Different Kinds of Duduks

Duduk maestro Manvel Mnatsakanyan explains in this video the different types of duduks, their qualities and sounds, and even gives a introductory lesson on how to play the duduk. This video is great introduction to the great diversity of the duduk and the many different sounds the instrument can make. I think my favorite was the duduk in D--it has a bright sound that isn't typical of the duduk, which is often described as the saddest instrument in the world. Armenian musicologists cite evidence of the duduk's use as early as 1200 BC, though Western scholars suggest it is 1,500 years old. Variants of the duduk can be found in Armenia and the Caucasus. The history of the Armenian duduk music is dated to the reign of the Armenian king Tigran the Great, who reigned from 95–55 B.C. According to ethnomusicologist Dr. Jonathan McCollum, the instrument is depicted in numerous Armenian manuscripts of the Middle Ages, and is "actually the only truly Armenian instrument that's survived through history, and as such is a symbol of Armenian national identity ... The most important quality of the duduk is its ability to express the language dialectic and mood of the Armenian language, which is often the most challenging quality to a duduk player." For anyone who is interested, Manvel actually conducts duduk lessons with students from around the world via Skype!
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Top 10 Commencement Speeches According to Time

I'm really honored and humbled to say that I was selected to be the student speaker at the UCLA Department of Communication Studies Class of 2014 Commencement Ceremony! It took me a long time to write a meaningful and exciting speech that will hopefully be worth listening to. I found this really great list of fantastic commencement speeches given by some pretty famous people. The following is from the #1 speech by David Foster Wallace: "'Learning how to think' really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed." I hope I can be as good as these guys! 1) David Foster Wallace, Kenyon, 2005 2) Steve Jobs, Stanford, 2005 3) Conan O'Brien, Harvard (Class Day), 2000
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Human Photography & Art Project

My roommate has begun collecting passport-sized photos of people he encounters in his life and posting them up on his bedroom wall in our apartment. He's slowly been collecting these pictures throughout the year, and after I voluntarily gave him a picture of myself, he decided that he would make a life-long photo project out of it! He's an art major and really doesn't deal with photography very much. But he certainly has an eye for aesthetics and art in general (which of course includes photography). He still isn't sure exactly what will come of this project or how he will present the photos, but he is still excited! It will be interesting to see how big his project becomes and what it will look like toward them end of his life. @dillonk what do you think of his photo project?