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Gathering Books

Books are food. For me, finding the right book is a great joy. What is the right book? That’s the book I need now, the one that connects to a bunch of different thought clouds and ties them together, the one that shines  light on another piece of the puzzle. It’s like hunting and gathering for your lunch, only it’s lunch for my head. I feel very lucky because for several years in a row I have found non-fiction books that mean a lot to me and have taught me a lot. 

2022:
Humankind: a Hopeful History – Rutger Bregman
Stolen Focus – Johann Hari

Humankind showed me that many examples we are told about people’s behavior, like Lord of the Flies and The Stanford Prison Experiment and the story of Kitty Genovese were either manipulated or made up entirely. Humans are much kinder than we think but many people profit from us not believing that.

Stolen Focus is all about screen addiction and how it is actively created by the addiction pushers, the social media companies.

2023:
Ways of Being – James Bridle

There are different types of consciousness and we have only begun to understand the complexity of the network. I smile just thinking about this book. I loved every page of it. 

2024:
Breath – James Nestor
Movement Matters – Katy Bowman

Breath was recommended by Jon Gagan and I devoured this book. As a result of reading the book I began doing Wim Hof Method exercises. Breath holds, for example. I thought I would stall out at 3 minutes, but then I was able to reach 3m 10s and now I wonder whether 4 minutes will be possible for me. The record is 11m for men and 9m for women. Wow. It is interesting that age has nothing to do with it…. which means I can keep trying for the 4m mark…  I also do pushups while holding my breath. My breathing has generally improved. I also use an app to do paced breathing. Slow breathing to the rescue! 

Movement Matters contains essays about movement. I found out about this book from Craig Mod, who mentioned Ben Pobjoy

A few years ago I realized that the sedentarism I have been writing about for a decade wasn’t only of the body, but of thoughts as well. I don’t mean (only) that people have a hard time moving their thoughts to consider new information, but that “we are unmoving” is the unacknowledged assumption underlying some of the most prevalent problems we are dealing with in areas of public health and safety, environmental science, and social issues. 

Lack of physical movement becomes inability to shift and change perspective. The sedentary society becomes an immovable culture. 

Check out this foreword to the book, written by Ben Pobjoy. The book inspired him to walk and walk he did:

I’ve since trekked 75,000+ kilometres by foot across six continents to document what the world — and its inhabitants — reveal to me. Step by step, word by word, and image by image I’ve completed 850+ freestyle marathons as a means to nurture my curiosities, and — in turn — share my findings with others on social, in written essays, my newsletter, and in photographic books.

What a rich harvest it has been. 

Random

There once were two competing video cassette tape designs, VHS and Betamax. Betamax was developed by Sony and was brought to market in 1975, while VHS was created by JVS and came out in 1976. Betamax had the better quality but the story goes that porn was distributed on VHS, which was the less expensive format. As a result VHS won out and Beta stopped existing more than twenty years ago. 

This morning I was thinking that the same could happen with AI. There are loads of AI companies that are competing. We are told that some AI can already create convincing video from a still image. What if one of the AI systems becomes capable of creating porn on demand, letting a person choose who does what to whom. What does it mean when anybody can have video of anyone doing anything?

Are there executives of AI corporations discussing this nuclear option to get larger market share? It would make for an interesting movie plot. 


PS: a reader alerted me to the possibility that it may have had to do with recording sports and longer movies–the quality of Betamax was higher but the limit was 1-2 hours while VHS could record up to 4-6 hours–rather than the ability to buy porn. I found this article which explains it somewhat… but not really. It doesn’t matter to me either way, because it was a thought experiment. 

A Pity

It’s a pity we don’t whistle at one another, like birds. Words are misleading.

– Halldór Laxness

Empty Bowl

For years I have been reading books borrowed from the public library or e-books I bought, but last week I broke down and bought three real books when I discovered this publisher: Empty Bowl. I bought three translations from Chinese texts, by Red Pine (aka Bill Porter). They arrived yesterday and are most lovely editions. Except for Zen Roots these small books are not available as e-books. 

By now I Ihave read Trusting the Mind, by Seng Ts’an, who was the third patriarch of Chan/Zen, twice already. I believe it shall travel with me for a long time, the way a book with the poetry of Ryokan used to. 

Update: Rain Poems CD

We tested the new page for selling the Limited Edition Rain Poems CD. Everything seems to be working. CDs are ready. Pens are at hand. The color is black only because it is a special ink (which I had to order from Germany) that dries extremely fast, as not to seep into the plastic of the CD and potentially mess with the zeros and ones archived there.

Since I like the number nine I want to open the gates on Saturday 5/4 @ 0900 Pacific Time, which will be noon on the East Coast. Everything on the webpage is self explanatory. The comment field is for adding a name or dedication. The CD is small so you should limit yourself to “for Elise” or something similarly brief. Happy to write a little more than that on the white space underneath the CD. A word about the foam button the CD is mounted on. I wouldn’t take the CD from it without supporting the foam by putting a finger against it. I mean you might get lucky a few times but it will tear eventually. 

A separate post will contain the link to the Rain Poems CD page.

OL

Last night I asked Siri to play some music while I was cooking. It played an interesting mix of music from my library and stuff it decided I should hear, I guess. 

At on point Siri decided to play this piece by Oscar Lopez:

I wasn’t paying much attention as I was chopping up onion and garlic – always important to keep the attention on the knife – and so only a few musical phrases entered my consciousness. Like the phrase about 50 seconds into the piece, which sounded like something Jon and I might have played. I checked my phone and noticed the name of the artist.

This morning I looked him up and discovered this article:

After a three-decade music career that established him around the world for exceptional guitar playing, Oscar Lopez has recently been living out of his car in Calgary.

Former band mate James Keelaghan said many artists often don’t have funds for mental health counselling or medication.

Keelaghan and Lopez have been performing off and on in a joint project called The Compadres since 1993.

Keelaghan, who will be performing in Edmonton in March, said finances for musicians were bad during the pandemic and got worse when revenue from CD sales dropped off.

All that revenue has now gone. Streaming services have completely destroyed a huge swath of our income,” the folk singer-songwriter said.

(I added the emphasis.)

I wish him well and contributed to a Go Fund Me for Oscar Lopez. You can check out the fundraiser here: LINK

 

I’m here. I’m glad you’re there.

When I was in Japan in 1991, I heard abut ST.GIGA, the satellite radio station. It was a very innovative idea. I remember thinking that their slogan was a nice greeting. Presumably it’s the satellite speaking…  :-)

from Wikipedia:

St.GIGA is credited as being the world’s first digital satellite radio station. The Satellaview has received praise for being ahead of its time, particularly for St.GIGA’s method of distributing and broadcasting high-quality audio and recordings.

In accordance with Yokoi’s conception, St.GIGA’s broadcasts initially followed no externally fixed (or artificial) timetable. Rather, they were based upon the cyclical motif of a 24-hour “tide table”[4] where broadcast themes were approximately matched to the current tidal cycle according to the rule of twelfths throughout the 24-hour broadcasting period. Under this innovative schedule, the station broadcast a variety of primarily ambient music programs including Music Tide (音楽潮流, Ongaku Chōryū), various jazz programs, and Tide Table (featuring live sound-broadcasts of the ocean shore). The beginnings and ends of programs were not clearly demarcated and instead utilized the unprecedented “Tide of Sound” (音の潮流, Oto no Chōryū) method where songs of one genre would gradually flow into and intersperse with the songs from the prior genre until the new genre became predominant.

“Tide of Sounds” broadcasts operated under a principle of “No Commercials, No DJs, No News Broadcasts, No Talk.” Unlike most commercial-driven radio broadcasts, this was made possible for St.GIGA due to its reliance on a subscription Digital Audio Broadcasting service. In order to receive this DAB service, the subscriber was required to obtain a special decoder, to pay an initiation fee, and subsequent monthly fees. “Tide of Sounds” broadcasts often took the form of high-quality digital recordings of nature sounds accompanied by spoken word narration by an actor as the “Voice”. Throughout the life span of “Tide of Sounds” broadcasts, the part of the “Voice” would be played by a number of notable Japanese poets, including, among others, Ryo Michiko. “Voice” performances often consisted of all new poetry composed specifically for the show. 

The Internet Archive has many hours of St. GIGA’s broadcasted program “Tide of Sound” (音の潮流). (LINK)

Enjoy!

Killing Time

‘Leisure time’ lacks both intensity of life and contemplation. It is a time that we kill so as not to get bored. It is not free, living time; it is dead time.

Inactivity constitutes the human. The inactivity involved in any doing is what makes the doing something genuinely human. Without moments of pause or hesitation, acting deteriorates into blind action and reaction. Without calm, a new barbarism emerges.

