Reproduced entirely from the BLDGBLOG cos of its wonderfulnessness:
The reef’s history, from New Scientist: “About 200 million years ago the sea level rose throughout the world. A huge ocean known as the Tethys Seaway expanded to reach almost around the globe at the Equator. Its warm, shallow waters enhanced the deposition of widespread lime muds and sands which made a stable foundation for the sponges and other inhabitants of the reef. The sponge reef began to grow in the Late Jurassic period, between 170 and 150 million years ago, and its several phases were dominated by siliceous sponges.”
Rigid with glass “created by using silica dissolved in the water,” this proto-reef “continued to expand across the seafloor for between 5 and 10 million years until it occupied most of the wide sea shelf that extended over central Europe.”

Thus, today, in the foundations of European geography, you see the remains of a huge, living creature that, according to H.P. Lovecraft, is not yet dead.
What –
“We do not know,” New Scientist says, “whether the demise of this fossil sponge reef was caused by an environmental change to shallower waters, or from the competition for growing space with corals. What we do know is that such a structure never appeared again in the history of the Earth.” (You can read more here).
For whatever reasons, meanwhile, this story reminds me of a concert by Akio Suzuki that I attended back in London in 2002, at the School of Oriental and African Studies. That night, Suzuki – a Japanese musician and sound artist – played a variety of instruments, including the amazing “Analapos,” which he’d constructed himself, and a number of small stone flutes, or iwabue.
The amazing thing about those flutes was that they were literally just rocks, hollowed out by natural erosion – and Suzuki had simply picked them up from the Japanese beach years before. If I remember right, one of them was even from Denmark.
In any case, Suzuki chose the stones because of their natural acoustic properties, their musical playability: he could attain the right resonance, hit the right notes, and so their music was really a factor of geology and landscape design. The accidents of natural erosion.
Rocks everywhere, hiding instruments.

But the idea that there might be a similar such stone flute – only the size and shape of a vast fossilized reef, stretching from Portugal to southern Russia – would suddenly seem like a real possibility. In other words, locked into the rocks of Europe is the largest musical instrument ever made: awaiting a million more years of wind and rain and even war to carve that reef into a flute, a buried saxophone, made of fossilized glass, pocketed with caves and indentations, reflecting the black light of uncountable eclipses until the earth gives out.
Weird European land animals, evolving fifty eons from now, will notice it first: a strange whistling on the edge of the wind whenever storms blow up from Africa. Mediterranean rains wash more dust and soil to the sea, exposing more reef, and the sounds get louder. The reef looms larger. Its structure like vertebrae, or hollow backbones, frames valleys, rims horizons, carries any and all sounds above silence through the reef’s reverberating latticework of small wormholes and caves.

Equivalent to a hundred thousand flutes, embedded into bedrock, per square-mile.
Soon the reef generates its own weather, forming storms where there had only been breezes before; it echoes with the sound of itself from one end to the next. It wakes up animals, howling.
For the last two or three breeding groups of humans still around, there’s an odd familiarity to some of the reef-flute’s sounds, as if every two years a certain storm comes through, playing the reef to the tune of… something they can’t quite remember.

It’s rumored amidst these dying, malnourished tribes that if you whisper a secret into the reef it will echo there forever; that a man can be hundreds of miles away when the secret comes through, passing ridge to ridge on Saharan gales.
And then there’s just the reef, half-buried by desert, whispering to itself on windless days – till it erodes into a fine black dust, lost beneath dunes, and its million years of musicalized weather go silent forever.

Whales Have Their Own Syntax That Uses Sound Units To Build Phrases That Can Be Combined

Whales Have Their Own Syntax That Uses Sound Units To Build Phrases That Can Be Combined: “The songs of the humpback whale are among the most complex in the animal kingdom. Researchers have now mathematically confirmed that whales have their own syntax that uses sound units to build phrases that can be combined to form songs that last for hours.”

