A small but vocal group of Weezer fans saw their dreams come true today when the band released a cover of Toto‘s “Africa”, thereby fulfilling the defining demand of the #WeezerCoverAfrica campaign.Since its emergence in late 2017, the #WeezerCoverAfrica saga has grown into a perfect storm of things that make the Internet tick. By combining Toto’s “Africa” with social media trolling, aggressive 14-year-olds, and a band that only ’90s kids will remember, the whole ordeal has been a delightful reminder of the transformative power of world wide web.It all started in December when a 14-year-old Weezer fan named Mary created a Twitter account called @WeezerAfrica in the hopes of convincing her favorite band to cover Toto’s beloved 1982 hit. For six months, her efforts were relentless yet unsuccessful, but everything changed last week when Weezer finally responded.In a supreme act of trolling, Rivers Cuomo and Co. unveiled a cover of Toto’s other beloved 1982 hit “Rosanna”, which they tweeted at the @WeezerAfrica account on Thursday. The reaction from the Internet-at-large was overwhelmingly positive, but the reaction from @WeezerAfrica and her legion #WeezerCoverAfrica was one of confusion. “#WeezerCoverAfrica turned into #WeeerCoveringRosanna ???,” the account tweeted, presumably while coming to terms with Weezer’s—and by extension, the universe’s—cruel ways.Alas, the story would not end there. After spending five days adrift in a dark world where Weezer was content to cover the wrong Toto song, the #WeezerCoverAfrica got exactly what it wanted this morning. On top of all that, the band used @WeezerAfrica’s first-ever tweet for their new single’s cover art.Give Weezer’s take on Africa a listen below. And remember, kids: it’s never too late to follow your dreams, or whatever.Weezer – “Africa” (Toto cover)
Today, Magic In The Other has released their debut album titled What We Know Is Possible. For those unfamiliar, Magic In The Other is an all-star trio composed of Bay Area heavy hitters. Led by drummer Ezra Lipp (Phil Lesh & Friends, Sean Hayes) and featuring bassist Steve Adams (ALO, Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers) and guitar wizard Roger Riedlbauer (Jolie Holland), the band tends to err toward the side of indie-rock. However, the group members’ extensive resumes clearly have influenced the band’s sound, with Magic In The Other relishing fearless and bold improvisation while creating an emotionally resonate and highly danceable sound. It’s appropriate that the mantra underlying the entire project being “it is in the unknown where the most potent ground lays for magic and discovery.”For What We Know Is Possible, Lipp, Adams, and Riedlbauer headed to John Vanderslice‘s legendary San Francisco analog studio, Tiny Telelphone. Recorded at the tail end of 2017, the group’s debut album is a triumph, particularly considering that it was recorded less than a calendar year since the band’s initial formation. Despite that relatively short time, Magic In The Other has always been known for its impeccably tight performances—a product, no doubt, of the group’s high-caliber lineup of musicians plus the band’s rigorous rehearsal and gigging schedule.As explained in a press release, for these recording sessions,The material was still fresh with band arrangements constantly evolving over the course of the year. Some of the flagship songs on the album (i.e. Light In My Window, Loveencee) were brought in as last-minute additions by Ezra, barely making it in time for the sessions with much to be worked out in the studio. Ezra knew he wanted to work with his longtime friend, often bandmate (Kacey Johansing, Mohsen Namjoo) and producer/engineer extraordinaire James Riotto (Geographer, Thao), who proved to be an invaluable asset in crafting the sonic soundscape of What We Know Is Possible. Recorded to all analog tape, the focus had to be on capturing the most magical performance rather than doing a bunch of takes and slicing something together in post-production. Between every song, drums were swapped out and re-setup in fresh orchestrations; tape-loops were created; different amps, basses, guitars, synths and glockenspiels were utilized; and Riotto worked his magic with pre-amps and analog effects in the control room. As a result, each track on WWKIP stands out as a singular sonic experience contributing to the cohesive sum of the record.Today, Magic In The Other releases its debut album, the highly anticipated What We Know Is Possible. Solidifying the band as a force to be reckoned with, the album’s nine tracks combine together to offer a delectable, cohesive work of art. Take a listen to the full album for