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Cuttings from the Journal of Life
'Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.'
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12th-Feb-2007 11:24 pm(no subject)

11th-Feb-2007 12:28 pm - Salt on Ice?
I'm reading Bill Bryson's 'A Short History of Nearly Everything'.  Here's an extract which I thought I'd share:

'The properties of the elements can become quite curious when they are combined.  Oxygen and hydrogen, for instance, are two of the most combustion-friendly elements around, but put them together and they make incombustible water. (Oxygen itself is not combustible; it merely facilitates the combustion of other things. This is just as well, for if oxygen were combustible, each time you lit a match all the air around you would burst into flame. Hydrogen gas, on the other hand, is extremely combustible, as was demonstrated by the Hindenburg airship on 6 May 1937 when the hydrogen gas it contained to provide its lift burst explosively into flame, killing 36 people.)
Odder still in combination are sodium, one of the most unstable of all elements, and chlorine, one of the most toxic. Drop a small lump of pure sodium into ordinary water and it will explode with enough force to kill.  Chlorine is even more notoriously hazardous. Though useful in small concentrations for killing micro-organisms (it's chlorine you smell in bleach), in larger volumes it is lethal.  Chlorine was the element of choice of many of the poison gases of the First World War. And, as many a sore-eyed swimmer will attest, even in exceedingly dilute form the human body doesn't appreciate it.  Yet put these two nasty elements together and what do you get? Sodium chloride - common table salt.'

A mystery then occured to me.  Can anyone explain why it is that we put salt onto roads and paths in winter to stop them icing over, or to melt them when frozen?  I'm sure there must be a simple chemical explanation but I can't think of it....


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11th-Feb-2007 12:22 pm - What does my birth month mean?
Well, I spotted this at rogueravenclaw's blog and thought it might be interesting to try out, and surprisingly for a generic test it is spot on:

Your Birth Month is July

Introspective and intense, you tend to be a deep thinker.
You are quiet and spiritual - and you have a unique perspective on life.

Your soul reflects: Lightness, luck and an open heart

Your gemstone: Ruby

Your flower: Larkspur

Your colors: Green and red
What Does Your Birth Month Mean?

What better way to let you know about me!


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8th-Feb-2007 09:46 pm - New LJ Community
I thought you might be interested to know that I've set up a new LJ Community.  It's for people who enjoy the music of the Renaissance period - and in particular the sacred choral music from that time.  By this I mean the music of composers such as William Byrd, Josquin des Prez, Thomas Tallis, Robert Carver and others.  I've called it 'Cantus Firmus' which is the term given to the main tune used in many Masses over which the composers wrote their choral parts.

If you - or someone you know - are interested in that style of music you're very welcome to join and contribute to the community. It's a space in which to share favourite composers from the 10th to 16th centuries (and some 20th century ones sneak in as well!) and learn more about this fascinating period of musical history.

link: Cantus Firmus


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Well, tonight is our first live webcast of a Sinfonia of Leeds concert.  Here's a report on it I found at

(Yorkshire Evening Post Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)
By Tony Gardner

LEEDS orchestra
will soon be able to blow its own trumpet by laying
claim to a musical first.

It may not rank alongside such seminal moments as when Dylan went electric or the Beatles played at the Cavern.

But the Sinfonia of Leeds is hoping it will be remembered as the first amateur orchestra to perform a live concert via webcast.

The 70-strong orchestra plans to combine classical compositions with
state-of-the-art technology for a two-hour programme that can be
enjoyed without ever having to don a dinner jacket.

An audience of around 200 is expected to turn up on the night.

But anyone with a broadband computer will be able to watch the
performance live from Leeds University's Great Hall on Saturday,
February 3.

Violinist and project supervisor Patrick Caulfield said of the event:
"It will be a complex combination of audio and computer engineering.

"We hope the performance will turn out to be a milestone in the 30-year
history of Leeds Sinfonia." A series of microphones will be
strategically placed around various sections of the orchestra.

The sounds will then be blended by a mixing desk operator before more computer wizardry enables the performance to be broadcast.

Computer Nick Field, a teacher at Leeds College of Music, will oversee
the audio aspect of the project with the help of his father and fellow
orchestra member Dominic, who works as a sound engineer for ITV.

Computer expert Mr Caulfield, who came up with the idea of making the
webcast, has the job of making sure the computer technology is all
right on the night.

He added: "It's not uncommon for pop bands to set up websites with
downloads and live broadcasts from pubs and clubs. It might sound
pompous, but I thought it would be a good idea to experiment with
making a recording of so-called 'higher art'.

"If nothing else, it will be nice for members of the orchestra who have
friends and family around the country who are not able to go to the

"We are now just looking forward to being let loose on the Great Hall
so we can start our plan of attack and get the set-up just how we want
it." To hear the performance, visit

The concert, at 7.30pm GMT, will be conducted by David Greed and comprises
the Rachmaninov Symphony No 2, Rakhi Singh as the soloist in
Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No 1 and the première of a new work by
Benjamin Oliver, entitled Nocturnal Dissonance.

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29th-Jan-2007 10:43 pm - just for fun....!

Your Livejournal Blind Date
LJ Username
Favorite Color
What you are wearing
Oh look! Your blind date is musical_lottie
Your date is wearing dirty jeans and a ripped t-shirt
You dine on stale crackers and Laffy Taffy
Then you spend the next three hours talking intently about your hopes and dreams
Before taking you home, your date gives you a handshake
This makes you feel like you've finally found "the one"
This Quiz by sarcasticka - Taken 392 Times.
New! Get Free Horoscopes from Kwiz.Biz

20th-Jan-2007 12:04 pm(no subject)
.who is the fairest of them all?'

I think the general concensus today [certainly among my generation) is that the two most attractive Hollywood actors are Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp.

But the quandry for me is this: who is the most attractive Hollywood actress? I've been giving it some considerable thought and in my humble opinion there are really only four candidates, who have both physical beauty and commensurate acting talent. These are:

I just can't decide which one is the fairest.... can you help me out?
Please make your selection below:

Who is the fairest Hollywood actress of all?

Charlize Theron
Naomi Watts
Nicole Kidman
Scarlett Johansson
17th-Jan-2007 06:25 pm - Upping Sticks....

Just to let all readers and visitors to SpiritSense know that I have now moved this blog to This is for a number of reasons - mainly to do with layout limitations at LJ; I have had fun posting to my journal here, but I am already settling in at Wordpress - and I hope you can visit me there!
I shall still remain a member of the Communities I have already joined - after all, I can't let the violas down!

10th-Jan-2007 06:30 am - MPs really drop themselves in it
This is a story which appeared in one of the UK newspapers yesterday concerning Members of the UK Parliament (MPs) in the House of Commons:

'MPs were told last night they can use the word 'shit' in the Commons - but only in certain circumstances. Deputy speaker Sir Michael Lord made the surprise ruling after Slough Labour MP Fiona MacTaggart let the word slip as she talked about sewerage.  She apologised but, after Newport West colleague sought a ruling, Sir Michael said it was an 'appropriate' use in that context.'

9th-Jan-2007 09:36 pm - Sinfonia Webcast
Last night was our first orchestral rehearsal after the festive break - and had some very exciting news: our next concert - on 3rd February - is going to be our first Webcast! It will an audio webcast and will be live (no later downloads available). I'm pretty sure some the orchestral members were quite sure what a webcast is - but personally I'm really looking forward to it.
If you're interested go to the Sinfonia of Leeds website at in time for 7.30 GMT on Saturday 3rd Feb and listen in - you can read more details about the concert here or at the Sinfonia website.



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