Dad, Musician, and Nerd
I was singing the aria I performed for my senior recital yesterday (annoying my wife to no end), Damn the Village from the operatic production of The Crucible. I am no Sarah Good or Tituba, I am John Proctor, I have three sons and all of that. I stumped myself trying to remember the lyrics in the later half of the aria, and I thought, “Well, I have my performance in iTunes, I’ll just give it a listen.”
A little background for those who don’t know me personally; I received a bachelors degree in vocal performance from Georgia Southern University, and up until my 23rd year, I believed with my whole heart that I would be an opera singer. I picked that path not because I was extremely passionate about opera, but because it was something I was relatively good at, the school was giving me a scholarship to be in the program, and I didn’t want to do serious work at the time. It seemed like the right thing to do.
I listened to my senior recital, and to quote Randy Jackson, “It was a little pitchy, dog.” I must never have noticed all of the tuning problems when I was practicing for that recital, listening back to the recording, or during any of my graduate school auditions. I wouldn’t have put me in a graduate program if I had been the professors who heard me audition, they were absolutely right not too. I have been harboring a slight resentment towards those professors who witnessed my slightly out of tune renditions of italian art song, german lieder, and french post-romantic nocturnes. All this time, I have not really let myself believe that I wasn’t actually up to the task of being an opera singer.
Realizing that I wasn’t actually as good as I thought I was has lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders with regards to the path that I have taken in my life. After graduate auditions and the rejection letters, I was understandably directionless and depressed. I tried my hand at bartending school, business school, delivery driving, short order cooking, meatball rolling, and more cooking before landing a tech job and suddenly feeling good about my work. I can say with confidence that I am an excellent technician and consultant, but I never gave myself that confidence when I was a singer. Now I know that I’m doing something that I am good at, instead of just hoping.
I’m still a musician, however. Ishcabittle is getting more exciting at every turn, I have songs I am very proud of and it is a genuine pleasure to play my guitar through my crazy series of electronic doo-dads. I can now, however, drop the pretense that I was cheated out of a life of chorale practice, auditions for parts well received, and a career singing the works of Rossini.
Damn, Marquese, I know the weather was bad in the ATL yesterday but I missed the gusts of fire! You’re like the postman, Nonstop on the street despite mother nature dropping dooks. Hope you didn’t catch something nasty out there ‘cause that shit was ill as fuck.
That’s what Dr. Braz would call, “an obnoxious display of talent”.
Who would have thought that within a year, we’d have multiple, competing asteroid mining startups? Deep Space Industries, which will hold its official launch on Tuesday at Santa Monica’s Museum of Flying, is the latest of several ambitious private companies to announce plans for the final frontier: in its case, to prospect near-Earth asteroids with an eye towards using materials in them to build a permanent presence in space. In 2015, it says it will begin sending unmanned “FireFly” spacecraft to explore asteroids that fly near Earth, followed by heavier “DragonFly” craft that will bring back samples from likely candidates between 2016 and 2020.
Just you wait, future people, just you wait.
Switches in the dark
The Verge: For Amusement Only
This made me want to open up an arcade, but at the same time inform me that it is a fools errand.
Bela Bartok for eight hands and bluetooth.
So you’ve gone green, Eh? You realize that you are actually less green when you pack the CD and the flyer where you say you didn’t pack the CD, right?
First Artificial Brain Created - It’s named Spaun, and sports 2.3 million simulated neurons very similar to the human prefrontal cortex. It’s already smarter than the average chimp when it comes to pattern recognition, and maybe most importantly it can keep learning. As it processes information very similar to the human brain, Spaun can help with understanding how humans function. Also, being an emulation of a biological brain on an electronic platform, it could easily combine the pattern processing abilities of us humanoids with the perfect number crunching / memory capabilities of today’s best computers. Maybe the first cyborg won’t be a biological entity enhanced with digital technology, but a digital one enhanced with biological cognition.
Spaun stands for Semantic Pointer Architecture: Unified Network. It was given 6 different tasks that tested its ability to recognize digits, recall from memory, add numbers and complete patterns. Its cognitive network simulated the prefrontal cortex to handle working memory and the basal ganglia and thalamus to control movements. Like a human, Spaun can view an image and then give a motor response; that is, it is presented images that it sees through a camera and then gives a response by drawing with a robotic arm.
I, for one, welcome our new digital/biological cognitive overlords.