NASA space program Space Shuttle Music
Contact Great Guy Rich Thoma
Space Enthusiast G+ Circle - Memorial Day Weekend 2012 - May 26, 27 & 28 Space Festival follows throughout the First Week of June 2012
"Moog: A Documentary Film" Hans Fjellestad's documentary on the irreplaceable Robert Moog
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson explains how fear contributed to the development of America's space program in the late 1950s, thereby spurring economic growth.
Max Matthews -- The First Computer Musician Jun 9, 2011 http://nyti.ms/k6rX8o
A pioneer who believed that computers were meant to empower humans to make music, not the other way around.
The Laurie Spiegel mentioned in the piece was, one of the early members of New York City's "Big Apple Users Group" BIG APPLE USERS GROUP - THE KNICKERBOCKER APPLEKNOCKERS (users of the Apple II Computer, not drugs). She was also the composer of a piece chosen by the late Carl Sagan to accompany Voyager into space.)
From The New York Times: Why every musician and listener who uses a computer owes a debt to Max Mathews.
The First Computer MusicianIf the difference between 1911 and 2011 is electricity and computation, then Max Mathews is one of the five most important musicians of the 20th Century. – Miller Puckette
In 1957 a 30-year-old engineer named Max Mathews got an I.B.M. 704 mainframe computer at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill, N. J., to generate 17 seconds of music, then recorded the result for posterity. While not the first person to make sound with a computer, Max was the first one to do so with a replicable combination of hardware and software that allowed the user to specify what tones he wanted to hear. This piece of music, called “The Silver Scale” and composed by a colleague at Bell Labs named Newman Guttman, was never intended to be a masterpiece. It was a proof-of-concept, and it laid the groundwork for a revolutionary advancement in music, the reverberations of which are felt everywhere today.
When Max died in April at the age of 84 he left a world where the idea that computers make sound is noncontroversial; even banal. In 2011, musicians make their recordings using digital audio workstations, and perform with synthesizers, drum machines and laptop computers. As listeners, we tune in to digital broadcasts from satellite radio or the Internet, and as consumers, we download small digital files of music and experience them on portable music players that are, in essence, small computers. Sound recording, developed as a practical invention by Edison in the 1870s, was a technological revolution that forever transformed our relationship to music.
In comparison, the contributions of Max Mathews may seem inevitable. Just as so much of our life has become “digitized,” so it seems that sooner or later, sound would become the domain of computers. But the way in which Max opened up this world of possibilities makes him a singular genius, without whom I, and many people over the last six decades, would have led very different lives.
As an engineer, Max had extremely diverse interests, all of which he pursued with a great deal of energy. He provided the initial research for virtually every aspect of computer music, from his early work with programming languages for synthesis and composition (the MUSIC-N family of software) to foundational research in real-time performance (the GROOVE system and RTSKED, the first real-time event scheduler). Max also helped start the conversation about how humans were meant to interact with computers by developing everything from modified violins to idiosyncratic control systems such as the Radio Baton. Marvin Minsky, a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence and one of Max's peers, said that Max “wrote the first beautiful examples of how to do things and then he moved on to something else,” leaving it to colleagues, students and other creative minds to pick up where he left off. Along the way, his fluency in human cognition, acoustics, computer science and electrical engineering allowed him to always keep in mind the big picture: that computers were meant to empower humans to make music, not the other way around.
Back in 1957, none of these ideas were self-evident. Rebecca Fiebrink, an assistant professor of computer science at Princeton University, says of Max: “Max had this vision of the computer as being something that is creatively empowering to people, even in the 1950s, when the words 'empower' and 'creativity' were not part of the vocabulary.”
Max's early experiments with sound and the digital computer were made possible by a fortunate combination of factors, including a community of supportive colleagues led by his supervisor, John R. Pierce. Bell Labs, for whom he worked as an engineer, had a vested interest in Max's research: as the practical demands of telecommunications in the United States broadened after the Second World War, a melding of analog telephony and digital computing was inevitable. Max's initial mandate was to research the problem of getting computers to listen and speak. The fact that he interpreted his research agenda in the broadest possible terms, giving us not Moviefone, but music, is amusingly subversive; the fact that he got away with it, was encouraged to keep going, and created an entire world of possibility along the way, is astounding.
