As a musician, I really enjoyed the collaboration with other musicians. Playing with multiple musicians, and bands, exploring new rhythms, musical genres, and places. That was not only exciting but also rewarding. The reward always came through learning from others. I honestly think, the more you play better you will be, the more you play with other musicians better we all will be.
Before the Covid pandemic, I had a band and we were playing music about climate change. The project was great and so much fun to do it. It was an audiovisual project where when playing live the songs would be synchronized with a video. The plan was going accordingly to the expectations but then Covid arrived with lockdowns, uncertainties, and only virtual music.
To fulfill my creative needs I started a concept album telling the story of how covid changed our lives (for better or worse). After a lot of work and effort (and of course fun!), finally, the 1st song of my Covid Chronicles album is out. I recorded during the pandemic and it is about the pandemic (kind of inception). I played all instruments and my friend Aybars recorded the drums. Because I really like the multimedia concept below you can check the video:
The second song is planned to be released in the summer so stay tuned!
Continuing my series of posts about making music inspired by videos/images I recorded previously based weather/climate events. This episode occurred when an unusual amount of snow felt during a short period of time this last winter. The therm unusual is used because this episode was unusual for the actual standards. The same amount of snow used to fall in the past and that was a normal event.
It’s been a while since my last post. Basically the struggle of any artist, be happy or make money!
Anyway, I have been experimenting and making music inspired by videos/images I recorded previously based weather/climate events. It is more or less like a little side project that will help me when creating the videos of the climate change prog rock opera.
This video I made when a series of storms hit the place where I live.
The reason I called this song I Believe In Gnomes, Santa Claus And The Weather Man is because sometimes I have the feeling that people believe more in gnomes than in the forecast of the weather man. They are not that bad and they do a really good work most of the time. Weather forecast is hard!
Last year I wrote in my instagram post: “Part A,B,…J?H? 11bars? 6bars? Wait, normal songs only have A, B and maybe a C. Am I being too progressive?” The whole Alphabet ? Sometimes it is easy to imagine that the composition of the album is the hardest part. Indeed, that is probably the most important part, but reality hit me hard and doing almost everything by myself take time. In my last post I set a deadline for a possible release of the first song of my progressive rock opera. December of last year, that was my initial plan A and it was kind of reasonable. However I’ve found more difficulties than I expected. First after composing a song, and if the song is technically ready to record (technically because until the music is released it can be always improved and rearranged), it does not mean that the hard work is done. Recording is the next step. As so far I am recording all the instruments and programming the drums, it is a lot of work. Does that mean that I will give up? Of course not, but it is taking more time than I expected.
I remember when I was watching the documentary Rush: Beyond the lighted stage and they mentioned that Rush tried to record “La villa strangiato” in one take but they couldn’t. Taking apart the comparison with the semi-gods of progressive rock and the time they recorded that song, I had to take similar approach. Instead of release the first song with almost 20 min long, I will divide the song in two parts. However live I will play the song without cuts. I’ll post more details about the recording process soon and I am sure it will worth it the wait.
The conversation about recycling and the environment are not new. Normally we do our job with plastic bottles and the correct recycle bin. But how about our clothes? What we should do with it? Is there a way to recycle clothes? Fortunately the answers is yes, there is a way to recycle “some” clothes. There are some companies doing this as Patagonia and H&M. In particular H&M Has a recycling program and released a campaign to receive clothes donations:
Here are some facts. Most of clothes end in the landfill. Why? Some of the reasons are similar to my post about how to recycle an old blender. I didn’t know anything about until I realized that I had so many clothes. Then I started a little research in the Internet. Here is what I’ve found:
According to a new report from the Council for Textile Recycling (CTR), the average American throws away 70 pounds. of clothing every year, which equals roughly 191 T-shirts…per person. Collectively, that’s approximately 3.8 billion pounds of waste.
Cotton is the world’s most commonly used natural fiber and is in nearly 40 percent of our clothing. It has a clean, wholesome image long cultivated by the garment industry. But the truth is that it is a thirsty little plant that drinks up more of its fair share of water. It is also one of the most chemically dependent crops in the world. While only 2.4% of the world’s cropland is planted with cotton, it consumes 10 percent of all agricultural chemicals and 25 percent of insecticides. Some genetically modified varieties, which are resistant to some insects and tolerant of some herbicides, now make up more than 20% of the world’s cotton crop.
