Saturday, June 6, 2015

It's Music To Our Fears!

                According to a recent article in the Minneapolis StarTribune, a graduating senior at the University of Minnesota has translated global temperature data into music. He took the coldest year in Minnesota history, 1883, and assigned it a musical note. He then did the same with the average annual temperature for every year since 1880 in the four northern regions of the globe. Voila’…”climate change for a string quartet.”
                Apparently, the composition, “Planetary Bands, Warming World,” starts low and ends up high, “especially the violin that plays the music of the Arctic region, which is warming faster than the rest of the world.” The article goes on to state that “the average annual temperature for the 44th-through 64th-degree latitudes, which includes Minnesota, peaked at 36.1 degrees in 2007. As transcribed for the piece, it is two octaves higher than the corresponding 1883 temperature.” It does not say what the temperature trend has been after that.
                The string quartet, again according to the article, is the senior’s “second climate change composition. The first one, completed in 2013 at the suggestion of a professor, also played across the world and was picked up by the Weather Channel and the Dot Earth blog in the New York Times.” That one was called, “A Song of Our Warming Planet.” The article deemed it, “a rare marriage of science and art.” Admittedly, it was not a great piece of music. The student himself said in an interview that musicians complained “that it wasn’t very musical.” He went on to state, “It got the point across-it was really scary to listen to.” Really scary to listen to? Was it that stupendously awful, or are we just that soft, gullible, ignorant and craven?
                The student’s climatology professor, who came up with the idea in the first place, called the apparently sad, discordant composition an excellent teaching tool, and a way to express climate change “without defaulting to some guy in front of a slide showing a graph.”
                I propose we start taking lots of mathematical data, previously illustrated by graphs and the like, and put it to music. The government’s debt, for example, could be incorporated into a funeral dirge. The number of illegal immigrants poring over our southern border over the years could be accurately illustrated by an opus with rising crescendo. Allegro, allegro, presto!
             The article went on to opine that this second composition “tells an equally important but more complex story about the warming world.” And that vital and labyrinthine tale is…? “That different regions of the globe are experiencing climate change differently.” Really? I mean, really??!!! Talk about stating the obvious. There has never been a time in the history of this planet, with or without homo sapiens, that this hasn’t been the case! It’s been really warm in India recently. Much of the central and eastern U.S. has been much colder than normal of late. Is it even possible to experience climate change on a consistent, regular, harmonious, uniform, homogenous basis around the planet? Is that not oxymoronic? That would be real climate change...and extremely unnerving. After all, change is the only constant. (Okay, besides death and taxes).

                The student says he would eventually like to go to graduate school to study climate change, but for now wants to find a job and save some money, “and give my brain a break.”

                And  ours.

               Ears, too.

                The rapidly changing nature of change is changing things at changing rates around the world! That’s scary!!

At least b.s. is still b.s.!

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