Hot on the heels of the court ruling that a descending minor-scale motif in Katy Perry’s song ‘Dark Horse’ infringed a descending minor-scale motif in somebody else’s, comes news of another threatened lawsuit, this time involving Lady Gaga’s song ‘Shallow’. Allegedly this ripped off a three-note progression from a song by an unknown artist whose … More And the musical litigation continues
This week’s obscure English word is kugelblitz. It’s another word English has outright stolen – it’s the German term for ‘ball lightning’. However, in its appropriated English sense it’s got a different meaning. It’s a physics term referring to a concentration of energy so apocalyptically huge that it distorts the space-time continuum around on itself, … More The obscure word of the week is kugelblitz
Last week I finally got around to writing the story of the Tarawa coast-watch massacre. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while. It’s the story of how 22 New Zealanders, many of them civilians working for the Post and Telegraph Department, were murdered by Japanese occupation forces in October 1942. There’s a memorial … More The Tarawa coast-watch massacre of 1942
In the last ten days there have been announcements about two different giant birds that used to live in New Zealand. There’s a human-sized penguin that flourished during the Paleocene – the first age after the dinosaur extinction event – and a one-metre tall parrot that lived some tens of millions of years later in … More All about New Zealand’s amazing giant dead parrot
I’ve been a bit puzzled by the copyright suit that ended the other week in the US. According to the news reports, pop-star Katy Perry’s 2013 hit ‘Dark Horse’ copied a 2008 song featuring Christian rapper Flame, ‘Joyful Noise’. After a four-year court battle, a jury agreed and Perry, her co-authors and her label were … More Katy Perry, Flame and the magic four-chord progression
This week’s obscure English word is chirospasm. It basically means writers’ cramp – a spasm or cramp of the hand from too much hand writing. Your challenge: write a sentence or two in the comments using this word. Copyright © Matthew Wright 2019
I got a new piece of astronomy software the other day, letting me run simulations according to the laws of physics, however implausible the scenario. I thought it might be fun to see what would happen if a rogue orange-tinted dwarf star – smaller than the average star, but not excessively so – was cut … More The Tangerine Peril destroys the Earth!