Everything we can’t describe in music, Vans legacy, Taking notes by hand, new tunes, and more

Arts & Culture

Everything We Can’t Describe in Music

Timbre isn’t just the sound of music. It’s the guts, the unique frequencies. No two instruments will ever sound the same. The differences in timbre are subtle like the diversity of grapes that make wine. It’s a term that has no precise definition.

In fact, he pointed out that there were a lot of similarities between the way we describe the taste and smell of wine and the way we describe the timbre of an instrument.

PLUS: A YouTube explainer of timbre

Christian Hosoi Reflects on his Incredible Career and Being Part of the Vans Legacy

Vans is turning 50. Skateboard and brand ambassador Christian Hosoi, who famously invented the ‘Christ Air’ and ‘Rocket Air,’ talks about how Vans represents individuality to the people who wear them.

Vans really give the person who buys and wears them their own identity to be whatever they want. An attorney and a lawyer could wear them, and an artist and musician, and a skateboarder; they could be wearing the same pair of vans but on every person they will somehow fit who they are, because they don’t put you in a category. You can wear Vans and be anybody you want and fit in any genre and any subculture.

PLUS: Have you heard the Pack’s excellent song about Vans?

Philosophy & Productivity

Attention, Students: Put Your Laptops Away

If you’re struggling to remember it may be because you’re trying to type everything down. Studies again and again prove that writing things down by hand than merely transcribing is a more effective way to learn.

“The students who were taking longhand notes in our studies were forced to be more selective — because you can’t write as fast as you can type. And that extra processing of the material that they were doing benefited them.”

Network Leadership

Most meetings are a waste of time. On top of that, they force group think which essentially stifles any new ideas. But leaders can steal one from the social networks and start rewarding different voices, not just the popular ones. The social networks can also do better job at bubbling up fresh ideas too.

The problem we have is that the majority viewpoints get amplified, while minority opinions get silenced, as Steven Johnson puts it.

Social Media & Tech

Online Media Is Tested When Social Platforms Come to Town

Social platforms are eating publishers for dinner. Facebook and Snapchat ingest media content and then make you stay on their property to consume it. No one clicks out. No wonder site traffic is down major publishers. As a Gawker executive wrote: “We — the freest journalists on the planet — were slaves to the Facebook algorithm.” Not surprisingly, it’s the same model we’ve seen before, a la Amazon.

Amazon found ways to take advantage of Toys “R” Us, using the relationship, and its presence on their platform, to start a toy category on Amazon, to figure out how to sell toys on Amazon, and then to invite a lot of competing companies on the same platform to compete with Toys “R” Us, which made it a lot less attractive for them to be there.

PLUS: According to Gary Vaynerchuk, teens are gravitiating to Twitter as their public Snapchat alternative.

New Music

Episode 85 | Tunes of the Week

  1. Last Japan – Ascend
  2. Andy Stott – Selfish
  3. Feather – Like No Other
  4. Nathan Melja – No No No
  5. U – Easy Prayer

🎵 Listen here

Thought of the Week

I wish I could just favourite emails instead of answering them. – JK Rowling


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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.