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First of all allow me to direct you to my girlfriend’s blog, and her post about Hurricane Sandy. In short, her parents live a few blocks from the bay on Long Island, and her childhood home flooded with about 2 feet of water last night. So if you’re the praying type, keep her family in your prayers. If you’re the thinking type, keep them in your thoughts.

I discovered this jaw-dropping, mesmerizing US wind map this morning via Discovery News. This fascinating animation is created by streaming realtime wind speed and direction data from the National Digital Forecast Database and feeding it into software that then generates the animation, graphing out the wind as lines across a map of the U.S. The image at the top of this post is a screenshot of the remnants of Sandy. When you visit it, be sure to click on the map and zoom in on the center of circulation. Get really close- it’s truly mesmerizing. Things like this have always fueled my fascination with weather.

And what would any major event, good or bad, be without some sort of meme coming from it? Please direct your browser toward the hilarity of NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s sign interpreter Lydia Calas. I was watching the weather channel last night when this address was airing live, and her face, coupled with Bloomberg’s pathetic attempt at Spanish, provided us some much-needed comic relief in the midst of all the bad news. Literally within minutes of that airing, there was a joke “Miguel Bloombito” twitter account created. I recommend following…

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Darlings. I’ve mentioned them on here before… albeit a long ass time ago. I’ve seen the term “slacker pop” thrown around 1,000 times about this band but it’s really the very best possible way to describe them. If you think about Pavement and The Rentals having a baby, you’d be on the right track. I just want to have a drunken college couch makeout session with every one of their songs. They’re cute and irresistible. Do yourself a favor and check out these New Yorkers’ latest single “Pet the Ghost” on their bandcamp. It’s even available for free download for the time being! Now, can somebody get these slackers to stop slacking and tour through Nashville? Please?

Pains of Being Pure at Heart @ SXSW 2009

I’ve been a solid fan of the Pains of Being Pure at Heart ever since they burst onto the scene in late 2008/early 2009. I was pretty amazed when I read this article on Stereogum reporting that they’ve finished up their 2nd full-length with none other than Flood behind the faders. Knowing that a producer who was behind such huge massive sounds as U2, Depeche Mode, Smashing Pumpkins, etc… was working with POBPAH initially scared the hell out of me. Adam Gold of the Nashville Scene/Cream once told me “they rock about as hard as a cupcake” referring to POBPAH. And honestly that’s a pretty accurate statement, but I’m actually fond of several “cupcake” bands, so that is (in some ways) a very good thing in my mind. Such a “big sound” production style would certainly spell doom for the tenderness and teenage awkwardness that is part of the reason I loved their debut album so much. At least that was my initial reaction. The quotes in the article, however, quelled most of my pessimism about this second album. Quotes like “the loud parts are louder and the quieter parts are quieter — with a lot more variation between the two” really make me feel like Flood didn’t just come crashing through the walls and lay down the law while POBPAH cowered in the corner. The band actually developed a “good push-and-pull with him” and believes that he actually learned as much from them as they did from him. To me, a big part of what made their debut so good was the way it was mixed, and most specifically the guitar sounds. Honestly there were a few moments where I found myself wanting the guitar parts to come through a little clearer; that they were a little too awash in fuzz and re-verb. So when I read that they were going for “a guitar sound that hit you in the chest.” I’m all about that. So with slight hesitation, I look forward to hearing this new album. As I’ve said all along, I really think this band has some staying power.

A few random other notes:

Congrats to everyone involved with Make-Out With Violence, the locally shot and produced feature film is now officially out on DVD and On Demand. I mentioned before they’d finally found a distribution home with Factory 25, but now you can actually go order a copy for yourself. Go forth and buy! These dudes sunk a lot of their own cash into this movie and worked tirelessly for years- they deserve it! (Via Nashville Cream)

Just watch this amazing feat of choreography and lighting that happened in NYC for the Target 2010 fall fashion spectacular. Mind=blown. (Via Vitalic Noise)

Brooklyn Vegan reports that a Woodstock 40th anniversary show will go down at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in upstate New York, which is where the original Woodstock festival was held. Among the performers are Woodstock vets Levon Helm and Country Joe McDonald.

As promised here are a couple of mp3s from bands that are playing my 8 off 8th this coming monday. First up is Paper Navy, a relatively new band with my friend Simon Lynn (formerly in The Whole Fantastic World) on drums, and a few other Murfreesboro music veterans. The standout track from their EP “All Grown Up” is the title track. The EP can be downloaded for free at their website.

Paper Navy- All Grown Up

Second comes a track by Codaphonic. This band will not feature its original lineup, but frontman Cody Newman decided to keep the Codaphonic title for whatever he does musically. From what I understand he’s got a lot of new material, but it’s along the same vein as the older material. Here’s “The Most Important Thing” from the Codaphonic album The Ballad of Codaphonic.

Codaphonic- The Most Important Thing

Google will soon be introducing a very useful new service/product called PowerMeter. It will allow you to use Google to monitor your home’s power consumption and see what’s using the most energy and why. Their description says it perfectly:

Google PowerMeter, now in prototype, will receive information from utility smart meters and energy management devices and provide anyone who signs up access to her home electricity consumption right on her iGoogle homepage.

Sign me up! Via Kottke.org.

Finally some encouraging news is coming down the pipe about the state of NASA and its hotly contested Constellation program. In case you’ve been under a rock, the Constellation program is the over-arching name for a system of rockets and modules (Ares I, Ares V, and Orion Crew Vehicle) that will replace the space shuttle as NASA’s means of taking astronauts into space and eventually back to the moon. Since Obama took office, NASA’s lost its administrator and suffered from a “sense of drift.” This article in the Orlando Sentinel reports on a new study by the Obama Administration to see if Constellation is really the right choice to replace the space shuttle. In short, they want to address the engineering problems and budget overruns that the Ares I rocket and Orion Crew Vehicle have experienced. Some studies were done into alternatives to Constellation, but a 2005 study found that Constellation was the best choice. Unfortunately many contractors and rocket companies expressed dissent regarding that study and claimed that it didn’t consult enough of them to have a balanced perspective. I really look forward to seeing the result of this, and I really hope Obama picks a new Chief Administrator for NASA soon. I don’t really care what the results are, just that we’re going in the right direction with this, and that our money isn’t being wasted on lame duck projects. Via Universe Today.

On a completely different and random note, I had a bizarre dream last night that I was in someone’s house and caught a rattlesnake. Then we put it in a bag… I think it was made of cloth. For some reason I then decided that the snake would be scared in the bag, so I dumped it back out, caught it again, and held it behind its head for a really long time. Then the dream ended. WTF?!? At least no one got bitten?

Image via Space.com

The Kepler spacecraft took its first few images earlier this week, and NASA has released them. The one shown here is zoomed in on a small cluster of stars about 13,000 light years from Earth. Kepler has a 95 megapixel camera to take these images. 95 megapixels. Fuck.

An awesome new concept is emerging in some of the world’s largest cities- green rooftops. It’s a concept that I sincerely hope catches on quickly. Typical building rooftops are dark and dry; they absorb and then release much more heat than a natural plant-covered surface would, and the result is what’s called the “heat-island effect.” This phenomenon is what causes some large cities to be a few degrees hotter than the surrounding areas, and it’s a growing problem. But if we cover most of the city rooftops with gardens and grass, this problem would be virtually eliminated. Please check out this National Geographic article on the subject… not only for the story but for the awesome photography.

Will humans ever be able to travel beyond our solar system? Or will we just resort to armchair astronomy and send an army of intelligent robots to other worlds to explore them for us? The question is tackled in this great article by Luke McKinney from the Daily Galaxy. It’s a short and entertaining read, as all of McKinney’s witty posts tend to be.

The new Harry Potter movie comes out July 15th, and the trailer has just hit the interwebs. I first saw it on this io9 post.

Carles of Hipster Runoff had an encounter with the now somewhat-famous hipster grifter, who brought her cancer/pregnant/sex fraud scheme from Salt Lake City to Brooklyn scammed quite a few hipsters out of a lot of money.

