Monday, December 30, 2013

More good music for your listening pleasure

It occurs to me that I haven't mentioned my Noondaytune contributions in ages. Without further ado and including some snippets from my rather lyrical write-ups:

  • Pretty Saro - Bob Dylan. ("Dylan fans are going to be rejoicing in their master’s munificence… and his bountiful back catalogue.")
  • Been There Before - Ghost Beach. ("... a nice reminder that sometimes music doesn’t need to be anything other than fun and instantly accessible.")
  • But We Did - Thomas Dybdahl. ("You’ll find shades of Bon Iver here (with a less annoying falsetto) and maybe even a distant hint of Jeff Buckley.")
  • Indie Cindy - Pixies. ("Comparisons with their early work and sound is probably inevitable at this point. However... if there are any of those famous hard-soft dynamics at play in this song, then the order has been switched. The verses are now abrasive, while the choruses, instead of being explosive, are soothingly melodic.")
  • Working For You - Patrick Sweany. ("... it feels like the world could do with a more generous helping of blues-infused rock. I’m doing what I can to remedy matters with this track.")
  • Girl From The North Country - Secret Machines. ("This cover version manages to do that rare thing: Preserving the essence of a great song whilst reinventing its dynamics. Listening to it feels like being washed over by a storm and then left in the tranquil aftermath of its passing.")
  • Always - Panama. ("... this Sydney-based quartet is helping to erase any lingering Antipodean antipathy I bear as a result of various cricket World Cups. More importantly, if this is where pop music is going, count me in.")
  • I Got Love If You Want It - Slim Harpo. ("Taking his stage name from the harmonica (or “harp”) that he played with such laconic precision, his songs were gratefully adapted by a veritable who’s who of 1960s rock ‘n roll.")
  • California - Mazzy Star. ("It has been 20 years since “Fade Into You” first drifted through the speakers of my night-time radio like a somnambulist’s love song. With this reunion album, Mazzy Star have embarked upon a continuation that is eerily reminiscent... Perhaps a small testament to L.P. Hartley’s famous observation about the past being a different country: they do things differently there.")
  • Nothing To Lose But Your Head - Augustines. ("This latest single comes ahead of their eponymous sophomore album and exudes all the grit, verve and elation that made their last record such a tour de force.")
If I had to pick three favourites from the above list, it would probably have to be Secret Machines, Panama and Augustines. Ask me tomorrow though and that might change. Regardless, the bottom line is that we[*] here at Stickman's Corral are constantly scouring the internet for good music so that you don't have to!

[*] The royal "we".

Publication/dissertation update

After spending nearly a year in Land Economics' publication queue, I'm pleased to say that my joint paper on "Electricity Prices, River Temperatures and Cooling Water Scarcity" is now available online.

I've obviously discussed the paper on this blog and elsewhere before, but there's something ever-so-satisfying about seeing it typeset in official journal format. 

(For those that missed it and can't get passed the subscription paywall, a link to a working paper version and summary for the layman can be found here.)

To recap: We're expected to produce three papers for our PhD dissertation and this paper will obviously form the first of these for me. As for my next paper(s), I've been working on something more climate-related recently. I don't want to give too much away as my ideas are still evolving, but it's very much centered within the Bayesian paradigm and the way in which prior beliefs can affect society's best response to the climate problem. More updates to follow once I get closer finishing up a draft version!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Quote of the Day - Madiba

I was seven years old, and on the day before I was to begin, my father took me aside and told me that I must be dressed properly for school. Until that time, I, like all the other boys in Qunu, had worn only a blanket, which was wrapped round one shoulder and pinned at the waist. My father took a pair of his trousers and cut them at the knee. He told me to put them on, which I did, and they were roughly the correct length, although the waist was far too large. My father then took a piece of string and drew the trousers in at the waist. I must have been a comical sight, but I have never owned a suit I was prouder to wear than my father's cut-off trousers.
 -- Nelson Mandela, "A Long Walk To Freedom"

It has been a raw, emotional morning. Reading through the outpouring of tributes and obituaries has underscored what an extraordinary life this was. While Madiba's years as a revolutionary and statesman may have provided a legion of poignant quotes to choose from, the above passage, taken from his autobiography, is one that always gets me. It cuts to the heart of the humanity that made him such a beloved figure. The ability to affect those closest to us is, in many ways, more meaningful than the power conferred to even the most global of icons.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Asimbonanga (Mandela)

Asimbonanga (We have not seen him)
Asimbonang' uMandela thina (We have not seen Mandela)
Laph'ekhona (In the place where he is)
Laph'ehleli khona (In the place where he is kept)

Oh the sea is cold and the sky is grey
Look across the island into the bay
We are all islands 'til comes the day
We cross the burning water

Asimbonanga (We have not seen him)
Asimbonang' uMandela thina (We have not seen Mandela)
Laph'ekhona (In the place where he is)
Laph'ehleli khona (In the place where he is kept)

A seagull wings across the sea
Broken silence is what I dream
Who has the words to close the distance
Between you and me

Asimbonanga (We have not seen him)
Asimbonang' uMandela thina (We have not seen Mandela)
Laph'ekhona (In the place where he is)
Laph'ehleli khona (In the place where he is kept)

Steven Biko. Victoria Mxenge. Neil Aggett.
Asimbonanga Asimbonang 'umfowethu thina (We have not seen our brother)
Laph'ekhona (In the place where he is)
Laph'wafela khona (In the place where he died)

Hey wena (Hey you!)
Hey wena nawe (Hey you and you as well)
Siyofika nini la' siyakhona? (When will we arrive at our destination)