How To Recreate A Top iTunes Song In 60 Seconds (For Free)

From AP News today:

An unusual tune has found its way onto the top 50 on the iTunes charts, alongside Ed Sheeran and Keith Urban hits. The song is completely silent. “A a a a a Very Good Song” costs 99 cents for just under 10 minutes of dead air.

Because I did this same thing in early 2007, I know that it’s a waste of $1 to buy a ‘song’ of pure silence. It doesn’t take much time or effort to create such a track.

Here’s the entire do-it-yourself process:

1. Download the free audio software Audacity and install it. You can choose other software; I just know Audacity is a quick and simple option.

2. Open Audacity and check out the menu. Click “Generate” to see options drop down, and choose “Silence.” (Screenshot shown below for clarity.)

3. Choose how many minutes and seconds of silence you want. Then click “ok.”

4. Export the file in WAV, MP3, or any other format you want. (Windows users can press CTRL+SHIFT+E to export the file.)

5. Load the track into your iTunes library. (I find that drag-and-drop is easiest.)

Congratulations! You’re done. You saved a dollar and didn’t have to navigate the iTunes store.

Addendum: Some people have pointed out that “silence as a composition” has been done many times. John Cage’s 4’33” may be the most popular example.

Are We Living In A Simulated Reality?

People have been discussing this idea for years, and it’s gained more traction as of late. Several articles in 2016 were sparked by billionaire Elon Musk’s comments at a technology conference. “There’s a billion to one chance we’re living in base reality,” he said, among other things.

As one might imagine, the “simulation” idea is a controversial topic. Some people take it very seriously — Tad Friend at The New Yorker wrote “Many people in Silicon Valley have become obsessed with the simulation hypothesis, the argument that what we experience as reality is in fact fabricated in a computer; two tech billionaires have gone so far as to secretly engage scientists to work on breaking us out of the simulation.”

Rich Terrile (a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory) said that if our universe is finite, it’s computable, and therefore could be a simulation. He adds: “Reasons to believe that the universe is a simulation include the fact that it behaves mathematically and is broken up into pieces (subatomic particles) like a pixelated video game.” This could, however, just be how the universe works. We don’t know.

Skeptics of the “simulation” theory point out that there isn’t any proof to support the idea. There are many arguments for and against it — so who is correct? Well, to be honest, that’s likely irrelevant. But it’s interesting to think about.

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Is Staying Informed Overrated?

I saw a couple of tweets earlier this month from Naval Ravikant, and they’ve stuck with me. Not because they’re particularly enlightening on their own — they’re individual tweets, after all. It’s because Naval’s statements mesh with other pieces of information I’ve seen this year. Together, the sum of this knowledge paints quite an interesting picture.

Oddly controversial statements to make these days:

  • “Be optimistic.”
  • “Staying informed is overrated.”

Yet in certain ways, they make sense. Is it worth taking the time to keep up with the news?

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This week in news: February 26 – March 4 rundown


  1. Seven Maryland police officers arrested
  2. Trump gave a speech to Congress
  3. Sweden reintroduced a military draft
  4. EU may revoke visa-free travel for US citizens
  5. Battle for Mosul continued
  6. Jordan executed 15 people in one day
  7. Somalia and South Sudan plagued with famine
  8. Samsung chief to be indicted on bribery and embezzlement
  9. China made more steps to combat pollution
  10. SpaceX to fly two people around the moon in 2018

Further information and more stories:
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This week in news: February 19-25 rundown


  1. Flooding in California
  2. Dakota Access Pipeline protests continued
  3. Protests held against Republican politicians
  4. German intelligence service reportedly spied on media outlets
  5. Car bombs exploded in Syria and Somalia
  6. The fight to retake Mosul continued
  7. China temporarily banned coal imports from North Korea
  8. Famine in South Sudan and Nigeria
  9. Australia plane crash killed 5
  10. NASA discovered 7 potentially habitable exoplanets orbiting one star

Further information and more stories:
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This week in news: February 12-18 rundown


  1. U.S. National Security Adviser resigns
  2. California dam problems prompt evacuation of almost 200,000 people
  3. Protests in Romania and France
  4. Operation begins to take western Mosul from ISIS
  5. Annual Amani Festival in Goma
  6. Suicide bombing in Nigeria
  7. Relative of North Korean leader is assassinated
  8. Bus crash in Taiwan kills 32
  9. Out-of-control bushfires damage homes in Australia
  10. India space agency launches 104 satellites from a single rocket

Further information and more stories:
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This week in news: February 5-11 rundown


  1. Super Bowl LI
  2. Continued controversy over the Dakota Access pipeline
  3. DeVos and other cabinet confirmations
  4. Immigration raids in several states
  5. Evacuations in Greece to defuse WW2 bomb
  6. Protest in Iraq
  7. Stadium stampede in Angola
  8. Afghanistan suicide bomb
  9. North Korea conducts missile test
  10. Natural disasters kill 12+ people in Indonesia and the Philippines

Further information and more stories:
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This week in news: January 29 – February 4 rundown


  1. President Trump’s temporary travel ban was blocked
  2. US raid in Yemen leaves at least 25 dead
  3. Protests at Berkeley over conservative speaker
  4. Delaware prison hostage situation
  5. Canadian shooting at a mosque
  6. UK votes to begin Brexit
  7. Protests in Romania
  8. Iranian missile test, and sanctions
  9. Clashes in the Congo
  10. New brain interface allows paralyzed people to communicate

Further information and more stories:
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