This is part 3 of the series of posts on the odds that life might have arisen spontaneously, as some people believe. This time I plug the result of the previous calculations into the famous Drake equation, with rather scary consequences.
My post on Monkeys, Typewriters, and the Origin of Life has a very active comment stream, but unfortunately WordPress has stopped admitting more long comments, hence this new post where I provide increasingly refined estimates on the numbers of monkeys on typewriters needed to come up with life without anyone guiding their fingers.
You’ve heard it before: “This is as likely as a monkey sitting on a typewriter writing Shakespeare.” It sounds very unlikely but . . . how unlikely, exactly? In this article, I go through the math and use the result to estimate how likely it is for life to have arisen spontaneously out of a primordial soup of chemicals.
Six-string ukuleles are getting quite hard to find, and it’s a shame because they sound particularly ukulele-like, at least to my ears. In this recent article, I tell you how to convert a regular 4-string ukulele into a six-stringer with conventional tuning, but I found that there are a lot more tunings you could use, and some sound just as sweet as the standard. In this article, I go through the math and give you some samples. Read More
If you do a web search for “6 string ukulele,” you will find that a majority of links lead to the “guitalele,” an instrument the size of a tenor ukulele with 6 independent strings, which is played rather like a guitar. But a few of them will lead to the true 6-string ukulele, where two of its four strings are doubled up in octaves. This one is played like a regular 4-string ukulele, but sounds richer, more uke-like if that were possible (see this video, for instance). True 6-string ukuleles are hard to find, and those that you do find tend to be pricey, but in this article I show you how to convert a regular ukulele into a 6-string uke with a minimum of hassle and expense.
My latest ukulele is an exercise in versatility: short enough to go inside a suitcase, long enough to be remain playable under heavy capo and, of course, both acoustic and electric. And not just merely electric, but featuring both a passive piezo pickup and a magnetic pickup, which can be mixed in any ratio. I looked for a wiring diagram that could do this, and found nothing simple. They all required a switch to select the main pickup, with perhaps the ability to add a bit of the other, or had something weird about them. Since the two pickups are very different electrically, there was no assurance that they would mix well. I took a guess, and it worked, though theory predicted that it shouldn’t have. Read on for the solution.
First, an awful disclosure: I use a pick to play the ukulele. Now if you still haven’t canceled me, you may be interested to hear that I may have stumbled into the best combination of strength and softness for a ukulele pick. Kind of like a Japanese sword in reverse. Read More
This is not a minor update. By popular demand, the interface has moved to the video page itself, rather than reside in a separate window. This means that VideoSkip will no longer load invisibly behind the video. It is also accessible when the video is fullscreen. But there is more. Read on for a list of improvements. Read More
A what? . . . A pan-jo, dummy! That is, a banjo that is made from a pan. It turns out that you can make beautiful music from a humble pizza pan, plus a stick, a doggy bowl, and a limited number of special parts. And it’s quite a looker, as you can see from the picture, showing a G6 (guitar tuning) panjo with metal strings next to a C6 (uke tuning) panjo with plastic strings. Recipe and sound samples inside. Read More