yourself below. You can also check out the band’s upcoming tour dates, which includes an album release party tonight at Albany, California’s Ivy Room, below, or head to Magic In The Other’s website for more information and ticketing. Magic In The Other’s What We Know Is Possible Track Listing1) How Is This All Ending?2) Broke Whales3) East of Change I4) East of Change II5) Thin Veil6) Power of the Pelicans7) Child’s Tune8) Loveencee9) Light in My WindowView All Tracks Magic In The Other Upcoming 2018 Tour Dates9.14.18 Ivy Room – Albany, CA9.22.18 Camp Deep End, Camp Navarro9.27.18 Michael’s on Main – Soquel, CA9.28.18 Crazy Horse Saloon & Grill – Nevada City, CA9.29.18 Lost on Main – Chico, CA10.26.18 Smiley’s – Bolinas, CAView All Tour Dates
Next year, ODESZA will make their way to Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, hosting their first-ever destination music festival. Dubbed SUNDARA, the four-day/night live music experience will span from March 13th through 16th, taking over the all-inclusive Barceló Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico.As noted in a press release, the event will see the famed production duo performing multiple sets and joined by contemporaries and friends RÜFÜS DU SOL, RL Grime, Alison Wonderland, Bob Moses, Jai Wolf, TOKiMONSTA, Mount Kimbie, Kasbo, EVAN GIIA, Pluko, and Golden Features.For SUNDARA, ODESZA has announced three unique sets that they will perform across the weekend. The first will be “a very special extended SUNDARA live set featuring exclusive edits, fan favorites from their whole catalog, and special surprises.” The NO.SLEEP DJ set will be an exclusive performance that “hearkens back to their fan-celebrated mixes.” Finally, the duo will host an “intimate ambient DJ set to accompany a guided yoga class lead by renowned instructor, Gina Caputo.”As noted by ODESZA’s Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight, “Ever since we started ODESZA and Foreign Family Collective we’ve dreamed of creating our ideal festival; one with immersive experiences, our favorite artists, and an incredible location.”Much like many other destination music festivals, SUNDARA will pair performances from fan-favorite artists with a number of activities and excursions. In addition to the resources provided by the all-inclusive resort, attendees will have access to daily yoga sessions, world-class pools, snorkeling, daytime parties, an exclusive pop-up shop for ODESZA’s Foreign Family Collective, mini-golf, catamaran cruises, craft beer and tequila tastings, ATV rentals, ziplines, day trips to off-site locations like Tulum and the Mayan Ruins, and much more.For more information on ticketing and room details, head to SUNDARA’s website here. Tickets go on sale on October 23rd at 1 p.m. EST on the website.
The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on empowering young scientists and engineers with the freedom to innovate, has awarded Hertz Fellowships to 15 students for 2010-11. Two of the award-winners, Adam Marblestone, a Ph.D. candidate in the Harvard Biophysics Program, and Tony Pan, a theoretical astrophysics Ph.D. candidate at Harvard, are among the 15 national winners.The award lasts up to five years of the recipients’ for their graduate studies. Since 1963, the Hertz Foundation has provided the nation’s most generous Ph.D. fellowships to more than 1,070 gifted applied scientists and engineers with the potential to change the world for the better. This year’s class of Hertz Fellows was selected from a pool of nearly 600 applicants, and winners were “chosen for their intellect, their ingenuity, and their potential to bring meaningful and lasting change to our society.”
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder named Harvard Professor Robert Sampson, the Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences, to the newly created Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Science Advisory Board on Nov. 23. Sampson was one of 18 scholars and practitioners in criminology, statistics, and sociology, and practitioners in the criminal and juvenile justice fields to be named.“This administration is committed to using science to help inform and guide policy development. By providing advice and counsel to the Department of Justice, the members of this advisory board will help us focus on evidence-based approaches to prevent and reduce crime,” said Holder.The advisory board will provide an extra-agency review of and recommendations for OJP research, statistics, and grant programs, ensuring the programs and activities are scientifically sound and pertinent to policymakers and practitioners.Read the full announcement.
