iPhone Event: The Set List Isn’t the Performance

Jason Snell distills down a thought I had this weekend, and he does it much more articulately than I could have. A great read for those looking forward to tomorrow's iPhone announcement.

So huge swaths of tomorrow’s Apple media event appear to have been leaked. [...] Still, it’s a little like saying that reading a set list is a replacement for attending a concert. The appeal of an Apple product launch is not a product’s spec sheet, it’s the reveal. (If you want to test this, refuse to watch an Apple product launch sometime and limit yourself to the Tech Specs pages. Good luck.)

Build Your Own NASA Saturn V Rocket With LEGO

My eyes lit up when I heard this was now available. Another great set to come from the LEGO Ideas program. My favorite part is that once assembled, it actually breaks into stages like the real Saturn IV used in the Apollo missions.  Plus, at over 3 feet tall, the thing is huge! Anyone want to help me convince my wife that $120 is worth it?

How The Beatles Wrote "A Day In The Life"

The Atlantic just published this incredible piece by Nicholas Dawidoff that is an essential read for anyone at all interested in the Beatles.

A good summary:

“A Day in the Life” isn’t a song to sing, as are “Eleanor Rigby” (ideal for both car and karaoke), “Hey Jude” (written to soothe John Lennon’s young son, no lullaby works better at children’s bedtime), or “In My Life” (a perennial at weddings and funerals and, I can’t help mentioning, rock’s analog to Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116). Nor is “A Day in the Life” guided by melody like so many Beatles creations. It’s an elaborate production, filled with sophisticated George Martin and Geoff Emerick musical trickery (distortion, echo, dubbing, reverb). An orchestra plays, and then one singer’s voice gives way to another’s—John’s worldly reflections transitioning to Paul’s sketch of domestic memoir, and then back again—before orchestral cataclysm and a final resting place.

And the story behind the famous chord that lasted forever:

And then, after all the chaos and destruction, what next? George Harrison had suggested a fade to humming. But it didn’t work. Paul thought that the song needed firmer resolution. Three Steinway pianos and a harmonium were rolled into action, and at every keyboard the players were instructed to hit the single chord of E major simultaneously and hard, with the sustain foot pedal down, letting it carry as long as possible. There were nine takes. The tone is so big, so capacious and resonant because Martin and Emerick thought to put the recorder on half speed.

I can't stress what a well-written piece this is. Some really insightful lyrical analysis, too.

Andy Weir’s next book will be a crime thriller set on the Moon

Super excited for this. The Martian captured my imagination like few novels do. November can't get here soon enough! And naturally, there are already plans to adapt Artemis to film.