Max's research was first published for a wider audience in an article, titled “The Digital Computer as a Musical Instrument” in the November 1963 issue of Science. He explained the language he created to work with sound digitally, wherein the user creates two sets of instructions. The first, an “instrument,” defines what the sound should be, in terms of waveforms, amplitude curves, filters and how these components should be connected to one another. The second set of instructions, the “score,” contain the musical notes, rhythms and durations with which the instrument will sound. This simple conceptual distinction between the instrument and the actions it performs to make music is still the norm today.
This article prompted two other computer music pioneers, John Chowning and Jean-Claude Risset, among others, to come to Bell Labs to work with Max. (Chowing appears as an influential figure in Martin Bresnick's previous post in The Score, “Prague 1970: Music in Spring.”) They found themselves in a community made up of a seemingly peculiar pairing of Bell Labs scientists and avant garde musicians. Risset, finishing his doctorate in Paris, came to Bell Labs and began working with Max on new possibilities for synthesizing the timbre of existing instruments.
“Max was very generous about sharing,” Risset recalled. “At that time, Bell Labs was almost a public service. They had the feeling that there was a commitment and duty to make the research available to the general public, including artists, in terms of new possibilities. In fact, they felt the artists were also doing research, so that science and technology could both benefit.”
Chowning, in his second year as a graduate student in composition at Stanford, was experimenting with electronic sound and multiple loudspeakers. He recalled Max's Science article well: “I had never seen a computer, so when I read this article and realized what this meant, it defined the possibilities of music in a wholly new way. So I decided to investigate. The first thing I did was to take a programming course, and convince myself that as a musician that I could learn to program. I then contacted Max.”
Speech (and speech synthesis) was of particular interest to what was rapidly becoming Max's lab, and he and his colleagues John Kelly, Jr., who would go on to propose the Kelly criterion in economic investment theory, and Carol Lockbaum used the I.B.M. to generate perhaps the ultimate cover song. If “The Silver Scale” was a proof-of-concept, the 1961 speech synthesis rendering of “Bicycle Built for Two” is a tour-de-force of the new digital musicality possible with computer programming. In the man-versus-machine standoff in Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Douglas Rain's HAL 9000 begins to sing the tune wistfully as astronaut David Bowman disengages its memory, regressing the homicidal machine back to its infancy as it fondly remembers a Mr. Langley, who taught it to sing a song.
By the early 1970s, Max's lab at Bell, the Acoustic and Behavioral Research Center, was doing research in literally every possible aspect of sound in which a computer could provide assistance, all under the auspices of a company ostensibly committed to the comparatively modest goal of providing Americans with better telephone service. He was also becoming increasingly engaged in getting computers into the act of performance, something that was only just becoming possible. His first foray into the problem was a project he called GROOVE, a hybrid project wherein a computer controlled a large analog modular synthesizer. Laurie Spiegel: Appalachian Grove 1 edit (1974 electronic ambient minimal avant-garde)
Laurie Spiegel, a composer who at the time had been working with analog synthesizers, met Max through Rhys Chatham, who programmed a performance by Max and Emmanuel Ghent for a music series at the Mercer Arts Center, a venue that would evolve into the Chelsea arts space many of my friends and I perform in today.
Spiegel, excited by the possibilities of the GROOVE system, asked Max if she could join him in his endeavors at Bell Labs: “Being a woman with no technological credentials at the time, I doubt I would have been granted access to then-scarce powerful computer systems in any other lab. But Max didn't go by credentials or background or identity. He took every instance in as its unique self, responding to each thing on its own terms.”
A life-long violinist, Max also began experimenting with electric instruments using custom circuitry. He created a series of twelve electric violins containing custom circuitry. Laurie Anderson recalls receiving one to work with, beginning a 30-year friendship with Max: “He gave me a violin that I used for a while. The violin itself was really beautiful. The way he talked about strings was amazing. Like everyone, I lost touch with him and got back in touch with him all the time. But no matter what, as soon as I would see him again we were right in the middle of the conversation. Max was one of those friends.