When life follows the rule of stimulus–response, need–satisfaction and goal–action, it atrophies into pure survival: naked biological life.
If we lose the ability to be inactive, we begin to resemble machines that must simply function.

VITA CONTEMPLATIVA, Byung-Chul Han – WARREN ELLIS LTD

My taste in music doesn’t often align with Warren Ellis but I always pay attention to what he is reading. I have read many of the books he recommended. 

Killing time so as not to get bored, when that inactivity is in fact what makes us human. Throwing away the moments and getting nothing in return. The beauty of witnessing the movement of light, the movement of clouds, the flicker of shadows. Staring into space is precious time. I don’t remember the last time I was bored. I suppose I may have a unusually high boredom threshold. Even in a plane, waiting to get out at last, I’ll happily stand there, glad not to be sitting any longer, while other people scroll furiously to catch up with that which cannot ever be caught up. 

In the past few years I have often contemplated getting a dumb phone. There is even a website for that: https://dumbwireless.com.  But every single time I come to the conclusion that rather than replacing my phone I need to learn to live with it. I plan much of our tours on the phone, carry confirmation numbers, boarding passes, location info, etc. I need maps, need messaging with the touring group… and I love the camera and ability to carry music with me. When you’re going through hell don’t stop, keep going. 

Here is another quote from the book by Byung-Chul Han, who is a South Korean-born philosopher and cultural theorist living in Germany.

With digitalization, availability reaches new heights. By bringing about total producibility, digitalization suspends facticity itself. The digital regime does not acknowledge an unavailable ground of being. Its motto is: being is information. Information makes being fully available. When everything is readily available and consumable, contemplative attention is impossible. Like a hunter, the gaze screens its surroundings.

I am in the process of changing my attitude about analog music containers, such as vinyl LPs and Music Cassettes. While I don’t like the use of material, such as plastic and paper, I have come to realize that these containers are important for human culture. I am learning about getting LPs and MCs made–there has never been an LP of my music because even in 1990 NF was released only as CD and MC. Any advice you can impart to me please leave in a comment or send me an email. Bare Wood 2 would be a fine first LP release, I think. 

PS: Killing Time is such a powerful combination of just two words. Is it Killing Time, a time for killing something or someone, or is it Killing Time, and time itself needs to be killed.

Rafael Toral

Portuguese musician Rafael Toral playing guitar and electronics.

Rafael Toral, born in Lisbon, 1967 has been intrigued by the potential of sound and the functions of music since he was a teenager. As a producer, composer and performer, he has been deeply involved with Rock, Ambient, Contemporary, Electronic and Free Jazz music in different periods of his life.

LINK to his website and LINK to his Bandcamp page

Prelude in Am

I found this yesterday, while searching for something else. It’s an old live recording of the late Baden Powell playing (his?) Prelude in Am. I can’t seem to find the music on any of his albums. Does anyone know more about this piece?

Still. Life.

Jon released a new album and I am loving it. For years I have been telling everyone willing to listen (Ha! that probably means you can find it on this blog somewhere) that the best thing that could possibly come out of this era of musicians getting squeezed by Silicon Valley would be that they make the music they want to make… because when it’s not likely that we can make money, we might as well make something that we want to hear… without considering what an audience might want or how to promote a song for radio etc.etc…

This album is 100% Jon Gagan. He even took the photo himself! You absolutely do not have to be a bass player or bass aficionado to enjoy these pieces! Play these tracks and read what he wrote about the recording. I think you will agree, it absolutely lovely. 

Still. Life. is a collection of sketches that were done on electric bass between 2020 and 2024.

With each piece, I began by simply recording whatever came to me in the moment. I would then overdub another bass part or two and in some cases add Rhodes or percussion, often using the bass as a percussion instrument or source of a sound effect.

During the shutdown in 2020, my daily rhythm became one of waking up at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning and playing bass in the studio until the sun came up. I kept something of this habit in subsequent years, and Still. Life. was recorded during this time of day.
With the work having been done in the pre dawn hours it didn’t surprise me when I noticed a certain calm quality emerge as a theme from piece to piece. Without planning it, I realized I had been able to express the feeling of unhurriedness that was emblematic of the pause in the rush of modern life for me.

