When great musicians play the classics, they often like to recreate the exact feel of a piece of music. But when playing Beethoven, many musicians completely disregard the tempo markings on his original sheet music. Sixty-six out of 135 of them have been regarded as “absurdly fast and thus possibly wrong,” writes Sture Forsen in a new paper published in the American Mathematical Society. Now, mathematic and musical detectives have discovered that perhaps Beethoven’s tempo was so strange for a simple reason—his metronome was broken.
It’s worth checking out the entire paper, but the premise of their work is to figure out the “possible mathematical explanations for the “curious” tempo markings.””
My stage name is less about withholding parts of myself or maintaining privacy than it is a symbol of the idea that I am more than just my job or any other isolated slice of my identity.
The strangers who call me Jessica at publicity appearances lean in far too close. They hiss it as if they have top-secret information. All they’re doing is letting me know that they had 30 seconds to spend on Google and no sense of propriety — which may sound funny coming from a woman who flagrantly disregards it herself. They’re often the same people who refer to my orifices as “that” instead of “your,” as though the body part in question is running around free-range instead of attached to a person with free will and autonomy.
Yes, there’s a paradox here in that I willingly engage in work that reduces me to a few sexual facets of myself but expect to be seen as a multifaceted person outside of that work. I participate in an illusion of easy physical access, and sometimes the products associated with that illusion — the video clips and silicone replicas of my sexual organs (seriously, and they’re popular enough to provide the bulk of my income) — do, in fact, exist without attachment to a person with free will or autonomy.”
Meanwhile, Derek Ruths, a computer scientist who explores natural-language processing at McGill University, has recently shown that linguistic cues can identify U.S. Twitter users’ political orientation with 70 to 90 percent accuracy and can even identify their age (within five years) with 80 percent accuracy. For example, words that most strongly suggest someone is between the ages of 25 and 30 include “for,” “on”, “photo,” “I’m,” and “just,” he says. Generally, these users have a somewhat stronger allegiance to grammar than younger, slang-loving users, he says. And as with location, the profiles of the people they follow provide clues to their demographics.
But even if Twitter can make pretty good guesses about 90 percent of its users, “even missing 10 percent means you miss a lot of people,” says Ruths. “If I were Twitter, I’d want to close that 10 percent gap. And you’d want to find out real details like who someone’s mother is. If it’s Mom’s birthday, you want to tell those people how to order flowers. Twitter can’t do that—yet.””
"In Israel it’s very typical to speak in terms of black and white, but looking at Masada I see a spectrum of grey.
The left regard Masada as a symbol of the destructive potential of nationalism. The right regard the people of Masada as heroes of our nation. For me, both are wrong.
"If you put me in a corner and ask do you think they committed suicide, I will say yes. But this was not a symbolic act, it was a typical thing to do back then. Their state of mind was utterly different to ours.
"The myth evolved. All the ingredients were there. At the end of the day, it’s an excellent story and setting, you can’t ask for more."”