“The Sequential Drum,” an article Max published with Curtis Abbott in 1980, saw Max's research taking a new, significant turn, as he began to outline the idea of an intelligent musical instrument, leveraging the power of the computer to generate sound and assist in musical performance. This work involved not only a computer program but also a physical device that enabled a performer to control the timing of a musical sequence stored on a computer by beating a “drum” (in actuality an electrical trigger). Three years later, Max published an article in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America titled “RTSKED: a real-time scheduled language for controlling a music synthesizer.” In the article, Max explains a basic system for getting a computer to schedule musical events in real time, either on its own or in response to commands from a live performer. This system, which outlined a simple, efficient mechanism for human-computer interactivity, started an avalanche of innovation in computers that could finally perform alongside us.
I was 8 years old when Max described RTSKED. Nearly every day for the last 15 years, I've opened up my computer and double-clicked an icon to launch a program called Max. Max the program, named after Max the man, was developed in the late 1980s by Miller Puckette, an American computer scientist working at IRCAM, the Institute for the Research and Coordination of Acoustics and Music in Paris. Influenced by Max's research thus far, the program allows for the creation of a visual graph, or “patcher,” representing a process that can generate and respond to sounds, images or any other input and output one can imagine to the computer. Puckette first heard Max speak at an International Computer Music Conference in the early 1980s presenting RTSKED: “I didn't actually talk to him, but the thing I noticed was, unlike all the other speakers who got up, when Max showed up at the lectern the entire audience gave him a standing ovation before they allowed him to say a word. I was 22 at the time, so I paid some attention to what he said after that, and it was a good thing I did, because I trace a large part of what I did in Max to RTSKED.”
Nearly a quarter-century old, Max, the software, is currently developed by a software company in San Francisco called Cycling'74, founded by David Zicarelli. Zicarelli met Max, the person, as a graduate student at Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), where Max began teaching upon retiring from Bell Labs in 1987: “He had this way of characterizing it, which is that pitch is not expressive, in comparison to rhythm and other aspects of performance. If you store the pitches and let people focus their performance expressivity on rhythm and legato and that kind of thing, you don't have to worry about staying in tune, or playing the wrong note at the wrong time, and you can actually be really musical. He saw this drum both as an interesting sensor technology, but also as an egalitarian musical vision. That this is a way to open up music performance to a wide audience.” If you've ever played Guitar Hero, or Rock Band, you've experienced making music through the legacy of Max's ideas about democratizing musical performance.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s Max continued his research in expressivity in computer music performance, embarking on research that would culminate in the Radio Baton, a musical controller that allowed for the three-dimensional control of sonic parameters, and Scanned Synthesis, a paradigm for computer sound generation. The Radio Baton, which provided the missing link between the Theremin and the Nintendo Wii game controller, allows for smooth, expressive control of multiple musical parameters without being tied to such things as musical keyboards, faders and buttons.
In the 2000's, Max began having breakfast every Thursday with a group of electronic and computer music pioneers from both academia and the commercial music industry. Max attended the group's meetings religiously.
Up until the end of his life, Max continued to work on innumerable projects with computation and music. Richard Boulanger, who worked with Max extensively on the Radio Baton, tells me: “Even to the last days of his incredibly full life, he was learning, teaching, writing, coding, performing, and even now 'remixing' his classics.”
Mission Control Words and music by Carmino Ravosa
It was included in the World of Music Gd. 2 series from SilverBurdett. The book is now out of print.
Mission Control do you read me?
Will you please save me a place?
Mission Control do you need me
On the next rocket in space?
Maybe I'm small but I'm growing.
Watch and one day you will see.
Space is wide open and waiting for me.
So, Mission Control do you read me?
I really don't take too much room.
Mission Control do you need me
On the next trip to the moon.
I want to study the planets.
I want to study the stars.
I want to go up to Venus or Mars.
I'm working hard and I'm certain
An astronaut's what I will be.
The sky is the limit for someone like me.
(Spoken) Mission Control, do you read me?
I'll be seeing you in about twenty years.
Until then, over and out.
Tom Rapp's (Thomas Rapp, Esq.) band Pearls Before Swine made an albaum called "The Use of Ashes" which contained the song "Rocket Man," written the day Neil Armstrong landed on the moon.
