I’m sure you’ve heard: it’s the year of the Snake. So if you were born in 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, or 2001, hooray, it’s your year, but I regret to inform you that this is actually an unlucky truth. You should wear something red every day this year to keep away the evil spirits and misfortune. If you’re interested in more information about this year of the snake, click here. (And yes, I know that New Year’s Day is actually tomorrow, but it’s already tomorrow in China, which means its already horrifyingly polluted air has been doubled in potency from the smoke of a myriad firecrakers that have already been set off. Again, on account of the spirits.)
Moving on. Dear Old Dad’s responsible for my first link: the page for a Discovery Channel series titled Africa, a video from which he shared with my brothers and me at the start of the week. The treacherous tale of a quarter-sized baby turtle fighting desperately to overcome the deadly obstacles he faces is both scary and sad, but as Dad pointed out– a testament that we can never, never, QUIT! (That’s his favorite quote.)
In a similar vein, my new favorite “About Us” page from a UK animal charity (I’ll remind you I have to look at these for work, and that I don’t make a hobby of scouring the web for UK animal charities.):
Because I’m a Canada-phile, and because even as a big fan of old Honest Abe, I have to say I’m all for it.
My parents and I were revisiting that ancient “Did Gaga rip Madonna off with “Born this Way“?” debate last week and Dad made the accurate assertion that they do sound an awful lot alike. I tried to remember Gaga’s quote about the chord progression being a standard disco progression that’s been used over the past fifty years; she’s not a plagiarist, she’s “smart.” (I’m paraphrasing as the verbatim quote contains a few more expletives than I feel comfortable using in this forum, but feel free to read it in its entirety here.) Dad’s next question was, “Well then why aren’t there more that sound the same?”
He was probably referring to songs sounding the same as those exact two songs, but nevertheless I found this website posted by a friend on Facebook to be relevant. It’s compiled a whole collection of songs that have very similar riffs, chord progressions, or vocal arrangements and allows you to listen to them side by side. Many of them will have you wondering how you never noticed before (and yes, Gaga and Madonna made the list.)
Another fun, interactive site sent to me by a coworker pits you against a computer set to either novice or vetaran in a very entertaining game of rock-paper-scissors. You can see how the computer learns how the moves work and then tries to anticipate your moves. Pretty interesting. And I’m still in such teacher-mode, I always find myself thinking, “Oh that could turn into some sort of English game!” or “Oh the kids would love that!” This was one of those moments.
On a completely unrelated note (but keeping with the theme of a three-way battle, I suppose. Although rock-paper-scissors is still only two-way so nevermind.), another New York Times article comparing the strong central government (but weak civil society) of China against the weak central government (but strong civil society) present in India. It discusses the pros and cons and implications of both scenarios and then, for good measure, holds them up to Egypt, in which both the government and civil society are weak. I just thought it was an interesting perspective on the comparisons and assumptions that are constantly being made about the world’s two largest nations.
And to end on a light note, a point of attraction for any Archer fans (or… really any women/gay men I would imagine. I mean, look at that bone structure…):