Xeni Jardin points to an AP wire service story by Sonja Barisic about the exoneration of Grace Sherwood. Sherwood, a midwife, was convicted 300 years ago of being a witch, the only one found so in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
She was “tried by water:” bound hand to foot and dumped in the Lynnhaven River. She floated, and hence was found guilty.
The so-called “Witch of Pungo” was not executed, however, but she was jailed for perhaps eight years. Gov. Timothy Kaine offered the pardon.
“With 300 years of hindsight, we all certainly can agree that trial by water is an injustice,” Kaine wrote. “We also can celebrate the fact that a woman’s equality is constitutionally protected today, and women have the freedom to pursue their hopes and dreams.”
Laura Erickson assembles tips on birding Texas in the summer, from posts by Stevan Hawkins.
Via robot wisdom, composer Dmitri Tymoczko has written visualization software that makes sense of the harmonic movement of a piece of music.
“Tools like these have helped people understand music with both their ears and their eyes for generations,” Tymoczko said. “But music has expanded a great deal in the past hundred years. We are interested in a much broader range of harmonies and melodies than previous composers were. With all these new musical developments, I thought it would be useful to search for a framework that could help us understand music regardless of style.”
The homepage for ChordGeometries 1.1 includes a link to the published paper and three some short animations to accompany a fragment of a Chopin piano prelude. I’d love to see what a Billy Strayhorn piece like “Lush Life” looks like.
Via kottke.org, India Amos explains what it means to design the interior of a book. Don’t overlook the extensive comment thread.
I find a book handsome not because it necessarily differs from the standard template. You don’t want a book design that says, “Look at me! I’m designed!” You want a book design that says, “Dive into this text.” So it has to be inviting, but also capable of becoming transparent once you’re in it. Like a cool pool on a hot day. You splash in, you scream delightedly, and after a few seconds it feels normal and you can focus on hitting your friends with foam toys or whatever. I like a design to complement and enhance but not upstage or distract from the text.
Via e3 Information Overload and The Tangled Bank, David Wheat explains why urine is yellow, and sometimes not.
Some other colors can result from pigments in the diet, such as betacyanin found in red beets.
We’re still in beta test mode here. I’m fiddling with templates and style sheets. Do not try to adjust your set.
Via Boing Boing, public domain MP3s of popular songs from the 1900s and teens.
We drove out to the Eastern Shore yesterday to say goodbye to Marlie, who died last week in a traffic accident induced by the heavy rains we’ve been experiencing.
“Boisterous” is perhaps the first word that comes to mind when I think of Marlie. She was always having a hell of a good time, and wanted to make sure everyone else was, too. Her idea of a backyard cookout was to arm all the guests with Super Soakers; we would then all take a turn racing around the lot with her Jack Russell Terrier, Indiana. It was her idea to heave a plucked chicken carcass onstage for our production of a prison drama-fantasy called Crocodile.
I can think of only one time that I got the better of her.
Some years back, Marlie and her husband John came to my house for a birthday party for me. She invited herself upstairs to the TV room/bedroom, and started rummaging around in the (closed but not locked) cabinet under the TV. “What’s this?” she said, as she pulled out a copy of Student Sorority Nurses Do Detroit, Part 2, or some such title. “Hunh” was my clever rejoinder. I bustled her downstairs, probably opened the CD changer and slapped on a copy of the classic “go home now” music Carmina Burana. Anyway.
Then some time after that, Leta and I met during a show that John was directing. Now, I can be a little fastidious and anal retentive at times, I own Dawn Upshaw recordings, my decorating senses are not completely stubbed out, and I hadn’t dated anyone for several years, so it was generally suspected among the theater community that I was gay. When Marlie learned that Leta was interested in me, she said, “It’s okay, I checked, all the porn in his house is straight.”
So Leta told me this, probably in a crowd at Barnaby’s. And losing only half a beat, I said, “All of it that she found.”