Wednesday, 26 December 2007

CD: Reggae Arabesque

Masterful Uds and Reggae

Diaspora's captivating style on Reggae Arabesque is a combination of musical styles I've never heard before: Arabic music with reggae. The group is formed by Jamaican, Italian, and French musicians. Using powerful reggae beats and vocals, the arrangements and melodies are clearly Arabic. Reggae Arabesque's intention is to widen the African roots of reggae to Sudan, Egypt and beyond through the use of Arabic scales and instruments such as the darbuka and 'ud, together with the violin. To order the CD check

Egyptian musician Moddathir Abdoul Wafa is one of the finest performers of the 'ud. Spanish label Nesma Music recorded Toola in Cairo. Even though Wafa uses a traditional Cairo-style orchestra, his creative ud technique and string ensemble...

Sunday, 9 December 2007

CD: Dub Qawwali - Gaudi + Nusrat

Dead Can Dub

Gaudi + Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Dub Qawwali (Six Degrees 657036 1137-2, 2007)

Pakistan's late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan may have specialized in the ecstasy-inducing Sufi devotional style known as qawwali, but he had one of those incredible voices that also gave a supernatural lift to movie soundtracks, such albums as his classic Mustt Mustt and his collaborations with Peter Gabriel, Michael Brook and Eddie Vedder. There's no telling ...

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

All things can be found in PI?


Ever wondered if and where a specific set of numbers could be found in pi? Maybe you'd like to know where your birthday is? Or maybe just something funny. [prev. here, here]
Psh, that's child's play. Old news. If you wanna be hip and play with the big boys and girls, you're gonna have to think bigger [previously]. Since computer files are simply numbers, then, in theory,
images, audio, video, even wikipedia articles all exist in pi. In fact, all existing data in the universe must be somewhere in pi since it is an infinite, non-repeating sequence of numbers which appear with equal probability (so the theory goes).

Some have suggested this is a useful file compression/encryption mechanism. Some have to see a doctor after hearing about it. And some just find its implications amusing.

Too bad
it's all bunk. But don't lose hope, there may be alternatives. My solution to the debate? -- f*ck it, let's just call it 3.

I was surprised by the number of references to this all-things-in-pi concept throughout MeFi, but there was no post explicitly on the subject. I tried to give credit where it was due. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Chimps outperform humans at memory task

Chimps outperform humans at memory task

A new study is the first time chimpanzees – and young ones, at that – have outperformed humans at a cognitive task

Thursday, 29 November 2007

10 People with Bizarre Abilities

Including: The Incredible Brain, The Boy with Sonar Vision, and The Man Who Doesn't Sleep...

Real-life Superheroes: 10 People with Incredible Abilities [w/ pics and vids]

With so many superhero movies around, such as Spiderman or Hulk, we are used to see people with special abilities in fiction. But people with amazing abilities actually do exist in real life; here's a list of 10 of the most amazing of these people!

7 Incredible Natural Phenomena

7 Incredible Natural Phenomena you've never seen

From Honduras' Rain of Fishes to Morocco's Climbing Goats, nature still caPublishrries surprises to those who think to have seen it all.

4 Most Compelling Theories of Everything

The 4 Most Compelling Theories of Everything

A theory of everything (ToE) is a hypothetical theory of theoretical physics that fully explains and links together all known physical phenomena. There have been numerous theories of everything proposed by theoretical physicists over the last century, but as yet none has been able to stand up to experimental scrutiny, there being tremendous difficulty in getting the theories to produce experimentally testable results. So here are the top 4 most important Theories of Everything nowdays.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Petition to save BEMAC!!!

BEMAC is far too important for the Brisbane multicultural and world music community to lose. I urge you to sign this petition.

Aum Mani Padme Hum

Dear Friends,

I have just read and signed the petition: "SAVE THE BRISBANE MULTICULTURAL ART CENTRE"

Please take a moment to read about this important issue, and join me in signing the petition. It takes just 30 seconds, but can truly make a difference. We are trying to reach 3,000 signatures - please sign here:

Once you have signed, you can help even more by asking your friends and family to sign as well.

Thank you!

Bronte Morris

petition at

Thank you again for making a difference!


Brisbane Multicultural Arts Centre
Yungaba 120 Main St Kangaroo Point Qld 4169
PO Box 7299 East Brisbane Qld 4169
Tel: 07 3391 4433 Fax:07 3391 2802


Monday, 26 November 2007

CD: John Neptune, Kenny Endo, Joji Hirota (shakuhachi/percussion)

Introspective Japan
from World Music Central - Links: Indian Music

Three heavy weights in Japanese music join forces on the CD On the Way [Michi Yuki] (2007). Virtuoso taiko drummer Kenny Endo, master percussionist Joji Hirota and shakuhachi player John Kaizan Neptune collaborate under the artistic name of JJK. The result is an enchanting collection of acoustic pieces. At times, shakuhachi melodic phrases appear accompanied by intricate rhythmic patterns. Other pieces only feature percussion exercises, with the participation of various types of drums and percussion. The composition "Heavenly Bells" has a Buddhist meditative sensibility, with the inclusion of gongs, bells and shakuhachi. Get the CD from

On Kaidan Suite (2007) the Kitsune Ensemble's introspective cinematic sound draws its inspiration from ...

