explorer

Moving to dreamwidth

So, I actually read the (English translation of) the new LJ TOS, and it didn't look so poisonous as to prevent me from logging in one more time to post this, but it still seems like a really good time to leave.

I'll be moving to bnewman.dreamwidth.org, where I've already imported the contents of this journal. I won't be enabling cross-posting in either direction.

If you are also on dreamwidth and would like to stay in touch over there, drop your DW username or link in the comments (all screened) and I'll add you to my circle. See you on the flip side!
damselfly

I'm with her

I'm thinking of a lady — a very famous lady — whose story has been retold at this time of year since ancient times. You may have heard of her. According to the story, she ate a fruit she maybe wasn't supposed to, and in so doing entered irrevocably into an awareness of the cycle of life and death, and her place in it.

Was she tricked? Or did she eat of her own free will and with some idea of the consequences, both good and bad? Opinions differ on this point. I prefer to think of her as a heroine with her own sense of agency, and with a powerful lesson to teach us.

That is why, at this season, I am proud to trace my lineage back to her, and will gladly lift up a certain seasonal fruit in her name, and eat, and remember her, and her choice.
explorer

Songs index page updated

The songs mentioned in the last song roundup post are now linked from my songs index page. Someday, that page will get a complete overhaul, but not today...

I've also posted new MP3s of Divine Monkey and Ashrei Adam Matza Chochmah, with improved scansion. The "Divine Monkey" recording, in particular, corrects a scansion error that could be considered disrespectful, so in light of the sacred nature of the subject, I recommend replacing any copy of the old MP3 you may have lying around with the new one.
explorer

Summer 2016 Song Roundup

SSH access to the server that hosts my website has been down for a bit, which means I can't update it, but I did upload a bunch of things before that happened, and HTTP access is up, so you can still read/listen to them — you just won't find them on my songs index page.

Let's start with some new recordings of old songs...


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And now for some new songs...


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explorer

Infinifactory on sale on the Humble Store

https://www.humblebundle.com/store/infinifactory

I can't recommend this game enough. It hits a sweet spot between open-ended creativity and goal-directed challenge. The basic idea is that you build factories out of blocks (as many as you need, although you can compete to use as few as possible), and the factories receive input materials (which are blocks) and produce products (which are made of blocks), in order to serve our alien overlords. There's more than one way to complete every challenge, and figuring out the physics of the game is delightful. If this sounds at all intriguing to you, it's definitely worth a look.
explorer

Shelter and Shelter 2 on sale

Shelter and Shelter 2 are video games in which you play, respectively, a mother badger and a mother lynx, and must care for your litter of young in a hostile world. They are both deeply discounted on Steam until tomorrow, and I think both are good buys at the sale price.

In both games the gameplay is disappointingly simplistic, but it's very much made up for by the gorgeous visuals, reminiscent of Eric Carle illustrations in 3D. I encourage you to check out the trailers and get the games if you think you'd enjoy romping through that visual world. If you want both, you can get them in a bundle on the Shelter 2 page.
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explorer

A Jewish song for Pi Day

This song is not new, but I don't think I've ever discussed it in depth in this journal, and with Pi Day upon us it seemed like a good time.

So why a Jewish song about π? The claim is out there that the Bible claims that π is equal to 3 — years ago, I saw it come up on two Internet communities, rec.music.filk and a Quaker pagan list, at about the same time. Mostly it's presented in the context of "look, the Bible is wrong about science!" (if you want to show that the Bible is wrong about science, there are of course better disproof-texts than this).

Years later, at the Havurah Institute, I had the opportunity to join a study session with Adam Levine on the topic of what the Jewish tradition really says about π, and — remembering those newsgroup conversations — I jumped at the chance. I was not disappointed. This article cites essentially the same sources as Adam's handout if you want to delve deeper.

Out of that study session came this song (mp3), which I finally had the opportunity to share with Adam at last summer's Havurah Institute, to his profound delight. I hope you will find it just as delightful.
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