Lab Scans And Analyzes Sting’s Brain As Part Of Study Of Mental Music Organization

first_imgFollowing a recent show in Montreal, Sting met with Daniel Levitin, a cognitive psychologist at McGill University to have fMRI images of his brain taken as part of an ongoing study of how the brain of a skilled musician analyzes and organizes music. In a paper outlining the study published on McGill’s website, Levitin explains that he and his partners have developed imaging-analysis techniques to provide insight into how gifted individuals find connections between seemingly disparate thoughts or sounds, in fields ranging from arts, to politics, to science. “These state-of-the-art techniques really allowed us to make maps of how Sting’s brain organizes music. That’s important because at the heart of great musicianship is the ability to manipulate in one’s mind rich representations of the desired soundscape.”The research came about as a result of a mutual admiration between Sting and the McGill psychologist. Years ago, Sting read Levitin’s book This Is Your Brain On Music, and asked to meet Levitin and take a tour of his facilities, as many musicians have done over the years. While there, Levitin asked if Sting would be interested in having his brain scanned, and the musician obliged.Both functional and structural scans were conducted in a single session at the brain imaging unit of McGill’s Montreal Neurological Institute on the hot afternoon of his July 5th concert with Peter Gabriel at the Bell Centre (part of their current Rock Paper Scissors Tour). A power outage knocked the entire campus off-line for several hours, threatening to cancel the experiment. Because it takes over an hour to reboot the fMRI machine, time grew short. Sting graciously agreed to skip his soundcheck in order to accurately complete the scan.Levitin then teamed up with Scott Grafton, a leading brain-scan expert at the University of California at Santa Barbara, to use two novel techniques to analyze the scans. The techniques showed which songs Sting found similar to one another and which ones he found dissimilar based not on tests or questionnaires, but on activations of brain regions. Says Grafton, “At the heart of these methods is the ability to test if patterns of brain activity are more alike for two similar styles of music compared to different styles. This approach has never before been considered in brain imaging experiments of music.”According to Levitin, “Sting’s brain scan pointed us to several connections between pieces of music that I know well but had never seen as related before.” The most surprising neural connection was the similarity in brain activity between Piazzolla’s “Libertango”, a tango composition, and the Beatles‘ “Girl” off 1965’s Rubber Soul. While the songs differ greatly in sound and genre, both pieces are in minor keys and include similar melodic motifs. Another example of similar neurological responses to seemingly different songs was Sting’s own “Moon Over Bourbon Street” and Booker T. and the MG‘s “Green Onions”, both of which have the same 132 bpm tempo and a swinging rhythm. While more information is needed to draw any scientific conclusions, these tests provide insight into the connecting factors between different kinds of music in terms of how they are received and processed by the mind of a musician.[via McGill University]last_img read more

Serving members at the center of the COVID storm

first_img continue reading » Though much of the New York metropolitan area is shut down by its status as the current U.S. epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, CUES member Thomas J. Powers, Jr. still goes into the office every other day, leading the “A team” of five employees of Hudson River Financial Federal Credit Union.The credit union divided its 10-member staff into two teams. Each reports to the credit union’s sole office on alternating days so employees can spread out and observe social distancing guidelines, explains Powers, president/CEO of the $70 million Mohegan Lake, New York, financial cooperative serving 7,000 members. The CFO leads the “B team.”“Everybody has enough training so that each day they came in, they could run the credit union,” Powers says. “They’re doing very well. Nobody’s gone down. Nobody has called in and said, ‘We don’t want to come in.’” ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

