Johnnyswim

Once you’re able to see this three-song set by the band Johnnyswim, NPR Music will have published exactly 350 Tiny Desk Concerts — so we’ve developed a pretty good sense of when a set will stick in our memories for a while. We intuited, for example, that Adele was about to become a dominant force shortly after she breezed into our offices. (Okay, that didn’t exactly require psychic powers, but still.) In the case of Johnnyswim, the prevailing sense boiled down to, “Boy, we haven’t heard the last of them.”

Impossibly telegenic and charming, husband and wife Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano — who formed their band in Nashville before relocating to L.A. — have the booming voices of great street buskers, but also the polished sparkle of natural-born stage performers. Sudano is the daughter of the late Donna Summer, with whom she used to sing backup, but Johnnyswim’s story isn’t one of nepotism or overnight success; the two have been at this together for nearly a decade, and they’ve got the grandiose impeccability to prove it.

In this set, the lovely ballad “Falling for Me” is bookended by songs that could be airdropped onto half the shows on television; if you’re hearing them here for the first time, don’t be surprised if it’s your first exposure of many. Johnnyswim opens this session with “Home” — a sweet rouser that could easily follow in the footsteps of other recent hits with that title — and closes it with a full-band reading of what promises to be its signature song, the title track from the new Diamonds. As Sudano notes here, the song has morphed into “an anthem to ourselves to keep ourselves encouraged.” For Johnnyswim, such pep talks won’t likely be necessary for long. –STEPHEN THOMPSON

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Usman Riaz

This is simply astonishing. Watch twenty seconds and you’ll be sucked into the world of Usman Riaz, an immensely talented 23-year-old Pakistani musician who will change your perception of how a guitar can sound and be played. What’s more remarkable is that this Berklee College of Music whiz kid learned much of his dazzling guitar technique by watching YouTube videos at 16. He also learned what he calls “parlor tricks,” like body percussion and harmonica. But the classically trained pianist also used the Internet to learn how to write and conduct orchestra pieces and make films. If you’re a skeptic, fine, just watch this youngest of TED senior fellows and be dazzled. –BOB BOILEN

Learn more at http://www.usmanriaz.me/

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Iowa Great Places: Madison County

I learned from this week’s Madison County Chamber of Commerce newsletter that Madison County was named one of Iowa’s Great Places by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs:

Madison County’s proposal included projects to improve quality of life and attract thousands to the county. The projects will be long-term assets that improve quality of life for existing residents and provide ongoing education, historic preservation, and entertainment value to central and south central Iowa. Specifically, the projects will enhance a strong base of cultural attractions that make Madison County a Great Place.

Iowa Great Places awarded $97,500 this year for two projects in Madison County:
John Wayne Birthplace Museum Exhibits
John Wayne Birthplace Trail

“The Iowa Great Places designation is an exciting step in our community’s vision to establish Madison County as a destination. The Great Places funding for the John Wayne Birthplace Museum and John Wayne Birthplace Trail will help to realize a decades-long dream of many community leaders to construct a memorial and lasting tribute worthy of one of the world’s most famous actors whose roots began right here in Madison County. Funding for this project and designation as an Iowa Great Place will certainly help Madison County to promote our heritage and our cultural significance, while drawing additional visitors to Madison County to explore our roots and unique place in film history. Madison County is absolutely an Iowa great place, and the stamp of approval from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is icing on the cake.” – Heather Riley, Madison County Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director, 515-462-1185

Read more at IowaGreatPlaces.gov

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Free stuff! | KitRex

Free stuff! | KitRex.

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A tale of touching tubes | Science News

A tale of touching tubes | Science News.

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A-Rhythm-Etic

Learn more at Ted.com

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How To Think

most people won’t tell teenage girls especially the together, articulate ones that they are lazy and the quality of their work is unacceptable. And sometimes kids need to hear that, or they have no reason to step up.

via How To Think.

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Hexaflexagons

Read more:
Wikipedia

The discovery of the first flexagon, a trihexaflexagon, is credited to the British student Arthur H. Stone, who was studying at Princeton University in the U.S.A. in 1939. His new paper in America wouldn’t fit in his English binder so he cut off the ends of the paper and began folding them into different shapes.[3] One of these formed a trihexaflexagon. Stone’s colleagues Bryant Tuckerman, Richard Feynman, and John Tukey became interested in the idea and formed the Princeton Flexagon Committee. Tuckerman worked out a topological method, called the Tuckerman traverse, for revealing all the faces of a flexagon.[4]

Flexagons were introduced to the general public by the recreational mathematician Martin Gardner, writing in 1956 in his first column of “Mathematical Games” for the Scientific American magazine.[5] In 1974, the magician Doug Henning included a construct-your-own hexaflexagon with the original cast recording of his Broadway show The Magic Show.

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Pammel Park Bird Blind

While Ian was out for an adventure-filled day with grandma and grandpa, the rest of the family ventured out to the Nature Center/Bird Blind at Madison County’s Pammel Park. I *think I was the only one to see birds, but the boys sure had fun running around in the snow!

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Bird Watching Adventure

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Had a great time today with Ian at the Pammel Park nature center/bird watching shelter.

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