So far Existing cotton recycling methods make poor-quality fibers, and there is no efficient way to recycle garments of mixed materials, so the vast majority of clothes end up in landfill. In addition, the production of cotton destroys farmland and pollutes waterways.
Synthetic polyesters and nylon are made from petrochemicals, a byproduct of oil refining which increases our need and reliance on oil and increases harmful pollution which affects us all.
Dyes are creating a chemical Fukushima in Indonesia. The Citarum River is considered one of the most polluted rivers in the world due in great part to the hundreds of textile factories lining its shores. It also uses a lot of fresh water and the dye wastewater is discharged, often untreated, into nearby rivers, where it reaches the sea, eventually spreading around the globe.
One day I had to move. It is only when the moving happens one realizes that accumulation is not really necessary. We are used to buy new stuff even when we don’t really needed. Also sale is kind of a magic word. I must confess I was like that too. Until the day I needed to move. I checked my closet and I though: why do I have so many clothes? Then I started to pack my stuff. Gosh, it was a lot of stuff. A couple of luggage only with my clothes. I had so many clothes that some of them I didn’t even remember I had. After that day my life and habits were changed. Instead of buy things that I don’t needed nor I used much, I started to spend money only on necessary stuff.
I have a procedure that works for me in order use my clothes until the very end. The procedure could be extended to other products. I started with clothes and at the end I had a feeling of joy. Joy because at the same time I was able to achieve goals such as:
my money was being well used
I wasn’t wasting
If a had to donate I was helping someone else
I was doing sort of recycling, reusing.
I know, for each person will work differently, but here is what I do and I hope it would help more people to achieve similar feelings of joy and also to recycle and reuse some clothes.
The first step is: stop the waste and only buy clothes you REALLY need and you will use a lot. Someone could say, but every time I buy clothes they’re necessary. Really? For me, every time I saw something I wanted to buy (mainly shirts) I asked myself: do I really need this? How many shirts/pants/shorts do I have at home? Are those clothes in my home really that useless? Do I have to buy new ones or I can still wear a little bit more? If I the answer was yes then I would buy otherwise no. It worked like magic. I started to buy only things I really needed. I was happy because I was not being wasteful and mainly because I was saving money.
The second step: to solve the problem at home. Too many clothes to wear. I divide clothes into categories. For example the shirts are divided into two categories: shirts (or pants, shorts, etc) to use normally at home and shirts to go out. The shirts to use at home are those shirts that are not really new. These are the ones losing color, with some stains, etc. The shirts to go out are the ones that I use to go out at night, to work (if the work needs a better dressing code), to play my shows (also work), etc. How will this division help? For some people the division is already a process to see which clothes will be donated. Some of the shirts could not fit anymore because it shinkred or the body magically changed (someone gained/lost weight). There are lot of old but usable t-shirts, blue jeans, ball caps and more that you may not want … but someone else does. Also, when deciding to donate clothes, ask yourself, if you were at a store would you buy it again?
After the division the goal is to wear clothes more, starting with the old ones. I know it is kind of contradictory, but why? The logic was simple, to use new clothes I had to use a lot the old ones until they’re not wearable anymore. When the clothes are not wearable anymore I replace that piece for one of the new ones (which at that time was not really new but as I wasn’t using it is kind of new). There are some good reasons for that. First I spent money buy them. Second I don’t like to waste and it doesn’t matter my financial situation. Third if I buy something and I don’t really use I have the combined feeling of waste and bad investment.
After the clothes are not wearable, is there another way to reuse (recycle)? Yeap, there are some ways to reuse some of the clothes. The main idea here is: please don’t throw old clothes in the garbage. Here are some examples (ok, I know, some of them are good, some of them are really good and some of them are not that good):
A couple of weeks ago I tried to use my blender and it did not work. My first thought it was, I need to get a new one. It could be a small problem easy to fix. However, as the majority of the world population, I don’t know how to fix a blender (or any electronic product) so i have to find someone to do that for me. Normally the cost to fix a blender is similar to buy a new one. Ok, I know, I am being cheap and that is not environmental friendly but I am not in that eco-level yet. It is a working in progress.
However, to feel “less guilty” about the situation i thought, is the blender recyclable? Should i throw it in the regular garbage? I am trying to reduce the amount of garbage that i generate and the amount of garbage that I throw in the regular garbage (which goes to the landfills). First, it is obvious that the blender should not go to the regular garbage. Why? Because all those products have a label saying so. Why? These products are made of different materials, and some of them are harmful to the environment. It can pollute water, food and cause diseases in animals and humans.
Second, where should i dispose the blender? In my recyclable bin? No. But where? I searched a bit in the Internet. I found some places where it is possible to dispose some electronic equipments, but unfortunately it was not for kitchen appliances but for computers, remote controls, tv, etc. I searched a little bit more and then I finally discovered that in the city where I live there is a program where in certain locations it is possible to dispose the blender. In the end I did the right thing and my old blender went to the right place. I used one of the neighbourhood programs to collect electronics.
I live in a building with around 20 suites, and it is not hard to find electronics inside our normal garbage can. Why? Do the people know about the recyclable program? Are they lazy ? All these products have a label showing they should not go to regular garbage. Well, I didn’t know about the program until I started to look for the right place to throw my old blender. Surprisingly, here in my city an environmental fee is charged every time an electronic product is sold to support the program.
What are the consequences of not dispose this kind of garbage in a proper way? An example (which only scratches the surface) is this documentary about the plastic pollution in the ocean called “Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch”. Most of these products are made of plastic with a combination of poison metals. Most of the plastic that has ever been created since the 19th century is still somewhere on our planet. So if it never goes away, where does it go? And If they are threw into the sea? Thousands of miles away from civilization, Midway Atoll is in one of the most remote places on earth. And yet its become ground zero for The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, accumulating plastics from three distant continents.
Once I heard an old tale about a huge forest fire. All the animals of the forest were running away from the fire except for a little bird. The bird was diving into a lake close to the forest trying to hold as much water as possible and coming back in the direction of the fire. When he was flying above the fire he flapped its wings to release all the water he was holding, which it was normally a few drops. When an elephant saw the bird he asked: “Are you stupid? You know you will never end that fire”. The bird answered: “I am doing my part, if all the animals do the same we can fight the fire and save whatever we can of our forest”.
Sometimes I think, destroy a little less doesn’t protect anything. There are billions of people in this word. Millions of them are throwing garbage in the wrong place (including some of my neighbours) but I am trying to do my part and I know I am not the only one.
It is not new that plants help the environment, but I’ve been trying to read more news on the internet about helping the environment in general and I must confess that I am bored. If you google any site talking about environment you will find someone talking about climate change and CO2 and another one saying that CO2 is not causing climate change. It is like have your own soccer team or political party, it is not science any more. Look this article talking about green roofs. This article talks about the advantages and disadvantages (including costs and maintenance) of the roofs (which are not cheap by the way). However, there is one last part in the last line where it says something about “cooling the planet”. Damn it! You go to the commentaries and global warming this, CO2 that. Sometimes you can find even more radical ideas as we should not eat meat because the carbon footprint. Ok, yeah, we should also breath less to release less CO2 and we also should hold our farts because of the releasing of methane (another and even more powerful greenhouse gas). So, are we missing the point? Could we please focus on the benefits versus disadvantages of green roofs? Are we saving the planet using a green roof? I doubt it. However it is an interesting idea, and could be applicable considering the costs/maintenance. They need to be adapted to each place and situation and of course for some places they can’t be economically viable because they probably need more maintenance than traditional roofs. So a balance must exist.
