Wednesday, December 14, 2005

PRADE is Back

After a short period of being out of commission, PRADE is fully operational again and just in time for your Christmas shopping lists. While PRADE encourages you not to get too wrapped up in the sensationalized commercialism of the Holiday Season, we do hope you will seize the opportunity to bestow thoughtful and interesting gifts on your friends and family.

For the friend stuck in the 80's:

Diplo - FabricLive 24
This mix CD will help usher your friend into the 21st century while never getting them out of their comfort zone. A mix of updated synthy 80's pop songs (Debbie Deb's "When I Hear Music" and Cybertron's "Clear" are stand outs) that transitions into a more eclectic and diverse synthesis of everything from familiar hip hop bangers to funky dance tracks. Diplo is a genre bender and will help broaden anyone's horizons (I guarantee Turbulence's "Notorious" will stick in your head if you haven't heard it before).

For the Science geek in the family:

The Genographic Project
Order the amateur scientist in the family (or anyone who subscribes to Wired and likes watching the Discovery Channel) the
Genographic Project Public Participation Kit , allowing them to take part in the most comprehensive study of the human migration ever attempted. National Geographic, IBM and geneticist Spencer Wells are collaborating to help map human history using DNA analysis. While the creationist in the family might scoff at the idea, the project attempts to figure out how humans migrated from our ancestral birthplace in Africa to the far corners of the Earth using genetic markers found in the DNA of isolated indigenous populations around the globe. It is slightly more complicated, but the home kit includes a DVD that explains it all, as well as swabs to collect DNA of your own to submit to the study. A few weeks later you receive a full genetic history that traces you back tens of thousands of years to your earliest ancestors. Not only that, but your participation helps fund the project's ongoing studies. PRADE covered the project back in May, but I recently saw someone's returned analysis and was blown away. Truly fascinating stuff and a gift that the whole family can actually enjoy.

For the historian in the family:

PBS American Roots Music
I took an American Music class in college, and probably learned more useful knowledge in that class than in all my econ and international relations classes combined. America has a rich musical history that parallels much of the social and political history of our country. This series is a compelling and comprehensive survey of American roots music, covering everything from Blues to Zydeco. You can
purchase the series as a 2 DVD set and I highly recommend also scooping up the hardcover book to add insight to any coffee table collection.

More recommendations to come this week. If you have any good ideas to share, feel free to drop them in the comments section.

It's good to be back.

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