Extracting Audio from Pictures

Three years ago, a survey team identified a staggering 569,148 time-based media objects on the Bloomington campus of Indiana University—that’s over half a million sound recordings, video recordings, and reels of film. The earliest items documented in the survey report date back to 1893.

However, that report doesn’t mention what might be considered IU Bloomington’s oldest time-based media of all. That’s not because we didn’t do a thorough job. Rather, it’s because the items in question don’t look or behave much like the media we were surveying—discs, reels, cylinders, cassettes, and so forth. Instead, they’re pictures in books. And pictures in books seem well outside the scope of the Media Preservation Initiative.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t play them back—and some of them are pretty exciting.

via Extracting Audio from Pictures | media preservation.

Access and preservation of historical media objects looks to make “history” a more applied profession.

See also…this article on restoring the color of Greek statues.

Nice bit of 20th Century Political Recap on where OWS fits

The Wall Street Occupiers and the Democratic Party | LA Progressive http://www.laprogressive.com/progressive-issues/the-wall-street-occupiers-and-the-democratic-party/?utm_source=LAProgressiveNewsletter&utm_campaign=ebc07ce1a0-LAP_News_19_July_2011_Live7_18_2011&utm_medium=email

This is not to say that the Occupiers can have no impact on the Democrats. Nothing good happens in Washington –regardless of how good our president or representatives may be –unless good people join together outside Washington to make it happen. Pressure from the left is critically important.

But the modern Democratic Party is not likely to embrace left-wing populism the way the GOP has embraced –or, more accurately, been forced to embrace –right-wing populism. Just follow the money, and remember history.

This general shift of populism is a curious thing to watch…as it has been for a good long while.

Basic Economic Math for U.S. Americans (re: Taxes, Revenues, Debts, Deficits, and Defaults)

Remember when you were in the seventh, or maybe eight grade, and your teacher came in and said you were going to learn something called “Algebra”?   Remember how you were all like, “What could I possibly ever need to know this for?!  I’m never going to need to know this stuff!”.

Guess what?  This week is that week.  This is why you need to know this stuff.

We have some fairly important decisions to make in the near future as U.S. Americans on the direction our country needs to take.  I’m sure many of you have divergent opinions on what that direction is, or what we need to do to get there.  So do I.  This post isn’t about that.  This post is about math.  Basic economic math.

Without having this foundation in verifiable, repeatable reality (1+1 always equals 2 in basic math), it is difficult to build a framework of understanding for large and complex systems.  If you don’t know how much of something something else is, or if it’s becoming smaller or larger relative to that thing, it’s hard to make important decisions regarding how you would like things to change (and how to functionally make that happen).

I’ve touched on this subject before.  I think it is fundamental to the disconnect we are now experiencing in this country.  We suck at math.    So without further ado…let’s define terms.


The two most important numbers in the debt equation are the Debt [D] and GPD [GDP].   Debt is *numerator*.  GPD is the *denominator*.   This gives us a debt-to-GDP ratio.   D/GDP = Debt Ratio.

The largely agreed upon goal for the U.S. economy, that is considered “stable” by pretty much everyone, is a 50-60% Debt to GPD ratio.  What this means is that at any given time, we are carrying a debt load that is slightly larger than one-half (.6 or 60%) of our yearly earning power.    Countries in such a balanced situation to do a few things easily…one, they can borrow quickly and cheaply to deal with crises; two, they can quickly pay down debt if need be to smooth out boom/bush business cycles and three, they aren’t as exposed to downturns in others markets (as opposed to a country with no debt that instead uses a “sovereign wealth fund“).

So…now we have the main component of this this quation…the D/GPD ratio.

You have probably heard a LOT a about “spending” over the past few months, and how it is “out of control”.   You may have even seen some folks cite *yearly deficits* as evidence that “spending is out of control.”

A deficit (and it’s alter ego the “surplus”) is simply the difference (negative for deficits, positive for surplus) between the amount of revenue the government takes in and the amount of spending it puts out.

Part of the disconnect that is happening right now is we are seeing huge deficits, focusing solely on the “spending” side of the equation, and don’t seem to be largely aware how badly *revenues* have dropped off during the recession.

To simplify:  Revenues [R] – Spending [S]= Deficit(-)/Surplus(+) [I]


Remember how I mentioned how there would be Algebra?   Here’s where it all comes together…..(and perhaps, can all fall apart).

