who needs establishment experts?



"The early repertoire of the Sinfonia was drawn from standard classical repertoire, so that most orchestra members had a rough idea of what the piece, or at least famous parts of it, should sound like, even if they could not play their chosen instrument accurately.
Many modern composers and musicians found this to be interesting and even profound; the comedic aspects of the music were merely a bonus..."
wikipedia

I think the Portsmouth Sinfonia provided the perfect sound track for the years to come...

approval challenge



Last week president Trump began his 1st term with an approval rating of 45% which subsequently fell to 42%, as measured by Gallup.

The following chart puts this into the historical context, depicting job approval for US presidents after WW2. Notice that all began office with a rating above 50%. I depicted Trump's entry with an orange mark.



Your challenge, should you accept it, is to guess where Trump's approval will be
i) a year from now and
ii) 3.5 years from now, i.e. during summer of (re)election year 2020.

The Inauguration ...

... of the 45th US president, Donald J. Trump, was an important empirical test, because it showed quite clearly that Baba Vanga was unable to correctly predict the future. Many years ago the Bulgarian mystic declared that the 44th US president, Barack H. Obama, would be the last. She was obviously wrong and so were several others who predicted that Obama was the anti-Christ who would end the world as we know it etc. (Let us not forget about the WSJ and its prediction.)

I write this blog post because several newspapers printed her prophecy without much skepticism and it got even more attention in the emotional election year 2016 [1, 2, 3]. But I doubt that we will read much about her failure now - instead newspapers are already busy "informing" us that the CIA confirmed Uri Geller was indeed capable of telekinesis.
So I write this as a very small counter-weight to "fake news", but as usual it is most likely too little, too late.

Masters of Doom, Musicophilia and ...

I have to thank dino for recommending the book Masters of Doom for my personal challenge.
In the late 90s I was invested in Eidos (ticker: EIDSY) for a while and it was quite interesting for me to re-read the history of Ion Storm and Daikatana in some detail.
But the book mostly follows id Software and in particular John Carmack and John Romero, the creators of Doom and several other games. However, reading about that time, when PCs were still young and the internet just getting started, always fills me with melancholy, because it reminds me of those years when I still thought computers and the internet would be a great step forward for mankind and make the world a much better place for everybody.
Obviously I was quite wrong about mankind.

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During the holidays I also read Musicophilia, by Oliver Sacks, which I received as a Christmas gift.
It begins with the incredible story of Tony Cicoria, who was struck by lightning and subsequently developed a case of musicophilia - the urge to hear and play music. He taught himself piano at the age of 42 and became a composer to translate his musical visions into real music.
Besides several other amazing case studies, the book also contains a chapter about Williams syndrome, a genetic anomaly responsible for significant changes to brain development. While people with this syndrome have IQs significantly below average, their verbal abilities are above average (some speak several languages) and they are extraordinarily sociable and inquisitive. Sacks describes them as the "hypermusical species" due to their talent and love for music and dance.

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Btw a little challenge from another book I received as a Christmas gift.
How would you translate the following line (into plain English)?
"My West Coast shorty push the Chrome 740".

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added later:



My 1st iPhone app, which I made using PhoneGap. At this point it is just a simple modification of the Hello World example provided with the software installation. But it already has a push button which displays colored text. Now I need to brush up my JScript skills to do a little bit more with it.