Too Many Notes

Futility Closet shares a humorous report an “organization and methods engineer” wrote about a concert at Royal Festival Hall:

For considerable periods the four oboe players had nothing to do. Their numbers should be reduced, and the work spread more evenly over the whole of the concert, thus eliminating peaks of activity.

All the twelve violins were playing identical notes. This seems unnecessary multiplication. The staff of this section should be drastically cut; if a large volume of sound is required, it could be obtained by means of electronic amplifiers.

(The full report, only a few paragraphs long, is worth a look.)

While the piece is obviously intended for humor, what’s most striking to me is the realization that at some point in the evolution of music someone must actually have said, “I know what would make this better: two instruments playing the same notes simultaneously!” And that crazy idea turns out to be entirely valid.

All Birds. All Angry.

This picture (from a cell phone camera) came out about as bad as a picture can get, but I can’t resist sharing anyway. This is a Samsung Galaxy Tab on display at Best Buy… with every single icon opening Angry Birds:

Angry Birds

Angry Birds

What Have I Done!

My hotel had a lot going on yesterday. The morning began with breakfast:

Today's Schedule (1)

Today's Schedule (1)

In the evening the restaurant opened for dinner. Don’t forget room service can bring meals while one lounges in bed in pajamas if the trip downstairs is just too much work.

Today's Schedule (2)

Today's Schedule (2)

Finally, when you’re finished with all the food, visit the board room for a relevant meeting.

Today's Schedule (3)

Today's Schedule (3)

I wonder if they’re trying to send a message.

Power Your Own Hubble

Vehicle Power Interface with the Doors Open

Vehicle Power Interface with the Doors Open

If you have an extra $75,000 saved up and you’re looking for a good Valentine’s Day present, you could buy the “Vehicle Power Interface” for the Hubble Space Telescope on eBay!

According to the auction’s description, the console weighs 2,750 pounds and was used to provide power to the telescope and test its on-board power systems while the telescope was still on the ground. An accompanying log book includes details of the equipment’s usage.

On the other hand, the eBay seller has no obvious affiliation with NASA and has only four reviews (all positive), so I’ll probably save my $75,000 for other completely impractical pieces of NASA equipment that may become available in the future. Ideally I’d like to hold out for a Canadarm.

(via Boing Boing)

Girls vs. Boys

Scholastic book fair catalogs are always great for a laugh. (No, really.) In the Fall 2010 catalog, these two books appear side-by-side:

The Girls’ Book of Friendship: How to Be the Best Friend Ever

Learn How To:

✔ Stay Friends for Life
✔ Help a Friend
✔ And More!


The Boys’ Book of Adventure: Are You Ready to Face the Challenge?

Learn How To:

✔ Dive for Treasure
✔ Slay a Werewolf
✔ And More!

Don’t tell me there’s gender equality in kindergarten.

And my favorite part? The pair sits below the heading “New York Times Best-Selling Series!”


We just ordered Sophie’s school pictures online. Using sample pictures with models (letting you choose which model looks most like your child), the Lifetouch website does its best to offer up-sells — added bonuses for an extra charge. Do we want an extra thousand wallet prints, or a selection of multiple poses so we can choose our favorite?

The best option is this, offering to retouch the picture to remove acne:



Even better than the existence of this service is the brilliant marketing: the default choice is “Basic Retouching” showing the handsome young man you surely want printed in your son’s yearbook. Or, if you’re a cheapskate, you can choose to see his face dotted with acne.

Super Zombie Strippers

This is an actual blurb Comcast offers describing one of the movies available to watch free in the On Demand listings:

Bloody mayhem in the Champagne Room. In the near future, a secret government reanimation virus is released, and lands in a strip club. The virus spreads, creating Super Zombie Strippers. TV Premiere

Jenna Jameson, Robert Englund

I can’t tell if that’s horrifying or awesome.