Donnerstag, 24. September 2009

Biosphere, the Music Video

"We don't have a thing to fear, we're living in a biosphere -- of life!"
With those words ringing out as the chorus of this MTV-style homage to the Biosphere II experiment, Jefferson High School science teacher T.H. Culhane and his inner-city students challenged both the doom and gloom that had infected the environmental movement and the public education system which separated the sciences and the arts. Circa 1992 this is a gem of the D.E.M.M.O. productions "Melodic-Mnemonics Science Education through Music and Video" collection produced "of the teachers and students, by the teachers and students, for the teachers and students."
D.E.M.M.O. stood for "Digital Education for Multi-Media Occupations", and was a program run by T.H. Culhane and his students in South Central Los Angeles from 1989 until 1997.


Back in 1991, when I was a NASA Challenger Center Teaching Fellow (one of the seven American teachers chosen in honor of Christie McAuliff and the Challenger Space Shuttle Astronauts) I received a $1000 grant to create this music video with my students at Jefferson High School in South Central Los Angeles. Carlous Galloway, an enterprising young rapper in my biology class, got inspired by the Marsville project and wrote the rap around which we created the song and video. This music video was packaged with the Challenger Center "Marsville" curriculum and put into thousands of schools. Hopefully one day all people, regardless of race, class, creed or social status, will be able to fulfill Carlous' dream of building a true "eutopia" on Mars..

Dienstag, 22. September 2009

Mammals of the Ocean: The Water Ape Hypothesis Set to Music

This is a song written and sung by T.H. Culhane when he was a science and multi-media teacher at Jefferson High School in South Central Los Angeles. It was produced and recorded with Byron DeLear at Ogden House Studios in Hollywood around 1995. David Grober, president of Motion Picture Marine, is also in the recording and took DeLear and Culhane and his students from the D.E.M.M.O. Productions program on the Motion Picture Marine Boat into the Ocean to video tape marine mammals and expose the inner city students to the marine environment for the first time. Unfortunately we don't have any of that early footage. Now T.H. brings his melodic-mnemonics songs around the world (Palestine and Israel are featured here) and teaches students the lessons by having them illustrate the lyrics with web images that they select. The first step is to create what is essentially a powerpoint presentation or video slide show of relevant images. The process of selecting and assembling the images reinforces the concepts and vocabulary. Different student teams will create different takes on the same songs. Advanced students continue by writing their own environmental songs in their own languages and illustrating with their own images and footage.


Good morning class!
and welcome to D.E.M.M.O. Productions' Melodic-Mnemonics Education thru Music Video! Today we're going to study about Evolution... you know all about that stuff. But we've got an
alternative hypothesis to the one you've been learning! Ever come and think you might have come from the ocean?

(Mammals of the Ocean, Mammals of the Ocean)

Let's go!

In some ways we're more like the whale then we are like the ape
Maybe Charles Darwin he make him a big mistake
the natural selection always she operate
in a harsh new environment 'cause baby now that's what it takes

coming down from the trees was not enough, no, no, no, no...
to make us what you see things had to be tough (real tough!)
He threw us into the water to sink or swim
the adaptations we have make us...
Far more like... HIM!?

More like the
Mammals of the Ocean
Look at the hairless skin, woah-oh
Mammals of the Ocean
Look at the fat we've got within
(you mean the blubber, beneath the cover)
Mammals of the Ocean
Look at the downward pointing noise
(keeps out the water, when we go under)
Mammals of the Ocean
Look at the finger-webbing and the paddle like toes...

Why do we build our fine houses out down by the sea
If we came straight from the ape we would build in the trees!
We hang around in the bathtub long after we're clean...
When God said we're born from the water, baby
just what did he mean?
Unless we're...

