TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Designâ€”it’s a community and a conference, held in Monterey each year. Their tag line is “ideas worth spreading”, and they publish videos of many of the short (under 20 minute) talks from the conference each year. This one is about music, and shows some work from MIT’s Media Lab that makes music much more accessible to everyone.
I came across this (thanks, Stephanie!) this afternoon: it’s a group of people who get together to explore home-made musical instruments, many of them combinations of mechanical and electrical or electronic components. Some of them are played in conventional ways, some make music under computer control, and some combine multiple techniques.Â
What’s nice about this is that it describes a group of people who get together to share their ideas, and to have a good time together. It’s a long way from a conventional concert, but just as rewarding, and perhaps more so.
There’s a lot going on in electronic musicâ€”tonight the Stanford Laptop Orchestra (that’s right) is playing and I’m hoping to go. There’s also a group in the Bay Area that get together regularly to learn about electronics, computing and music. A week ago I went to a talk at UC Santa Cruz that presented some algorithmic musicâ€”I’ll try to post separately about that.
Sadly, we don’t have many pictures of ourselves sailing Yamkatâ€”our 30′ Richard Woods catamaran. Here are a few from our very first sail, when we all had a chance to try her out, and the boys enjoyed taking the helm, and exploring the huge trampoline forward, from which they could see their reflections in the water (and no doubt other things of great interest…).
Between San Francisco and Santa Cruz, on the Pacific coast, lies the Ana Nuevo State Natural Reserve. It’s home to a big colony of elephant sealsâ€”in fact the largest colony in the world. Every few years we go out there to see themâ€”it’s different at each season of the year, and this year we went out to see them in early February. The weather was cold and grey, but it didn’t rain (except for a few moments, perhaps), and we were able to have a great view of the different parts of the colony. It’s important to book, because you can only go near the animals as part of a guided tour, which keeps everyone safe, and limits the disruption to the seals.
They are really bigâ€”especially the males, which seem mountain-like. The males compete for rank in the colony, and develop deep scarring around their chests, and in some cases all around to their backs. The dominant male in a colony is kept busy chasing off all the other males.
There’s a lighthouse, with a now derelict keeper’s cottage on a low island facing out to sea. It must have been very inconvenient, with no direct access by land, and now it’s automated and the cottage is no longer used.