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Artificial Incitement

The Israel Police mistakenly arrested a Palestinian worker last week because they relied on automatic translation software to translate a post he wrote on his Facebook page. The Palestinian was arrested after writing “good morning,” which was misinterpreted; no Arabic-speaking police officer read the post before the man’s arrest.

Last week, the man posted on his Facebook page a picture from the construction site where he works in the West Bank settlement of Beitar Ilit near Jerusalem. In the picture he is leaning against a bulldozer alongside the caption: “Good morning” in Arabic.

The automatic translation service offered by Facebook uses its own proprietary algorithms. It translated “good morning” as “attack them” in Hebrew and “hurt them” in English.

In Theory

Way back when, in my days of college and keg beer, I had a band. And we had a song called “Both Sides.” It was a gnarly and dissonant thing, played for maximum ouch. For my part, I played a snarling F#♭5 ‘power chord’ in the verses:

--x--
--x--
--x--
--4-- F#
--3-- C
--2-- F#

It’s not actually a chord, since a chord requires three notes (with certain constraints about the distance between them). It’s a ‘power chord’ (root, fifth, octave).

And in the choruses I came up with a cluster of notes that I thought was beautifully screechy and whiny. I played it high up on the neck and moved it around, but the shape is:

--4-- G#
--3-- D
--1-- G#
--2-- E
--x--
--x--

Here’s the song. The chorus starts about 28 seconds in.

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Mmmm. A-tonal.

The top three strings there are doing the same ♭5 thing as the verse chord (G#, D, G#). And then there’s that E which sounds awkward against all the rest, as intended.

So, I was bored today and decided to find out once and for all, if that little mess has an official chord name. It does!

This site gives it two names: the daunting “D/E Suspended 2nd Flat 5th” (yessss) or …. it’s a boring old stupid lame E7.

What?

The notes in that thing are E, G#, D, G#. But a standard E7 is E, B, D, G#:

--0--  E
--0--  B
--1--  G#
--0--  D
--2--  B
--0--  E

So how can it be an E7 if there’s no B? Isn’t the fifth an import note? A standard major/minor triad is root + third + fifth. In this case, E + G# + B = E major. An E7 happens when you add a D to an E major (E + G# + B + D = E7). So I wouldn’t have thought that leaving out the fifth was possible. But, according to this site, it’s perfectly legal:

Usually one of the most unessential notes of any chord is the fifth. In these chords the fifth is essentially “inert”. It does not contribute to the sense of major or minor, nor does it add any interest (tension, dissonance or sense of forward movement) to the sound. Therefore it can typically be omitted quite safely without affecting the stability or tonality of the chord.

As an example, while a Cmaj7 would normally have the notes C, E, G and B, it is common to leave the G out, keeping only the C, E, and B. This is also true for dominant and minor type chords.

And not only is it legal, it’s quite common for choirs and piano.

Always learning.

John McLaughlin Interviewed by Robert Fripp

This is real:

Fripp: That D major chord which changed you from a pianist to a guitarist, what color would that be for you?

McLaughlin: What color…? (pause) I think it could be green.

Fripp: Exactly what I would’ve said…

McLaughlin: It’s got to be yellow and some blue.

Fripp: A major for me is yellow and A minor inclines toward white, which is my C major. Graham Bond said it was red.

McLaughlin: C major, red? No, E major, I would say, is red.

Fripp: E major for me is very blue, a kind of royal blue, and when you get to E minor it becomes more of a night blue, with kind of stars…

McLaughlin: That’s very interesting…

Fripp: G is very greenish, but not quite.

They’re all wrong.

D major is a strong and heavy arrow. E minor is a sad rectangle. C major is holding on. A minor is giving in. G major is an open door. A major is the closed door. Diminished chords are covered in spines.

Adult Day Care

11:30 a.m. Trump enters the room

President Trump enters the room, to applause, surrounded by top administration officials and members of Congress.

11:45 a.m. Trump begins to walk out of the room without signing the order

After making his remarks, Mr. Trump began walking out of the room, until Vice President Mike Pence tapped him and reminded him to sign the order. Mr. Trump then turned to the table to sign the executive order.