The Doctrine

History Of Spiritual Jazz: 1955-2012

In the final hours of Black History Month, I urge you to explore this marathon 12-hour Spiritual Jazz mix compiled by Black Classical. It’s a historical journey of Spiritual Jazz stretching from 1955-2012. This mix originally appeared on NTS Live, an online radio station based in London with studios in Los Angeles, Shanghai, and Manchester.

The catalog features recognized pioneers Sun Ra, John Coltrane, Gil Scott-Heron, Herbie Hancock, and Pharoah Sanders in addition to South African songstress Letta Mbulu and Brazilian percussion genius Airto. The cuts are deep and the mix is a crate diggers paradise.

Read More

TRAPPIST1 Size Comparison Chart

Seven Earth-like Planets Found Orbiting Nearby Star

TRAPPIST1 Size Comparison ChartImage via Space.com

This morning NASA announced the discovery of seven Earth-like planets “that could harbor life” orbiting an ultra cool red dwarf star. Three of these seven newly discovered planets are in the Habitable Zone. The exoplanets circle the star TRAPPIST-1, which lies just 39 light-years (235 trillion miles) away — a mere stone’s throw in the cosmic scheme of things.

From Washington Post:

The discovery, reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, represents the first time astronomers have ever detected so many terrestrial planets orbiting a single star. Researchers say the system is an ideal laboratory for studying alien worlds and could be the best place in the galaxy to search for life beyond Earth.

“Before this, if you wanted to study terrestrial planets, we had only four of them and they were all in our solar system,” said lead author Michaël Gillon, an exoplanet researcher at the University of Liège in Belgium. “Now we have seven Earth-sized planets to expand our understanding. Yes, we have the possibility to find water and life. But even if we don’t, whatever we find will be super interesting.”

Here’s the paper in Nature: Seven temperate terrestrial planets around the nearby star TRAPPIST-1.

Novel Uses For (Rap) Genius

Genius started out as a platform for annotating clever rap lyrics but has since expanded to include more than hip-hop, and more than just lyrics. Over the last week I have stumbled across some increasingly novel uses for the Rap Genius website:

  • First was an annotation of Hamilton: An American Musical soundtrack. These annotations are filled with interesting tidbits and insights into the song lyrics, American history, and production plot.
  • Second was an annotation of the entire Great Gatsby. Wonderful.
  • Lastly, Travis Korte used the Genius Web Annotator to create an informative takedown of the GOP’s recent Mainstream Media Accountability Survey. The annotation exposes the confusingly worded questions, sample bias and leading questions used in the survey.
Casa Bonita: Skeleton pirate at the entrance to Black Bart's Cave

Why Did Pirates Wear Eye Patches?

This Wall Street Journal article from back in 2013 answers some important questions about whether reading in dimly lit conditions or reading on a device like an iPad or phone can actually cause damage to your eyes. It turns out there is no evidence of long-term damage or change in the physiology to the eyes but it may cause discomfort or fatigue.

However, the lead is buried in the last paragraph of the article and explains why pirates wore eye patches:

“Ever wonder why a pirate wears patches? It’s not because he was wounded in a sword fight,” says Dr. Sheedy. Seamen must constantly move between the pitch black of below decks and the bright sunshine above.

Smart pirates “wore a patch over one eye to keep it dark-adapted outside.” Should a battle break out and the pirate had to shimmy below, he would simply switch the patch to the outdoor eye and he could see in the dark right away—saving him 25 minutes of flailing his cutlass about in near blindness