Category Archives: Society & Culture

Life cycles of common metals

This post is from my notes for the first week of lecture in Wheels of Metals: Urban Mining for a Circular Economy on Coursera, and it highlights—for common metals (iron, copper, aluminum)—useful properties that makes the metal attractive for applications, what applications the metal is used in, where and how the metal is mined, how the metal is processed, and how it is recycled. Read more

Overview of the Ocarina: Instrument of the Ages

I wrote this article in 2009 for another website I was running at the time. In this article, I cover my experiences with the ocarina, the history of the ocarina, selecting (or making) an ocarina, and how to play an ocarina.

At a renaissance festival, a musician lured me with whimsical melodies using a strange whistle-like device. Enchanted, I hovered over to her stand, where I discovered that she and her sister made ocarinas for a living, to my great surprise, because, although I had played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, I never knew such instruments actually existed. A diehard Zelda fan and a lover of music, I stood staring at the shiny ocarinas of all shapes and sizes on the counters. Read more