The tune is atonal. The computer-generated melody is based on a chant by Anatolian monks. But can it be considered beautiful?Absolutely, says Turkish-born pianist Seda Röder, an associate in Harvard’s Department of Music who commissioned the work for her new CD.For many listeners, the beauty of works by composers such as Beethoven and Brahms lies in their harmonic chords and melodic themes. But even those classic masters experimented with dissonance, juxtaposing notes that seem to clash chromatically, and jar the listener’s ear.Yet while many classical composers used the technique to heighten the sense of emotion and tension in a piece, they almost always chose to resolve the friction by restoring harmony.But sustained dissonance was a natural and important progression in the Western musical canon and carries its own beauty, said Röder, who recently released “Listening to Istanbul,” a collection of six contemporary Turkish piano pieces full of disharmonious chords.The CD was the result of an encounter between Röder and Tolga Yayalar, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Music. After attending one of Röder’s performances with the Harvard Group for New Music (HGNM) in 2008, Yayalar approached the pianist and asked if he could compose a work specifically for her.The piece, titled “In the Temporal Gardens,” premiered at Harvard last April during an HGNM concert. Based on a poem by Turkish poet Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, the composition inspired Röder to further explore the world of Turkish contemporary music.“After that performance, I thought, not many people know much about Turkish music outside of Turkey, and they should,” said Röder, who studied at the State Conservatory in Istanbul and received her magister diploma, the equivalent of a doctor of musical arts degree, from the University Mozarteum in Austria.Encouraged by Yayalar, Röder contacted five prominent contemporary composers in Turkey who agreed to write pieces for the accomplished pianist, all with a theme or connection related to her native country.The result is a rich soundscape that includes an audio image of the frantic pace of rush hour in the nation’s capital, Istanbul, and a piece modeled after the traditional Turkish makams, or scales that use notes that fall between the conventional Western scales’ configuration of half steps.“I feel a responsibility to share this music with the world — mirror it, reflect it to the people who may not even know that it exists,” said Röder.Röder admits it is sometimes hard for listeners to warm quickly to contemporary music. Unlike many classic compositions that are well-known and contain familiar formal structures and harmonic progressions, contemporary works, she said, more often than not challenge the listener.“I don’t think it’s fair to expect people to immediately grasp and understand the music that was just composed versus music they have been hearing for 300 years. New music requires new listening in order to be able to adjust.”To help her audiences, Röder gives brief lectures prior to performing a new work to explain the compositions’ various layers.“People often feel lost, and with my talks I try to give them a branch they can hold onto. I am trying to make contemporary music much more approachable for everyone.”Röder came to Harvard in 2007 after conducting postdoctoral research at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich to further her study of lesser-known, 20th century Viennese composers. Since arriving in Cambridge, she has also been drawn to thematic concert programs that tell a story about a time, a city, or a people.“Listening to Istanbul” falls into that musical framework.“There are a lot of elements that you will not find in the contemporary music of other countries because these composers are specifically making use of Turkish elements or making reference to Turkish life,” she said.Furthering her exploration of contemporary music, Röder is working on an electro-acoustic composition that she plans to perform with one of Harvard’s student orchestras later this year. The piece, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, will include Röder’s improvised version of the work’s first movement cadenza that will use a computer to alter the sound of the piano keys.But purists shouldn’t cringe at the idea of tweaking a classic with a computer keyboard, argues Röder.“It was very conventional that people in Beethoven’s time improvised during the cadenza in the style of their time. When I think about it now, I think one should also improvise in the style of his or her own time.”Above all, Röder urges audiences of contemporary works simply to open up to the experience.“Go with the music, and be open for those new sounds. Just close your eyes, and don’t worry about understanding.”