The Japanese don’t have a syntax; the nearest they’ve got is a phonetic alphabet they nicked off Chinese (Japanophiles, correct me if I’m wrong); each word isn’t comprised of alphabetic elements. Now it turns out whales have a syntactic language. This means their language, in terms of complexity and the usual standards of development, is more advanced than that of the Japanese. Who hunt whales for research = fodder = kicks. Welcome to Gilbert & Sullivan’s Topsy-Turvidom.

US debt clock running out of time, space – Yahoo! News

US debt clock running out of time, space – Yahoo! News: “So rapid is the rise of the US national debt, that the last four digits of a giant digital signboard counting the moving total near New York’s Times Square move in seemingly random increments as they struggle to keep pace.

The national debt clock, as it is known, is a big clock. A spot-check last week showed a readout of 8.3 trillion — or more precisely 8,310,200,545,702 — dollars … and counting.

But it’s not big enough.”

Reminds me of that awesome fiscal responsibility platform game someone made, where you got to play as Mr T, Hulk Hogan and other heroes of the 80s battling through Bush’s massively, rapidly increasing debt. Does anyone have a link for that?

Enjoying a Czech beer in London – 26-03-2003 – Radio Prague

Having received both Guitar Hero and an extra-special sooper-dooper copy of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion on Friday, I went to Toby’s for a house-warming. I staggered in smelling of meat, late and drunk, with the Guitar Hero fake Gibson Les Paul slung over my back. An excellent way to enter a party. The party was not dead when I got there, but definitely comatose with its grieving family standing round, weeping. I got out Guitar Hero.

…time passed…

At four in the morning, there were three men standing, banging away at the axe. I was begging them to stop. Literally begging, head slumped sideways on my shoulders, biting the sofa in frustration, just asking them to stop. I never want to hear Smoke On The Water or Ace of Spades or Ziggy Stardust again. EVER. Even though the game’s awesome. I finally got it away from them, caught a few hours on the sofa AGAIN and wandered off for my traditional Deptford Pie N Mash breakfast.

Enjoying a Czech beer in London – 26-03-2003 – Radio Prague: “‘It’s not because it’s undrinkable how they do it. They use the wrong gas. They serve the sort of pipe beer – what remains in the pipelines. It’s basically lousy beer, it’s an abomination (laughs) to proper Czech beer, because they don’t really know…before you start you have to pour out three pints – they don’t. Plus I’ve got only two kinds of beer so it’s flowing constantly, they’ve got 25 so basically one man every three hour gets a Czech beer, or something like that. It’s basically stale goods, and wrong gas and wrong taps…'”

Sleeping the day away, I woke and (after losing a few hours of my life to Oblivion – I have a haunted house now!) went to the afore-mentioned Gambrinus Czechslovak Community Centre for a few beers and some dinner. I can say, at this point, that I have never eaten so much fat in one sitting. I started with Tripe Soup, though my dinner companions had respectively brawn, a potato pancake dripping in lard and a big sausage. Main courses mainly consisted of small bits of meat soaked in cream (and some vegetables for colour), with dumplings (again, around 50% fat.) Yesterday I ate nothing but bananas until about midnight, where I balanced out the weekend with greens, garlic and pasta.

The Most Scared Man Alive

I’m scared and confused. This comes naturally to me; I’ve been referred to in the past as “the most scared man alive”. Opening post addressed to me fills me with horror, terror that someone’s found something nasty about me out, even though I know I’ve done nothing wrong, or that a friend has died or something equally depressing. Today I got a copy of “If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller” in the post, to my work address. It’s come from a Wadham College, Oxford address – I don’t think I know anyone there though so I’m all scarified. If you were the culprit and you wish to put me out of my self-induced misery (to be fair I’m both a bit ill and exhausted from moving house at the moment – had to lug twenty car-loads of stuff up to our fourth-story penthouse) just mail me or leave a comment – I’d appreciate it!