August 12, 2002
Two random words... Syzygy & Theremin

Today I learned two new words, and I thought I'd share them with you:

Syzygy
  • Either of two points in the orbit of a celestial body where the body is in opposition to or in conjunction with the sun.
  • Either of two points in the orbit of the moon when the moon lies in a straight line with the sun and Earth.
  • The configuration of the sun, the moon, and Earth lying in a straight line
Source: Google Glossary: syzygy --> Dictionary.com: syzygy

Theremin
the first real electronic instrument. The Theremin is played by standing and wavings one's hands.

Source: Metafilter --> Oddmusic.com


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Oddly enough, I've just been doing some (Internet) reading on Leon Theremin, aka Lev Termen. There's a decent bio at http://www.obsolete.com/120_years/machines/theremin/ that lists many of his less-well-known inventions (including the first electronic eavesdropping device). Also interesting is his kidnapping and subsequent time incarcerated in a Siberian labour camp with (among others) Sergei Korolyov, former Soviet space engineer and chief designer for many of their early space missions.

Posted by: Peter J. on August 14, 2002 06:09 AM

the Theremin was the intrument used in the Beach Boy's Good Vibrations. it makes a single tone, and the operator of the theremin can adjust volume and tone by raising or lowering his or her hand in the field created by the theremin. there are no moving parts and you don't touch the instrument to play it. a wavering sound can be created by rapidly moving your hand up and down a slight distance. Theremins can still be purchased.

Posted by: John on August 9, 2005 10:57 PM
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