- My father was a rocket man
- He often went to Jupiter or Mercury, to Venus or to Mars . . .
- Tears are jewel-like
- My mother's went unnoticed by my father, for his jewels were the stars . . .
- One day they told us the sun had flared and taken him inside.
Years ago, Bernie Taupin was interviewed in Billboard about a song he wrote for Elton John. It was called "Rocket Man." Taupin was asked about whether he and John had stolen it from David Bowie. Indignantly, he denied this. "We stole it from Tom Rapp and a band called Pearls Before Swine," he said.
Well, not really. Elton John's "Rocket Man" was a different song, a wan song by comparison. It was all turned around, written from the point of view of the astronaut, who by gosh missed his wife and kids. Death did not intrude.
NASA History of Space Flight Motion Pictures
Over 70 years ago, the National Archives was founded to preserve American historical documents, as well as the moments and events that could be saved in still photos, films, and audio recordings. Today the Archives is home to everything from rare historical footage (newsreels and government documentaries from the 1930s) to the 1969 moon landing. Now Google is launching a pilot program to digitize its video content and offer it to everyone in the world for free, and you can watch a growing selection on Google Video.
Star Spangled Banner
The Challenger Center http://www.challenger.org/
Challenger Center for Space Science Education shares a deep sense of loss with the crew of STS-107. Joe Allen, Chairman of the Board for Challenger Center, said: "We at Challenger Center hold the crew of Columbia and their families in our hearts and prayers during this difficult time, and we ask that the citizens of America and the world do the same. As people throughout the nation try to come to grips with the sad news about STS-107, we urge people to heed the words of the family members of the Columbia crew: 'Although we grieve deeply, as do the families of Apollo I and Challenger before us, the bold exploration of space must go on. Once the root cause of this tragedy is found and corrected, the legacy of Columbia must carry on for the benefit of our children and yours.'"
Lavender Satellite -
Waterspouts and more...
Ground Control To Major Tom
Mission Control Download Music and video for this song has been donated to the public domain.
The families of the astronauts who died in 2003's space shuttle Columbia disaster received $26.6 million from NASA, according to documents. The documents do not show how much each family received, however the husband of one deceased astronaut said parents, children and spouses were all compensated, and families of astronauts with doctoral degrees received a bit more than those with master's degrees.
Archive.org, like the Conet Project , which holds recordings of numbers stations, mysterious shortwave stations where robotic voices reel off long lists of numbers. These could be ideal if you're creating a spy film.
Ms. Colburn Physics class was studying speed and acceleration and decided to have her students launch "water rockets" to study these concepts. Students were paired up and challenged to build a rocket which would not only fly, but would carry a "payload" (a raw egg) and return it safely to earth.
From Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dothttp://www.youtube.com/v/i2Z2aNp9P0s
This except goes with a picture taken by Voyager 2, looking back from near the edge of the solar system, about 3.7 billion miles away.
The picture shows a streak of light across space and a small, pale blue dot. A second, shorter except from the book's conclusion follows.
Because of the reflection of sunlight off the spacecraft, the Earth seems to be sitting in a beam of light, as if there were some special significance to this small world. But it's just an accident of geometry and optics. The Sun emits its radiation equitably in all directions. Had the picture been taken a little earlier or a little later, there would have been no sunbeam highlighting the Earth.
And why that cerulean color? The blue comes partly from the sea, partly from the sky. While water in a glass is transparent, it absorbs slightly more red light than blue. If you have tens of meters of the stuff or more, the red light is absorbed out and what gets reflected back to space is mainly blue. In the same way, a short line of sight through air seems perfectly transparent.
Nevertheless - something Leonardo da Vinci excelled at portraying - the more distant the object, the bluer it seems. Why? Because the air scatters blue light around much better than it does red. So the bluish cast of this dot comes from its thick but transparent atmosphere and its deep oceans of liquid water.
And the white? The Earth on an average day is about half covered with white water clouds. We can explain the wan blueness of this little world because we know it well. Whether an alien scientist newly arrived at the outskirts of our solar system could reliably deduce oceans and clouds and a thickish atmosphere is less certain.
Neptune, for instance, is blue, but chiefly for different reasons. From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it's different.
Look again at that dot.
On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.
Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.