Smashley's Posts

Lab Track: Infinite Monkey Cage Theme

Lab Track: Infinite Monkey Cage Theme

One of the great things about going to conventions, besides getting to see all the wonderful people I get to see, is the bounty of new ideas and recommendations and inspiration those people give me. One such recommendation came from Labber Ryan, who told me about a science podcast from the BBC known as The Infinite Monkey Cage. I subscribed, started listening, and have since recommended it to ever... »

If We Can’t Laugh at Jazz Satire, Jazz is More Fragile Than We Thought

If We Can’t Laugh at Jazz Satire, Jazz is More Fragile Than We Thought

Update: I appeared on WNYC’s Soundcheck to debate this topic with 30-year jazz critic Howard Mandel. It’s on the August 7th episode. Go listen! This past weekend, the internet exploded (as it is wont to do). The New Yorker published an article in its Shouts and Murmurs column, which is reserved for humor and satire, entitled “Sonny Rollins: In His Own Words.” From the ficti... »

Lab Track: Foil

Lab Track: Foil

Now that all the Weird Al hysteria has died down (on the internet, but not in my heart), I wanted to feature one of the many amazing tracks that came out with the comedy musician’s fourteenth, and probably final, full album, which set a record as the first comedy album to debut at #1 on the Billboard charts. A parody of Lorde’s “Royals,” “Foil” starts out innoce... »

Lab Track: What Does the Spleen Do?

Lab Track: What Does the Spleen Do?

What does the spleen do? I don’t know either. I once knew a girl who had hers out, and as a result she said she couldn’t eat fatty foods without puking. I haven’t heard of that since, though, so maybe that’s bogus. Apparently this is a common area of ignorance, so the Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Dental Medicine class of 2016 put together a parody of “... »

Watch Isaac Newton in a Rap Battle with Bill Nye

Watch Isaac Newton in a Rap Battle with Bill Nye

We’ve featured Epic Rap Battles of History here at the Lab before — the YouTube series dresses two rappers up as historic figures and pits them against each other to debate their respective achievements in rhyme. It’s the best. There are plenty of battles between sci-fi characters (Doc Brown vs. Dr. Who) artists (try Bob Ross vs. Pablo Picasso, or perhaps Stephen King vs. Edgar A... »

Lab Track: These Aren’t the Droids

Lab Track: These Aren’t the Droids

If you’re anything like me, you may want to clear an area in whatever room you’re in to allow for plenty of running-around-flailing-and-screaming space. (And if, like me, you’re at work when you see this, get ready to pretend you’re totally not silently screaming to yourself). Neko Case and her always-amazing musical sidekick Kelly Hogan have written a feminist sci-fi anthe... »

Lab Track: Lateralus

Lab Track: Lateralus

Today’s lab track is math rock! I was hipped to this track over the weekend, which is kind of shameful, since I loooove odd and changing meters and this song came out way back in the Napster era. Oops. Tool’s Lateralus is inspired by the Fibonacci sequence, both in the lyrics (the syllables begin with 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, and then go back down) and the time signature (9/8, 8/8, 7/8 —... »

Lab Track: Cell Song

Lab Track: Cell Song

Today’s lab track contains a special bonus: in addition to being a song about science, the music video is made from science. Animated by Ewan Jones Morris, the video is crafted entirely of cutouts from vintage science journals, encyclopedias, and magazines. Within the spinning, expanding images, he inserted black and white video of the band performing. John Brownlee of Fast Company Design, w... »

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