Longplayer

Longplayer is a one thousand year long musical composition. It began playing at midnight on the 31st of December 1999, and will continue to play without repetition until the last moment of 2999, at which point it will complete its cycle and begin again. Conceived and composed by Jem Finer, it was originally produced as an Artangel commission, and is now in the care of the Longplayer Trust.

About Longplayer

Listen here.

Three Act Play

Music of Sound showed a play for our time in three acts on this post.

Act one, in which a tech bro wants to convince the musician to release on Spotify:

Act two, in which the musician is reluctant and the tech bro makes grand claims to win him over:

 

Act three, in which the tech bro finds out that musicians aren’t stupid and is schooled.

THE END

6k ≠ 200k.
Musicians can’t just grow an audience. 
Streaming as a business model doesn’t benefit musicians and may not be around for very long because even the streaming companies are not making any money – except the CEOs, of course. 

I am actually contemplating releasing a music cassette next…  :-)

Bamboo, AI, and ProTools

Good morning. This post might be a little longer and you might want to make yourself a bowl of tea or a cup of coffee. I’ll wait.

Let’s go in alphabetical order. AI first. I heard that WordPress has made a deal, or may be in the process of making a deal, to allow one or more AI companies to scrape all of the blogs and websites that use the WP platform at wordpress.com. I don’t know whether this is true or not but think it is quite likely, because money.

Much of my website runs on WordPress, but it’s wordpress.org and not wordpress.com. The former is open source software, the latter a for profit hosted platform using that software. That means whatever WP decides to do does not affect this site. However, since this here is an open and public blog it means that there is no barrier to stop AI from scraping it. No laws exist to stop AI from ingesting this blog that has entries going back 30 years. 

I came up four possibilities:

  1. do nothing and let AI be trained
  2. archive the free diary (/latest), lock it up behind a password, and keep it to myself
  3. archive the free diary and make it only available to Backstage members
  4. archive the free diary and password protect it with something only a fan would know – example: what was the name of the studio the album Opium was recorded in

I sent these thoughts to Canton and asked “maybe there are more options that I can’t see?” 
Canton and I have been working on this website for about 30 years, having started with Pandoras Box in 1995. He often dispenses valuable wisdom, as he did in his reply (I asked permission to quote from his email):

All depends on what your mission is! If your mission is to just not have anything to do with AI, then I’d do #1. Just ignore it. Don’t use it, and don’t be fussed that your public posts will be scraped by yet another system. (All your public stuff is already scraped multiple times per week by various services and systems.) The cat is out of the bag. The horse has left the barn. The robot has rolled off the assembly line.

If your mission is to bodily throw yourself on the gears of this machine and put energy into defeating AI then you might have to do something more active than erect barriers, like try to poison the AIs. Leverage the fact that your public website has a high search engine ranking and decades of content about your music. Rewrite every of your public posts so that flamenco appears to be a kind of custard similar to flan. Get a few other prominent guitarists to do the same and maybe Chat GPT version 4.5 will slightly confuse flamenco and flan. When asked how to make a good custard maybe future GPT will answer that it all starts with a good rasgueado…

Speaking more as your friend and less as your web hosting provider, what I really recommend is making peace with AI so that it doesn’t poison your own brain space. There’s so much superficial noise and clamor around AI I find it hard to keep a balanced view on (1) what is useful and amazing about AI, and (2) what is truly destructive and diminishing about AI, where we should apply the brakes.

Do you know or know of Josh Schrei, the young musician and Yoga practitioner who grew up in Santa Fe? More or less my age? He has this absolutely fantastic homemade podcast called “The Emerald” which I’ve been eating up. It’s a wide-ranging discourse on all sorts of topics through an animist mytho-poetic lens. Full of heart, nature, and wisdom: A really good balance for all the nerdy stuff I listen to.

Here’s his episode on AI, “So you want to be a sorcerer in the age of mythic powers…”

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/so-you-want-to-be-a-sorcerer-in-the-age-of/id1465445746?i=1000620936715

I think he does a good job to reframe AI in the context of millennia of human history, along with good precautions and insights.

That second paragraph is so very Canton. It’s one of the reasons why I enjoy his company so much. 

So, the toothpaste has been squeezed out of the tube and can’t be put back. That’s fine. I can control what I can and that’s the path forward. 

