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Sharps and Flats

28 November 2017 - 03:55 PM

I thought it would be a cool idea to make a thread listing some interesting facts about music: Eccentricities of composers, little known anecdotes about songs, and a general history of what makes human beings sing so much.


I'll start with 'musical puzzles'. These are cool little techniques some songwriters use to add variation and color to their music. They're fun to use because the technique involves a simple solution. All one needs to do is reverse any section of written music. In other words, learn to play both forwards and backward. It's also possible to play melodies and chords upside down as well.


Here's a cool fact. Ravel's 'Bolero' is an eight measure theme repeated over and over again with different variations for 17 minutes.


Processing American Chicken In China

06 August 2017 - 04:02 PM



“Folks, our nation’s hen houses are on the attack. If we don’t act now, it’s no more fried egg and cheese biscuits for us. No more fried chicken. No more chicken noodle soup. No more Wendy’s Spicy Chicken sandwiches. It’s gone. All gone. As soon as these bastards get their hands on our chicken, the only thing we’ll have is either Curried Chicken or Chicken Tacos. And who eats that shit? This is America folks. If we let ISIS and illegal Mexicans get to our chickens, it’s over folks. The American dream is dead. But, I’m here to tell you folks, I’ve read on Twitter and Facebook that the best thing we can do to keep the chickens safe is guarding them with nature’s top assassin. The fox. The fox is a ruthless killer, heartless, and he’ll snuff out anyone trying to hurt our nation’s precious hens. God bless foxes, and God bless America!” said Trump. The crowd of news reporters and farmers erupted in a thunderous applause.


Exports of poultry, largely chicken and duck, are expected to swell under the terms of a May trade deal that would send more U.S. beef to China and expand Chinese poultry sales into the United States. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently proposed a rule allowing China not only to cook, but also raise and slaughter the birds that it ships here as chicken nuggets and flash-steamed duck breasts.
President Trump has tweeted his enthusiasm about the deal, describing it as “REAL news!” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has championed it as a win for American industry, even as he promises that inspectors will stop contaminated meat from reaching U.S. consumers.
Critics are accusing the Trump administration of risking public health to open up foreign markets.
Under current regulations, China may only export cooked chicken products to the United States. And while those products can be processed and packaged in China, the birds must be raised and slaughtered in Canada, Chile or the United States
Birds sourced from a USDA-approved country, like Canada or Chile, are guaranteed to undergo the same safety checks during slaughter that they would in the United States.
But Chinese trade negotiators have consistently pushed for better access to the nearly $30 billion U.S. broiler chicken market, particularly for Chinese-raised and Chinese-slaughtered birds. As part of joint economic talks earlier this year, the United States agreed to begin receiving Chinese-raised, processed chicken “as soon as possible.”
The Department of Agriculture has since proposed a rule allowing Chinese-raised chicken into the United States, which could be finalized by the end of the year.
Beef producers have been effusive in their praise of the agreement. So have Trump administration officials, who have heralded it as proof that the president’s trade tactics work. In a statement, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross called the deal “even more concrete progress” in Trump’s quest to “improve the U.S.-China relationship.”
But many food-safety experts are less sure that the deal represents a step forward, particularly if it results in a surge of Chinese chicken exports to the United States. China has experienced repeated episodes of both avian influenza and food contamination — a situation that the country’s own food safety chief admitted in December, when he told China’s National People’s Congress that there were still “deep-seated problems” in the Chinese food system.
Smart Business Or Ruthless Profiteering?
First, I cannot see any clear economic benefits of this trade for American consumers. Meat processing is a highly automated process. Add transportation time and costs, and profits from the trade are likely to be limited or eliminated -- unless there is a secret element to the trade that makes it extremely profitable.
Second, I can see many obscure costs when it comes to the quality of processed food. This is evidenced by scores of stories of people getting seriously sick or dying -- both inside and outside China -- from tainted food, medicine, and personal care items. Examples include dental paste and cold syrup mixed with poisonous chemicals, substandard baby formulas, and more.
To be fair, stories of tainted food aren't unique to China. America has its own share. But there is a clear difference here: in the US, most cases of tainted food appear to be accidental.
In China they appear to be the result of ruthless profiteering.

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