The Music of Cosmos

Music of CosmosIn the early 1980′s I watched the wonderful 13 part Cosmos series written and narrated by Carl Sagan. The music used in the series included electronic music by Vangelis and Tomita, classical music by Vivaldi, J S Bach, Shostakovich, Takemitsu and Stravinksy.  World Music was also included with a traditional song from Bulgaria and shakuhachi music from Japan.

What I love about soundtrack albums is discovering new music, and this album is wonderful aural feast.

The purpose of this blog post is to share images of the record cover as well as the soundtrack on YouTube. Listen to the music and be transported into the cosmos!

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Why you should learn to program in Python

python-logoPython is a scripting language that runs on Windows, Unix, MacOS and a variety of other devices like Raspberry Pi. Python is freely available and suited for a very wide range of tasks – system administration, web programming, databases, calculations and graphical interfaces. I recommend Python to anyone who wants to learn to program. Here’s why:

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Those were the days – childhood nostalgia

childhoodI received this story by email and I think it says a lot about the modern day trend of over-protecting children and political correctness.

My mum used to cut chicken, chop eggs and spread  butter on bread on the same cutting board with the same knife and no  bleach, but we didn’t seem to get food poisoning.

Our school sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper  in a brown paper bag,
not in ice pack coolers, but I can’t remember  getting e.coli.

Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the  lake  or at the beach instead of a  pristine pool (talk about boring), no beach closures then, no stingers and crocodiles.

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Piano – my unforgotten dream

piano_examThis text is the basis for a speech I gave in the Toastmasters International Speech Contest. I titled the speech Unforgotten Dreams.

Is there something you have always wanted to do in your life – maybe something you did in your  childhood and gave up – but this dream has never left you?  That something for me has been to play the piano.

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El Condor Pasa

condorIn 1970 the pop duo of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel released  El Condor Pasa (Spanish for “The condor passes”).

I loved this song and was captivated by the exotic sounds of  South American instruments including flutes and charango – an Andean string instrument made from the shell of an armadillo.

Paul Simon added lyrics which I have included below.  I discovered that the song is not by Paul Simon but composed by the Peruvian composer Daniel Alomía Robles in 1913 and based on traditional Andean folk tunes.

Here is the Simon and Garfunkel version, then the original song.

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Make 2014 your Best Year Yet!

bestYearHappy New Year! Today is the first day of 2014 – another year of goals, plans and of course the unexpected.

Every year I  take some time to review the past 12 months and plan the year ahead. I use the book Best Year Yet by Jenny Ditzler which has an easy to use process and a list of ten questions. Here are the ten questions.

At the end of the article I include links to the Best Year Yet website which has a free online workshop where you can work through these questions and make 2014 your best!

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2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 42,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


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