Mammals of the Ocean
Why so much hair stacked only on top of the head?
Unless we're...
Mammals of the Ocean
While bobbing and breathing the sunstroke would have killed us... dead!
Unless we're
Mammals of the Ocean
What's with the eyebrows where all other monkeys are bare?
So water won't drop in our eyes as it drips from our hair...
Mammals of the Ocean

Na na na na na, yeah-eh, yeah-eh-eh,
Oh yeah-ee-yeah-ee-yeah-ee yeah... yeah.... uh, uh-uh...

Our upright anatomy, more like the Manatee
Even the way we make love...
is more like the dolphin
who rescues us often
reminding us all where we're from...

Face down in cold water an ape really oughta
be drowned in a minute or two
but our reflex for diving keeps us humans thriving
when hunting like sea lions do...

(Key change)

Why else is sea food considered a delicacy?
Most other primates would rather eat fruit from the trees!
Why else do swimming pools signal high society?
Maybe Atlantis and Little Mermaids aren't just fantasy....

Mammals of the Ocean
I'm talking mammals, not fish...
We're Mammals of the Ocean...
I think that they ALL made a big mistake.
Mammals of the Ocean...
We're talking about YO' MAMMAL, man!
(Hey, don't be talking about my mamma that way, dig?)
(Just pullin' your fin, man...
of course we're doing it with a porpoise...)
Mammals of the Ocean
(my lips are sealed... and you fell for that hook, line and sinker...)
Mammals of the Ocean
Having a whale of a time here in Biology Class this time...
Now come on class, open your books up to page 377
and let's jam, come on, let's boogie down!!

I love Biology!!

Mammals of the Ocean.

Mittwoch, 9. September 2009


Lyrics by Byron DeLear and Seth Kaufman from the concept recording "Eutopia":

"The gifts are for givers, the makers not the takers
cause the givers are the livers and lovers of life they're the mothers
to the Human Race Viva La Raza!
Rastafaria -- Bonzai! I be smellin' trouble in the USA
'cause the givers are the livers and the lovers of life
and all the other's druthers are bringing down the Motherland -
"Apple pie and baseball" -- is that all?
Well if it is, then, I think, we're going down y'all
past the morgue -- straight to hell,
it sure ain't heaven in the bottom of a wishing well.
But a "brand new" dot dot dot (...) would sure be nice
but what's the price -- a bowl of rice, huh, would never suffice for us
but for more than half the world it must -- is that just?

Time to come together and start to live as one
We've been through stormy weather
And now we need the sun
to shine on through
To get to a...

"A brand new dot dot dot" -- the age of manufacturing consumers like products rolling off an assembly line is upon us.

Do you want to be manufactured?

Your desire and want for trivial consumables ramped up by the advertising
light and sound show we almost constantly bathe in?

Well, that's what most of us are suffering under today.

Dienstag, 1. September 2009

Plants are fighting battles too...

E, C7 B7

They’re upwardly mobile its true
Extending their leaves up there to the sun

The world a desert before the plants came

Photosynthesis took away their impetus (to move)
Now because of this they have to use an arsenal or lose

Each plant has an arsenal of weapons it can battle with
Bark and thorns and chemicals and drugs make you … all prove:

That plants are fighting battles too.

The Sound and Light Show

The Sound and Light Show
Copyright 2004 T.H. Culhane

Spoken: “When you’re sitting by the ocean
Putting on your suntan lotion
To protect you from the Ultra-Violet Rays
And you hear the surf that’s crashing
Waves of energy and passion
And you feel the wind a-howlin’ night and day”
When you’re riding ‘cross a sand dune
By the light reflected off the moon
And see the rippled shadows in the sand
When you throw a pebble in a pond
And watch the way that it responds
These images will help you understand
So you’ll remember that…”

Sound and Light are WAVES

Sound and Light are WAVES


Sound and light are waves

Sound and Light are WAVES

Organisms use them both to find out where they are in time and space
And BOUNCE off every object;
Their REFLECTIONS help us all to NAVIGATE
So just remember folks, that sound and light are waves….

