Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Four Fantastically Fun Music Makers

Are you tired of endlessly scouring the internet for all of the best creative music makers you can get our hands on? Me too. That's why I bitched out and only posted 4 instead of my intended 10. There are a lot of great music games out there, but here's a list of some that caught my eye:

Music Box

Music Box is almost retarded-simple, but somehow menacingly HARD. It is literally exactly what is looks like: digital music box, make your own pegs, hear your own tune. I couldn't make anything worthwhile, but I'm working on it. Take my word for it, if you can work out a little ditty on this bad boy it could be the most rewarding experience of your life.

Break in the Road

Alright, now this guy is a little bit different. Break in the Road is not so much about making music as it is finding music. Basically you navigate, click by click, through a digital city, recording noises you hear along the way. After you've filled the 5 spaces allotted to you, you bring them all back the studio and mix a tracks of nothing but city sounds. Admittedly it starts off slow, but give yourself the chance to get the hang of it, it's pretty fun.


It's really simple, but kind of hard to explain. Basically you have a grid, little boxes, and the ability to send squared-in arrows hurling toward walls. When the arrow hits the wall, it makes a tone, whose pitch depends on where on the wall it hit. Alright, that doesn't sound so simple, but I promise it is. Play around, click like crazy, and then after you figure everything out try to make a song. Should be easy enough, pretty much anywhere you click will make wonderful sound.

Isle of Tune

Here we go, I've saved the best for last. Isle of Tune is one of the most creative and fun things I've seen on the internet thus far. Every light, tree, flower, house, and pot car the passes makes its own unique noise. You can change what notes are made by clicking on the object and choosing a new color. Here's what you do: Make a road, line it with neighborhood objects, place a car in the mix and listen. These tunes can get pretty complex and a tad confusing, but in a good way. If you're having trouble making anything that sounds decent place some loops down. After your done name and save your town, then take a look at some other towns made by other people- sadly if you're anything like me, theirs will be much better than yours. Isle of Tune is definitely a must see.

Having trouble finding that spark of inspiration? I bet Bobby McFerrin can help. If you don't click on any of the links thus far at least watch the video. It's absolutely worth it.

The internet is literally riddled with little games like these and most of them are amazing. If you find any that are as good or better than these post them in the comments section, I'd love to see them!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

5 (plus) Reasons the World is Still Great

So, admittedly this blog has taken a rather abrupt turn towards pure no holds barred cynicism. To do my best to alter this trend and send things in a lighter direction I've decided to make a list, which will probably be updated from time to time, of things that I think make the world rather great. Here are five reasons making the universe was probably a good call (in no particular order):

1) Anyone can make waves

So, apparently, in Oahu, Hawaii there is a place called Waimea River Beach where every year a dam of sand builds up and cuts the Waimea River from the ocean. Typically it takes months for the dam to wear away naturally, but for this ragtag crew of surfing enthusiasts, "months" is entirely too long; they prefer maybe a couple of hours. With the aid of their hands, surfboards, and a couple of shovels the team digs a trench, connects the bodies of water, and surfs the day away. Just something to think about next time you're bored.

2) 2 (maybe 3) words: Non-Newtonian Fluid

If you're a huge nerd like me (or you spend any time on the internet at all) you've probably seen/heard of this stuff. What you may not have known is that you can make it with a simple mixture of cornstarch and water. I think the video speaks for itself, and if you want more non-Newtonian fun make sure to google "non-Newtonian fluid on a speaker."

I also figured I'd provide you a recipe, just for kicks.

3) Anis Mogjani

If you have a soul Anis Mogjani will touch it. If you don't have a soul Anis Mogjani will make one for you and then touch it. I wish I could provide a sufficient description of this one, but I honestly couldn't do it justice. Seriously, guys, just watch the video.

4) DNA Replication

Alright, I know it may not seem to be the most interesting thing in the world, but trust me, this is amazing. You may not remember all the details from your freshman bio class, but that's okay. All you need to know is that somewhere in your body right now this is happening. Constantly. And what the video fails to mention is that these little enzymes can do this up to 50 times a second. Think that's impressive? Bacteria tops about 500 times per second. Can I get a "Holy shit," anyone?

5) Michael Pritchard's Water Bottle

I'm a moderately size fan of TED.com, so I figured I'd embed this video directly from the source. If you're not familiar with TED and the kinds of projects that come out of it then you should really take a look around the site, it's pretty wonderful. All this aside, it's not TED I want to tell you about right now, it's Michael Pritchard's invention that I think is a testament to why we deserve to be here. He has managed to create a portable water filter that purifies water COMPLETELY (none of that Brita filter bullshit). If you watch the video you can see that not even the smallest bacteria and viruses can make it through the filter. More amazing than that is the fact that it's cheap. Crazy cheap. Like, 1/2 a day. Cheers, Mike.

Bonus!!!) Duolingo

Duolingo hasn't launched yet, which is why it's in the bonus round, but I love the idea. Basically, you translate the web while simultaneously learning the language you're translating from. Odd? Yes. How does it work? I dunno, but if they pull it off it could be revolutionary. Besides, Google Translate kind of sucks anyway.

So, as you can see, though the world may seem drab and boring at times, there are still things to get excited about. People are still inventing, innovating, and discovering ways to make the rest of us seem, well, unproductive. I mean, shit, even our cells work harder than we do... But, I hope what you get from all of this is that if you just tried you could do something to be proud of too, and if you ask me, that makes the world pretty great.

Think you have a pretty good reason the world shouldn't go up in flames quite yet? Feel free to post a link in the comments!