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Dhammapada 4CD Set

Complete Dhammapada 4CD Set on Audio chanted in Original Pali with English explanations

The Complete Dhammapada is now available on audio, chanted in Original Pali with English explanations spanning into 4 audio Compact Discs

Dhammapada is one of the greatest literary products of Buddhist literature and philosophy. It is considered by many as Buddha's own teaching and hence undoubtedly is the most popular canonical text of Buddhism contained in Tri-Pitaka. Dhammapada, the wisdom and insight of Buddha, consists of 26 chapters called Vagga spanning into 423 verses.

Written as a text to be read, re-read, and followed to lead a better life, Dhammapada is suitable for people of all religious backgrounds. It has been translated to many languages and is revered by all sects of Buddhist thought. There are hundreds of various translations of Dhammapada to English and Sinhala and is a commonly quoted by many in their day to day life. Thi...

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Dalai Lama talks with Neuroscientists

The Dalai Lama talks with neuroscientist about craving, suffering and choice

Traveling a lot this weekend? Long drive, plane or train ride? You can use that transit time to listen to the Dalai Lama talk for more than four hours with neuroscientists and Buddhist scholars on the topic of craving, suffering and choice. Part one. Part two. [iTunes links] If you're stuck at home, you can watch the video. The video link has the full list of participants.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Arithmetic, Population and Energy (Al Bartlett)

“It's one minute before 12.”

“The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” (RealVideo) Al Bartlett, retired University of Colorado Professor of Physics, gives a stunning hour-long old-school lecture (overhead projector!) on exponential growth and its inevitable results.
The full title of the lecture is “Arithmetic, Population and Energy”, so yes, it does eventually deal with peak oil, but not until three-quarters of the way in. MP3, if you'd prefer an audio version. More from Barlett. Previous FPPs on the exponential function on the blue and the green.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Performing Arts Healthcare

Posted on behalf of Fatima...

This is specific to performing artists/musicians/music teachers etc, so thought it could be of interest. My brother who is an occupational GP as well as a drummer is branching into Music Medicine. He is on the committee of this society.
The Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare has been recently established to promote health and well-being amongst performing artists in Australia, and to provide resources to that end. Further details about the society, its aims and philosophies, as well as the benefits of membership are detailed on the website:

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Vintage Veena DVD from Benares

Celestial Music of Pandit Lalmani Misra DVD

Hi everyone,

I recently came across a DVD of a live veena performance by Pt. Lalmani Misra, entitled Celestial Music of Pandit Lalmani Misra. He is one of the major artists to come out of Benares, and in addition to being a performer, he was equally important as a researcher, musicologist, educator, and composer. To my knowledge, there is only one CD of his that is widely available, making this DVD an incredible resource. The DVD has been independently produced by one of Panditji's disciples, Laxmi Tewari, and so has not received widespread advertising, and is not sold in online stores.

Veena recordings of this quality are extremely rare and so I highly reccomend this DVD. The icing on the cake is that the tabla accompanist is Pt. Chote Lal Mishra.

To order your copy, send 20$ US (cheque) to:
Laxmi G. Tewari
c/o Music Department, Sonoma State University
1801 E. Cotati Avenue
Rohnert Park, CA 94928


All the proceeds from the sale of this DVD will go towards establishing a trust fund for a scholarship in the name of Pandit Lalmani Misra for music students at Sonoma State University.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Top 25 Monty Python Sketches

Top 25 Monty Python Sketches

The following is a list of the 25 greatest Monty Python’s Flying Circus sketches. Scenes from movies are excluded and have not been considered. They would just further muddy up the waters, which are quite murky enough already. 25. Bruces The Bruces sketch involves a group of stereotypical Australians who are members of the Philosophy Department at [...]

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Top 20 Facts About Sleep

I love sleep...

Top 20 Facts About Sleep

The science of sleep is a modern one - in fact most scientific information on sleep has been gained in the last 25 years. This is a list of 20 very interesting facts about sleep. Facts 1 - 10 1. The record for the longest period without sleep is 18 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes during [...]

Sunday, 28 October 2007

DM of the Rings

I found this pretty hilarious...

DM of the Rings

DM of the Rings (comic). The Lord of the Rings if it were a Dungeons and Dragons game.

Tabla Montreal: Shawn Mativetsky's blog

Fellow tabla crusader Shawn Mativetsky has just started a new blog, on his activities as a tabla player in Canada. It's entitled Tabla Montreal. I'm looking forward to keeping better track of what he's up to.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Book: Traveling Spirit Masters (Moroccan Gnawa)

New Book Talks About Moroccan Gnawa Trance and Music in the Global Market Place

Middletown (Connecticut), USA - In the new book Traveling Spirit Masters, Deborah Kapchan explores how a group of Moroccan ritual musicians from the sub-Saharan Africa diaspora have come to participate in the world music market. These musicians are known as the Gnawa, and their traditional belief is that they can heal those afflicted with possession and other ills. It is thought that the Gnawa placate offending spirits with music, incense, colors, and animal sacrifice.

