Last week I helped to install several bee hives with Dr. Pett, one of the professors from the entomology department here at MSU. I snapped some photos of the event and took a video documenting the event. Within the next couple of days we will put up a version with narration. I wanted to use Bloodbuzz Ohio as the soundtrack… but, you know.

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New holographic security agents have been unveiled in airports in the UK to remind travelers to get ready to go through security.

The names of the fictional watchmen-

Holly and Gram.

Am I the only person that gets the reference?

Daniel Jalkut just tweeted that he had some stickers to give away featuring logos from his fantastic software company, Red Sweater Software. I decided it was a good time to tell people about his great work.

I thought I would take a moment to suggest that anyone that writes a blog on a Mac shoud be using his fantastic MarsEdit (App Store Link) text editor/blogging swiss army knife. His software has recently made its way onto the Mac App Store. This is one of my two favorite third party OSX applications, the other being Scrivener.

I am somebody who likes to have software that is as simple yet as flexible as possible. I want to not have to think about what am doing while I am doing it. MarsEdit allows you to write your blog without having to think about the process. You just write, edit, and publish.

The program has good media management so adding photos is very easy. Quite often I do have to tweak settings from the WordPress side just to make things look right but for the most part this program makes it possible to write and post with minimal stress. I love taking my laptop on the road, writing, and having my posts be ready to go whenever the internet is available.

MarsEdit makes it so you can post to multiple blogs (I use it for 4) with ease. I am sure the program does way more than I use it for but I have been so happy with what I does I have not needed to mess with it. It just works.

To top it all off, Daniel is (as far as I can tell) a quality guy. I have written him over email and twitter and he has responded quickly, professionally, and warmly. He is in my mind a great example of quality customer service.

If you do any blogging on a Mac, have any appreciation for great software, or want to help out an amazing small business, buy any of his stuff. He has several products including a crossword application, an ear training aid, as well as several other cool applications. Check them out. Worth every penny.

Nothing to fear except fear itself

as comforting as telling a child

in a dark room the only thing to be afraid of

is the dark

I want to say this is reducous

I can’t say this is ridiculous

the man who said it was standing

with the aid of obscured scaffolding

his fragile legs obscured by the podium

he could not stand

but he stood

facing           the barrel

down             the tracks

w            atching as the blood

a   nnd snarling insatiable

wo oolf chugs down the lines

devouring boundaries

w            iping lands ffrom the face of the planet

destroying history of millions

I

can’t compare myself

only a narcissist could

but when           I sit

my words caught                                 in my throat

silence w r rapping its long strong fingers

aro wund my neck

choking me with cacophonous nothing

 

 

I feel it

I feel     it      inme

it makes me   rigid   and   stiff

a straightjacket that none can undo except t h e prisoner

I am Hhaarry Hhooudini but I forget

thththe key wrests on my tongue and

all I need to do is rest and let the bindings slip from their         holds

w rapping

shaayping

shifting

the bindings

sometimes they  aa r  nothing

usually they are just around my legs

and  I have to hop

or w alk sideways

people say that do not notice my gait

my limp

I carry  a crutch that is  apparently  invisible to  all

except myself

it weeights heavily iin my hands

other days Iyam drowning

I am floundering

imagine being under waterdrowwwningrescue

i i is in ffrontd of you

but out of reach

all you need to do is shout

But You Can’t

 

 

The Water Is Imposing It self

 

 

surrounding you

silence

silence

silence

a silence that hurts

a silence that forces itself upon you

He stood even though he could not stand

I speak even though I cannot speak

Every year a new set of albums come out that change how we think about music and how our iPods are populated. It seems like I ran into some amazing albums this year. I thought I would post a list of the five albums that have made the biggest impact on me over the past year. In no way am I implying that these are the best albums, they are just the ones that have gotten stuck in my headphones. They are in no particular order.

The Suburbs-Arcade Fire

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Arcade Fire continue a run of amazing albums that seem to strike a chord and resonate with the zeitgiest. Both emotional and cutting, it feels like it could be the soundtrack for life in America. It walks a fine line between being an album mourning lost innocence of the past, brutal honesty about the present, and anticipation of what the future holds.

Beyond the music itself, I love everything they do, from mastering their album on vinyl then transferring them to digital, to making amazing HTML5 demos for music videos.

Oh, and bonus 500% Hipster cred if you listen to them.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy-Kanye West

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Yes. Kanye is a total jerk. Yes. Yes he is. Anyone who tweets “I like me” has a real problem.

But I can’t get over this album. I have always loved Kanye’s use of melody in his music and this album is no exception. The songs stretch beyond trash-pop generic lyric and contain impressive orchestration and production. There is plenty of self-aggrandizing and boasting about the brand of handbags Kanye purchases for his conquests, but that is par for the course.  Many indie music fanatics will turn their noses up at this album based on… well… the very fact that it is Kanye. I can’t really blame them, but I know I would listen to way more hip-hop if I could find more stuff like this.

Just watch the music video for the album. The full length one is 34 minutes long, below is a snippet containing one of the standout songs of the album.

