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Archive for the ‘Technology Review’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: BASIA BULAT-“In the Night” (2008).

I recently came across Basia Bulat via NPR.  She played a Tiny Desk concert and I discovered that she had several other entries in the NPR canon.

Basia is Canadian (of Polish descent); she has a beautiful strong mid-range/throaty voice and a great sense of melody.  She also has a bit of a gimmick: she plays all kinds of instruments (guitar, piano, sax, etc) including some really weird and unexpected instruments: Zither, pianoette (!) and autoharp–a couple of years before PJ Harvey brought it back to the mainstream.

pianoette

“In the Night” is a wonderfully chipper poppy song.  And that autoharp gives it just a tinge of “huh?’ that makes it more than just a simple pop song.  The beat is fast and energetic, the harmonies are wonderful and the melody is top-notch.

I really like this song a lot, and the other snippets of songs that I’ve heard from her are equally wonderful.   I’ve even noticed that lately she’s been singing a song in Polish!

[READ: July 12, 2011] “Gastronomania”

I’m not going to go crazy reviewing all of the book reviews in Harper’s (that way lies madness), but occasionally an author I like writes a bit that I want to mention.  So Will Self, who I like but have not read a lot of, wrote this essay/book review about food.  He reviews three books, but what I especially liked about it was his introduction, which uses Luis Buñuel’s Le fantôme de la liberté [The Phantom of Liberty] as its starting point.  In the film (which I have not seen), the house’s dining room is actually a well…watch this clip:

It’s a wonderfully bizarre introduction to an essay about food.

It was unclear to me what made Will Self suitable to review three books about cooking.  And then (news to me) he revealed that he used to be a food critic (columns are collected in his book Junk Mail) and that Anton Ego in Ratatouille (yes that Ratatouille) bears “an uncanny, if not legally actionable” resemblance to him.

This essay was so much fun.  Self is as viciously negative about these books as he apparently was about food back in the day.  But he’s not dismissive of them as cookbooks per se, he’s more about trashing the current worship of food (and many other things too of course). (more…)

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tr3A patron asked for Technology Review to be added to our collection.  When he said it was a technology magazine published by M.I.T. I thought it was going to be way too academic for our patrons.  But when I read the sample issue, I was really delighted with it.  So much so that I ordered a subscription for myself (the library has yet to decide).

The technology that the magazine covers is actually tech that is accessible to everyone: alternative fuels, cheap laptops, even technology in medicine (and how it will impact us as patients).  But there’s also some super high tech stuff: robotic arms, nuclear power, genetic engineering.

It opens with an Editor’s Letter followed by Reader’s Letters.  Next comes the Notebooks section.  This features several very short pieces about different ideas: green energy, memory boosting drugs. (It also has oddly computer generated drawings of the writers). (more…)

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