Archive for the ‘Clips’ Category

Bobby McFerrin Crowd Sources the Pentatonic Scale

August 10th, 2009

bobby-mcferrinBobby McFerrin, a master in the possibilities of the human vocal chords, recently demonstrated the common understanding of the pentatonic scale at this year’s World Science Festival. The playful and simple demonstration uses audience participation to recreate the scale even when it goes beyond the given instructions.

The musical genius behind such uplifting songs as Don’t Worry, Be Happy, demonstrated this idea at the “Notes & Neurons: In Search of the Common Chorus” event which took place on June 12, 2009. The panel discussion questions whether musical responses are nature or nurture and how universal the reactions are to rhythm or melody. The whole event is viewable at the Festival’s website and below is our favorite excerpt:

[via The Rumpus]

Originally written for and published at PSFK.

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Eat Endangered Crops and Livestock to Save Them?

August 1st, 2009

eat-to-saveOur diets often single out a specific breed as the producer for consumption, ultimately harming farm biodiversity.  Consider that 99 percent of all turkey eaten in American comes from the Broad-Breasted White, just one breed of the many options.  An article from Miller McCune’s online magazine discusses the merits of eating disappearing crops and livestock to create consumer demand for them, often saving them from extinction.

It seems far fetched at first, but consider the growing demand for unique foods and the rapidly plummeting biodiversity.  Where there once was 15,000 varieties of apple, there are now 1,500 and who wouldn’t want to try an exotic new breed of pig?  Consider the Mangalitsa pig of Hungary.  With an increasing demand for succulent pork, they have been saved from extinction by the marketplace.  Emily Badger discusses the problem in her article,

In an era when many problems — deforestation, climate change, water shortages — have been caused by human over-consumption, here is a problem of under-consumption.  Biodiversity is disappearing precisely because people no longer consume it, and if we would just eat endangered crops and livestock now, restoring their role in the food supply, we could save them from extinction.

New York Times: “Eat it to Save it” – Images via Tamas Dezso for The New York Times

Originally written for and published on PSFK.

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A Cutting Edge Hoax with a Simple Message

July 15th, 2009

usb-isawIt all started with a laughable product: a USB-powered chainsaw. Given the range of computer accessories out there, it wouldn’t be completely unheard of for a company to take things too far in hopes to cash in on the selection. The brief video and clean-looking website got lots of media attention.

After the pre-orders started pouring in, the folks at BBH Asia Pacific revealed it was all a hoax to promote the conservation of paper. The folks who pre-ordered the i.Saw were greeted with this message:


We love that you liked the i.Saw enough to pre-order.

Truth is, you already own a chainsaw. Your keyboard.

Help save more trees by cutting down on unnecessary printing. Download PaperCut, a free application that plays the sound of a chainsaw each time you press Ctrl-P.

Available for Mac and PC.

Thanks for the support. Help spread the buzz, if you will 🙂

PaperCut Team
(formerly known as i.Saw Team)

The harmless prank was taken well by those fooled and it’s certainly a unique path to promote environmental awareness. Bravo.

NOTE: This post was written for and originally published at PSFK.  I’ve decided to republish a number of my recent articles written for other websites here.  They will go under the new category called Clips.

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