Welcome to onfocus—a weblog by Paul Bausch where I post recommended links, my photos, and occasional thoughts. Subscribe here if you like RSS.
Bloomberg
"Companies issue stock to fund projects, stocks go up because investors think companies have good projects to fund, companies use their stock price to recruit employees and pay for mergers and make decisions about what projects to pursue in the real world. I don’t know, I feel like a moron typing all of this. But I just have to type it! Think of how GameStop’s board must feel! The market is telling them something, but it is hard to hear what it’s saying through its maniacal laughter."
Fascinated by this story of market manipulation not by the usual suspects.
NBC News
Useful! Here’s a brief summary of each executive order day by day.

Music: Shape Note Orchestral

Shape note music is hard to describe. It's protestant a capella hymns from the 1800s that were written in an unusual music notation that was meant to be easier for people to read. Singing in a shape note group is a great experience and I recommend it even if hymns aren't your regular cup of tea. I found a video on YouTube that explains shape note singing in a way that's very similar to my experience: Art Zone: Kevin Barrans explains Sacred Harp singing.

I've been missing the music so I arranged a few of the songs in GarageBand and thought I'd share:

Africa by William Billings
Poland by Timothy Swan
Antioch by F.C. Wood
If you're curious about what shape note music is supposed to sound like, there are many examples on YouTube. Here are versions of these songs: Africa, Poland, and Antioch.

Really looking forward to a time when it's safe for people to get together and sing.
New York Times
"But none of these bills will pass a Senate in which the filibuster forces 60-vote supermajorities on routine legislation. And that clarifies the real question Democrats face. They have plenty of ideas that could improve people’s lives and strengthen democracy. But they have, repeatedly, proven themselves more committed to preserving the status quo of the political system than fulfilling their promises to voters. They have preferred the false peace of decorum to the true progress of democracy."
I agree this is the test for Democrats. They need to be able to endure a few bad media cycles to get important work done. Majority rule is how the system is supposed to work.

See also: The Senate Filibuster Is Another Monument to White Supremacy (Aaron Burr really was the worst.)

Happy Inauguration Day

May we replace greed and malice with competence and compassion more often in the future. Feeling hopeful.

Music: Wellerman (Orchestral)

I was completely charmed by sea shanty TikTok and if you haven't already seen it, here's a good summary: TikTok is making sea shanties big again. I also found a good sea shanty playlist on Spotify if you want to hear more than just Wellerman.

I started wondering what an orchestral version of these a capella songs would sound like. As you do. I found some music for Wellerman and had fun arranging it in GarageBand:


It's a sad but hopeful song that somehow rhymes with the times.
Vox
"The United States, in other words, pays an enormous price for its long lame-duck period. There’s no good reason the US cannot join Canada, Britain, France, India, Japan, and other nations in transitioning swiftly to a new administration after a presidential election."
100 emoji.
New York Times
"Google agreed to help Facebook have a better understanding of who would be shown the ads by helping the company identify 80 percent of mobile users and 60 percent of web users, the documents said. But several other partners said they had little such help understanding who was being shown ads."
What’s a little shared personal user data between monopoly pals?
Washington Post
"Journalists, if they take their core mission seriously, should think hard about how they’re going to confront this Big Lie, as it’s become known."
I hope journalists start using these but I’m not holding my breath. The idea that the two political parties are both operating in good faith and should have equal time to promote their "views" is a hell of a drug.
wsj.com
"Scientists also point to data from the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics, which conducts a weekly random survey of the population. Just before the Christmas break, when schools were still open, the positivity rate among children was higher than in most adult groups, especially in those older than 11."
Children don’t present as many symptoms but they spread the virus. Open schools may be safe for kids but they aren’t safe for their communities.
Bryan Alexander
"More than one third of Americans turn to Facebook for news, which is a big chunk of the population. Around one fourth fire up YouTube for this purpose.  Following those is Twitter, then smaller and smaller numbers for the rest."
A look at social media preferences through the lens of higher ed.
Salon.com
"If you took Parler out of the equation, you would still almost certainly have what happened at the Capitol," he told Salon. "If you took Facebook out of the equation before that, you would not. To me, when Apple and Google sent their letter to Parler, I was a little bit confused why Facebook didn't get one."
I want to quote this whole article. We still have a broken system.
« Older posts