Spoken: “On the surface of the ocean
you can see some waves in motion
It’s their height that science calls their “AMPLITUDE”

And the lengths of time and space
Between the crest of every wave
are the “FREQUENCY” and “WAVELENGTH”… which we use

To understand the nature
Of what goes on in nature
The subtle architecture
No longer just conjecture
In fact we know the structure
Though we can’t see it directly
We know that sound and light are waves

Spoken: “Deep inside a bat cave
A bat can’t bet on light waves
She’s got to learn to SEE WITH SOUND
For these creatures of the night
There’s no way to see with light
Sound reflection is the way they get around…

It’s called SONAR
Or “Echo-location”
Whales and dolphins do it too…
Underwater, so would you…

Sound and light are waves

Sound and Light are WAVES

And a wave is a DISTURBANCE
That travels through a MEDIUM
And a medium’s a substance
Like a solid or a liquid or a gas…

All waves behave…
As carriers of energy
From oscillating objects
Do reflection and diffraction…
Both have frequencies and amplitudes…
But here’s what’s really gnarly dude:
Only light can travel through the void…

Through outer space…

Where no-one can hear you scream…(scream, scream)…

Because sound, you see, is mechanical
But light is an electromagnet wave…

But all YOU must remember is that…

Sound and Light are waves…
Sound and light are waves…
Let there be SOUND!:
Guitar solo.

Frequency makes our eyes see in color
Frequency is harmony and music, yeah…
Amplitude is volume dude, and brightness…
Amplitude is thunder, dark and lightness….

Sound and light are waves
Energy in waves
That’s how sound behaves
That’s how light behaves
Sound and light are waves
Sound though is mechanical
While light is in electromagnet rays

Sounds a pressure wave
Light’s both particle AND wave
Sound travels through objects
Light can go through space
But both of them are waves
Sound and light are waves
Let there be LIGHT!

The Cytoplasm Blues

The Cytoplasm Blues
Copyright 1989 T.H. Culhane

I’ve got a NUCLEUS for a brain
That’s where I house my DNA
It’s got my BLUEPRINT tucked away

Contained within the CELL MEMBRANE

Down on the CYTOPLASMIC Plain
Is where the RIBOSOMES at play
Are making PROTEINS every day
Shipped down to GOLGI COMPLEX bay
Where they are packaged and sent away…

Down at the LYSOSOME there lies
A bunch of ENZYMES, creepy guys
Who through DIGESTION win the prize
For breaking food stuff down to size
But these AEROBIC CELLS are wise
At getting ENERGY supplies

They send it off to the MITOCHONDRION
That’s where the battle for ATP is won
Making POWER so the CELL can run
‘cause these poor ANIMAL CELLS can’t use the SUN!

So we gotta WORK
We gotta EAT
We go beserk
Trying to COMPETE
But that’s why LIVING
Is sooooooooo much FUN!
(Yeah you gotta believe in the lives of a cell!)

The Five Senses Song

The Five Senses Song
Copyright 2004 Melodic Mnemonics
Taha Rassam Culhane
with assistance from Amira Dibsy

I’ve got a nose right here
I’ve got a pair of ears
I’ve got a really big mouth filled with tongue and teeth
I got a pair of eyes
and a pair of hands
So now let’s sing so you understand…

The Five Senses!

We’ve got taste
We’ve got smell
And we see very well
And through touch we can feel
And we hear with our ears
Oh these sounds they appear very clear

With our eyes we see
With our ears we hear
With our nose we smell
With our tongues we taste
With our hands we touch
And that’s why we know the world so well…
5 senses here
5 senses there
5 senses: 


the world - it feels amazing!

