Author Archives: Robert Gulley

Our Galaxy Expressed as Jazz

Rather than take pictures of the Milky Way, astronomer Mark Heyer decided to capture it in a completely different art form.

This amazing video is part of an article from Interesting Engineering  depicting the motion of the Milky Way translated into a musical score.

While most astronomers love capturing unique and stunning images of the Milky Way, one astronomer wanted to capture the galaxy in a unique way. Astronomer Mark Heyer expressed how the galaxy moves in the musical composition “Milky Way Blues.”

This is no Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” as the music isn’t simply inspired by the galaxy’s sounds; it is the galaxy’s sounds. The University of Massachusetts Amherst professor created an algorithm that transformed the data into a series of notes.

“This musical expression lets you ‘hear’ the motions of our Milky Way galaxy,” he says. “The notes primarily reflect the velocities of the gas rotating around the center of our galaxy.”

Heyer assigned notes to the atomic, molecular and ionized gases that can be found between the stars in our galaxy. He then gave different pitches, tones and note count to the velocity and spectra of each gas phase. For example, atomic gases were given an acoustic bass sound, molecular gasses got woodblocks and piano, and ionized gases became saxophone notes.

“Astronomers make amazing pictures, but they’re a snapshot in time and therefore static. In fact, stars and interstellar gas are constantly moving through the galaxy but this motion is not conveyed in those images. The Milky Way galaxy and the universe are very dynamic, and putting that motion to music is one way to express that action.” He chose to compose this piece using a pentatonic scale – with five notes in the octave instead of seven – and in a minor key, because “when I heard the bass notes it sounded jazzy and blue,” he said.

You can read more about this incredible process here.

Watch the video here.

Enjoy!

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.       Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

Hand Made Vacuum Tubes by Claude Paillard

This is an amazing video – hand-made vacuum tubes! About 17 minutes long – well worth the watching if you have any interest at all in old equipment!

You can find the video here

Enjoy!

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

House Passes Digital Music Licensing Package

This was posted today in Radio World:

Bills head to Senate accompanied by applause from stakeholders

The House has unanimously passed the Music Modernization Act, a compromise bill that creates a framework for better compensating artists for digital plays of their music and making it easier for music rights organizations to collect those fees from distributors of streamed music like Pandora and Spotify, as they do from traditional plays on TV and radio.

The bill has been billed as the most significant change in music licensing laws in decades, and drew praise from a chorus of stakeholders. It now heads to the Senate, where it is also expected to pass.

It actually incorporates a trio of bills. The base Modernization Act creates a single licensing entity for reproduction rights for digital uses, like those of Spotify, Pandora, Google, Apple and Amazon. It also randomly assigns judges to preside over ASCAP and BMI rate-setting cases, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

The package also includes The CLASSICS (Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, and Important Contributions to Society) Act which compensates artists for pre-1972 recordings, which had previously not been eligible for digital royalties.

You can read the entire article here

It should be interesting to see the impact this has on availability of songs and costs of streaming services over time.

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

Going By the Numbers

For those who follow numbers stations or, like me, enjoy seeing articles about numbers stations, below are a few paragraphs from a recent article in Radio World by author James Careless:

“6-7-9-2-6. 5-6-9-9-0.” Tune across the shortwave bands (above AM/MW), and chances are you will come across a “numbers station.” There’s no programming to speak of; just a mechanical-sounding voice (male or female) methodically announcing seemingly random groups of single digit numbers for minutes on end.

Congratulations! You are now officially a spy-catcher, to the extent that you may have tuned into a spy agency’s “numbers station” transmitting one-way instructions to their minions worldwide.

Numbers stations are unidentified radio broadcasts that consist usually of a mechanical voice “reading out strings of seemingly random numbers,” explained Lewis Bush, author of “Shadows of the State” a new history of numbers stations and the spies who run them. “These are sometimes accompanied by music, tones or other sound effects.” He said. “There are also related stations broadcasting in Morse Code and digital modes.”

The article goes into some of the history of numbers stations, but also talks about modern stations from all over the world. A worthwhile read for those so interested!

Do Shortwave ‘Numbers Stations’ Really Instruct Spies?

Cheers! Robert AK3Q

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

Heil Sound and Last Man Standing

last-man-standing-charity

The following was posted through an email from Heil Sound:

When the producers of the popular TV show, “Last Man Standing,” needed an authentic ham radio set-up to use in the show, they turned to Heil Sound’s Amateur Radio Division, helmed by Bob Heil. Now, thanks to the generosity of the show’s star, Tim Allen, props from the show – including some autographed by Mr. Allen – are being offered for sale with all proceeds going to the Red Cross.

The full article may be found here:

Last Man Standing Charity Items

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.