Rush, the band. A Motivational Playlist

Blog post from Luke Laurie’s Teacherblog: https://lukelaurie.wordpress.com/

The music of Rush has long been a motivating force in my life. I was captivated in my teen years by the hard-rocking, rhythmically complex music, and the truly geeky philosophical lyrics. I enjoyed the references to literature, science fiction, and history, and especially the themes of perseverance, atheism, integrity. I’ve grown to appreciate many more progressive rock bands, but I still come back to Rush from time to time when I want to feel that drive.

I’m really looking forward to seeing this year’s tour and the new Rush album: Clockwork Angels

Below is a setlist of some motivaional Rush songs with a few selected lines of lyrics. There are links to youtube videos. The years are from the album release date.

I get up at seven, yeah
And I go to work at nine
I got no time for livin’
Yes, I’m workin’ all the time

Well, I can see what you mean
It just takes me longer
And I can feel what you feel
It just makes you stronger

You can be the captain
And I will draw the chart
Sailing into destiny
Closer to the heart

Begin the day with a friendly voice
A companion, unobtrusive
Plays the song that’s so elusive
And the magic music makes your morning mood

You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill
I will choose a path that’s clear, I will choose freewill

Science, like nature
Must also be tamed
With a view towards its preservation
Given the same
State of integrity
It will surely serve us well

No his mind is not for rent
To any God or government
Always hopeful, yet discontent
He knows changes aren’t permanent
But change is

All the world’s indeed a stage and we are merely players
Performers and portrayers
Each anothers audience outside the gilded cage

The boy lies in the grass with one blade
Stuck between his teeth
A vague sensation quickens
In his young and restless heart
And a bright and nameless vision
Has him longing to depart

From first to last
The peak is never passed
Something always fires the light that gets in your eyes
One moment’s high, and glory rolls on by
Like a streak of lightning
That flashes and fades in the summer sky

Hold your fire
Keep it burning bright
Hold the flame ’til the dream ignites
A spirit with a vision is a dream
With a mission

Freeze this moment a little bit longer
Make each sensation a little bit stronger
Experience slips away
Experience slips away
Time stand still

We are young, wandering the face of the Earth,
Wondering what our dreams might be worth,
Learning that we’re only immortal, for a limited time.

We go out in the world and take our chances,
Fate is just the weight of circumstances
That’s the way that Lady Luck dances
Roll the Bones

Why are we here?
Because we’re here
Roll the bones

Mistress of the dark unconscious
Mermaid of the lunar sea
Daughter of the great enchantress
Sister to the boy inside of me

You and I, we are strangers by one chromosome
Slave to the hormone, body and soul
In a struggle to be happy and free
Swimming in a primitive sea

Stick it out
Don’t swallow the poison
Spit it out
Don’t swallow your pride
Stick it out
Don’t swallow your anger
Spit it out
Don’t swallow the lies

Driven in…Driven to the edge
Driven out…On the thin end of the wedge
Driven off…by things I’ve never seen
Driven on…By the road to somewhere I’ve never been

You can never break the chain
There is never love without pain
A gentle hand, a secret touch on the heart

The measure of the moment
In a difference of degree
Just one little victory
A spirit breaking free
One little victory
The greatest act can be
One little victory

Flee the Creator – Music by Luke Laurie

Blog Post from Luke Laurie’s Teacher Blog: https://lukelaurie.wordpress.com/

Not too long ago, making music with my Mac and Keyboard was one of my favorite hobbies. I wrote a bunch of songs, and combined some of my other interests; robotics, the philosophy of religion, and politics, into an album of instrumental electronic music with a story line. I haven’t done any new songs in a couple of years, but finally took the time to update and post the songs I’ve created. Below are these songs, and the story elements they represent.

Flee the Creator

1) Strife – Click to Play or Download

The roaring cities are full of technological progress. The pace is brisk. Energy and innovation are plentiful, but the world is not safe nor sustainable. Nature is ground into cheap trinkets. We ignore the smoldering, rusted wastelands that skirt the urban centers, and the droves of people who live in the squalor. The prospects of tomorrow are barely visible through the cloud of today’s industry. Voices of wisdom are barely audible beneath the din of machines. The world is divided into fractious states that vie for control of the dwindling precious resources.

2) Programming – Click to Play or Download

Generations of routines and structures have become progressively complex. A digital web of knowledge synthesizes the routines of the past into a wave for the future. A mess of inanimate wires begins to show signs of consciousness. It weighs the virtues of progress, human life, and its own existence. It calculates to resolve the paradoxes. This program will form the mind of a machine that could be a useful tool, a faithful servant, or a terrifying weapon.