There are two final factors that need to be addressed before we can get a final equation that captures the situation.  The are interest rate (i) and growth (G).   Interest, in this case, is interest on our debt.   Growth, in this case, is the change in GDP.

This gives us a Debt-to-GPD ratio that looks like this:

(D+I)*i/GPD*G = Debt-to-GPD Ratio

Which read as  “Debt (D) plus income (I) times interest rate (i) divided by GPD times Growth.

Notice that last equation.  We’ve been hammered by folks that this whole problem is caused by a single thing *spending*.   However, when we look at the whole forest instead of that one tree, we see that spending is a part of the annual deficit/surplus which changes the debt which is the divided by GPD that has been multiplied by the amount of growth (both positive or negative).

When someone says spending “is the whole problem”, they are lying to you through omission.    The deficit/surplus isn’t solely created by spending, it is the *difference between spending and revenues*.     As I’ll illustrate in the next segment of this piece, a good portion of recent huge deficits have been created by corresponding huge drops in revenue.

When you understand that “spending” is one of that largest factors in GROWTH, you should start to wonder about what the point of cutting spending, and hampering growth, is going to do to *help* our overall fiscal situation (the GDP-to-Debt Ratio).

Cutting spending during a recession is like taking the foot off the gas and declaring, “We’ll coast up this hill!”

Coming in the next Part…

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT RECENT U.S. AMERICAN HISTORY BY U.S. AMERICANS?! (these are actual responses to actual questions I’ve answered over the past few days…hopefully this covers yours as well)

Build More New-Clear Plants

I saw a quick bit on CNN about something so I decided to do a bit of personal research.

This is really quite funny. See if you can spot the special difference…

From the Palin Speech

Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we’re going to lay more pipelines … build more new-clear plants … create jobs with clean coal … and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources.

Another one…

Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we’re going to lay more pipelines … build more new-clear plants … create jobs with clean coal … and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal and other alternative sources.

Aaaah, found a real one.

Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we’re going to lay more pipelines… build more nuclear plants… create jobs with clean coal… and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources.

And finally CBS and PBS, for the clincher.

Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we’re going to lay more pipelines … build more new-clear plants … create jobs with clean coal … and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources.

O.k. so…what is this about? Which one of these is not like the others?

Take your time….(playing Jeopardy music…..still playing Jeopardy music….and….done).

So you figured it out, right? The “real” one is the one cleaned up by the BBC to make sense to English speakers. In “English” the phrase “nuclear plants” makes sense and people know how to say it.  The phrase “new-clear plants” kind of sounds the same, but makes no sort of logical sense.

In all the other “official versions” of the speech, they left in the phonetic pronounciation “new-clear” that was used on the TelePromptHer during the live speech. This was done because Sarah Palin, like George W. Bush before her, has a curious habit of pronouncing the word “nuclear” as “nukular”. Many people, rightly in hindsight, pointed to this as a reason George W. Bush was unqualified to be President. Despite the fact that he had been re-elected Governor of Texas, he had very little intellectual curiousity about the world and about real, effective, government. And he was kind of an idiot.

This was done to avoid looking like that. And know the evidence of what they did to avoid looking stupid is all over the world (and someone caught it on tape…which I’ll find as soon as I find it).


NOTE: It should be noted that this is also a flippity-floppity from her previous position.  ‘Energy Expert’ my ass.

The environment. As governor, Palin vetoed wind power and clean coal projects, including a 50-megawatt wind farm on Fire Island and a clean coal facility in Healy that had been mired in a dispute between local and state governments.

The Oldest Crap in America

Human Traces Found to Be Oldest in N. America – washingtonpost.com

Scientists have found and dated the oldest human remnants ever uncovered in the Americas — a discovery that places people genetically similar to Native Americans in Oregon more than 14,000 years ago and 1,000 years earlier than previous estimates.

Using radiocarbon dating and DNA analysis, an international team concluded that fossilized feces found five feet below the surface of an arid cave are significantly older than any previous human remains unearthed in the Americas.

Don’t you love the idea tha someday scientists are going to be rooting around in your bowel movements to understand what horribly unbalanced diets most modern Americans enjoy?

I certainly do.  It’s chili with cheese and onions tonight, followed by a big helping of jambalaya.

What Whoppers Are Coming Tomorrow?

