New Strokes

I’m hearing good things about the next album, due April 10. I lost interest in The Strokes after First Impressions of Earth (2006?!), but I’d be hard-pressed to find a better debut album than Is This It.

Here’s a video for one of the new singles, “Bad Decisions.” If it sounds a lot like “Dancing With Myself,” it’s no accident. The band allegedly gave Billy Idol and Tony James songwriting credits to avoid litigation.

As near as I can tell, the message in the video is that The Strokes will be evolving musically, so if you want rehashed older albums (clones), too bad. Oh, and the band members’ faces are deepfaked onto actors playing the clones. Timely!

Quantum Supremacy


(artist’s drawing of Google’s quantum computer chip)

In October, Google built a quantum computer that solved an incredibly hard problem in 200 seconds — a problem the world’s fastest supercomputer would take 10,000 years to solve. This is called “quantum supremacy”, and has been compared to the Wright Brothers’ first flight.

”Until recently, every computer on the planet — from a 1960s mainframe to your iPhone, and even inventions as superficially exotic as ‘neuromorphic computers’ and DNA computers — has operated on the same rules. These were rules that Charles Babbage understood in the 1830s and that Alan Turing codified in the 1930s. Through the course of the computer revolution, all that has changed at the lowest level are the numbers: speed, amount of RAM and hard disk, number of parallel processors.

But quantum computing is different. It’s the first computing paradigm since Turing that’s expected to change the fundamental scaling behavior of algorithms, making certain tasks feasible that had previously been exponentially hard. Of these, the most famous examples are simulating quantum physics and chemistry, and breaking much of the encryption that currently secures the internet.

I’m sure this will go well.

More here.

Union Row

THIS IS HUGE! An epic, historic game-changer for Memphis, one requiring all the stars to align for a project of this magnitude to even be considered. According to The Daily Memphian

Supporters believe Union Row, the massive, $950-million office, retail and residential project in downtown Memphis’s blighted east edge will be a catalyst for enormous additional investment.

“That’s a Cinderella story,” Mark Billingsley said in December after he and fellow Shelby County Commissioners voted to pump $100 million into the project.

Developers contend Union Row will create 4,300 jobs and generate $16 million in annual property, sales and hotel taxes. If all phases are completed, the project will be among the largest, if not the largest “mixed-use’’ real estate development in Memphis history.

The project will be built in stages. Phase One, with a construction price tag of about $512 million, represents about half of the overall $950-million venture.

Developers spent $25 million this year — much of it with cash — snatching up an array of parcels where Phase One will rise: Collectively, a 10.8-acre site roughly bounded by Union on the north, Danny Thomas on the east, Beale on the south and Fourth on the west.

Developer J. Kevin Adams believes Union Row will reshape downtown.

“This is the gateway to our downtown,’’ he told a gathering in April at East Memphis’ Crescent Club. “And it’s been blighted for a long time.’’

The site is in decay. Vacant or overgrown lots surrounded by razor wire line the streets amid bits of broken glass. Now out-of-place businesses have agreed to move, including auto repair shop Powerhouse Motors and Lit Restaurant Supply, housed in a repurposed car dealership first opened in 1935.

Demolition is set to begin in October or late fall.

Full article here.

Project Magenta

Co-creating with AI. Fascinating stuff.

New technologies have fundamentally changed the way we make and experience music. In this session Claire Evans, artist, author and one half of the pop duo YACHT talks about deep learning as a tool in their creative process. Their new album explores Google AI’s research project, Magenta, an open-source music-making package using machine learning models.

Comic-Con 2019 Walking Tour

If there’s an afterlife, I want it to look like this.

San Diego Comic-Con is unfathomably massive, and we walk through the entire show floor to give you a sense of the exhibit hall’s scope and scale. Norm and Kishore take us to some of their favorite booths in one continous walk, navigating through the crowds, cosplay, and collectibles of Comic-Con 2019.

Lickamaforbus

Since one of you bastards broke iTunes and got it cancelled for the rest of humanity, I’ve been looking for new Apple products to consume.

New Morning Edition Theme Blows

The outgoing 40-year old theme is like a comfortable pair of old shoes. It’s reassuring. This new theme is … not.

From an article in The Atlantic

The old theme—known for its inquisitive guitar and jazz piano—went off the air last week after 40 years of service. It was replaced on Monday with a new one that churns through dozens of ideas in 58 seconds: There’s a trip-hop remix of the old melody, a synthesized set of chimes conveying either urgency or the imminent arrival of an elevator, and a clatter of percussion that sounds “global” without evoking any one country in particular.

“For me, it was so reminiscent of childhood, of car rides to school,” [classical composer Timo] Andres told me later of the old theme. “Even though, objectively, it sounds like an artifact from a universe where Steely Dan was co-opted into writing state-propaganda music.”

The new theme, meanwhile, was summarized more pithily by [jazz singer Theo] Bleckmann. “Yeah, it sucks,” he said.

What say you bastards?

Oops

Let this be a lesson to you early adopters.

Samsung’s futuristic Galaxy Fold is launching this month, and the device has already made its way to a select group of reviewers and influencers. During the run-up to the device’s launch, there were concerns about the durability of the folding display, and now after just a few days with the public, the device is already experiencing problems. There are numerous reports of Samsung’s $2,000 device breaking after a single day, sometimes due to poor durability, other times due to user error.

Check it out.