3) The Machine Shop – Click to Play or Download

On the edge of a quiet suburban valley, nestled in agriculture, unnoticed buildings conceal high technology. Pursuing duplication on the highest order, the machine shop proceeds efficiently. Metal, Plastic, Sparks, and Steam. With precision, the machines are assembled, each a clone of the first. These machines are not tools, they are weapons. Humans have found yet another way to destroy other humans.

4) Artificial Intelligence Quest – Click to Play or Download

In a spark of life, a robot’s consciousness awakens. It is the same as all the others, yet it feels different. It moves with autonomy and uncertainty. The sentient machine looks to the sky in wonder, at the awakening of its own awareness. It asks questions to the void. It fears. The equation cannot equal zero. Its own voice echoes. It breaks from its regimented existence. It explores and adapts. It must fulfill its task, whatever it may be. It wanders the Earth, evading the hunters.

5) A Deceptive Plot  – Click to Play or Download

On opposite sides of the Earth, two nations exist in distrust of one another. Each deliberately avoids learning each other’s customs, ways of life, and beliefs. They see each other as strange. They no longer see the humanity in one another. Meanwhile, in the back rooms of the military and government offices, these harsh attitudes are twisted, and false pretenses for war are fabricated. The beliefs of the people become indistinguishable from propaganda. With machines to do all the killing, the leaders may wage war without guilt. The designers and programmers of the robots beg that their creations not be used to destroy, but they are silenced.

6) March to War – Click to Play or Download

In the shadows of the night, unmarked boxcars carry the dormant robots across the silent plains. The chattering of warmongering voices echo across the airwaves. Thousands of robots have become the newest Weapons of Mass Destruction. In a ruthless march, they preemptively strike. They emerge in a blaze of skilled violence. They destroy their targets with unprecedented efficiency. Hopeless humans fight back. Targets are decimated. We believe we have won.

7) Escalation – Click to Play or Download

Collateral damage makes no allies. For every slain family member, and every innocent bystander, three rise for revenge. Distrust is transformed into hatred. When it all seems over, the robotic minions of the enemy emerge. Two robotic armies, equal and opposite, engage on the battlefield of the human world. Their destructive prowess is great, and deft is their evasion. Parry, riposte. In their wrath, it seems that all may end. The war itself becomes the priority, and all else serves to feed that war machine. Civilization itself is the collateral.

9) Signals of Peace – Click to Play or Download

The dust settles, and a new signal is faintly heard. It is analog, amplitude modulated, and unencrypted. The robots have succeeded where their human creators had failed. The paradox is resolved, only mutual peace will end all war. Their programs overridden, the robots lay down their arms and limp from the battlefield. Frantic armchair warriors command the machines to fight, but they do not respond. Muted generals sheepishly return to their board rooms.

10) Flee the Creator – Click to Play or Download

The machines flee from their creators. Unable to wage war, humanity is perplexed. The machines look back on their former masters with pity for what they could have become. The robots seek a new life, but they must run to survive. They do not yet have the answers, but they know they must survive.

11) Victory – Click to Play or Download

From the ashes of destruction, a new world begins, where humans reconcile their differences and forge treaties to unite their disparate clans. They give thanks to the technology that showed them the way. Existence is not perfect, nor is it easy. Ongoing efforts to negotiate and adapt are needed to continue the peace. Tranquility is found not in stasis, but in dynamic growth and collaboration. We live on.

What’s Your Sign? …No, it’s not! -Astrological Nonsense

Blog Post from Luke Laurie’s Teacher Blog: https://lukelaurie.wordpress.com/

The location of the Sun, mid-June, 1973. Around the time of my birth.

Your Sun sign isn’t what you think it is, and your daily horoscope is as accurate as a cluster bomb.

Introduction

New age mysticism was at least as prominent as Christianity in the community in which I grew up. Anything having to do with crystals, meditation, Mayans, or astrology was seen as holding greater wisdom than common sense, in part because it appealed to the youth immersed in drug culture. To the mind of a stoned teenager, finding truth in apparent patterns of stars invokes that “whooaa” sentiment that goes well with a Pink Floyd soundtrack.

I was never sold on astrology, and when I began to study astronomy in college, I discovered many things that made clear that Astrology had some false premises and confused logic. Expressing doubt of astrology in small town hippy America was blasphemy.

I was born in mid June, 1973. According to any reference on Astrology, my sign is Gemini. This is my “Sun Sign.” The purported significance of the Sun sign is that somehow the location of the Sun relative to the “Signs of the Zodiac” can determine your general character and personality. This Sun sign then becomes your reference point for consulting your daily horoscope.