The regular rhythms of the Gnawa's heavy metal castanets and the bass melodies provided by the hajhuj (a three-stringed instrument, which is also called sintir and guimbri) induce a...

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Lucky Dube Shot Dead

Lucky Dube Shot Dead

Lucky Dube Shot Dead - Lucky Dube, the South African Reggae musician, has been shot dead by car hijackers in Johannesburg. In front of his son.
To say that Lucky Dube was an important artist is an understatment.

CD: Anoushka Shankar - Breathing Under Water

Breathing Sitar

Anoushka Shankar and Karsh Kale

Breathing Under Water (Mahattan Records/EMI, 2007)

The 25-year old Anoushka Shankar continues her explorations of Indian music and global sounds on Breathing Under Water, her latest album, recorded in a lively dialogue with global electronic wizard ...

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

CD: Fate of the Lhapa (Tibetan vocal + cello)

Fate of the Lhapa Soundtrack Released on CD Baby

Fate of the Lhapa, the award winning soundtrack to the documentary feature of the same name was released on CD Baby. This film score features renown cellist Joan Jeanrenaud (Kronos Quartet Alumnus) and Tibetan Vocalist Tsering Wangmo. Fate of the Lhapa is the film score for the documentary feature of the same name about the last three Tibetan shamans living in a Tibetan refugee camp in Nepal. The score features performances by the renown cellist Joan Jeanrenaud (Kronos Quartet Alumnus) and Tibetan Vocalist Tsering Wangmo. Haunting and lyrical sounds of Asian and Western Music merge to set the tone for a spiritual and mystical journey about an ancient healing tradition in danger of extinction.Listen to samples at

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Neuroscience and Mysticism

Neuroscience and Mysticism

Searching for God in the Brain. "Researchers are unearthing the roots of religious feeling in the neural commotion that accompanies the spiritual epiphanies of nuns, Buddhists and other people of faith." [Via MindHacks, which points out a few niggling omissions in the article.]



The most creative jazz musician to originate anywhere outside the United States (Duke Ellington) is maybe the great guitarist Django Reinhardt. It is true that he gave birth to a style which is now played by many musicians. His achievements are outstanding, if we consider the events of his life. He still fascinates both the scholar (great links but in need of some work : see french wiki for more biographic details) among other things because of controversial details (his survival during WWII and the very origin of swing manouche (gypsy jazz)) and the aspiring guitarist (more) (essential resource). But it's maybe better just to listen - and watch - him play. Further watching : Nuages, an amateur documentary in 1 2 3 4 5 parts. Previously.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

40 Quotes of Oscar Wilde

40 Quotes of Oscar Wilde

There is no doubt that Oscar Wilde was one of the most witty men to come from the British Isles and probably the world. It is virtually impossible to find anything he wrote which did not show at least a glimmer of his genius. This is a selection of 40 of his greatest [...]

10 Great Unsolved Problems

including the Great Depression, origin of language, the Industrial Revolution, black holes and dreams...

10 Great Unsolved Problems

In various fields of human study there are problems that have never been solved. Some theories have been put forward, but not one fully satisfies the question. So put on your thinking cap and see if you can solve any of the ten unsolved problems listed here: 10. What caused the great depression?

Monday, 8 October 2007

25 Bizarre Buildings

Some crackers here! :-)

25 Bizarre Buildings

25 Bizarre Buildings in photos:

Friday, 5 October 2007

Bonobo handshake - bonobo researcher's blog

Stories about bonobo chimpanzees are really catching my eye lately, since Susan Savage-Rumbaugh 's TED Talks - Apes that write, start fires and play PacMan

Sex like a handshake

Sex like a handshake (even baby sex?) Titilation and humor from Vanessa Woods, researcher at the Lola Bonobo sanctuary. (Previously)

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

CD: Ojos de Brujo - Bari (Flamenco Adrenaline Rush)

Flamenco Adrenaline Rush

Ojos de Brujo

Bari (World Village, 2002)

Hailing from Spain, Ojos de Brujo's Bari brings on an adrenaline rush. These young flamenco performers create music with fury and the angst of a disenfranchised teenager. When I slipped this disc into my stereo, the room soon filled with the staccato beats that you would expect from flamenco music. The hard rain was bouncing off the pavement keeping time with the polyphonic beats (including rap vocals...

CD: Funk 'n Gandhi

The Funky South Asian Sound

Funk 'n Gandhi

Funk 'n Gandhi (Radical House Records, 2005)

This CD has an intriguing colorful cover. It shows a character that looks like a pimp from the 1970s, together with a Hindu deity, in front of a punk Rolls Royce. As the title of the CD suggests, the concept is the fusion of American Funk with Indian music. And the results are terrific.

Funk 'n Gandhi uses real electric bass and drums, creating dynamic funk beats. The rhythm section joins electronic grooves, keyboards, electric piano, jazzy sax and DJ scratching combined with outstanding bansuri flute performed by Deepak Ram, Indian vocals, excerpts of spoken word, samples and trippy effects. Produced by the Warheads.

