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Comment: Avoiding being frog marched (Score 1) 121

Speaking as a singer, the machine orchestra needs to track and anticipate solutions to the singers variation of rhythm, pitch and dynamics. The singer is carefully monitoring the audience and deciding when a strict rhythm is needed to set up their expectations so that he can express by slowing down or speeding up their rhythms or using slightly blue notes or by changing the level of sound or even the nature of the phoneme that he is yelling. He is actually using the audience's pattern judgement to draw them into his performance. Normally when singing with an accompanist it is really a duet, as the singer is depending on the accompanist to read him and anticipate what he is trying to do. The conductor tracks him and will communicate his changes of tempo and dynamic to the orchestra with judgements on how to complete the ensemble. Karaoke is not very pleasing as it is like being frog marched through the music because there is no non verbal consensus on how the music will develop. So if i am working for an audience who has consented to listen to me, i want some sort of intelligence behind me tracking my decisions and forming a reasonable background for them which also has at least a fractal ability to delight the audience. Speaking as a journeyman pipe organ builder, the onset of new technologies tend to speciate methods and instruments of music. If you add a keyboard to a harp, you are no longer hands on and you have a harpsichord. What you lose in dynamics you gain in control of damping. In pipe organs we have seen electrification of actions, electronic tone generation, sampling, midi control of the instrument and these have all spawned different methods of play and different instruments. You have the electric action pipe organ, the jazz organ, samples you can download and play on your home computer and synthesizers which are a different instrument from where you started. And yet there are still a handful of pipe organ shops in the United States that build tracker (mechanical) organs which could even be gotten with bellows if you want them. This is because that form of the instrument is still considered useful because of the articulation it allows to the musicians for their music. In the article, there seemed to be something rather naive about the way they were bandying about a few speakers here and there. Speakers are directional and it takes a good sound engineer to design the acoustics in a given auditorium and tune it even before the musicians show up. It takes sufficient drivers to move the air in the room without blowing peoples ears out. Speaker stacks for surround sound can be expensive and for a grand opera are not trivial and you are not talking yet about the amplifiers and generators and boards to control them and then the computer and programming to produce the sound. If you have been to a large music gathering you have probably noticed the huge speaker stacks that enable them to accelerate the air around you without hurting your ears. I would say the way of singing for Wagner is optimized for an acoustic presentation in a large venue. It is very taxing on the voice to sing that way and takes a lot of athletic ability on the part of the singer to sustain it without electronic amplification although they are usually assisted by the acoustics of the room. If you mike them, you are no longer doing opera and you will attract a different type of singer and your music will become a different species of musical experience. So the singer will have to decide what direction he would like to follow with his music and what sort of audience he wants to cater to. I would suggest that there is room for all of them in music.

Comment: Re:Text-based books (Score 1) 876

by Xifer (#46197085) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?
Actually in the field of architecture, we call the little dance a wave presentation, and it usually means that you have not drawn anything or explored the design tree of possibilities, but just have a few dimensional ideas in your head. Modern architecture uses a lot of programs in 3d geometry that crunch the numbers behind the scene and allow the architect to note down his shoe box full of design ideas so that he can solve the transitions and keep track of all the conflicts. For a small building you may have eight different systems to document but a large skyscraper also has logistics and just in time deliveries and also an end of life schedule. There are some design ideas that you cannot imagine easily without building a model or drawing a walk through three dimensional representation of it and you certainly won't transfer it to the client's understanding with no presentation aids. That being said, you also have to generate a text document called the Specification and another text document called the Contract, to make sure that everyone understands everything about the proposal. It does not seem a wonder that certain areas such as hardware lend themselves to activities more like drafting because of spacial considerations. However i am intrigued by the concept of using a three d visualization to sort out work flow and inputs.

Comment: Neatness and orderliness (Score 2) 181

by Xifer (#43825181) Attached to: In terms of general neatness, I am ...
One day when i was working in a chemical laboratory i realized that neatness was a visual quality with only a tenuous relationship to orderliness. Orderliness tends to persist over time, but it does not necessarily look neat. Neatness means in art terms that there are clear top surfaces and hard transitions between perpendicular surfaces such as between stacks of things and walls and floors. Soft transitions such as piles of things lessen the perception of neatness. You can make a room neat without orderliness which means that its entropy will lead it soon back to orderliness but it will not be neat long.

Comment: If it is painting that you love... (Score 1) 173

by Xifer (#43671639) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Would You Look For In a Prosthetic Hand?
A simple clip to hold the paintbrush is sufficient. In fine arts painting, the finger tips are still, and most of the guidance comes from the arm and body movements as in classical fencing. Monet in old age had very gnarled hands from arthritic joints and had to have his family strap the long handled brushes to his wrists so that he could continue painting in the loveliness of his gardens.