Here is what I have in mind. In terms of writing, this /latest blog will become more of an announcement blog. News of a tour, news of a review, a new album finished, and so on. Everything else will happen on Backstage. I understand that everyone (including me) is tired of subscriptions. (Ha, that’s why I call it a membership!) Like all of you I have to juggle subscriptions. My rule is super simple. Does something delight me? Does it make me smile? For that reason I subscribe to a search engine! I use Kage.com because I enjoy not having to wade through the ads on Google and DuckDuckGo, I enjoy getting more relevant answers, more quickly. Much more quickly! I stopped using Evernote, which I had subscribed to since 2009, when they doubled their price. I switched to open source Joplin, which may not be quite as polished as Evernote but does nearly everything I need. Subscriptions have to be tended to every year. Some need to be pruned, others become more necessary. It’s an orchard of subscriptions! :-)

Before I move on to my second topic I am going to take a moment to make this announcement:
In April the digital distribution deal for HuHeartDrive is up for renewal. After Higher Octave 1990-1992, Sony/Epic Records 1992-2001, SSRI 2001-2018, HHD is my fourth label and the only one where I have 100% control over the distribution. HHD released Fete in 2019, two versions of vision 2020, Bare Wood 2, several Dance 4 Me remix singles, guitar + pipe (from the video I made for the Dallas Museum of Art) and all of this music is currently available from all digital distributors and streaming platforms. I intend to end the distribution deal in April, which means  that while the music will continue to be available from Bandcamp it will disappear from Spotify and Apple Music and all other such platforms. This move could very well mean that I will earn less money. I think that a lot of people are in the habit of listening to playlists–either their own or their stream provider’s–and they may not even notice that my new music is no longer part of that rotation. This is fine. What I am doing is what I want to do. I feel it in my bones.


My second topic is Bamboo, the album I am currently working on. I am have five pieces in different stages. I enjoyed creating shorter pieces for Rain Poems, which Culture Court called Audio Haikus in this piece that imagines a long conversation about the subject:

Short tracks. Beautiful, atmospheric pieces that celebrate the sound of water like audio haiku verses.

I am planning on carrying on like that for this new Bamboo project: mostly shorter pieces. But, looking ahead, I’d like to do an album of longer pieces next, after Bamboo. I love how the guitars shift on African Rain because I play around with shifting accents. That I would like to dive deeper into. Cool rhythms that shift subtly, arpeggios and melodies that change shape through changing accents… like flowing water or a murmuration of starlings. 

Yesterday I read Gioia’s new post regarding the dopamine culture. (Ted Gioia is another subscription that I am happy to pay for.) Last month he started with The State of the Culture, 2024, which was followed by 13 Observations on Ritual and the latest post is How to Break Free from Dopamine Culture. These three articles are full of gold and I think most of them can be accessed by non-subscribers.

Here is a quote from the newest of the three posts:

Even before this scroll-and-swipe mania, I was telling people they should listen to longer music tracks—at least ten minutes in duration.

I originally got this idea from researching the practices of shamans around the world. I noticed that it typically took 10-15 minutes of drumming or singing before the shaman entered an altered mindstate. I later gathered scientific evidence from other fields (neuroscience, biology, etc.) that also suggested a ten minute threshold.

That fits nicely with my intention of creating longer pieces. I imagine pieces that are about 9-11 minutes each but will see how it feels and what the muses command.

Gioia mentioned the 42 minute orchestral composition Become Ocean, by John Luther Adams, in his piece: link to Wikipedia entry about the music, link to a recording on Apple Music. I would love to hear that performed live someday. 


Pro Tools is the last topic. I saw this post by Tim Prebble, who recorded all of the rain sounds on Rain Poems. He wrote:

AvidLink, which I have zero use for, is using 96.6% of my Macs CPU!
I Force Quit it and my Mac becomes responsive again…
My next thought: can I delete AvidLink? What use is it?

“Avid Link is a free app for anyone looking to find, connect, and collaborate with other creatives, promote your work, stream video, purchase and manage products—all in one interface”

No thanks.
But rather than delete it, for now I’ll follow this advice of how to stop it auto-launching Stop Avid Link from starting at boot 

There you have it, some good advice for any of you using Pro Tools.


That’s it, end of post. I hope you will enjoy a very fine day.  

Japan Movies

Wednesday evening I went to a movie theater that was showing Perfect Days, by Wim Wenders. It was the first time I went to a cinema in years but I like Wim Wenders’ work and wanted to see this movie in a theater. The seats were large and comfortable and I counted only seven other people in the audience. 

This is my kind of movie. I love everything about it, the pace, the camera work, the use of music. 