Buy it from

Daniel Pinchbeck on 2012

Daniel Pinchbeck

vector: PostWarDreams

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Music and the Brain

tales of music and the brain

Musicophilia. Metafilter's own digaman interviews Oliver Sacks on his forthcoming book and a lifetime's worth of loving music and studying its effects on the human mind.
Music therapy for persons with Alzheimers (pdf).
Just in Time by the Grunyons, the a cappella vocal group referenced in the article.
Grainy 1986 interview with Dr. Sacks on The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (worth watching for his glorious beard alone).
Wonderful NPR segment on Williams Syndrome.
Brief article on hallucinogens, healing, and music.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

CD: Autorickshaw (Carnatic/Jazz)

Carnatic Jazz Journey


So the Journey Goes (Tala-Wallah Records, 2007)

The latest album by Canadian band autorickshaw continues in the direction of combining Indian music with jazz forms. The leading instruments are the vocals of Suba Sankaran and the electric bass of virtuoso musician Rich Brown.

Suba Sankarann has a subtle voice that can easily switch from jazz stylings to rapping and classical Indian techniques. Her vocals are followed by Rich Brown's bass. At times...

NOVA goes bust?

(I used to work at Nova when I first went to Japan... Glad I got the chance to get established there before this happened.)

The biggest employer of foreign nationals in Japan BUSTO?

Nova eikaiwa is the biggest foreign language school in Japan, teaching predominantly English through a network of over 600 branches across the county and employing over 7,000 foreign nationals. After adverse rulings to a number of complaints regarding Nova's refund policy, the Japanese Government imposed a 6 month ban from July to prevent the company from selling large lesson packages to students. The company has experienced a severe downturn in cashflow as a result and there are reports of late payment to Japanese staff and suppliers in the last two months. Foreign teachers were unaffected until salary payments for the 15th September were paid late, and more senior teachers have not yet been paid. Despite not being paid, many staff face a tough decision: quit, or continue to show up to work in the knowledge that if the company goes bankrupt they are eligible for unemployment benefits. Despite this, CEO Nozomu Sahashi declared last Friday "The dark clouds that have been hanging heavily over us will be cast aside... I said previously 'the darkest time is before the dawn,' and finally the first light of dawn can be seen". Five days later and some teachers are still waiting to be paid.

Monday, 24 September 2007

TED Talks - Apes that write, start fires and play Pac-Man

Found this post (below) on MetaFilter, which lead me to find TED Talks on - "Ideas Worth Spreading". There are some excellent talks available as video and audio on a whole range of topics. The talk linked below is by Susan Savage-Rumbaugh and entitled "Apes that write, start fires and play Pac-Man". She's not talking about humans, but bonobos.

Pan homo culture

I laughed, I cried, and I welcomed our new Pan-Homo Culture
From the always edumataining TED talks. Now Dawkins free.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Interview with Tibetan Singer Namgyal Lhamo

Interview with Tibetan Singer Namgyal Lhamo

World Music Central recently interviewed singer, songwriter, actres and performing artist Namgyal Lhamo, winner of the Best Female Singer award at the 2007 Tibetan music awards.

How was life in Dharamsala (North India)?

My ancestors originally hailed from Shigatse in Tibet but I was raised in the Himalayas near Mustang. I was born into a family with a rich cultural background and when I reached 8, I was sent straight away to a transit school in Dharamsala for young Tibetans where I was chosen to enroll at The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts which was founded by His Holiness The Dalai lama.

At what age did you join the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts?

World's Most Amazing Islands

World's Most Amazing Islands

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Online free video site

I recently found the TV Links site while searching around on the Floating World Web. TV Links has an extensive directory of freely downloadable movies, docos, TV shows and more. Last night I watched episode 1 of Supernatural : The Unseen Powers Of Animals - great stuff.

If you're looking for eclectic video, the Video pages of the Floating World Web are well worth checking out too.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

CD: Taraf de Haidouks (Gypsy)

Riotous Gypsy Extravaganza

Taraf de Haidouks

Maškaradă (Crammed Craw 40, 2007)

Maškaradă is Taraf de Haidouks' fist recording since the famed "Band of Gypsies." Pooling the exceptional talent of Taraf de Haidouks's 12 member group, ...

Saturday, 8 September 2007

CD: Namgyal Lhamo

The Tibetan Diva Rises

Vienna, Austria - Tibetan music to western audiences have often symbolized meditative mindscapes and spirituality, often luring them into experiencing the mystical with the appeal of it's otherworldly chanting and sound.

And then in a world where an ancient culture is trying to survive against all odds comes a singer with a petite frame, powerhouse personality and an explosive voice to create music that is a perfect blend of ancient lost world sound gliding along in parallels to upbeat, chic and energetic club grooves.

By preserving the traditional core of Tibet in one (Pure) to transporting its international presence to the most contemporary of platforms with all its flavor intact, Namgyal Lhamo's latest albums are a real treat. Netherlands ...

Pee powered battery

So, you're into renewable energy?

Heretofore experimental, the Japanese have now marketed a battery that is urine-rechargeable.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Australia's Worst Maritime Disaster (353 refugees)

via Ant McKenna...


Last weekend I was honoured and humbled to attend the memorial for Australia’s worst maritime tragedy since world war two in Canberra, performing the incredible song ‘Time and Tide’ by my brother Phill.

