Why blue is the costliest colour | Life and style | The Guardian

The colour blue is a relatively modern invention. Prehistoric artists were strangers to it. You won’t find cerulean or azure in cave paintings. The ancient Greeks had no word for blue as we know it today – Homer described the sea as “wine-dark” in the Odyssey – and neither can it be found in the Icelandic sagas, the Koran, ancient Chinese stories or myriad other texts

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Ada Lovelace designed a computer in the 1840s. A cartoonist finishes the project | Technology | The Guardian

It’s little wonder that the enigmatic daughter of Lord Byron has been put, posthumously, on a pedestal. Brought up to shun the lure of poetry and revel instead in numbers, Lovelace teamed up with mathematician Charles Babbage who had grand plans for an adding machine, named the Difference Engine, and a computer called the Analytical Engine, for which Lovelace wrote the programs. Then tragedy struck – Lovelace died, aged just 36. They never built a machine.

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Traditional books on paper open a new chapter of success

Total spending on print and electronic books increased by 4% to £2.2bn in 2014, according to market data firm Nielsen. Ebooks now account for around 30% of all books published, including almost 50% of adult fiction. But the decline in print is levelling off as migration to ebooks declines. For some in the industry, it is a sign the dust is beginning to settle after the great digital shake-up.

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Nobuo Uematsu: the video game composer shaking up classical music

One of the more than 100 tracks in the Classic FM citation was Aerith’s Theme. Aerith, AKA Aerith Gainsborough, features in Final Fantasy VII, and her music, scored for solo piano, has a tenderness and flowing grace that befits, I guess, a character who is “the last of the ancient race of the Cetra”. Her restless wandering is conveyed by the music’s undulating harmony, while her magical powers are hinted at by the mysterious major/minor modulations. Beethoven it is not, and pianistically it’s closer to Elton John than to any of the classical “greats”, although there are Grieg-like moments in the melody and something of Satie in the harmonisations.

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The scourge of the bronze zombies: how terrible statues are ruining art

It may be time to ban artists from creating statues. They have simply lost the ability to do it. The art that once gave us Michelangelo’s David and Rodin’s Burghers of Calais has degenerated into a cynical province of second-rate hacks who are filling up city squares, railway stations and other public spaces all over the world with ugly, stupid and occasionally terrifying parodies of the human form

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New Orleans Music Box: the shantytown you can play

Pulled ropes create the sound of whistling wind, while an amplified flute plays through steel sheet speakers. Windows and doors slide and slam, triggering musical samples. Two rotating loudspeakers on top of the phone booth spin out singer Tarriona “Tank” Ball’s oscillating voice. At one point dogs start howling. Parker, a free jazz pioneer, takes it all in stride and works to guide the ensemble through the first rehearsal of the loose score he’s written for the debut concert of New Orleans Airlift’s first Music Box Roving Village residency.

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Syrian Journey: why the BBC is right to make a game about the refugee crisis

“The idea that in the future, news will be played rather than read is quite hard for some people to think about,” she says. “If you look at the history of journalism, whenever a new platform comes online, whether that’s been radio, television or the internet, you’ve had people saying that news could never migrate. The idea of television news caused a huge moral panic. The BBC was worried about influencing viewers in a way that would undermine the serious discuss of news culture. The idea of an anchor person was problematic – what if they made a particular expression while saying a phrase? How would that translate into the way the public received that news? They were worried about how a visual medium could communicate the discourse of news.”

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