When work began on the lower level of 625 Mass. Ave., the challenge wasn’t simply to renovate a space that had once been library stacks into space for Harvard College Library Technical Services (HCLTS) staff, but to do the work with as little environmental impact as possible. On both counts, the project was a success – the lower level is now an attractive workspace that houses dozens of employees, and approximately 96 percent of the items used in the project – including desks, chairs, lamps, flooring material and even 18 tons of library shelving – were either recycled or reused.By far the largest amount of material reused or recycled during the project was the library shelving. Of the 36,000 pounds of shelving removed from the building, approximately one-third was donated to the Harvard Forest department. Other Harvard programs also received some of the surplus shelving. What remained was reused during the renovations.Though the project far exceeded the University guideline that 75 percent of construction materials used in capital projects be recycled or reused, HCL Director of Operations and Security Paul Bellenoit said working sustainably simply makes sense.“The responsible thing to do is to find a home for unused materials,” Bellenoit said. “This was very expensive library shelving that could be reused, so it was logical for us to find someone who could repurpose it.”The renovation was part of the reorganization of HCLTS completed last spring, and involved the reconstruction of the lower level of 625 Mass. Ave., as well as the relocation of more than 80 staff members in the building. Sustainability was a consideration, Bellenoit said, literally from the ground up, and as part of the project, the existing rubber floor tiles were removed, and the pieces sent to a rubber recycling plant in Boston.Shelving and flooring weren’t the only items workers were careful to reuse or recycle. All the office furniture and chairs installed in the lower level were reused, Bellenoit said, and each of the 147 fluorescent light fixtures removed during construction were disassembled and their components recycled.In addition to recycling or reusing more than 96 percent of the construction debris from the project, sustainability was also a factor when installing new materials in the building. Energy-efficient lighting was used throughout the lower level, Bellenoit said, and occupancy sensors were installed to reduce electricity usage. Rather than traditional carpet, workers installed carpet tiles, so in the case of a rip or stain, workers need only replace one or two of the tiles, not the entire carpet, thus reducing waste.“We reused everything we had – every bin, every desk, every book truck,” Bellenoit said. “It simply makes sense to do these projects this way.”
A duo of drugs, each targeting a prime survival strategy of tumors, can be safely administered and is potentially more effective than either drug alone for advanced, inoperable melanomas, according to a phase 1 clinical trial led by Harvard investigators at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.The findings were presented in an oral session at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology on June 4.The drugs — ipilimumab and bevacizumab — are both monoclonal antibodies, intensified formulations of natural disease-fighting proteins. Ipilimumab spurs the immune system to attack diseased cells, including tumor cells. Bevacizumab, also known by the trade name Avastin, blocks the growth of blood vessels that provide tumors with nourishment. Ipilimumab has extended the lives of metastatic melanoma patients in previous clinical trials, and bevacizumab is often used to treat tumors of the colon, lung, and kidney.The trial involved 22 patients with metatastic melanoma that was not treatable by surgery.F. Stephen Hodi, the study’s lead author and director of the melanoma treatment center at Dana-Farber, said the trial is the first to explore whether the two agents enhance each other’s effectiveness. Most of the participants didn’t experience serious adverse side effects, although some did experience inflammation of artery walls, the liver, thyroid gland, colon, or uvea (the middle layer of the eye). Five patients required steroid treatment for these problems and were removed from the trial.Positron emission tomography (PET) scans showed a prompt immune system response to many of the melanoma tumors, and computed tomography (CT) scans showed decreased blood flow to the tumors. Eight of the participants had partial responses — showing some tumor shrinkage — to the dual treatment, and six had stable disease. All the responses lasted at least six months. Biopsies performed after the treatment showed a more vigorous immune system response than would be expected with ipilimumab alone.“Our findings indicate that ipilimumab and bevacizumab can be safely administered with careful management of side effects,” said Hodi, who is also an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “The results of lab tests suggest that the two agents may work synergistically, with 14 of 21 evaluable patients experiencing a clinical benefit. This approach merits exploration in further clinical trials.”Funding for the trial was provided by grants from the Melanoma Research Alliance and National Institutes of Health.The other co-authors of the study are Philip Friedlander, Annick Van den Abbeele, Nageatte Ibrahim, Xinqi Wu, Jun Zhou, Anita Giobbie-Hurder, Travis Hollmann, Sara Russell, Pamela Dipiro, and Jeffrey Yap of Dana-Farber; George Murphy and David McDermott of Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Michael Atkins of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; and Donald Lawrence of Massachusetts General Hospital, all Harvard-affiliated.