Credit: Arild Vågen – Own work
Another interesting idea is the use of rain gardens to help the runoff problem. Runoff is the portion of rainfall, snowmelt, and/or irrigation water that runs over the soil surface toward the stream rather than infiltrating into the soil. Each soil type has an infiltration rate (the amount of water able to enter the soil in a specified time period) and infiltration capacity (the upper limit of infiltration rate). However in urban areas the infiltration rate could be close to zero because of the impervious areas (roofs, driveways, parking lots, pavements, compacted soils). Consequently the runoff in urban areas is large and it is a major component of flash floods. In addition runoff flows can pick up soil contaminants such as petroleum, pesticides, fertilizers, trace metals, etc.
The rain gardens capture the initial flow of storm water and reduce the accumulation of toxins flowing directly into natural waterways. Thus the stormwater soaks into the ground instead of flow directly to storm drains. In addition, they help to control erosions due the excessive runoff. Similarly to green roofs, rain gardens have to be adapted to place and situation. For example, native plants are recommended (for both) because they are more tolerant of one’s local climate, soil, and water conditions.
A place which has a rain garden and a green roof is more environmental friendly and it is also helping to save the world, right? Well, it is important to remember the costs and maintenance of these products. Be green does not mean cheap or easy. However the advantages of green roof and rain garden such as energy savings, runoff and pollution reduction, temperature control should also be considered. Maybe you won’t save the world but you can save a few bucks and have a better lifestyle. Besides, it is St. Patrick’s day, so green is the official color.
Fact: Humans are changing the world and our landscape and consequently some ecosystems. Is it good or bad? I must admit, my last posts are not really encouraging. We are changing our landscape more for the bad. Sometimes I am searching the internet and then I find hope. After a beautiful ecosystem being totally changed to an infertile ground, Is it possible to rehabilitate it? In Green Gold environmental film maker John D. Liu documents large-scale ecosystem restoration projects in China, Africa, South America and the Middle East, highlighting the enormous benefits for people and planet of undertaking these efforts globally.
I couldn’t believe. It is true! This movie proves if humans want to they can do amazing things for the good. I’d like to see more projects like that. I have more links, I will try to read more about it and post here.
After a long break I am finally back. This is the first post of the “Weather Forecasting” posts. Roughly speaking, to forecast the weather, scientists use computer models to mimic Earth dynamics. These models are mathematical equations of the atmosphere and oceans. However, the Earth dynamics is a big complex system. On top of that some Earth natural systems have a chaotic behavior. But what is chaos? Summarizing the wikipedia definition:
Chaos is when the behavior of dynamical systems are highly sensitive to initial conditions. Thus, small differences in initial conditions (such as those due to rounding errors in numerical computation) yield widely diverging outcomes for such dynamical systems. Therefore, chaotic systems are predictable for a while and then appear to become random. In other words, the deterministic nature of these systems does not make them predictable.
Around 1960, the meteorologist Edward Lorenz (one of the fathers of chaos theory), was working on a set of differential equations describing convective processes in the atmosphere which were producing encouragingly realistic results. One day, he decided to enter data manually from a point part way through rather than waste time by starting the run over. He found that not long after the run had been restarted from this intermediate point, the forecast diverged and it was completely different. The reason behind, was the output data he used to restart the model. It had been rounded to 3 significant digits, while the computations were done to 6, an error of about 1%. With this unexpected results he discovered that the degree of numerical precision in the initial conditions provided to a numerical weather prediction (NWP) model affects the resulting forecast significantly after only a few days of forecast time (Lorenz 1963). A good example (also from wikipedia) of chaotic behavior is the double rod pendulum where the start of the pendulum from a slightly different initial condition would result in a completely different trajectory:
The Earth weather is one of the Earth natural systems with a chaotic behavior. Consequently, the use of different initial conditions in the atmospheric and oceans equations will lead to different final results. So why does not use the same initial condition always to forecast the weather and have the same results? The source of the errors in the forecasting is a more complex subject and I will explain in a post later. However if the Earth system is so unpredictable how come scientists can use computer models to reconstruct past and future climate? First it is necessary to explain the difference between weather and climate where the difference is a measure of time. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere “behaves” over relatively long periods of time. Weather is more difficult to predict and has more uncertainties than climate. An elegant demonstration of this difference can be seen in this short video from National Geographic. The astrophysicist and Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson uses a dog walking to clarify the concept.