Archive for May 10th, 2011

May 10, 2011

A Briefer History of Time

A brief history of time by Hugleikur Dagsson

Stephen Hawking

A Briefer History of Time‘ is a popular-science book published in 2005 from the English physicist Stephen Hawking and the American physicist Leonard Mlodinow. It is an update and rewrite of Hawking’s 1988 ‘A Brief History of Time.’

In this book Hawking and Mlodinow present quantum mechanics, string theory, the big bang theory, and other topics in a more accessible fashion to the general public. The book is updated with newly discovered topics, and informs of recurring subjects throughout the book in greater detail.

May 10, 2011

A Brief History of Time

a brief history of time

hawking by Gregory Pepper

A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes’ is a 1988 popular science book written by English theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, which attempts to explain a range of subjects in cosmology (e.g. the Big Bang, black holes, and light cones) to the nonspecialist reader. Its main goal is to give an overview of the subject but, unusual for a popular science book, it also attempts to explain some complex mathematics. The author notes that an editor warned him that for every equation in the book the readership would be halved, hence it includes only a single equation: E=mc2. In addition to Hawking’s notable abstention from presenting equations, the book also simplifies matters by means of illustrations throughout the text, depicting complex models and diagrams. The book ends with: ‘If we find [a unified theory], it would be the ultimate triumph — for then we would know the mind of God.’

The first edition included an introduction by Carl Sagan in which the noted astronomer describes the first time he saw Hawking. Sagan was in London for a scientific conference in 1974, and between sessions he wandered into a room, where a larger meeting was taking place: ‘I realized that I was watching an ancient ceremony. The investiture of new fellows into the Royal Society, one of the most ancient scholarly organizations on the planet. In the front row, a young man in a wheelchair was, very slowly, signing his name in a book that bore on its earliest pages the signature of Isaac Newton… Stephen Hawking was a legend even then.’

May 10, 2011

Montreux Jazz Festival

montreux 1983

The Montreux Jazz Festival is the best-known music festival in Switzerland and one of the most prestigious in Europe; it is held annually in early July in Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva. It is the second largest annual music festival in the world after Canada’s Montreal International Jazz Festival. The festival was founded in 1967 by Claude Nobs (who still organizes the event); the first one lasted for three days and featured almost exclusively jazz artists.

The highlights of this era were Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette, Bill Evans, Soft Machine, Weather Report, Nina Simone, Jan Garbarek, and Ella Fitzgerald. Originally a pure jazz festival, it opened up in the 1970s and today presents artists of nearly every imaginable style, though jazz remains an important component. Today’s festival lasts about two weeks and attracts an audience of more than 200,000 people.

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May 10, 2011

Jazz Fest

George Rodrigue

congo square

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, often known as Jazz Fest, is a celebration of the music and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana held yearly since 1970. Use of the term ‘Jazz Fest’ can also include the days surrounding the Festival and the many shows at unaffiliated New Orleans nightclubs scheduled during the Festival event weekends. The festival celebrates the indigenous music and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana, so the music encompasses every style associated with the city and the state: blues, R&B, gospel, Cajun music, zydeco, Afro-Caribbean, folk, Latin, rock, rap, country, bluegrass and everything in between. And of course there is lots of jazz, both contemporary and traditional.

Jazz Fest is currently held during the day, between the hours of 11am and 7pm at the Fair Grounds Race Course, a horse track, on the last weekend in April (from Friday through Sunday) and the first weekend in May (Thursday through Sunday). The Festival also features a wide variety of vendors with local foods and crafts. The official food policy of the Festival is ‘no carnival food.’ Indeed, there are more than seventy food booths, all with unique food items, including but not limited to: crawfish beignets, cochon de lait (suckling pig) sandwiches, alligator sausage po’ boys, boiled crawfish, softshell crabs, crawfish Monica and many other dishes. All food vendors are locally owned small businesses.