Change Against All Odds

Why Is It So Hard to Renew Certain Beliefs?

It sometimes seems impossible to change somebody’s mind even when we have solid, fact-checked data. A fascinating scientific study explains exactly why. It’s called the backfire effect and this podcast explains it in ample detail.

But if you want a bit of entertainment while you’re learning about yourself, here’s one of the best ways to do it – along with this excellent comic from The Oatmeal

Other than the important teachings imparted in a fun and easy to integrate way (Matthew Inman’s superpower), this quote resonated very strongly with me:

“I don’t have a way to change the behavior of seven-point-five billion people carrying their beliefs around like precious gems wrapped in hand grenades.”

ATB - Contact

ATB – Trace Of Life

This one will take you places. Just close your eyes, relax and let the brain massage begin. The song is a bit repetitive, but it’s one of those fortunate cases when that’s exactly the point. Some melodies let you sit still while they show you their many different landscapes. This song is more like a vehicle. Get on board and navigate your own imagination. The rhythm is steady and reliable, the sound is rich and stimulating. And don’t be surprised if you’re tempted to move your body either.

This song, as well as the album it comes from, came as a rather big surprise for me. I hadn’t listened to ATB in many years. For me, ATB was synonymous to his famous single, “9PM (Till I Come)”. I was quite impressed by the difference in style between 1999 and 2014. 15 years is a long time so evolution isn’t that much of a surprise, but I was really happy to see where the evolution of ATB led. There are a lot of great tracks on “Contact”. It’s an album I can highly recommend.

Artist's impression of space junk

Careful with That Orbit Now

Scientists and aerospace engineers alike have long been worried about the consequences of junking Earth’s orbit. On this site the topic was first mentioned shortly after North Korea put an (apparently) useless satellite up there. This is a serious issue, as highlighted by this year’s conference on space debris, which was understandably worried about recent initiatives that consist of launching entire constellations of micro-satellites.

Should we expect the worst to happen? With SpaceX alone planning to plant about 3000 (yes, that’s three thousand) satellites in orbit during the next decade, I think it is a valid concern. Especially as this is done with little (if any) preparation to mitigate orbital pollution.

Dimmu Borgir - Death Cult Armageddon

Dimmu Borgir – Eradication Instincts Defined

Marching forth with cruel precision, an ominous orchestra serves as the starting point for this lovely ride of terror. There are moments of hopefulness, but these will be quickly extinguished by the bleak landscape that follows.

It takes a lot to make me feature metal music in this space, especially when it comes to this extreme variety. It takes a perfectly executed song, featuring one of the best synergies between electric guitars, merciless artillery percussion, choirs, raging howls and a full fledged orchestra. Completing the apocalyptic picture, the song showcases some of Dimmu Borgir’s finest lyrics, bringing forth the murderous aspect of man and punishing it with the image of nuclear Armageddon. Even the title of the song is perfect.

Sintra - Pena Palace

Sintra – Portugal’s Castlefest

The potent summer sun spent its day doing what Portuguese sun does best. That is, baking castle masonry and tourists alike. There are plenty of both to go around in this beautiful region. Going to Sintra is like visiting the castle museum. A day is barely enough to see a few different architectures originating from various periods of the past millennium. Paths treaded by countless generations before are faithful guides into and through the depths of history.

Alice In Chains - The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here

Alice In Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here

This is a story about how people are manipulated by organized religion and media. Case in question: the way various religious cults try to explain away the existence of the dinosaurs – a fact of biological history which contradicts certain interpretations of the Bible (namely that the Earth is roughly 6000 years old).

What genre could be better suited for combating outrageous ignorance if not some compositional-diverse, well-produced, perfectly-balanced metal. This melody is a mental sword. Wield it proudly and enjoy its symmetric construction. There’s also a magnificent array of vocals, making this one of my favorite metal song ever. And that’s not all…

Opening to Love

Opening to Love

This profound and emotional writing celebrates the difference between men and women in a glorious way. It honors love by crossing into the mystic with little regard for social norms (especially the social norms of Western culture). It is a text that challenges, but one that will shine in an open mind and open heart.

Sync24 - Comfortable Void

Sync24 – Dance Of The Droids

This is one song where the rather lengthy intro is totally worth it and does a great job of laying the ground for the coming of the mighty dancing droids. The melody sparkles to life soon enough, like a champagne that was rattled for far too long.

It doesn’t take long for the “opposing forces” to show up. To contrast the happy tinkling come the rowdy bass worms. These party animals waste no time in burying deep into the eardrum. They proceed and engage in a thoroughly good time. As the song progresses, the lows get lower and the melody becomes a panorama of a shifting canvas of well-rounded sound textures.

Food Delivery Guy For Uber And Foodora

Just How Bad Is It to Do Food Delivery for Today’s App-Overlords

As it turns out following this journalist’s two-week investigation, it’s pretty bad. The man could barely manage $4.4 per hour working his legs off (for Uber Eats) in Stockholm, capital of Sweden, where the cost of living has increased drastically in the past decade. The pay was better when working for Foodora, a similar service, but still unfair given the amount of work, not to mention the minimum salary in Sweden. The interviewing procedure for Foodora is outright humiliating. The practical test encourages possible employees to jeopardize their life by breaking traffic regulations. Here’s the story in all its juicy (read gory) details:

Some of the things a technologically interconnected world has brought us are great. But damn, some of the others are pretty sad. I bet the argument that “at least they’re creating jobs” will eventually pop up. No, these are not jobs. This is slavery, plain and simple. The fact that the slaves are willingly performing this demeaning work is even worse. This shows the decay of the social structures that were meant to ensure our progress as a species.

Clawfinger - Clawfinger

Clawfinger – Chances

Here’s an hymn for change if there ever was one! And what’s the best music to stimulate change? How about a couple of rabid guitars riffing against relentless percussion? The occasional synthesizer touch is there to bring diversity to an already good song. Even for those that aren’t fans of rap-metal, the lyrics of this song are an ode to change of fascinating intensity.

There aren’t many metal bands that manage to make good music and write decent lyrics. There are even fewer that make excellent music and write excellent lyrics. Clawfinger is one of them. The band’s lyrics are firmly rooted in the sad realities of the late 20th and early 21st century when social decay at the hands of corporations and corrupt governments caused an immense amount of grief and social trauma.