William Kentridge, the South African artist, animator, sculptor, drawing master, opera designer, and mime, can now add poet to his list of credits, since he is Harvard’s 2011-12 Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry.That makes him the latest in a long list of great artists, writers, composers, and poets who since 1926 have delivered Harvard’s Norton Lectures, sponsored this year by the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard. (Among past lecturers — all charged with advancing the understanding of “poetry in the broadest sense” in at least six lectures — were T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Leonard Bernstein, and Umberto Eco.)The 56-year-old Kentridge, who is gray-haired, funny, and still the supple mime, calls his lecture series “Six Drawing Lessons.” He roamed the stage at Sanders Theatre last Tuesday to deliver “In Praise of Shadows,” the inaugural talk. (The next, “A Brief History of Colonial Revolts,” is in Sanders at 4 p.m. on March 27.)Kentridge received the invitation from Harvard 10 months ago, an honor that occasioned a conversation with his father, who asked: “Do you have anything to say?” In the end, the artist decided on a simple plan of attack for lecturing at Harvard: “I listed every thought I have ever had, then divided it by six.”The “shadows” of the first lecture are those in “The Allegory of the Cave.” They flicker illusory and imprecise on a cave wall in Plato’s greatest work, “The Republic,” written around 360 B.C.E.Plato invented those shadows as a puppet theater of reality for denizens of the cave, as stand-ins for humans, who have been shackled neck and foot since childhood so they can only see forward. The trope served as Plato’s view of how people apprehend the real world: as a poor copy of reality, as shadows on a wall.That cave, and those deceiving shadows, said Kentridge, would be the centerpiece of the lecture series. “This is about the necessary movement from images to ideas,” he said, and also about the eventual “primacy of the image.”Looming behind Kentridge onstage was a broad screen, and on it appeared first the artist’s heaven and hell: a blank notebook. Over the next hour, that notebook filled with a fluid supplementary video of scrawls, lines, blocks of type, bits of cinema, and phrases that acted like chapter headings. Kentridge’s own flickering hands moved everything about.Early on, he showed a Plato-like fragment of “Shadow Procession,” his 1999 animation of the human condition. It is a foot parade of suffering, “a catalog of people on the move,” said Kentridge, inspired by street scenes from Johannesburg. Cutout puppets, hinged at the joints and in silhouette, limp, labor, and struggle to carry bits and bundles — even a city skyline. Plato’s philosopher, unshackled and free because he has seen the real light of knowledge, has a duty to return to the cave and free everyone, said Kentridge of that straggling procession. “If necessary, this has to be done by force.”Perhaps the best way to do that is not through Plato’s vaunted reason or his intellectualizing of the surrounding world. Perhaps better is the force of art, Kentridge said, “a need to arrive at meaning” beyond spoken or written words. Kentridge imagined the logical and the rational as being states of mind that just hover over the real world and never really penetrate it.But art penetrates. Humans “need to arrive at meaning,” said Kentridge, and what better way than to fall in with an artist “filling sheets of paper with signs and images.” In trying to capture reality in an image, he said, “the drawing becomes a meeting point” between image and reality. It becomes meaning, in all its glorious imprecision.Kentridge called drawing “making a safe place for uncertainty,” and he hoped that his lectures could help do the same.Plato’s would-be philosophers are unshackled and walk up toward the light of the real sun, Kentridge said, turning their backs on the shadows that flicker from the light of a fire. But then they are blinded, he explained, using the image of an eclipse of the sun. “All of Plato’s philosophical world has been simply blinded.”The artist, however, is instead a master of looking at the light of the world in the oblique. To look at the eclipse, he puts a pinhole in a piece of paper and lets the blotted sun flow through that. Art intercedes. Instead of rationality’s blindness, he said, there is “the mute crescent of darkness eating into the sun” without harm.Kentridge remembered the sun-scattering foliage at home in South Africa, where during an eclipse “there were as many moons as where the sunlight fell … 1,000 spots of light for every spot of darkness.”So art exceeds the purely rational by multiplying versions of a single reality, like the eclipse — for a time when “every pinhole had its own sun,” he said. In this “promiscuity of projection” comes the promise that art makes to the world: Reality, instead of being a single shining thing, is a container for multitudes of meanings.In that “universal archive” of light — as in art — there is also “everything that has happened on Earth … every event that has happened on