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Bus announcements in Okinawa

Travis Seifman noticed something interesting about the announcements on certain public bus lines in Okinawa: the pronunciation of Japanese / Okinawan place names in the English-language announcements is way off. Your browser does not support the audio element. Your browser does not support the audio element. Although the quality of these two recordings may not […]

Big-league metaphors: the role of sports language in American politics

Yesterday I had the pleasure of joining fellow Language Logger Barbara Partee on Josh Chetwynd's KGNU radio show, "The Real Deal in Sports." Josh is the author of The Field Guide to Sports Metaphors, and he spoke to Barbara and me about how the metaphorical language of sports pervades American politics (especially in the latest presidential campaign). […]

Episode 8: Can We Trust Psychological Studies?

Is it safe to apply psychology findings to everyday life? We speak to Brian Earp for Episode 8 of PsychCrunch. Presented by Christian Jarrett

Classic Chords #16 – Writing is on Oasis Wonderwall

Perhaps one of the most reviled of busker songs is the 1995 Oasis hit “Wonderwall” from the album  (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? The song is namechecked by Scottish band Travis in their first single “Writing to reach you” when singer...Show More Summary

You Have the Right to Remain Silent Even if You Use Encryption

The Third Circuit last week held oral arguments on whether an individual can be forced to decrypt a drive with incriminating information on it. The Fifth Amendment prohibits any person from bring “compelled in any criminal case to be...Show More Summary

Classic Chords #15 – Shining Floyd

I grew up on Pink Floyd…well I say that, not sure anyone who spends their time obsessing over music and guitar chords has ever really grown up. Either way, I used to obsessively listen to “Dark Side of the Moon” and worry about that line “then one day you find, ten years have got behind … Continue reading "Classic Chords #15 – Shining Floyd"

Claimed from Stationers’ Hall: St Andrews Copyright Music Collection

Since October 2015, I’ve visited the University of St Andrews regularly, to consult the historic Copyright Music Collection. Playfair Terrace is on my route to the research facility at Martyrs […]

Episode 7: Use Psychology To Compete Like An Olympian

  This is Episode Seven of PsychCrunch, the podcast from the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest, sponsored by Routledge Psychology. Can…

Classic Chords #14 Who is Townshend?

The Who’s Pete Townshend was by turns a maestro on the acoustic guitar and a wall-of-sound man on the electric. Stacks of amps and speakers, his windmilling right arm, the leaps and kicks and, of course, the smashing up the guitars and hotel rooms in equal measure, allegedly. On the acoustic there was the high-speed … Continue reading "Classic Chords #14 Who is Townshend?"

Science Spoiler Alert: Finding Dory

In which Dr. Milton Love ruins the magic behind Finding Dory with Science, but we love him anyways. TUNE IN HERE

On the Road

If you haven’t heard much from me on these pages of late, it’s because I spent most of the last two weeks traveling back and forth, and so had little time for blogging. I did, however, participate in some interesting events while I was...Show More Summary

Classic Chords #12 – Message in a Bottle

The Police were a post-punk, new wave band, but the power pop trio all had jazz backgrounds. It’s not surprise then, that they used motifs from that world in their pop songs. ‘Message in a Bottle’ from the band’s second album, 1979’s...Show More Summary

Classic Chords #12 – Brass in Pocket

UPDATE: I’ve had some Twitter debate with Richard Perkins of Bath Guitar School who half tongue-in-cheek points out that this chord might more formally be called an Aadd9. The note B is second and ninth in the scale of A major and personally, if I’d been playing a C major chord with an added D not on … Continue reading "Classic Chords #12 – Brass in Pocket"

Will SpaceX Be On Its Way to Mars by 2018? Maybe. But That’s Not the Point.

In May of 2016, Elon Musk announced that SpaceX would be sending a Dragon capsule on its way to Mars by the end of 2018. That’s pretty ambitious. After all, 2018 is soon. But is it too soon? I wrote an article about Musk’s plan to go to Mars, and I still think SpaceX can do it. Show More Summary

Classic Chords #11 – Mad Punk

My band C5 rehearsing Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” last night and trying to get that Nile Style guitar part as close as possible to the original song. Basically, the chords are Bm, D, F#m, E, with the usual Chic cleverness of not playing whole chords and doing something neat with the transitions, so there’s a […]

Classic Chords #8 – The Nile Style

Ever since I first figured out how to do those funky flicks of the wrist to get the disco guitar sound I’ve attempted to get close to what Nile Rodgers does in terms of those chops. Everything from the late 70s Chic and Sister Sledge stuff to Bowie’s Let’s Dance and the Daft Punk reboot of 2012. He, […]

Classic Chords #7 – The Manics A Design for Life

I have a confession, I’d never knowingly heard the Manic Street Preachers until I picked up a set of headphones in an HMV back in the Spring of 1996 and listened to Everything Must Go, which had just that week been released. It grabbed me from the off, it was like post-Rush prog but with a gritty […]

Classic Chords #5 – Rush Limelight

As I mentioned, in Classic Chord #1 in my early teens I was chasing the dream of being the next Alex Lifeson, picking out the pseudo-classical intros to songs like “Panacea”, “A Farewell to Kings” and “The Trees”, later “Broon’s Bane” from Exit…stage left and rocking out (on a nylon string guitar!) to “Working Man”, […]

Classic Chords #4 – The Caged Chord

Composer John Cage (1912-1992) is perhaps most famous not for the music he wrote but the silence. In the piece known as “Four minutes, thirty-three seconds”, 4’33”, which is ostensibly in three movements Cage instructed musicians, with any instrument or any combination of instruments and presumably voice to not play their instrument(s) for the during […]

Classic Chords #3 – The Hendrix Chord

There’s one chord every wannabe rock guitar hero has to figure out at some point…we all listen to Jimi Hendrix, we all marvel at what he’s doing with that Strat, whether plucking it with his teeth or setting it on fire. But, what is it he’s doing exactly to get that E-major power chord that […]

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