Here’s a friendly reminder to stay aware of the precarious position we always seem to be in every few years with respect to censorship and the internet. The latest House bill — SOPA — seems to have lost steam for now, but there’s still the Senate bill — PIPA — and probably still some inevitable FutureBill that proposes the same thing (or worse) X months/years from now. With your vigilance, our elected officials might just get the message, and stop trying to fiddle with things they don’t understand.
Hokay, enough political ranting. There’s hacking to be done!
Thanks to all who spent Friday the 13th hurtling through the cosmos with All Hands Active and the Elks Lodge! There was an excellent showing indeed, and I personally witnessed folks dancing so hard that their slide rules fell out of their protected pockets. Thanks to your generosity, we raised $233 in donations to keep the lights on at the best place to hack in Ann Arbor. This event was but one small step for AHA, and it’s likely that we’ll hold other such events like these in the near future. Until then, safe travels to your destinations, wherever they may be… Photos! -> Continue reading →
Last night at All Hands Active I taught a class on the basics of harmonic music theory. It turns out that understanding what all is going on in the music we like so much can not only help us to like it even more, but also to begin taking ownership of our aural consumption and make music for ourselves.
We began with physics. Sound is just energy being transmitted through the medium of air from the source to your ears, and the waves of that energy give sound all of its characteristics. Complex heaps of dueling harmonics result in different timbres and help you tell your mother’s voice from an alarm klaxon despite both having the same pitch and intonation. Furthermore, the frequencies of those sound waves are pretty neat. It turns out that any given note has a standard frequency, and that that same note, 1 octave higher, is double the frequency of the original note. And as if that wasn’t cool enough, the intervals (2 notes played at once) we’re used to hearing in popular music like perfect fifths reduce to perfect ratios of their respective notes’ frequencies, in this case 3/2. That may not mean anything to you at all, and that’s neat, too. It just means there are holes in your head that we have yet to fill.
Then we got into scales and chords. I could bore you with talking about the Circle of Fifths, but let’s sum it up with this: scales are collections of intervals out of which you can construct chords, chord progressions, and melodies. Harmony refers to how everything fits together.
By the end of the class, everyone had written a basic chord progression and a melody along with it. Given with satisfaction rate of what happened, I’ve already organized an Intermediate-level class to follow up in greater details on the chords and melodies on February 6th at 7PM. If what is mentioned above is all duh and derp for you, feel free to drop in and pick right up and even if you feel out of your depth I think we can learn you a thing or two regardless. Suggested donation: $5 and hugs.
Here is a clip of the class trying to make their arms follow the changes in the pitch and sonorance of the music:
And here is one of the songs we used to point out counterpoint:
A couple groups from the world of Medicine have recently been down to All Hands Active. Kaylesh Pandya, with the help of Matthew Oishi and @Ech0labs is utilizing the resources at hackerspaces such as AHA & i3Detroit to reconstruct data from CT scans in 3D – both virtually and physically. This enables doctors, students, and patients to have a better understanding of say, a traumatic injury to the skull. Check the slide & the video for more information!
Got an old Laptop? All Hands Active is looking to bring more low cost education to the masses! We have spent the past year working with Bright Futures, Brain Monkeys, and various other organizations to teach everything from Programming to Bleach Dying Bandannas. Continue reading →