The ‘SIEV X’ sank in late 2001, with 353 people drowned – predominantly women and children.

Despite the enormity of the tragedy many Australian’s have never heard of this.

The boat was carrying over 400 people seeking a better life in Australia.

Documented evidence has been presented in the Australian Senate that the Australian Federal Police undertook a project to disable and damage asylum seeker’s boats to prevent them reaching Australia. It has also been alleged in the senate that the Howard government was aware of the boat, that it was overcrowded, that the boat intended to make its way to Australia, where it was leaving from and the approximate time of its departure.

It has also been alleged (again in our national senate) that our government could have undertaken a rescue operation immediately but decided not do so for almost 48 hours.

Many Australians are simply asking – why?

The memorial last weekend was the sixth anniversary of the incident and marks the first time that a physical memorial has been allowed within the Australian countryside – beside Lake Burley Griffin.

353 Poles, painted by schools and community groups from around the country were placed in the ground – one for every person who lost their life.

The federal government holds a list of the names of all those who were on the boat, but refuses to release the names. Recently a motion by the greens to release the list was defeated. Officially this is ‘for security reasons’.
The Howard government has not shown any support for a memorial for Australia’s worst modern day maritime incident. In the past, this memorial has been refused permission. Last year, on the anniversary, over 300 people held a pole each in place during a memorial ceremony - and then the poles had to be taken down and packed away. This year the poles have only been allowed to stand for 7 weeks and then they must be removed.

On the weekend, hundreds of Australians walking / driving past saw the poles and stopped and asked ‘what is this for?’ When they found out they almost all said ‘I had no idea…’ Maybe you had no idea about this either? Or maybe you had heard about this somewhere but did not know the facts. Remember, this is not some conspiracy theory, but based upon documented evidence presented by our federal representatives in the Australian senate and countless documented essays, books, interviews, etc.

This tragedy raises huge questions for us as a nation. How far do we go to protect ourselves? What innocence are we willing to lose to ensure that ‘we say who comes to this country and the manner in which they come here’? What did the federal government really know about this ship and these people? If we hold men in immigration detention, then who is supporting their wives and children? Why did we keep children who survived this tragedy in detention centres? Why is there such bureaucratic red tape and so many hurdles to this important memorial?

The purpose of this email is twofold – to raise awareness - so I would be grateful if you passed this on to anyone you think who would be interested.

The main purpose of this email however, is in the hope that this does not ever happen again.

For more information, go to

All the best to you and your family.

Ant McKenna

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Only in Africa! (funny photos)

Only in Africa!

11 pictures of this things that can only happen in Africa!

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

National Geographic webcams

National Geographic has a lot of cool webcams.

National Geographic has a lot of cool webcams. Pete's Pond in Africa is my favorite. (previously) It's up and running again for its third season till mid-December, the end of the dry season. Best viewing times are 4-8 PM EST and 12-4 AM EST. Lots of highlights can be found at youtube, of course. NG also provides the Seal Cam from Año Nuevo, California, Bald Eagle Cam from Maine, the Kakadu Cam from Australia and and the Polar Bear Cam from Canada. There are a lot of grizzly bears fishing right now on the Bear Cam from Alaska, but the Crane Cam from Nebraska is down right now. To view these cams you have to sit through a short commercial at first, but after that it's all live wildlife goodness. There are also very active forums where people share their screencaps and vicarious adventures.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Panoramas of Seven Wonders

What a wonder-full world

CIA leaves plutonium on holy Nanda Devi

Nanda Devi and the Nuclear Genie

Nanda Devi - India's second-highest peak, at 25,645 feet (7816m), sits in a "sanctuary," surrounded by 21,000-foot+ lesser mountains. This has made it even more of a challenge to climb. Among those who took up the challenge were a 1965 CIA team trying to set up a plutonium-powered device to spy on China's nuclear testing program. That expedition retreated in the face of bad weather, leaving the device on the mountain. When they returned the next spring, it was gone. The Nanda Devi Sanctuary supplies water to the Ganges River, and there were fears that the four pounds of plutonium in the device could escape into the watershed. Those fears have been confirmed.

CD: Jai Uttal - Dial M for Mantra

Uttal for the Club Scene

Jai Uttal

Dial M for Mantra (True Sounds, 2007)

World music veteran Jai Uttal was one of the American pioneers in fusing Indian music with world beat. In recent years he has been involved in albums that are less adventurous, which focus on the kirtan and new age market.

On Dial M for Mantra, remixer Rara Avis (of Shaman's Dream) has taken pieces from some of Uttal's latest CDs and reworked...

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Indian Cooking 101 Blog

Indian Cooking 101

from MetaFilter by jonson
Hooked On Heat is the two year old foodblog of Meena, daughter of a Malaysian mom & Indian father, with tons of recipes & food stories for those who love spice in their food; her recent series of posts, Indian Cooking 101 is a must read for those who love to eat Indian food and want to try it out at home.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Who's Minding the Mind? (Studies on subconscious decision-making)

July 31, 2007
Who's Minding the Mind?


In a recent experiment, psychologists at Yale altered people's judgments of a stranger by handing them a cup of coffee.

