4 min read

The band that got paid for not making any sound at all

The band that got paid for not making any sound at all

From Dan Lewis: "You’ve almost certainly never heard of the band Vulfpeck. They’re a Los Angeles-based funk band. It’s hard to make a living releasing songs (or any media) to a small audience, since Spotify pays about $0.007 per song play to independent artists. So if your song gets 100,000 plays in a year? That’ll earn $700 or about two bucks a day. But in the early part of 2014, Vulfpeck came up with a plan, starting with a brand new album. The album, called Sleepify, is ten songs in total and each song is just over 30 seconds. And each track is silent. The band realized that Spotify paid out that seven-tenths of a cent every time a listener played one of the band’s songs, so long as the listener played at least 30 seconds of the song. The song itself didn’t matter."

What it's like to have synesthesia, where numbers and letters are different colours

From Meera Khare at Open Mind magazine: "My consciousness is a constant stream of color. Whether I’m reading, texting a friend, or doing math homework, every letter or number I see comes swathed in its own characteristic hue. My 7’s are forest green, L’s are orange, and both A’s and 4’s are hot pink. Growing up, I did not realize my experience was atypical until I read A Mango Shaped Space. The book tells the story of 13-year old Mia Winchell, who experiences synesthesia, a mingling of the senses. The book described my experience perfectly except for one thing – my colors were different. Since then, I’ve wondered what gives every synesthete their own unique associations; why does the K look lavender to me, but blue for someone else? (Editorial note: This one interested me in particular because my wife has synesthesia)

A psychedelic drug that doesn't cause hallucinations could help cure Parkinson's

From Columbia University: "Ariadne is a psychedelic drug that was studied by the pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers, but research on the drug was abandoned in the 1970s. In early unpublished trials, the drug was reported to have had wide-ranging effects. These include remission of symptoms in people with schizophrenia and people with Parkinson’s disease and improved cognition in older subjects. A new paper uses data from past clinical trials, and outlines a hypothesis for how Ariadne and other similar compounds manage to exert clinical effects without hallucinations. The article also reports on a test run that was conducted on a mouse that carried all of the major hallmarks of Parkinson’s disease, whose symptoms were rapidly corrected."

A solar-powered clock made of Lego will keep time for millions of years

From Jason Kottke: "Brick Technology built a solar-powered Lego clock that will keep time for a billion years. It's got various displays in the style of an astronomical clock so you can keep track of seconds, hours, months, centuries, and even galactical years (the amount of time the Sun takes to orbit the center of the galaxy). The clock is powered by solar energy, and tilts throughout the day to keep facing the sun. The obvious thing that sprung to mind watching this was The Clock of the Long Now, a 10,000-year clock being constructed inside a mountain in West Texas. But I also thought of Arthur Ganson's Machine With Concrete, which utilizes extreme gear ratios to turn an input of 200 rpm into a gear that turns only once every 2 trillion years."

The story behind director David Lynch’s long lost Star Trek: TNG pilot

Damien Walter writes: "As his screen adaption of DUNE was undergoing final post-production special effects, David Lynch was approached by Paramount as the hot new scifi director to helm the studios upcoming Star Trek : The Next Generation. Lynch’s 3 h 17 minute pilot episode was screened to a select audience of Paramount executives, major advertisers and committed fans of the original Star Trek in early 1984. The executive producer in charge of the production was fired the same day. Lynch’s choice to have every line of dialogue recorded then reversed at half speed via tape-to-tape was defended by some as “classic Lynch”. The only documentary evidence of it’s existence are a small collection of hard-to-find stills harvested from a Betamax bootleg." (Editorial note: For the record, some of the commenters on Reddit think this is a hoax)

Longevity enthusiasts want to create their own independent state

From Jessica Hamzelu for the MIT Technology Review: "I’m in Montenegro for a gathering of longevity enthusiasts, people interested in extending human life through various biotechnology approaches. One attendee, with whom I ended up sharing a cross-border taxi ride, told me half of his luggage was “supplements and powders.” Everyone is super friendly, and the sense of optimism is palpable. Everyone I speak to is confident we’ll be able to find a way to slow or reverse aging. And they have a bold plan to speed up progress, including perhaps even establishing an independent state. Aging is “morally bad,” they argue, and it’s a problem that needs to be solved. They see existing regulations as roadblocks to progress and call for a different approach."

The bee hummingbird is two inches long and can fly at 48 kilometres per hour

via the Journal of Art in Society on Twitter