Earth,” said Kentridge. We can see Pontius Pilate washing his hands, he said, and Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to a church door. But as in art, “every action, heroic and shameful, was there to be seen … Every foolishness is there.”So art makes us naked and helpless in the face of light, or truth, but it also makes our own messages heard, said Kentridge. We are no longer that procession of shadows.Plato was after the sun alone, the shining knowledge that stood at the peak of a hierarchy that descended from there to belief, illusion, and eventually delusion. That hierarchy opened the way to tragedy, said Kentridge, since knowledge always bring the right to power, and “the right to power is always the right to violence.” (More on that in the next lecture, he said.)Back in the studio, projected on the big screen in Sanders, we see Plato as a typewriter, a machine of letters alone, said Kentridge. “What hope is there in it?”The Norton Lectures are free and open to the public. Tickets are required and available beginning at noon on the day of each lecture at the Harvard Box Office or by phone (service charge applies to phone orders) at 617.496.2222. They also are available starting at 2 p.m. at Sanders Theatre. Limit two tickets per person.
We all know that exercise is good for you, but how good? While previous studies have shown the link between physical activity and a lower risk of premature mortality, the number of years of life expectancy gained among persons with different activity levels has been unclear — until now.In a new study from Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute, researchers have quantified how many years of life are gained by being physically active at different levels, among all individuals as well as among various groups having different body mass indexes (BMI).The study was published in PLOS Medicine on Nov. 6.“We found that adding low amounts of physical activity to one’s daily routine, such as 75 minutes of brisk walking per week, was associated with increased longevity: a gain of 1.8 years of life expectancy after age 40, compared with doing no such activity,” explained Harvard Medical School Professor of Medicine I-Min Lee, an associate epidemiologist in the Department of Preventive Medicine at BWH and senior author on this study. “Physical activity above this minimal level was associated with additional gains in longevity. For example, walking briskly for at least 450 minutes a week was associated with a gain of 4.5 years. Further, physical activity was associated with greater longevity among persons in all BMI groups: those normal weight, overweight, and obese.”Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital have quantified how many years of life are gained, by being physically active at different levels, among all individuals as well as among various groups with different body mass index (BMI). Courtesy of BWHIn pooled data from six prospective cohort studies, the researchers examined associations of leisure-time physical activity of a moderate to vigorous intensity with mortality. They analyzed data from more than 650,000 subjects and followed subjects for an average of 10 years, analyzing more than 82,000 deaths. The large sample size allowed them to estimate years of life gained after the age of 40 among persons with different levels of physical activity and BMI.The findings show that physical activity was associated with longer life expectancies across a range of activity levels and BMI groups. Participation in a low level of leisure time physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity, comparable to up to 75 minutes of brisk walking per week, was associated with a 19 percent reduced risk of mortality compared with no such activity.Assuming a causal relationship, which is not specifically demonstrated in this research, this level of activity would confer a 1.8-year gain in life expectancy after age 40, compared with no activity. For those who did the equivalent to 150–299 minutes of brisk walking per week — the basic amount of physical activity currently recommended by the federal government — the gain in life expectancy was 3.4 years.These benefits were seen in both men and women, and among white and black participants. Importantly, they were also observed among persons who were normal weight, overweight, and obese. Participants faring best were those who were both normal weight and active: among normal weight people who were active at the level recommended by the federal government, researchers observed a gain in life expectancy of 7.2 years, compared with those with a BMI of 35 or more who did no leisure time physical activity (a 5-foot, 5-inch-tall person with BMI of 35 weighs 210 pounds).“Our findings reinforce prevailing public health messages promoting both a physically active lifestyle and a normal body weight,” explained Steven C. Moore, research fellow at the National Cancer Institute and lead author of this study. These findings may also help convince currently inactive persons that even being modestly active is ‘‘worth it’’ for greater longevity, even if it may not result in weight control.