The study participants, college students, had no idea that their social instincts were being deliberately manipulated. On the way to the laboratory, they had bumped into a laboratory assistant, who was holding textbooks, a clipboard, papers and a cup of hot or iced coffee — and asked for a hand with the cup.

That was all it took: The students who held a cup of iced coffee rated a hypothetical person they later read about as being much colder, less social and more selfish than did their fellow students, who had momentarily held a cup of hot java.

Findings like this one, as improbable as they seem, have poured forth in psychological research over the last few years. New studies have found that people tidy up more thoroughly when there's a faint tang of cleaning liquid in the air; they become more competitive if there's a briefcase in sight, or more cooperative if they glimpse words like "dependable" and "support" — all without being aware of the change, or what prompted it.

Psychologists say that "priming" people in this way is not some form of hypnotism, or even subliminal seduction; rather, it's a demonstration of how everyday sights, smells and sounds can selectively activate goals or motives that people already have.

More fundamentally, the new studies reveal a subconscious brain that is far more active, purposeful and independent than previously known. Goals, whether to eat, mate or devour an iced latte, are like neural software programs that can only be run one at a time, and the unconscious is perfectly capable of running the program it chooses.

The give and take between these unconscious choices and our rational, conscious aims can help explain some of the more mystifying realities of behavior, like how we can be generous one moment and petty the next, or act rudely at a dinner party when convinced we are emanating charm.

Friday, 10 August 2007

CD: Kaushiki Chakraborty

My favourite upcoming young Indian classical singer...

Sublime Music from the Subcontinent

Kaushiki Chakrabarty

Kaushiki (Sense World Music, 2007)

Classical Indian vocalist Kaushiki (prodigious daughter of vocalist Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty), marries power, grace and beauty with mature vocals that belie her youth. On her second (self-titled) Sense World Music album, Kaushiki's vocals are featured in both a studio setting (Disc 1), and a recital captured at the Saptak Festival in India. The hearty vocals that appear on the live discs certainly command the attention of our ears. Kaushiki's flawless vocals sail seemingly effortlessly through Raga Rageshri (Disc 2), and the Thumri Misra Pilu Jiya Mora Na Lage (Disc 3), and backed by Yogesh Samsi's tabla beats. Listeners do not need to be experts on Indian classical music to thoroughly enjoy listening to these live discs.

The studio recording, which ...

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

52 Most Influential Photographs

The 52 Most Influential Photographs

52 Influential Photographs: From the oldest survivng photograph, to images of revolution, misery, beauty and humility, to...goatse and LOLCAT? You win some, you lose some, I guess.

New Planet Drum CD with Zakir Hussain & Mickey Hart

The original Planet Drum CD was great - can't wait to hear this new one!

Mickey Hart & Zakir Hussain Reunite 15 Years after The Grammy-Winning Planet Drum for Global Drum Project

Four international master percussionists have joined forces for a new recording and tour. The Global Drum Project includes Mickey Hart, Zakir Hussain, Sikiru Adepoju and Giovanni Hidalgo.

Over three decades as the innovative percussion engine of the Grateful Dead, Mickey Hart's ear for global sounds brought numerous unpredictable guests to the Dead's stage performances.

Hart's 1991 release Planet Drum was the natural outgrowth o...

Blackle: Power-friendly Google


In a nutshell: Google in white uses more power than Google in Black. "The energy saving would be 750 Megawatt hours per year if Google had a black screen." Enter Blackle.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Beef and global warming

Meat is murder on the environment

A kilogram of beef leads to more greenhouse emissions than a 3-hour car ride

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Hilarious ad placement

15 Unfortunately Placed Ads

Advertising can be creative and even purposely funny. But sometimes, an ad on a bad place can have unexpected results! Here is a list of 15 unfortunately Placed Ads.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Self-centered cultures narrow your viewpoint

Self-centered cultures narrow your viewpoint

An experiment requiring consideration of another person's perspective highlights a huge gap between US and Chinese people's intuition.

In a nutshell: 65% of US students didn't intuitively understand that another's perspective is different, compared to 5% of Chinese students. No surprise when you look at American culture and foreign policy, but still pretty shocking somehow. How can we help these people?
- Shen

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Return to the Source: Philosophy and The Matrix

I had some time to fritter and Skyped Chris to ask for some Youtube recommendations.

He recommended Return to the Source: Philosophy and The Matrix, which he has playlisted on one of the many interesting pages of his Floating World Web.

In this doco, various philosophy professors and writers deconstruct The Matrix with reference to a wide range of Western and Eastern philosophies.

Some quotes which touched me:

Part 2:
"Gnosticism frames the fundamental human problem in terms of ignorance, the solution being enlightenment, whereas traditional Christianity tends to frame the problem in terms of sin and repentance... Gnosticism would hold that the fundamental human problem is that we are diamonds in the mud... and we need to get out because we are divine sparks and we don't belong here."
"When we become passive consumerists, we are surrendering our lifeforce."

Part 3:
"Kant's point was that the mind has structures, that impose structure on the world and create worlds in certain ways... the structures of the mind actually bring forth phenomena... the structures of the mind bring forth the world."
"The herd mentality can be thought of as The Matrix - everyone's having a collective hallucination, everyone's thinking the same thing, which is an absolute nightmare for someone who wants to wake up, which would be a nightmare for Nietzsche."

