An evening pause: A wonderful moment from the 1960s, performed brilliantly by actress Leigh French and resulting in some wonderful and gentle satire of the hippie culture of the time. Context is also important, because the Smothers Brothers were constantly having problems with their television censors.
A scientific analysis of a database of over a million songs produced since 1955 has found that modern popular music is louder and has less variety or range than the popular music of the past. Key quote:
Lastly, the researchers detected a trend of homogenization of the timbral palette. Timbre is what makes a particular musical sound different from another, even when they have the same pitch and loudness. It is essentially the difference between different instruments playing the same note at the same loudness. They found that, after peaking in the mid 60s, timbral variety has continued to narrow.
This confirms a suspicion of many fans of modern popular music, that it is less interesting and shows far less creativity than the popular music of the 1960s. This result might also explain why 1960s music remains so popular.
An evening pause: Fifty years ago today the United States succeeded for the first time in placing a living animal in orbit, four years after the Soviet’s launched the dog Laika into space. On November 29, 1961 NASA orbited a chimpanzee named Enos as a dress rehearsal for John Glenn’s orbital flight, then scheduled for early in 1962. See this article for some details about Enos difficult flight.
Since the flights of Gagarin, Titov, Shepard, and Grissom earlier in 1961, the 1960s space race had seemed in abeyance as NASA geared up for its first orbital manned mission, while the Soviets were typically silent about their plans. Yet, for those like myself who were alive at that time, the suspense never abated. What would happen next? Could the U.S. beat the Russians to the Moon? Only time would tell.