There is a good interview on the Academy’s Guide to Movies, because Japan picked Perfect Days as their official entry for the 96th Oscars. 

Wim Wenders Talks ‘Perfect Days,’ ‘Anselm,’ and Why He Continues to Embrace 3D (Exclusive) | A.frame:

The other film is Perfect Days, a character study centered on a middle-aged Tokyo toilet cleaner (played by Kôji Yakusho, who won Best Actor at Cannes). Unalike as they may be, the two projects exemplify the filmmaker’s visionary approach to experimenting with format and function: Perfect Days was conceived of and shot like a documentary, while Anselm utilizes cutting-edge technology and pushes the boundaries on stylistic choices.

I don’t want to write more because I don’t want to spoil the movie for you. It’s a lovely film and I hope you will see it. I will rewatch it soon. :-)

On the subject of Japanese movies I saw Beat Takeshi’s 1999 film Kikujiro on Mubi yesterday. I did not know that he is a comedian, too, as I only knew him from his tough guy roles. Which is why this movie surprised me so much. I laughed a lot.

Jon Gagan

Jon Gagan 2024-388.

Jon Gagan 2024-390.

Jon Gagan 2024-393.

Jon asked me to take some photos of him and we took these at the Sofia in Sacramento. Thanks to Stephen who made him laugh, I think. I couldn’t see what was going on because I didn’t want to miss Jon’s reaction. 

Stephen suggested that I make one long mix of Jon’s bass solos during our performances of Butterfly Dream. Every one of those solos is really great and I think the tempo is always very similar. So, challenge accepted. Will dig through the live recordings and have a go at this. 

Rain Poems CD Update

Turn off the alarm on March 1st, the CD won’t be going on sale on that day. :-)

Here is what’s been happening. Found the Verbatim CD upon my return last night. Burned a copy this morning. It played in two out of three of my players. I know that this third player is thirty years old and has always been finicky, but still. I will go over to every friend and acquaintance and will ask them to put the CD into their player to test it… If it plays in everything, great. If not, I will have to rethink. Not many people still have CD players, I have noticed. 

I remember always writing with a sharpie directly on a CD-R in the studio but those CDs were used to check the recording or a mix and were not meant to last. The ink probably leaches into the plastic over time. So I’ll probably have to buy blank CD labels that I can attach to the top of each CD for me to write on. I know, I know, I could have these CD made for much less money than what this is going to cost, and having them made will be a last resort, but I would prefer to have the CD look homemade, with a handwritten label. 

I’ll keep you posted. 

I have been giving a lot of thought to containers, especially as they pertain to music. There is the LP and the cardboard cover. Substantial, legible, large images. Then there are the music cassette and the compact disc, both invented by Philips and Sony. Not much visually, rather small, but nice containers. Part of the joy of these objects lies in opening and closing the container. This action turns listening into a ritual. A ritual must have a beginning and an end. An opening and then the closure. That’s very different from playing something from a streaming service. 

What could a digital music container look like? It could be a virtual container or an actual container… perhaps something that has a flash drive attached. Whether the container is real or virtual, it would need a way to open and close it. I am going to work on a flash drive (with regular USB plus USB-C connectors) that comes in a book. Perhaps the drive could be skinny and made to look like a bookmark. Or maybe the drive could be connected to a large paper clip that allows it to be attached to a page of the book. Or there can be a number of pages in the back of the book that have the paper cut away to allow the drive to rest in the book. Maybe I should design the book pages to leave a hole in the center for the drive. Lots to play with, for sure.

What would a virtual container look like? It should open and close. It should contain a virtual booklet. It should be able to play all of the music contained in the proper sequence…

Voyager

Voyager kept going, and kept going, until it was over 15 billion kilometers away.  At the speed of light, the Moon is one and a half seconds away.  The Sun is about 8 minutes away.  Voyager is twenty-two hours away.  Send a radio signal to it at lunch on Monday, and you’ll get a response back Wednesday morning.

Death, Lonely Death — Crooked Timber

Great post about Voyager, which has been flying through space since 1977. It flew past Saturn. It officially left the Solar System and entered interstellar space in 2012.

Voyager Mission Control used to be a couple of big rooms full of busy people, computers, giant screens. Now it’s a single room in a small office building in the San Gabriel Valley, in between a dog training school and a McDonalds. The Mission Control team is a handful of people, none of them young, several well past retirement age. 

…between a dog training school and a Micky D!!

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