Part 5:
"There's a whole school of spirituality... called Tantra, which basically maintains that neither men nor women can get final enlightenment without each other."

Part 6:
"Western philosophy, in a way, is a big head-trip.... In Hinduism, it's regarded as a spiritual path to really feel that enlightenment of really feeling that you're in Brahmin. Every human being carries, in the very centre of their being, this spiritual reality...."
"In all the Tantric traditions, love is what holds nirvana and samsara together. The simplest interpretation of that is that love can conquer all."

Monday, 9 July 2007

Terika: Tibetan World Music with Electronic Edges

Good friends of mine, Tenzin, River and Katherine, have just launched the website of their group Terika, described as "Australian made Tibetan World Music with Electronic Edges, Where ancient tradition meets modern technology." It brings together Tenzin's Tibetan vocals and instruments with River's sax, Katherine's cello, and on the Electronica CD various remixes by River including samples of Japanese bansuri whiz, Taro Terahara.

You can listen to music, read about the group, see photos and more. It's really really great music - I highly recommend buying their CD "acousticaelectronica", which at A$30 for a double CD is really top-quality music at a bargain price!

EarthlingZ Radio: Chillout Music from The Greenhouse

Posted on behalf of Chris Case...

A new private radio station, EarthlingZ Radio, began recently at with the broadcasting of several days of Indian live performances by Shen Flindell and DJ sets of downtempo and ambient music.

Broadcasting of a wide range of chillout and world music continues on a 24/7 basis, with interruptions from time to time as bugs are worked out of the system. The station is not publicly listed, and would appreciate feedback from Beta listeners about reception. It may be necessary to refresh your connection from time to time.

A large collection of Indian music is available, and we'd especially like to find out when would be a suitable time to schedule regular World Music broadcasts. Weekday evenings? Sunday afternoons? Your suggestions would be most helpful...

(Email Chris:

Escher in Lego

Escher prints in 3D LEGO versions

Andrew Lipson and Daniel Shiu build faithful, 3D versions of Escher prints using LEGOs: Relativity, Ascending and Descending, Waterfall, and Belvedere. (Only one of those four images required any photo manipulation to create its "Escher effect" -- can you tell which one, without scrolling down to see the descriptions on each page?) Other people's LEGO adventures: a playable harpsichord, the Golden Gate Bridge, and a portrait of Catwoman.

I also like Balcony
- Shen

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Amazing images of neutrino observatory

Jaw Droppingly Beautiful Underground Japanese Observatory

The Super-K is a neutrino observatory in Japan; it is 1000 meters underground, contains a lake of 50,000 tons of pure water & every inch of the the 41 meter high walls are lined with over 11,000 photomultiplier tubes. It is also one of the most amazing man made objects I've ever seen images of. Super high res photos available here. More photos of the construction & recent restoration. Via.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Quicktime panoramas of Kyoto

Quicktime panoramas of Kyoto

This page is all in Japanese but all you have to do is click on any picture of interest to see the panorama.

UPDATE: Just heard from Chris that there's an English page.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Graham Hancock: Supernatural

A longish (2 hour) radio interview with author Graham Hancock following the release of his book Supernatural, in which he discusses aliens, fairies, evolution of human consciousness, shamanic drumming and South American ayahuasca shamanism, Christianity, and "taking control again of our birthright... of direct contact with the spirit... of living conscious lives full of love and caring..."

Here's a nutshell-version with moving pictures - discussion of evolution of human consciousness and how it relates to mystical experience, how the development of organised religion quashed the acceptability of such experience and how we need to reclaim it.

Shakti playlist - 37 videos!

I've just discovered a 37 video playlist of Shakti on the Floating World Web. Check it out!

Inayat Khan: spirituality and music

Taken from Earthlingz Yahoogroup, posted by Chris Case...


Samples of Hazrat Inayat Khan - teachings on music and spirituality

p. 163
- "The highest and most ideal form of composition is that which expresses life, character, emotions, and feelings, for this is the inner world which is only seen by the eye of the mind...Music loses its freedom by being subject to the laws of technique, but mystics in their sacred music, regardless of the world¹s praise, free both their composition and improvisations from the limitations of technicality."

p. 3
- "But among all the different arts, the art of music has been especially considered divine, because it is the exact miniature of the law working through the whole universe."
p. 85 - "But that magic charm of the voice is in the natural voice. Every person is gifted. God has given him a certain pitch, a natural note, and if that pitch develops and he develops that natural note, it is magic, he can perform a miracle...Apart from singing, even in speaking, among one hundred persons you will find one who speaks in his natural voice, ninety-nine who imitate. They imitate someone else; they do not know it."

p. 5
- "Besides the natural charm that music has, it has a magical power, a power that can be experienced even now. It seems that the human race has lost a great deal of the ancient science of magic, but if there remains any magic it is music."

p. 9
- "According to the esoteric standpoint, music is the beginning and the end of the universe. All actions and movements made in the visible and invisible world are musical. That is: they are made up of vibrations pertaining to a certain plane of existence."