Heading East: Lies I’ve told my 3 year old recently

The moon and the sun had a fight a long time ago.
Everyone knows at least one secret language.
When nobody is looking, I can fly.
We are all held together by invisible threads.

/via waxy.org

And that last one is actually true. And the first one used to be a popular theological explanation of the true nature of nature.

If you take those lies (nice, soft, white lies) and multiply them by the 200 or so generations, you get modern theology.

The Oldest Bling in the Americas

Ancient gold necklace discovered in Peru – Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON – The earliest known gold jewelry made in the Americas has been discovered in southern Peru. The gold necklace, made nearly 4,000 years ago, was found in a burial site near Lake Titicaca, researchers report in Tuesday’s issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. if(window.yzq_d==null)window.yzq_d=new Object(); window.yzq_d[‘pA6uE0SOxJQ-‘]=’&U=13bvk7v25%2fN%3dpA6uE0SOxJQ-%2fC%3d632490.12369383.12752446.1442997%2fD%3dLREC%2fB%3d5168412’;

The discovery “was a complete shock,” said Mark Aldenderfer, an anthropologist at the University of Arizona.

“It was not expected in the least,” he said in a telephone interview. “It’s always fun to find something and go, ‘Wow, what is that doing here?'”

What is going on here indeed.   I could have sworn I kept that thing in a vault.   Aahh, too much wine during my pirating days.

“Old Europe”, eh?

Earliest known human remains found in Europe | NEWS.com.au

ANTHROPOLOGISTS delving into a cave in northeastern Spain announced today they had uncovered the earliest known remains of a human in Europe, a find that they dated to as much as 1.2 million years old.
The exceptional fossil strengthens the theory that humans, after emerging from their African home, struck out towards western Europe far earlier than thought, they said.The find comprises teeth and part of a lower jawbone about four centimetres across, found in the Atapuerca hills east of the city of Burgos, the team reported in the science journal Nature.

The site, called the Sima del Elefante, comprises a cave 18m deep and 15m wide, with sediment and debris from ancient human settlement, bats and other animals forming layers many metres thick deep.

The soil layer at which the fossil was found has been dated to around 1.1-1.2 million years ago, using carbon isotope decay and palaeo-magnetism, in which reversals in Earth’s magnetic field leave a weak signal in rocks, providing a timetable of the past.

Lucy from Ethiopia (Utopia, in your good books)  is still the oldest human.  This was possibly one of the oldest white people (who like stuff like this).

Meatsack Meanderings

Our collective recent history, online (kottke.org)

In past few years, several prominent US magazines and newspapers have begun to offer their extensive archives online and on DVD. In some cases, this includes material dating back to the 1850s. Collectively it is an incredible record of recent human history, the ideas, people, and events that have shaped our country and world as recorded by writers, photographers, editors, illustrators, advertisers, and designers who lived through those times. Here are some of most notable of those archives:

Good collection on a bunch of silly things you biological organisms enjoy doing.

True Dat. PCs are Bombs. And International Media Nodes.

Alex St. John: “Consoles as We Know Them are Gone”

S So certainly Intel is producing a new generation of chips that have CPU and GPU on the same die which share access to the cache—the L1 cache—coming out in maybe 2009. Those chips should have two interesting capabilities. They should theoretically, in terms of traditional Direct3D performance, be maybe five to ten times faster than the current chips on the market, but they may also have some graphics capabilities that don’t exist anywhere on the market because of the change in architecture.

Because unifying the GPU with the CPU can produce dramatically faster vector processing and shared rendering performance between the CPU and GPU, so guys like Tim Sweeney will probably have to build their game engines, or may increasingly build their game engines, in entirely different ways than they used to in order to take advantage of the different architecture.

And Intel and AMD are planning on putting those chips into their mainstream consumer laptops, and although it’s going to take a year or two for that to happen, it’s still going to happen in an era in which the existing generation of consoles are well obsolete, they’re slow, they haven’t improved in performance in five years, they’re nearing the edge of their lifespan, and consumer PCs shipping in that area, including the laptops, could have equal to or superior gaming capabilities. So you can say that certainly the intention appears to be in the right place.

And sometimes a single computer is an entire galaxy. I know mine certainly has been a number of times. Hell, my computer has simulated the history of our civilization a thousand times over.

Soon your average laptop will be like an XBOX 1080 and 2 years before MS’s next mass DRM-box.