Comment: Re:Prosecute, Prosecute, Prosecute (Score 1) 400

by Xifer (#42669939) Attached to: Andrew Auernheimer Case Uncomfortably Similar To Aaron Swartz Case
So, if the two party system is rootkitted by the 0.000063 per cent of voters who fund it and is non constitutional anyway, and is not functioning for most voters,why do we keep using it? It seems that we should recode the system using modern algorithms and data techniques so that it functions as it should for equal rights for humans and is less hackable to moneyed interests. A lot of money has been spent so we will never dare consider challenging that maybe the two party system is not mother or apple pi or the American Way. There are other methods of electoral politics possible.

Comment: Re:I'm old (Score 1) 330

by Xifer (#42526563) Attached to: How Old Were You When You First Got a Cell Phone?
I was a late adopter in my fifties because i thought they might lead to The Cerebrum Communicator http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUa3np4CKC4 but finally my adult children imposed one on me about 2006. If i had been told in the 1950's that people on bicycles would carry a telephone, i would have checked their pupils to see if they were on something.

Comment: Re:But ... (Score 1) 135

by Xifer (#42375049) Attached to: Mini-Tornadoes For Generating Electricity
Perhaps we could make a large ocean going tug with the 200 meter enclosure in its center to go cowboy tropical storms and jump start them to hurricanes and then park them so that their cloud bands feed into the Sahara or other deserts. It would be one way of keeping maverick hurricanes from assaulting the populated coasts and balancing the global heat engine nevertheless. I know the New Mexicans like an occasional hurricane coming up the Rio Grande Valley or so my uncle used to say. .

Comment: Re:End fiat currency! End THE FEDERAL RESERVE!!! (Score 1) 943

by Xifer (#42161443) Attached to: Is It Time For the US To Ditch the Dollar Bill?
That is a vary intriguing idea and more in keeping with a real just free market system. It would mean an end to lies and games in the market place if the golld or silver dollar had its content set by its scarcity in the marketplace as a fixed currency and then we could make coins of lesser value as needed to buy everyday goods as dollars grew in value. We might need to have coins for thousands and ten thousands of the dollar but it would all be in relationship to the fixed unit1, as in the metric system. If a silver oz cost 33.440 Federal Reserve Notes, and a silver dollar was .77344 oz than your two cents worth would be worth about .52 FRN's at the going market price. And it would be constant value rather than the variable value we have now so you could decide how much money you wanted to put into the minting of a given coin.

Comment: Re:MOD PARENT UP!!! (Score 2) 943

by Xifer (#42151647) Attached to: Is It Time For the US To Ditch the Dollar Bill?
An original US gold dollar contained a gram and a half of gold on close order and at today's gold price was worth about 85.34 Federal Reserve Notes. A seated Liberty silver dollar contained .77344 troy oz of silver (about 3/4 of a troy oz) and was worth about 25.86 Federal Reserve Notes today. When i grew up in Eastern Montana, we almost always spent cartwheels and almost never saw a silver or gold certificates as the state motto is Oro Y Plata. There is a move afoot in this state to move to trade in silver by weight as it would be paying for things with real market goods or art works instead of fictitious paper goods foisted on us on by an entity that is not our real government. Silver dimes are worth somewhere around 3 FRN's and silver quarters are worth somewhere in the vicinity of 6 FRN's and silver fifty cent pcs come out around 11 dollars or so.

Comment: Re:America's hand is being forced... (Score 1) 609

by Xifer (#42102169) Attached to: US Scientific R&D Could Face Fiscal Cliff Doom
Perhaps the federal government is a failed experiment by the states which does not seem to be able to deal with any of the problems with which it is presented and we need to call a section V constitutional convention and spend time in designing a new constitution or amendments to limit the powers we will allow it to have. Certainly we have already cited some of the forces that prevent the cooperation needed to do the important planning for such a complex system as this nation. Certainly i cannot see paying congressmen or supreme court justices who are only acting in the short term interests of their corporate overlords who probably are supported by non citizen or even hostile powers. And i certainly cannot see any reason to pay them for stonewalling the process. If they don't cooperate, bang their heads together and fire them and get someone who well. I nominate the team of engineers who put the Nuclear Dune Buggy on Mars with all the cameras. At least they were capable of planning and finding solutions to their persistant problems.

It is better to give than to lend, and it costs about the same.

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