And it can be cross-referenced so well:
      "Hey, doesn't Eric Johnson sound like Joe Satriani?"
      "Yeah, he does!"
    • And it is so tied in.  Sometimes you hear a song, and you associate it immediately and exactly with a particular place and time (and even sights and sounds and smells...)
    • And the indexing is so efficient.  We compete to see who can identify a song first, and usually the first few notes are sufficient.   I can pick off Jethro Tull's "Locomotive Breath" or Supertramp's "School" on the first note.  Try writing a computer program to do that kind of search!
  • Music triggers emotions in an amazing way.  Who can say why Trower's "Day of the Eagle" makes me feel good?  But it does...
  • The human hearing system is incredible.  It can pattern recognize sounds across a wide range of frequencies and amplitudes (including VERY LOUD :), and can parse rhythm from harmony from melody effortlessly.
    • Even if we're talking about the rhythm section of Bad Company, buried behind vocals and guitar, or the drumbeat of Rush, or the guitarwork in Deep Purple's wall of sound.
  • The music industry is so very very dead.  We carry around all this music at $0 and listen to whatever we want whenever we want.  Too bad for them.
    • Best line, from Jim, in regards to a particular album: "I have the hardcopy".
      Meaning the CD. 
      I love it!
    • Let's hope there is some way to go back to the original days, when artists were performers and people paid them for the enjoyment of their performances.  With online distribution the record companies are superfluous.  But right now they are in the way.
  • Finally and least importantly:
    What the heck does "TVC15" mean?
    (Or was Bowie just, like, on drugs when he wrote it...)
    • Update: Hey, we figured it out!  TVC15 means "Television Channel 15".  TVC15 was a company in New York which was working on holographs.  The song is about a TV which sucks in a girl and displays her as a holograph.  Oh, and yeah, the Duke was probably on drugs when he wrote it :)  [ thanks to the Davie Bowie FAQ (and Google) ]

It's better to burn out, than to fade away...  Rock 'n Roll is here to stay...

mountain biking!

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Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji
The Nest
Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
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where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained