Song of the Semi-Regular Time Unit

Like you, I too have been missing Marie-Claire‘s regular Song of the Week picks. Fortunately for science education, but unfortunately for us, she has been too busy getting situated as the first Research Chair in Science Education and Public Engagement. How busy? Too busy to get her Barry (Jack Black in High Fidelity) on.

I scratch that itch by tuning into the Pandora station we created by seeding it with all the artists we could from past Songs of the Week (Marie-Claire’s music selections are more eclectic than Pandora’s library at times) – KFPR 1865AM*.

KFPR 1865AM Button

Currently playing while I type? Amos Lee’s “Sweet Pea”.

*K (West of the Mississippi) + FP (Finch & Pea) + R (Radio) 1865 (Year Mendel published “Experiments in Plant Hybridization”) + AM (cause we are old school)

Stars: Holding On & Letting Go

Editor: Marie-Claire Shanahan is a bit busy taking on her new job as the new & first Research Chair in Science Education and Public Engagement at the University of Calgary; but she was not too busy to make a Song of the Week pick.

Not sciency at all…But here’s the song I wanted to post. New video from one of my favourite bands, about love and being yourself in love and seems appropriate for the particular moment in time.

Echo Beach: far away in space and time?

I first heard this song when I was about 8 years old at the 1984 Renfrew Fair. The cool older kids seemed to love it, and they were playing it non-stop on what I was convinced was the scariest and coolest ride at the fair: The Zipper. Released by Canadian New Wave greats Martha and the Muffins on their 1980 album Metro Music, it was written by Mark Gane while working for the summer checking wallpaper for defects. He said in an interview with CBC radio a few weeks ago that he changed the worker to an office clerk, because he figured that was more relatable than wallpaper inspector (fittingly CBC Music just hosted their first music festival at Echo Beach in Toronto, though that wasn’t the beach named in the song). It’s undoubtedly an early ’80s classic.

But unlike lots of other songs I encountered at the time, this one has always stuck with me as a favourite. Beyond loving the really rhythmic chorus and the repeated hook at the end, I think I love it because it’s a bit sciencey. The beach isn’t nostalgic or the memory of something that happened long ago. It’s “far away in time”, which always made me think that the song recognized space and time as connected. And “knowing I’ll be back at echo beach someday” always said to me that it’s not gone. It exists both then and now. It always felt like a planet visited in Dr. Who, far away both in space and time but not gone when you leave, not in the same way that childhood homes and toys are gone. I’m probably reading way too much into it but it was one of the first things I thought of when I started to learn more advanced physics. So for no other reason than that it’s a cool image of time, I wanted to celebrate this great song.

Murder of One

The title of the Counting Crows song from their breakout album, August & Everything Aftermakes much more sense with the lyrics when you realize that a “murder” is the collective noun for a group of crows. Continue reading “Murder of One”

“Space Oddity” represents the best of humanity


As if it is not enough that a guy on a space station communicated regularly with the terrestrially bound of the species via Twitter, one of his last acts before coming home was to make a music video – IN SPACE. Continue reading ““Space Oddity” represents the best of humanity”