MLB Draft 2019: The five best things you probably didn’t see

first_imgMORE: Live 2019 MLB Draft tracker for Rounds 1-10Here are some: A packed houseIn years past, Studio 42 hasn’t really been Studio 54 when it comes to action and population. In 2019, it was the opposite.For those unfamiliar with Studio 42 — a replica baseball stadium that doubles as a TV studio for MLB Network — it comes complete with seats that are … sittable. While only four players attended this year’s draft, there was barely an empty seat in the house among media, family members and others. The MLB Draft is growing, or at least it seems to be.Swish and the Crash Test Dummy dap it upOakland A’s players have a very particular persona. Usually loud, exciting and with more energy than a Labrador, Oakland is one of the few franchises that has a palpable attitude.Nick Swisher, the player rep for Yankees, and Eric Byrnes, player rep for the A’s, exchanged a big-time bro hug and a few words before the draft got underway. I wish I was a fly on the wall for that conversation. It probably went something like this:Swisher:  BRO!Byrnes: DUDE!Swisher:  BRO!Byrnes:  DUDE!Swisher:  BRO!Byrnes:  DUDE!Swisher:  BRO!Byrnes:  DUDE!I’m surprised the universe didn’t implode from the sheer force of  bro  that happened between the two, but it was very clearly an exciting, animated conversation. Use your imaginations for the rest.MORE: Watch ‘ChangeUp,’ a new MLB live whiparound show on DAZNByrnes gets pumped for Giants pickAs previously mentioned, Eric Byrnes is a pretty excitable man. That was especially apparent when the Bay Area team opposite his A’s made its pick. Byrnes was admittedly biased when Hunter Bishop’s name was called. He stood up, fist pumped and clapped his hands, visibly excited for Bishop.Byrnes said he saw Bishop play at his alma mater, Arizona State, in his freshman year and knew then he was going to be a special player.Well, Byrnes is a soothsayer, apparently.The Big Unit’s fashion statementOn the night of the draft, it was about 75 degrees and sunny in Central New Jersey. Shorts and T-shirt weather, really. But the second you step inside of Studio 42, it’s like Mr. Freeze’s secret lair in “Batman & Robin.” It’s an icebox. It takes a special type of dude to rock a leather jacket in June, and it’s safe to say that Randy Johnson is special. Johnson, Hall of Fame pitcher and player rep for the Diamondbacks, decided to suit up in none other than a polo and leather jacket, striding through Studio 42 before and during the draft, too cool for school. While everyone else was wearing suits and ties, Johnson couldn’t have been more Johnson.The Fonz. Danny Zuko. Randy Johnson.Jack and Jackson snap a photoWashington’s first-round pick, Jackson Rutledge, is an absolute unit. I was in awe at the size of that lad.  The 6-8 righty pitcher was thrilled to join the Nationals, getting an opportunity to speak with team reps Jack McKeon and Johnny DiPuglia for a photo opportunity DiPuglia snapped a pic of the towering Rutledge with the noticeably shorter McKeon. Just before DiPuglia grabbed a second photo, he lowered the camera and said, “He’s a little taller than you, Jack.” The peanut gallery laughed.Deadpan humor is the best humor. SECAUCUS, N.J. — The MLB Draft might not have the pageantry, glitz or glamour of other sports drafts, but it still lends itself to cool stories for the die-hard baseball nerds.Amateur players, Hall of Famers, notable baseball folks and big-time personalities take to Studio 42 for the draft every year, but it’s what you don’t always see on TV or in pictures that makes for some of the best stories.last_img read more

Ezekiel Elliott among Cowboys, Texans players to test positive for coronavirus

first_imgMORE: What to know about coronavirus & the NFL’s 2020 seasonSeveral #Cowboys players & several #Texans players have tested positive for COVID-19 recently, sources tell me & @TomPelissero. None of the players are believed to have been in their team facilities. The teams followed proper health protocols.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 15, 2020#Cowboys star RB Ezekiel Elliott is one of the players who has tested positive for the Coronavirus, his agent Rocky Arceneaux confirmed to me. Arceneaux said Elliott is feeling good.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 15, 2020Elliott was upset that his condition became public. He wondered whether patient confidentiality was violated. Ezekiel Elliott plus several of his Cowboys teammates and Texans players have tested positive for COVID-19, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.Rocky Arceneaux, Elliott’s agent, confirmed the Monday report and said Elliott is “feeling good.” HIPAA ??— Ezekiel Elliott (@EzekielElliott) June 15, 2020Elliott is the most notable NFL player to have tested positive for the coronavirus so far with the league about a month away from opening training camps. Saints coach Sean Payton also contracted the virus in March. The NFL and its franchises have safety measures in place in the event of a coronavirus outbreak. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh recently voiced some concerns with how the league is going to attack the coronavirus and its protocols.The league already has felt the effects of the virus, with the 2020 NFL Draft being held virtually. The event was originally scheduled to take place in Las Vegas.Texas is currently reopening as cases continue to climb across the state.last_img read more