Why is the Violin So Hard to Play?


When you pluck a note on a guitar string, there isn’t very much that can go wrong. You may not play the right note at the right time, of course, but a single note will always come out at the expected pitch, and sounding reasonably musical. When a beginner tries to play a violin, things are much more difficult. When a bow is drawn across a string, the result might be a musical note at the desired pitch, but on the other hand it might be an undesirable whistle, screech or graunch. This difference stems from a fundamental distinction between the physics of plucked and bowed strings.

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Exploring the Apollo Landing Sites


With the aid of a moderate-size telescope and a little imagination, you can revisit the Apollo landing sites, where humans first explored the surface of another world. While you can’t see any of the hardware left on the Moon (seeing one of the lunar rovers from Earth would be like trying to see a grain of sand on a beach while flying high overhead in a jet airliner!), you can identify some of the craters, mountains, and other geological features near the landing sites. Most of the images you will see while exploring this page were taken from lunar orbit and are much clearer than Earthbound views, but many of the features you will see are visible in a backyard telescope with good seeing.

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Being Sworn in on The Quran

From CBS News:

North Carolina judges will be asked this week to decide if witnesses in state courtrooms can be sworn in on the Quran rather than a Bible.

The move comes after Guilford County judges rejected the Greensboro Islamic center’s offer last week to donate copies of the Muslim holy book.

The Administrative Office of the Courts will seek the opinion of the state’s judges when they meet this week at judicial conferences in Asheville and Wrightsville Beach, AOC spokesman Dick Ellis said.

I’m an atheist so if I ever had to testify I would like to be sworn in on The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales because let’s face it. There isn’t much difference between that and any religious book.


I saw Batman Begins yesterday and it is easily the best Batman movie since Tim Burton left the franchise. Very good except I ended up getting whiplash from the movie grinding to a halt every time Katie Holmes was onscreen. I haven’t seen too many things that she has been on so I don’t have much of a frame of reference but is she just a bad actress or am I simply sick of seeing her plastered on the news with cult recruiter boyfriend?