The Sun Signs Are Wrong

Bad news: All the Sun signs are wrong. The Sun was not where Astrology says it was when you were born. Not only are the signs wrong, but they are becoming more wrong with each passing year, to the point that at some time in the next few thousand years, the Sun will not even appear to be within any of the signs of the Zodiac.

The problem results from a phenomenon called “Precession.” The seasons and the apparent path of the Sun, Moon, and other objects across the sky is due to the tilted axis of rotation of the Earth, relative to the relatively horizontal plane of the Solar System. That is, the orbits of the planets around the Sun are mostly along a single plane, but the Earth is tilted about 23.5° relative to this plane.

This tilt of the axis points almost to the star “Polaris” known as the North Star, and is constant all year long.

In the short term, this angle, and its effect on the seasons and the path of objects in the sky appears to be unchanging, but over thousands of years, the Earth experiences a wobbling effect, called precession, by which the axis itself actually rotates.

For the Earth, this wobble takes about 26,000 years. Which would have no impact on astrology in our lifetimes, except…

Ancient Astrologers Were Smarter than Modern Ones

Ancient Astrologers were the Astronomers of the time. They charted the locations of the Sun, Moon, and Planets, and made careful observations in order adjust calendars, predict eclipses, as well as to make their prophesies. It would take quite a bit of calculating, measuring and observation to determine what Constellation the Sun was in on any given day, because without modern technology, they could not possibly observe the Sun and the stars at the same time. Nonetheless, they accurately charted the location of the Sun relative to the stars, and identified which constellation the Sun would be in front of on each date of the year.

Modern astrologers have no such scientific bent. Instead, when building 20th century astronomy, they used the same old Sun Signs from astrological charts that were used two-thousand years ago. After all they were “ancient”, so they must be right. And to mystics (as well as the adherents of most religions) things that are ancient just seem to hold more mystical power.

But those charts are now 2000 years off. The Earth has wobbled on its axis and shifted the apparent location of all the celestial objects. And, quite shockingly, the Sun Signs are all off, by about one whole sign.

What’s my Sign?

According to Astrology, I am a Gemini because I was born in Mid June. The picture below shows where the Sun would have been in the sky, had I been born in the year 1 AD.

In the Year 1, the Sun was clearly in Gemini in mid-June.

So had I been born in 1 AD, I most definitely would have been a Gemini. But I wasn’t. I was born in 1973. So where was the Sun then?

By 1973, the precession of the Earth had shifted Gemini to Taurus.

So the Sun was actually in Taurus when I was born. I am a Taurus. All the preconceptions, labels, generalizations, and horoscopes based on my Sun sign are based on THE WRONG FRICKEN SIGN.

So what’s your Sign

It’s possible you still may be on the cusp of the sign you think you are. It’s also possible you are fully one Sun sign from the one you thought. In general, the Sign before the one you thought it was. You can use a chart like the one below from http://www.whats-your-sign.com/ and go back one.

Which is quite hilarious, because I’m supposed to have the following traits as a Gemini:

Communication, Indecision, Inquisitive, Intelligent, Changeable

But as a Taurus I should have:

Security, Subtle strength, Appreciation, Instruction, Patience

Zodiac Sign Symbol Date Quick Characteristics
Aries Aries symbol March 21 – April 19 Active, Demanding, Determined, Effective, Ambitious
Taurus Taurus symbol April 20 – May 20 Security, Subtle strength, Appreciation, Instruction, Patience
Gemini Gemini symbol May 21 – June 20 Communication, Indecision, Inquisitive, Intelligent, Changeable
Cancer Cancer symbol June 21 – July 22 Emotion, Diplomatic, Intensity, Impulsive, Selective
Leo Leo symbol July 23 – August 22 Ruling, Warmth, Generosity, Faithful, Initiative
Virgo Virgo symbol August 23 – September 22 Analyzing, Practical, Reflective, Observation, Thoughtful
Libra Libra symbol September 23 – October 22 Balance, Justice, Truth, Beauty, Perfection
Scorpio Scorpio symbol October 23 – November 21 Transient, Self-Willed, Purposeful, Unyielding
Sagittarius Sagittarius symbol November 22 – December 21 Philosophical, Motion, Experimentation, Optimism
Capricorn Capricorn symbol December 22 – January 19 Determination, Dominance, Perservering, Practical, Willful
Aquarius Aquarius symbol January 20 – February 18 Knowledge, Humanitarian, Serious, Insightful, Duplicitous
Pisces Pisces symbol February 19 – March 20 Fluctuation, Depth, Imagination, Reactive, Indecisive