Wednesday, August 11, 2010

News is unfair, pop songs are awkward, and P probably doesn't equal NP.

1. News is unfair.  Nobody knows the whole story.  I recently heard about a right-wing talk show host investigating Oregon state representative candidate Cheryl Myers for some BS crime that there's no way she committed, just so they can say "she was investigated for this heinous crime..."  Bah!  Similarly, results of the Google- and Verizon-backed policy proposal have yet to be seen, and it does sound like a step backwards, but it's not a behind-closed-doors secret plan to steal the internet, as the NY Times reported.  How can they just throw stuff on the news that's not true?  They didn't even retract it!  Blah blah media is broken etc blah grump complain!  Let's move on to something lighter:

2. Is it just me, or have pop songs gotten really awkward?  I don't just mean Soulja Boy's newest hit "Birdwalk" or the fact that the #1 pop star in the world is 11 years old.  The finest example is, of course, Kesha's "Tik Tok", a song that just makes no goddamn sense.  The subject matter is "I'm gonna party a lot"; fine.  But the music!  It's like they threw together a bunch of beats and decided "we'll end this chorus whenever we feel like and then throw some 'oh oh oh's on the end."  Her voice is generic pop plus an occasional ... drawl?  (whatever you call that bit at the beginning.)  The chords sound like a keyboardist found tabs for "Hella good" and said "hey why don't you talk-sing over this."

Anyway, example number two: I present "OMG" by Usher.  Again, the lyrics are mostly simple, but understandable, so I'll gloss over those for now.  And it keeps lulling you into periods where the beats almost make sense... until he stutters out "oh my gosh" and then there's a break for football-stadium cheers.  What?!

It's like there's a trend to just throw out everything we know about making tunes that kinda work.  And I don't mean to say this judgmentally- it could be kind of cool, even- I'm just befuddled!  It's like pop stars ran out of inspiration so they turned to outsider music.  But two does not a trend make, but I can't think of another song that's on the awkward level with those two yet, so I'll just let this be for now.

3. On the P != NP proof: this is fun news!  I don't know a damn thing about whether it's right or not, nor does anyone else yet.  It's 100 pages of intense math.  I don't really even care to look at it.  But consider that this is the computer-science version of curing cancer or landing on the moon.  It's a super friggin' big deal.  And this guy is like "hey look, I solved it."  And now everyone else is having a fit trying to prove or disprove him!  Another bit of admiring Mathematicians and Theoretical Dudes, I guess.

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