people who can count

count for more than people who can’t. Rupert, for example, worked out for me how much bigger are the pits in CD than the bases on a string of DNA. It turns out that, if both were the same size, we’d have to be a hundred feet tall. The pits in a CD are so small that you can fit 3 billion of them into a string five kilometres long, and then coil the whole thing onto a CD. The three billion base pairs of DNA are only a metre long and are coiled into every cell of your body. That’s thin.

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3 Responses to people who can count

  1. rupert says:

    There’s a whole lotta scaling going on.

    I’m listening to Beethoven’s Ninth stretched to 24 hours long, with the original pitch kept ( and it’s a most peculiar listen. Very early Eno ambient, but with a curious passing dissonance and dynamism, even at that speed, that makes it much richer. Someone — can’t find who on a quick Google, it’ll come — took a Hitchcock film and played it at one frame a second to an audience, who were reputedly very enthusiastic at the result.

    Computers are the first tools we’ve had that can work in dimension as easily as form, in almost all areas of art (writing excepted, for I guess obvious yet interesting reasons). I’ve always been peeved that people do so little with computers and creativity, but perhaps we’re getting to critical mass with all those fast processors, spiffy video and audio, and ginormous hard disks…

    Still don’t know what to make of madplayer — — except that I thought of it first ten years ago, only as a featureless black egg that sampled ambient conditions and composed music in response. Much cooler, man.

    R (back from Sweden with the mozzy bites to prove it)

  2. rupert says:

    Darn formatting. Chop the trailing ) from the notam url above (or click here ) otherwise you’ll get error messages. In Norwegian.


  3. andrew says:

    I still haven’t got round to this URL. I am locked into the final alligator-wrestling with the worm book, which has been sucked back up to speed for the first time since I left Sloveinia by the vacuum left by a fast-receding deadline.

    But I have been to Emusic, inspired, in part by Scott Rosenberg’s mutterings over at Salon. I wish they wouldn’t encode at 128kbps. It seems a stupid ripoff when they’re charging money. I make my own mp3s at 192 or 224, and I can hear the difference from either to 128.

    Argh. Back to the grindstone. Must blog more in the mornings.

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