“Purple Rain”, starts with a B flat suspended 2 with a D in the bass

Friday, 19 December, 2014

When I think of eighties music, I think of… eighties music, and then find something else to give thought to. “Purple Rain”, by US musician Prince however says a lot about how much of the music of the time could have been. In my humble opinion that is. Like the track or not though, its back story is fascinating:

The stage is dark. A chord rings out. It’s an unusual chord – a B flat suspended 2 with a D in the bass. A year from this night, the sound of that chord will be enough to drive audiences into hysteria. But right now, in this club, the crowd of 1,500 or so people listen quietly, because it’s the first time they are hearing the song that the chord introduces.

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The best of the best ever groundbreaking albums

Thursday, 18 December, 2014

As you would expect, works by Kanye West, Radiohead, Mary J. Blige, Dr. Dre, Nirvana, Micheal Jackson, The Ramones, Kraftwerk, Carole King, Miles Davis, The Byrds, Loretta Lynn, The Mothers of Invention, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Ray Charles, and Woody Guthrie, are listed among the forty most groundbreaking albums of all time.

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I come from the land of the flat white… or do I?

Thursday, 18 December, 2014

The flat white, a coffee brew that’s kind of like a latte, and also a cappuccino but with less froth and an absence of sprinkled chocolate, is apparently taking hold in the US. I can’t say I’m a flat white fan, hence the surely crude description I offered of it, but if the drink is amassing a following elsewhere in the world that can’t be a bad thing.

But in the States, where cappuccino foam became wetter, not dryer and stiffer, we never found the need for such a drink. Still, Americans have a yen for adopting trends from the Commonwealth. From wetting the parched gullets of Aussies and Kiwis, the flat white eventually made its way to the hip and posh cafes of London, and has been migrating to the U.S. over the last couple years, as everyone from New York to the New York Times to the New York Post to Vogue began declaring it their new favorite coffee drink.

What I didn’t know however is that there appears to some dispute between Australian and New Zealand baristas as to who devised the brew. We’ve been here before though haven’t we? When it comes to frothing up certain diary products, the two countries seem to find themselves at loggerheads. Why is that?

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A history of web design for web designers

Thursday, 11 December, 2014

disassociated.com takes its origins in what now seems a primordial desire of mine to be a web designer. That I had no knowledge, or for that matter, experience, in the field was irrelevant, a mere detail. I made it, for a time, but soon realised I was really looking for a way to publish online, rather than build online.

Still, it all remains a reminder to me that anything is possible, should you set your mind to it.

Anyway, for those who came in late, a brief history of web design for designers, by Sandijs Ruluks, will take you through some of the milestones, and major developments, in the field that is web design.

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The Harappan Civilization… war free for two thousand years?

Thursday, 27 November, 2014

The people of the Indus Valley Civilization, or the Harappan Civilization, located in the region where India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are today, three to five thousand years ago, lived for near on two thousand years without taking up armed conflict, or going to war with themselves or their neighbours

Archaeologists have long wondered whether the Harappan civilization could actually have thrived for roughly 2,000 years without any major wars or leadership cults. Obviously people had conflicts, sometimes with deadly results – graves reveal ample skull injuries caused by blows to the head. But there is no evidence that any Harappan city was ever burned, besieged by an army, or taken over by force from within. Sifting through the archaeological layers of these cities, scientists find no layers of ash that would suggest the city had been burned down, and no signs of mass destruction. There are no enormous caches of weapons, and not even any art representing warfare.

I think we could learn a thing or two from these people, don’t you?

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A list of people who have disappeared mysteriously

Wednesday, 26 November, 2014

Harold Holt was Australia’s seventeenth Prime Minister until he disappeared, presumed drowned, on 17 December 1967, while swimming at Cheviot Beach, south of Melbourne, across Port Phillip Bay. Despite one of the largest ever search operations in Australian history, no sign was ever found of him.

He is but one person on a long list of people who have vanished under mysterious circumstances over the centuries. In some cases it was eventually learned what became of some people, but the fate of many remains unknown.

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Thirty years of the Berlin Wall in photos

Thursday, 13 November, 2014

It’s been twenty-five years since the Berlin Wall, the brick and mortar barrier that divided the German city of Berlin into East and West sections, during the height of the Cold War, was torn down. To mark the occasion, In Focus has assembled a collection of photos documenting the wall’s three decade history.

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100 years on, some countries are still paying for World War One

Monday, 10 November, 2014

Here’s something you may not have known. Even though one hundred years have passed since World War One, or the Great War started, Britain is still paying for its part in the conflict, in the form of repayments on bonds that the then government issued to fund the war effort:

Ten years later, the bonds were refinanced by Winston Churchill into 4% Consolidated Loans. Facing the huge financial strains of the Great Depression, chancellor Neville Chamberlain used patriotism again to convert some of the “4% Consuls” into perpetual bonds, which give the debtor the right to never pay the principal as long as the interest is paid – which he cut to 3.5%. The government has been paying about £136 million a year to holders of the perpetuals and war loans. The government estimates it has paid £1.26 billion in total interest since 1927.

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Castles, markets, the future, all part of a thousand years of change

Friday, 7 November, 2014

British historian Ian Mortimer, writing for The Guardian, identifies ten of most profound changes of the last one thousand years… listed here from the eleventh century onwards:

  • Castles
  • Law and order
  • Markets
  • Plague
  • Columbus
  • The decline of personal violence
  • The scientific revolution
  • The French Revolution
  • Communications
  • Invention of the future

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An oral history of “The Wonder Years”

Wednesday, 29 October, 2014

I didn’t see enough of The Wonder Years, a TV series set in the suburbs of a US town during the 1960s and 70s, that ran for six years. Time to track down a DVD box set I think. In the meantime I’m settling for this informative oral history of the show, published by Rolling Stone magazine:

We knew that the success or failure would rest on the shoulders of finding a phenomenal 12-year-old kid. Every casting director we interviewed said, “Whether you hire us or not, you really need to see this kid Fred Savage in Chicago for the role of Kevin.” We flew him out and read him with the other actors – and it was a no-brainer. We had seen some kids who were pretty good, but whether the series would have been anything like what it turned out to be with Fred… I suspect not.

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