Photons hit your eyeballs
Waves of sound bang on your eardrums
little molecules alight upon your tongue and your nose

Sensitive receptors take such tickles, tones and pressures
They become electric signals that then flow
And go…
…through your nerves they flow
It’s a secret code from your head to your toes

Everything’s connected through a telephone like network
And this nervous system feeds into your brain…

So we’ve got taste
We’ve got smell
And we see very well
And through touch we can feel
And we hear with our ears
Oh these sounds they appear very clear

With our eyes (we what?) we see
With our ears (we what?) we hear
With our nose (we what?) we smell
With our tongues we taste
With our hands we touch
And that’s why we know the world so well…

5 senses here
5 senses there
5 senses: 

the world - it FEELs amazing!
I’ve got five senses
We’ve got five senses
And the world it feels so wonderful
Yes the world feels so amazing!

Welcome to the Coral Reef

“Welcome to the Coral Reef”

The Zooxanthellae Rockabilly Song
Copyright 2003 By T.H. Culhane, Melodic Mnemonics
UCLA Dept. of Urban Planning
Environmental Analysis and Policy

Spoken: “There are more phyla and more orders of creatures underwater than exist in all the terrestrial biomes above
 And while the jungles of the world contain more actual species there almost 4 times as many phyla on the reef than in all the rainforests combined…,
Coral reefs contain over  25,000 species from 32 of the 34 animal phyla living on the planet earth;
But coral reefs are very rare and very threatened
25% of all marine species live in an area that is less than 1% of the ocean floor. And this area is getting smaller and smaller every day.
Pollution and over fishing and unsustainable development practices are destroying what was once the most stable ecosystem on the planet
Nonetheless, there is HOPE! And that hope grows every time one of YOU begins to take a serious interest in this fantabulous and fragile environment.”

and Arthropoda
and the Porifera
(“Sponge Bob”!)
And the Annelidae
(Sea Worms!)
Phylum Mollusca (snails!)
And Vertebrata (Whales?)   
like Osteichthyes (fish!)
And the Chondrichthyes (Fish!)
I mean the Sharks and Rays…
And the Delphinidae…
They all live here!
Under the water, under the water…
Under the water, under the water…
There’s such diversity…
Biodiversity –
Welcome to the Coral Reef!
(Let’s Go!)

The Coelenterata
Only found beneath the water
Are the corals and anenomes
That look like pretty flowers
But they’re animals…
Yes they’re animals…
And those weird Porifera
Those sponges that grow everywhere
From blobs of red and yellow
To giant purple barrels too
Are animals…
True they’re animals…

But they tend to live in colonies
That grow to look like coral trees
But they’re just apartment houses undersea

Hard corals form the basis
Of this undersea oasis
With the exoskeletons that they secrete…

That’s how they form the coral reef…

Coral polyps are strange hybrids
Of producers and consumers
Using tentacles to catch and stun their prey

But like some clams and slugs and nudibranchs
And Tridacnidae in fish farm tanks
They feed by photosynthesis by day
It’s a form of symbiosis
Where green algal zooxanthellae
Make the sugars that make everything else run

Now it may sound kinda silly, but a girl with Zooxanthellae…
Thus could eat by simply sitting in the sun…
Every girl’s dream…
Except she’d have to be green…
Welcome to the coral reef…

Shells and corals crushed by pounding waves
Get turned one day to tiny grains of sand
And over eons earth’s geology’s transformed by creatures of the sea
These animals create what we call land…
(and limestone and marble…and concrete!)
Your house may once have been a reef…

The echinodermata also live beneath the water
They’re the urchins and the starfish
Some have stomachs that come out when they digest their prey…
It’s a strange display…
And the Mollusca form the phylum 
Of the Mussels, Snails and Bivalves
That make all those pretty seashells
That you find along the beach
They’re rather marvelous…
Cousins of octopus…
And how many of you really knew
That bug-like creatures live there too…
The arthropods with crabs and shrimps and more
And there are worms that look like Christmas trees
Within the strange annelidae
The reef is filled with aliens galore
No need to go to outer space
The coral reef’s a stranger place
If you’re looking for a brave new world…
The ocean is the place to be…
Welcome to the coral reef!