As I said yesterday, I’ll be photographing Rites of Spring this weekend, but there’s also a TON of other great stuff going down, most notably National Record Store Day on Saturday, for which Grimey’s is hosting their Big Ass Outdoor Sale. Be sure to stop by between 10am-8pm and check out the great record deals and live music out in the parking lot. A list of some other stuff happening can be found at Nashvillest. Have a great weekend!

One of the best known indepedent record labels is Merge Records, based in Chapel Hill, NC. This summer they’ll be celebrating 20 years of existence with XX Merge Festival, which will be held July 22-26 in Chapel Hill. The lineup includes quite a few heavy-hitters from their past and present, including Superchunk, Spoon, Conor Oberst, M. Ward, Destroyer, and Polvo, just to name a few. I’ve toyed with the idea of trying to go, as I’ve never been to Mergefest or Chapel Hill, but it’s right before the Southern Girls Rock n Roll Camp, for which I’ll likely be volunteering this year. Via Paste Magazine.

The A.V. Club has a great list of 25 albums that are best when listened to from start to finish. There are some very obvious choices in there- Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Flaming Lips’ Zaireeka, The Who’s Quadrophenia, but there are a few surprises as well. An interesting post, thought I’d personally put The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s on my list.

In some slightly entertaining but really gross Nashville-related news: Apparently someone emptied the septic tank of one of Keith Urban’s tour buses outside the main entrance of NYC’s Webster Hall last week. Urban’s publicist claims it wasn’t an “official” Urban bus. Yea right. That’s one stinky April Fool’s joke, and not funny at all.

Finally, a tshirt designed for dudes with hairy chests! Thank you, Ironic Sans!

Image via Ironic Sans

Image via Ironic Sans

Jack White’s latest side project, The Dead Weather, will be playing their first public show in NYC @ Bowery Ballroom on April 14th. They played a private show right here in Nashville for the opening of White’s new label offices/record store/recording studio/photo studio complex back in early March. In other news via Brooklyn Vegan, AC/DC will be heading back to the US for some extended tour dates. I was under the impression that the Nashville show at Sommet Center was to be their last performance in the US… apparently I was gravely mistaken.

In case you’ve been under a rock for the past few days, Lake Fever has posted a special 5-song issue of their “Lake Fever Sessions” video series starring Superdrag. They play several tracks from their new record Industry Giants, which was recorded at Lake Fever. Pretty effin’ awesome if you ask me. I suggest reading Joe Baine Colvert’s blurb to the right of the videos about his teenage years and first discovering Superdrag. The photo to the left was taken by me when I ran into them at SXSW. Speaking of that… I FINALLY got all my pics from Austin on my Flickr, so go have a look. There are a lot of random candid shots on there that weren’t in the Scene slideshows.

For your daily dose of “awww how cute,” check out this article about a new dog that will be a strong contender for the world’s smallest dog. His owners oh-so-cleverly named him Tom Thumb. Via sister sisyphus.

While we’re on the subject of really tiny animals… might as well mention this new species of tree frog discovered in the Andes Mountains. It’s called Noble’s Pygmy Frog. How cute.

The Boston Globe’s Big Picture blog has a set of amazing photos of Mt. Redoubt, the Alaskan volcano that recently erupted. I knew it was only a matter of time before they had a post full of nice Redoubt imagery. I have a hard to choosing between the aerial shots and the nighttime lightning shots as my fav.

Credit: Josh Wurman, CSWR

Credit: Josh Wurman, CSWR

This May 10 through June 13, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are co-funding the greatest tornado chasing effort in history. It’s called VORTEX-2, and in classic scientific tradition, they came up with a really cool acronym, and then figured out words that would work with the acronym and also describe their project. The result- Verification Of Rotation in Tornadoes EXperiment 2 (VORTEX 2). As if we need verification that tornadoes rotate…. No matter how silly the name, I’d still LOVE to be right there with them!

io9’s quote of the day today: “The Best Green Technology is Population Control.” Just read this whole excerpt by author Paolo Bacigalupi. My favorite quote from the interview:

Advertising agencies and PR firms are delighted to sell us any number of “green” gizmos and they’re throwing in some nice self-esteem blowjobs for all of us, using their persuasive talents to assure us that we’re enlightened and forward thinking because we just stuffed a green X into our Prius.

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