p. 17 - "Those who have probed the depth of material science as far as modern science can reach, do not deny the fact that the origin of the whole creation is in movement, in other words; in vibration. It is this original state of existence of life which is called in the ancient tradition sound or the word. The first manifestation of this sound is therefore audible, the next manifestation visible. In the forms of expression of life, life has expressed itself first as sound, next as light."

p. 20
- "The man of science says that the voice comes from the spine, the diaphragm, the abdomen, and the lungs, The mystic says that sound comes from the soul, the heart, and the mind."

p. 22
- "Thousands who have never thought of anything but the self have gone, and we do not even know that they have existed. The dead souls, the ordinary people, go to hear that dead song. The living soul hears the music that is alive."

p. 28
- "The attraction that one finds in colour and in sound makes one wonder if there is a mystery hidden behind them, if there is a language of colour and sound which could be learned. The answer is that the language of colour and sound is the language of the soul, and that it is our outward language which makes us confused as to the meaning of that inner language."

p. 40 - "Philosophy or science, mysticism or esotericism will all agree on one point if they touch the summit of their knowledge, and that point is that behind the whole of creation, behind the whole of manifestation - if there is any subtle trace of life that can be found, it is motion, it is movement, it is vibration. This motion has its two aspects. There are two aspects because we have developed two principal faculties: sight and hearing. One aspect appeals to our hearing, the other to our sight."

p. 43
- " speaking near such a plate marks are made upon the plate with sound and vibrations. Those marks make either harmonious or inharmonious forms. If that is true, then every person, from morning till evening, is making invisible forms in space by what he says. He is creating invisible vibrations around him, and so he is producing an atmosphere."

p. 47
- "Music, according to the ancient people, was not a mechanical science or art: music was the first language."

p. 49 - "In order to keep their music [ancient music] akin to nature, it was necessary to give liberty to the singer and player to sing and play as he wished. Naturally, uniformity was lacking, and a standardized system could not be made. That is why this music always remained an individualistic art only - not an education. For this reason the music of the ancient people had its advantages and a great many disadvantages. The advantages were this: a musician - a singer or player - was never bound to sing in a particular way in order to execute properly the music he wanted to play before the public, but was always free to give the music according to his inspiration at the time. It gave him full liberty to express his emotions, his passions, without any outward restrictions which he should obey."

p. 54
- "There are two aspects of life: the first is that man is tuned by his surroundings, and the second is that man can tune himself in spite of his surroundings."

p. 62 - "Man is not only a physical body. Man has a mind, and behind the mind there is the soul. It is not only the body that hungers for food, the mind hungers for food, and the soul hungers for food. What generally happens is that man only ministers to his bodily needs and gives no attention to his inner existence and its demands. He experiences momentary satisfaction, then hungers again, not knowing that the soul is the fineness of man¹s being. And so that unconscious craving of the soul remains."

p. 67 - "We waste much energy in useless speech. Among the old races we see that a motion of the hands, an inclination of the head, takes the place of words for many things."

p. 75
- "As the form of every sound is different, so every syllable has a certain effect, and therefore every sound made, or word spoken before an object, has charged that object with a certain magnetism. This explains to us the method of the healers, teachers, and mystics who, by the power of sound, charged an object with their healing power, with their power of thought. And when that object was given as water or as food, that object brought about a desired result."

p. 76
- "The physical effect of sound has also a great influence upon the human body. The whole mechanism, the muscles, the blood circulation, the nerves, are all moved by the power of vibration. As there is a resonance for every sound, so the human body is a living resonator for sound. Although by one sound one can produce a resonance in all substances, such as brass and copper, the there is no greater and more living resonator of sound than the human body. The effect of sound is upon each atom of the body, for each atom resounds; on all glands, on the circulation of the blood and on the pulsation sound has its effect."

p. 88
- "The voice is not only indicative of man´s character, but it is the expression of his spirit. The voice is not only audible, but also visible to those who can see it. The voice makes impressions on the ethereal sphere, impressions which can be called audible; at the same time they are visible. Those scientists who have made experiments with sound and who have taken impressions of the sound on certain plates - which impressions appear like forms - will find one day that the impression of the voice is more living, more deep, and has a greater effect. Sound can be louder than the voice, but sound cannot be more living than the voice."

p. 98
- "If we study life today - in spite of the great progress of science, radio, telephone, phonograph, and all the wonders of this age - we find that the psychological aspect of music, poetry, and art does not seem to develop as it should. On the contrary, it is going backward. And if we ask what is the reason the answer will be that the whole progress of humanity today is in the first place a mechanical progress. This hinders in a way the progress of individualism...But in art especially, where the greatest freedom is necessary, one is restricted by uniformity, painters and musicians cannot get their work recognized. They must follow the crowd instead of following the great souls. All that is general is ordinary, because the great mass of people is not highly cultured. Things of beauty and good taste are understood, enjoyed, and appreciated by few, and there is no way for the artist to reach those few. In this way, what is called uniformity has become a hindrance to individual development."

For more gems, study the book. There are far too many to post in this recommendation.

----Reprinted from the John Coltrane E-mail Discussion group