Gorilla Manor-Local Natives

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This is the first release for the Local Natives and I cannot wait to hear more. They are a described as an psychedelic version of the Fleet Foxes.

I love everything about this album. Each song is a soundscape between your ears. I am not really sure how to describe it any better than that. I love the literary references spread throughout the album. With panning guitars, etherial harmonies, overdriven bass, and complex driving drum parts this is an album that needs to be listened to with headphones. Better yet, go for a walk in the snowy woods while listening.

(For those sharp eyed viewers out there, this video was filmed before a certain Mumford and Sons music video.)

The Age of Adz- Sufjan Stevens

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iTunes Amazon

I think we can all agree that Sufjan has taken the music scene by storm. If you do not agree, just go back to watching VH1. I will call you when I start talking about Lady Gaga. Which is hopefully never.

Where past Sufjan albums were mellow and could place you in a catatonic state, this album is surprisingly abrasive. It is an album that needs to be digested through headphones. I found myself disliking it initially, but then was humming and singing snippets later in the day.  As time has worn on I have become endeared to it.

This album signals a maturing in Stevens’ sound, a desire to be more creative, and the confidence to do it. I am excited to see where he takes his music.

The Wild Hunt- The Tallest Man on Earth

Great album. I already wrote on this album several months back, so I will let you read about it there.

Honorable Mention-

I figure I would be doing the world a disservice by not mentioning Sigh No More by Mumford and Sons.

I did not include them on this list because I first heard their album in 2009, when it was released in the UK. So I am categorizing their album as a 2009 release. I thought about adding it, but it would have meant getting rid of one of the others, which I did not want to do.

It has been several months since I posted anything. I had a crazy couple of months preparing for winter meetings. I am getting ready to head into a thesis hibernation until April.

I wanted to take this chance to officially announce my new website. It has been up for several months but I wanted to be sure to highlight it here.

Here is the link to the website.

From there you can check out my portfolio and get some contact info. Over the next couple of months I will not be available for much, but if you are graduating in the spring or getting married this summer and want to help me boost my portfolio and save some dough, it is a good option.

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Rise and shine! Welcome to a new day. I am sure that you all have been eagerly awaiting all of the election results as I have. We are still waiting to hear who Alaska will be sending to the senate….

But no, I am not about to say how happy I am that O’Donnell will not be embarrassing conservatives or Christians on CSPAN, but I am about to show you why democracy is awesome.

Pot is a NO-GO in California.

I hear Best Buy will be having a sale to get rid of the pallets of Phish and Grateful Dead albums they had standing by.

Happy Meals are Illegal in San Francisco

If we outlaw burgers, only the outlaws will get fat.

You will see a guy in a poncho; his name is Hank. He will take you to the Whopper lair.

Even more work for the Hamburglar.

So many jokes.

UFOs are Still Free to Terrify Us

The Democrats were defeated, but the martians will be back.

Steven Colbert is the Man

How do you spell “Murkowski?”

All Politics is Local

Interesting Michigan congressional race that was featured on This American Life this past weekend.

I can’t wait until 2012. It is going to be an interesting one.

(Check out FrumForum, where I found some of these stories.)

Today is random-relating-to-NPR-show day.

If you ever want to get me on a rant, ask me about Toxoplasma. This is a very interesting parasite that is pretty common, but we are still figuring out what kinds of effects it has on people.

 

Today I was reading an article in the BBC about “cat ladies.”  In my mind the two things are related… I recommend giving this episode of Radiolab a listen.

 

To quote My friend PJ Bradway- “Radiolab is This American Life if it were made by Christopher Nolan.”

If you are anything like me, economics seems to be interesting but kind of scary. There are a lot of things that go into economic policy and the l money networks can appear really complicated. I have recently started listening to Planet Money, an NPR podcast that does a bi-weekly play-by-play of the week’s economic news and explains it for people that do not know the difference between GDP and GNP.

 

Several weeks ago I listened to the episode on the curbing of Brazil’s egregious inflation of the ’80s and ’90s. Today on The BBC there is an article about the same thing. It is highly intriguing and is worth a listen to. It is an amazing story about how a few drinking buddies saved an entire nation from hyperinflation. I recommend giving it a listen.

As an entomologist I am used to getting blank, catatonic glares when I tell people what I am researching. For your average man on the street, insects have no bearing on daily existence. That is not the case. Most people do not realize that a large portion of all of our food comes to us because of a direct relationship between a food crop and an insect.

Here is an article from the BBC about how India is facing a food shortage because of an inability of flowering crops to be pollinated properly by insects. This is interesting for several reasons.

First, India produces more vegetables than any one nation besides China.

Second, India is the second most populous nation in the world, with %17.3 of the world’s population. Agriculture is a huge industry in India. The impact of having a large portion of the world out of food and work can’t be estimated and would have disastrous effects.

This issue is not restricted to India, but is a big deal in Europe and the Americas. So big the United Nations has an entire program devoted to it.

I will leave Haagen-Dazs to bring the point home.

Things I like

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