Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, June 8, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 10



 Mountain Views News Saturday, June 8, 2013 


By the time you are reading this I’m probably overhead flying off to Oslo, Norway for a little R&R 
and plenty of Norwegian salmon. Recently I picked up some cherries at Vons, and, boy, were they 
ready to eat! You see, I have a secret love affair with the cherry -- it is my all time favorite fruit. 
When they are good they are oh soooo good; when they aren’t they just well… aren’t worth it. I got 
to thinking there must be a food day for most every day, and... I was right. 

June is National Fruit and Vegetable Month. Yes, I know, there are a million of these designated 
titles for the month of June (and every other month, too!) Half of them hold about as much 
weight as your doctor telling you that you should go to bed at the same time every night (like that’s 
possible…). There’s “National Rocky Road Day”, “I drink too much day” and of course “I’ll have 
another day”. 

Instead of letting the label slip your mind like all those other futile holiday labels, use this one as 
an excuse to mindfully “healthify” your diet. The upcoming months are filled with fresh, seasonal 
produce, which makes the process of eating your fruits and veggies a whole lot cheaper, easier, and 

 Fruits and Veggies in June

• Arugula * Broccoli * Blueberries *Cabbage *Cauliflower * 
Cherries * Dandelion Greens *Kale *Leaf Lettuce * Okra * Peas * 
Rhubarb * Raspberries * Spinach * Spring Onions * Strawberries * 
Swiss Chard. 
• What does July hold for us? Check out 
to find out!

Fun cherry facts: Its name comes originally from the Greek, and in 
Latin means of or for the birds, due to the birds’ obvious love of the 
fruit. The English word cherry originates from the Assyrian karsu 
and Greek kerasos. The tree was beloved by the Egyptians, Greeks 
and Romans both for its beautiful flowers and its versatile fruit. 

• Although a different species of cherry was already strongly 
established in America by the time the first colonists arrived, the new settlers brought along their 
favorite European variety and eventually cross-bred the two. Today, 90 percent of the commercial 
cherry crop is grown in the U.S., mostly in Michigan, California, Oregon and Washington.




1 cup brown (or white) rice

 1 cooked chicken (about 2 1/2 pounds), shredded (about 4 cups)

 1 can (15 1/2 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed

 6 plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced

 1 jalapeno chile (seeds and ribs removed for less heat, if desired), minced

 1/4 cup white-wine vinegar

 3 tablespoons olive oil

 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

 Coarse salt and ground pepper

 4 scallions, thinly sliced


Cook rice according to package instructions. Spread on a baking sheet; refrigerate until cool.


Place cooled rice in a large bowl; add chicken, beans, tomatoes, scallions, jalapeno, vinegar, oil, and 
cumin. Season with salt and pepper; toss to combine.

TABLE FOR TWO by Peter Dills


Tuesday, June 11 - 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Trattoria Neapolis - 336 South Lake Avenue, Pasadena

$35 per person*

Trattoria Neapolis & Contessa Italian Home Collection

Team up to rediscover some Italian Roots and Traditions.

Luisa and a Sommelier from Trattoria Neapolis will guide you through a tasting of Organic 

traditional Pastas & Wines from Italy.

This very special Pasta is made from ancient varieties of wheat.

Reservations are suggested, but walk-ins are welcome.

Call Trattoria Neapolis to reserve. 626.792.3000

*Plus tax & 18% gratuity



 Plato, the Greek philosopher and mathematician, described music 
and astronomy as “sister sciences” that both encompass harmonious 
motions, whether of instrument strings or celestial objects. This 
philosophy of a “Music of the Spheres” was symbolic. However, 
modern technology is creating a true music of the spheres by 
transforming astronomical data into unique musical compositions.

 Gerhard Sonnert, a research associate at the Harvard-Smithsonian 
Center for Astrophysics, has published a new website that allows 
listeners to literally hear the music of the stars. He worked with 
Wanda Diaz-Merced, a postdoctoral student at the University 
of Glasgow whose blindness led her into the field of sonification 
(turning astrophysical data into sound), and also with composer 
Volkmar Studtrucker, who turned the sound into music.

 “I saw the musical notes on Wanda’s desk and I got inspired,” 
Sonnert says.

 Diaz-Merced lost her sight in her early 20s while studying 
physics. When she visited an astronomy lab and heard the hiss 
of a signal from a radio telescope, she realized that she might be 
able to continue doing the science she loved. She now works with 
a program called xSonify, which allows users to present numerical 
data as sound and use pitch, volume, or rhythm to distinguish 
between different data values.

 During a visit to the Center for Astrophysics in 2011, Diaz-
Merced worked with data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. 
The data was from EX Hydrae—a binary system in the constellation 
of Hydra, consisting of a normal star and a white dwarf. Known 
as a “cataclysmic variable,” the white dwarf fluctuates in X-ray 
brightness as it consumes gas from its companion star.

 Diaz-Merced plugged the Chandra X-ray data into the xSonify 
program and converted the raw data into musical notes. The results 
sounded random, but Sonnert sensed that they could become 
something more pleasing to the ear. He contacted Studtrucker who 
chose short passages from the sonified notes, perhaps 70 bars in 
total, and added harmonies in different musical styles. Sound files 
that began as atonal compositions transformed into blues jams and 
jazz ballads, to name just two examples of the nine songs produced.


 The project shows that something 
as far away and otherworldly as 
an X-ray-emitting cataclysmic 
variable binary star system can 
be significant to humans for two 
distinct reasons—one scientific 
and one artistic.

 Sonnert explains that in creating 
music from stellar information, 
“We’re still extracting meaning 
from data, but in a very different 


 The thought of “Music of the 
Spheres” goes back well over 2,000 
years, to the time of Pythagoras. 
He proposed that the Sun, Moon 
and planets all emit their own 
unique “hum” (orbital resonance) 
based on their orbital revolution-
periods, and that the quality of 
life on Earth reflects the tenor 
of celestial sounds which are 
physically imperceptible to the 
human ear. Subsequently, Plato 
described astronomy and music 
as “twinned” studies of sensual 
recognition: astronomy for the 
eyes, music for the ears, both 
requiring knowledge of numerical 
proportions to be appreciated.

You can listen to the results of Sonnert’s project at the Star Songs 

Photo courtesy Christine Pulliam (CFA)

More on sonification:

 You can contact Bob Eklund at: