Posts from 21st February 2007

Feb 07

Pie Debate Solved

FT + Pumpkin Publog13 comments • 1,653 views

The pie debate has been rumbling on FT since the dawn of time itself. For the uninitiated, the positions can broadly be termed the performativists and the formalists.

The latter attempt to draw a line that encompasses the common or garden pie in pastry with the shepherd’s, cottage and fish pie are doomed to failure. Constructions such as ‘a filling touched by at least one starch layer’ cause us to include lasagne and pizza. Two say that at least two dimensions must be touched leaves the shepherd’s pie out, as well as the pie in a pot beloved of pub grub, but still leaves ravioli in the mix. To say ‘to the most part or totally encompassed by a casing’ opens us to the possibility that a boiled egg is a pie.

The hard formalists (I pin my colours to the mast here) escape this tortuous taxonomy by being brutal with the scions of pie. We insist that pie means pastry, immediately kicking out pasta and eggs and other non-pies from the family. Harder formalists insist on the essential slice of a silo shape, to exclude a pasty, but even I think this is going too far.


Attempt At Punk Science Misses Punk Point

FT + Proven By SciencePost a comment • 492 views

HelloThe Hello Experiment on Lean Mean Fighting Machine is a grand stab at the kind of science we all wanted sorted out as a child. Could a blind woman make such a good clay bust of Lionel Richie, and could you do it in the time it takes to listen to “HELLO”? After all the archetype of the blind love-lorn sculptress is one which endures in our society, namely via Tom’s belov’d Fantastic Four comics and Alicia Masters. Notably though she tended to sculpt The Thing, claiming that she alone could see past his monstrous form and see the inner dignity inside. What she actually meant was a bloke made of orange rocks is easier to sculpt than anyone with a normal face.


it’s not exactly deep blue vs. kasparov

FT + Proven By Science + The Brown Wedge8 comments • 723 views

Much like those eminently satisfying reports of wine experts preferring £4 Sainsbury’s plonk in a blind taste test, Gramophone magazine finds that an obscure pianist who built a cult following on the back of an astonishing variety of accomplished performances in the years before her death actually just nicked the music off other people. Entire CDs, with track orders intact, were repackaged with her name. AND NOBODY FIGURED IT OUT until some dude stuck a CD into his iTunes, which automatically connected to the Compact Disk Database. The CDDB is a service which identifies CDs by their “fingerprint” – a crude system that looks at the exact length of tracks down to the millisecond, the number of tracks, and says “well this CD simply MUST be [x]”. In this case, it identified Joyce Hatto’s CD of Liszt’s 12 Transcendental Studies as being, well, Lászlo Simon’s CD of Liszt’s 12 Transcendental Studies. The archives were immediately checked and loads of Hatto’s stuff turned out to be by other people.

All of which immediately provokes two questions.

First, has classical music now reached a saturation point of recording when not even professionals have the ability to recognise identical versions of famous pieces?

Second, should these professionals perhaps stop putting us all on that they can distinguish the subtle nuance they say they can and do something more useful than complain about the “flat colouring” of the soprano section in the second act of a three-champagne opera?