September 16, 2013

John Lennon Reveals Torture of Beatles 'Let It Be' Album In Tape-recorded Interview Now Up For Auction




RECORDING their 12th and last studio album was nothing short of "torture" for The Beatles, said John Lennon in a tape-recorded interview coming up for auction this month. 
The Fab Four had just completed Let It Be in 1969, but had yet to break up, when Lennon and wife Yoko Ono sat down in Toronto with radio DJ and Village Voice critic Howard Smith for an hour-long interview.

"We were going through hell. We often do. It's torture every time we produce anything,'' Lennon revealed.

"The Beatles haven't got any magic you haven't got. We suffer like hell anytime we make anything, and we got each other to contend with. Imagine working with the Beatles, it's tough,'' he said.

"There's just tension. It's tense every time the red light (in the recording studio) goes on.''

Released in May 1970, and ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the 500 greatest albums of all time, Let It Be was largely recorded in London in 1969 to complement a film of the same name.

Its title track and 'The Long and Winding Road' endure as two of the Beatles' most memorable songs.

But for Lennon, who was murdered in New York in 1980, Let It Be was a "strange album'' that reflected the friction that had grown between himself and band mates Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

"We never really finished it. We didn't really want to do it. Paul was hustling for us to do it. It's the Beatles with their suits off,'' he said.

New Hampshire auction house RR Auction said the hour-long interview over two audio tape reels had lain forgotten for nearly four decades in a crate at the rear of Smith's loft in New York.

"It's a frank and honest interview from one of the most revered musicians and activists of all time,'' RR Auction vice president Bobby Livingston said on Thursday.

The recording is among more than 100 Beatles-related items folded into a larger 'Marvels of Modern Music' memorabilia auction that runs from September 19 through September 26 online at

It has an initial minimum bid listed at $US300 ($330), but Livingston estimated it could sell for between $US5000 and $US10,000. 

Picture and story with thanks to the Herald Sun


More on The Beatles in no particular order:


Paul McCartney: Destiny Game Song "Hope For The Future"

Glyn Johns: Defining That Classic-Rock Sound

George Harrison and The Bee Gees To Receive Recording Academy Honors 

John Lennon or Paul McCartney? Matt Schichter Documentary Offers 550 Answers

Sir Paul McCartney To Induct Ringo Starr Into Hall Of Fame

 Penny Lane: Original On The Block, Minus The Fanfare

Lost Beatles US Concert Movie Blocked From Release

The Three Lennon-McCartney Hits That Went to No. 1 Without Lennon or McCartney 

The Who Release First Song In 8 Years: Be Lucky 

 Beatles’ First Recording Contract to Be Auctioned For An Estimated $150,000

The Beatles 1 To Be Reissued With 50 Videos 

George Harrison's Catalogue Is Now Streaming   

John Lennon's Long-Lost Gibson J-160E Guitar Sells for Record $2.4 Million

Ringo Starr Reflects On His 35 Year Marriage

George Harrison: Tribute GeorgeFest Is Coming

John Lennon's Rock 'n' Roll Album - Update: Vale Sir George Martin

The Beatles Anthology: Streaming Now.

Unseen Beatles Footage Released

George Harrison - This is Love

The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years

The Beatles 'Love' And Cirque du Soleil

Long Lost Live Beatles Exhumed!

Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles; It was 50 years ago today ...

September 13, 2013

Claude Shannon Jr: The Greatest Genius No One Has Heard Of



This is incredible really. Claude Shannon Jr is responsible for everything digital and no one has heard of him – until now! Combine his work with that of Hedy Lamarr (see post on side bar) and you have  incredible possibilities, for example cellphones!
It would be hard to imagine life without these things!

In the 1930′s, “computer” was a job description: someone, usually a woman of mathematical bent, with an adding machine and a big sheet of columnar paper who performed a rigorous routine of hand calculations, using paper and pencil, slide rules and tables of logarithms. Stone knives and bearskins weren’t involved, but to modern eyes they might as well have been.

Large research organizations and the Department of War had a few special purpose mechanical computers intended to integrate differential equations. Vannevar Bush (who deserves his own article someday) brought a young grad student to MIT to work on the differential analyzer, a relatively advanced version of these.

This video, above, shows a version of the differential analyzer being applied to a problem for which it was utterly unsuited in Earth vs. the Flying Saucers .

This young man, a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, was named Claude Shannon, Jr. Shannon, while working on the differential analyzer, had the insight that these same computations could be done using combinations of a few simple circuits that performed basic logical operations on true and false values. He described how this could be done, and invented the whole concept of digital circuits, which derive from from Shannon’s thesis on what he called switching theory.

His Master’s thesis.
At about the same time, Alan Turing wrote his series of famous papers on computability; those papers included an idea of how a computer with memory might work, but without Shannon’s switching theory, no one knew how to actually build one. (Google did a great Google Doodle for Turning’s 100th birthday.)

Vannevar Bush then sent Shannon to the Cold Spring Harbor laboratory. Shannon worked with biologists and geneticists, and — remember this was before DNA had been discovered — described how genetics could be understood as an algebra using a small collection of symbols. This was enough to get Shannon a Ph.D. but attracted little attention at the time. 

However, his Ph.D. is now recognized as pre-figuring what we now call bioinformatics.

During the war, Shannon, still working for the War Department, was put to work on cryptography, where he merely invented a general mathematical basis of nearly all cryptography, and in the meantime proved that there is one and exactly one method of making an unbreakable cipher. This is called a one-time pad.

But this wasn’t enough. He went to work for Bell Labs, and began thinking about radio or telephone signaling. (His original switching theory was already the basic for new telephone switches — direct telephone dialing depended on Shannon’s Master’s.) What was common to all these different ways of signaling we already used: telegraph, telephone, radio, and that new-fangled thing television? Shannon had a surprising insight: what made a signal a signal was whether or not you could predict it.

To understand this, think about a game of 20 questions. You and an opponent are playing. Your opponent thinks of something, you ask the standard first question of “animal, vegetable, or mineral?”, and then you have to guess the opponent’s some “thing” with no more than 19 questions. The only other rules are that your opponent can’t lie, and the questions have to be yes or no questions. If you guess it correctly, you win; if you run out of questions, your opponent wins.

Surprisingly often, a skillful player can guess in considerably fewer than 20 questions, as each question reduces the collection of possible answers.

Now, here’s Shannon’s big insight — and if it doesn’t seem big now, just wait a minute: if you have fewer than about 1.6 million choices (really, 1,572,864) then you can always find the answer in 20 questions, or looking at it the other way, a game of 20 questions can distinguish about 1.6 million possible guesses. So getting a 20 questions game right on the first question is literally a million to one shot.

So, if you have two choices, say Republican or Democrat, then you can predict the answer after one question.

With three or four choices, say Ford, Mercedes Benz, Volkwagen, or Chrysler, you can be sure you have the answer after 2 questions. Eight choices means three questions.

So, if you have two choices, and you guess right the first time, you’re not very surprised. With eight, if you guess right the first time, you’re more surprised. With 1,572,864, if you get it first guess you’re very surprised.

Shannon’s first insight was that what we call “information” was basically a measure of the size of the surprise, and he could measure that with the number of yes or no questions you need to ask to distinguish among all the possibilities.

We call that count of yes/no questions, this measure of “the size of the surprise”, a bit.
Information theory shows up in communications, too. In communications, the idea is to think of the amount of information as how well you can predict what the next message will be. You can see this every day on the news: watching MSNBC is usually very predictable, but other channels are less so. By the way, when something is completely unpredictable, we call it “random”. A random number is like throwing a fair die: getting a 5 shouldn’t give you any information about what the next throw will be.

Mathematically, this is the logarithm to the base 2 of the number of different possibilities, but if that doesn’t mean anything to you (what do they teach kids in school these days?) don’t worry about it. What matters is that this one insight is the basis of what’s now called information theory, and as time has gone on, information theory shows up over and over again in describing the real world.

This one man, Claude Shannon, is directly responsible for computers, the internet, CDs, digital TV, really for digital anything


Although I haven’t gone into it here, information theory shows up in communications — Shannon’s information theory is directly responsible for the way cell phones and communications with space probes work — in biology, in finance, even in physics, where information theory is at the heart of much of what Stephen Hawking has been doing for the last 20 years. Nearly every bit of technology we use today that’s more complicated than a Phillips head screw is based on what Shannon did. And yet, most people have never heard of him.
Well, now you have.
With many thanks to PJMedia


Update: According to "Mysteries at the Museum" Claude Shannon and a fellow mathematics colleague invented a tiny computer that accurately foretold the next number to come up on the roulette wheel. They only used this device once and no one knows how much they won.
I am guessing it was Alan Turing.

Temple Grandin On The Autistic Brain
 Mathematical Minds Stir A Beauty Within
John von Neumann: This Hungarian-American Mathematician May Have Been Smarter Than Einstein
Great Minds: Filippo Brunelleschi
Great Minds: Leonardo da Vinci
The Genius of Nicola Tesla 
The New Turing Test:Brainy Machines Need An Updated IQ Test, Experts Say
Alan Turing Manuscript Sells For $1 million 
Hedy Lamarr's 101st Birthday Celebrated by Google
Mad Geniuses: 10 Odd Tales About Famous Scientists
Benjamin Franklin:11 Surprising Facts
Creators Of Modern Cryptography Win Turing Award
German WWII Coding Machine Found On eBay For $20
A Mathematician Has Built A Machine That Can Beat The Odds In Roulette
What Was the Enlightenment?
Quantum Enigma Machines Are Becoming A Reality
Albert Einstein's Legacy
The Nobel Prizes In Numbers
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz: The Philosopher Who Helped Create the Information Age




See also Hedy Lamarr - Inventor of Wi-Fi. Click on image in side-bar.