CosmoFunnel Poetry Contest

I posted my first poem “A Peacock’s Gift” just before 10 AM today. I just checked and just under 370 people have read my poem. I have received comments, followers, and ratings. 5/5 Currently. If you haven’t checked it out, please do! Tell your family, tell your friends! only 7 days left. Judging is by highest ranking.

Help, yo boy! 🙂


One reviewer commented, “A splendid first entry 👏👏👏👏👏👏

Welcome to Cosmo 😊✍”

National Association for Music Education Praises My Professional Contributions

Blog Post by” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Dustin Young.

Geoff was just recognized by the National Association of Music Educators, for this article

The Exquisite Recorder

proving that even an instrument that most think of as a throwaway has the same potential for profound personal and performance virtuosity. What I find most laudable is too what the NAfME article praises Dr. Geoff for- mustering his call to encourage the use of YouTube as a credible resource for the development of musicianship and artistry. I am tickled that this accolade lands unexpectedly just as he begins producing his original YouTube series which is very exciting cuz he’s a fantastic personality and a beacon of pedagogical mastery. Furthermore, as he says, “teaching is an art form” thus, summarizing the journey he took to obtain his Ph.D. in “Psycho Musicology” … and I thought ‘Musicology’ was just one of many Prince albums we both adore… as he at once effects in international growth of affinity and appreciation, at home he’s growing my musical affinities to included his top pop pick, Kate Bush (and of course my affinity for Geoff grows as well. 😉 #READ #LISTEN #PLAY

Entered my First Poetry Contest


Pangor the Peacock

Dustin’s Big Purple PeacockI posted my first poem “A Peacock’s Gift” just before 10 AM today. I just checked and just under 370 people have read my poem. I have received comments, followers, and ratings. 5/5 Currently. If you haven’t checked it out, please do! Tell your family, tell your friends! only 7 days left. Judging is by highest ranking.
Help, yo boy. 🙂 .
One reviewer commented, “A splendid first entry 👏👏👏👏👏👏
Welcome to Cosmo 😊

6 Ancient Inventions Associated with Music All Technophiles Should Know

Processing chip


What drives innovation and invention? Sometimes the need to survive sparks innovation. At other times, inventions result from a desire to conquer another’s land—a common goal in stories like David Benioff’s Game of Thrones. Periodically, inventions are the result of a mistake.

The playful wonderland behind great inventions” is the title of a TED talk by Steven Johnson that discusses the origin of programmable computing. Johnson states that programmable computing ranks among the most important inventions in use today.

Many believe that military technology gave birth to computers during wartime to decode intelligence and to calculate missile trajectories. However, Johnson says the origin of programmable computing is much older, dating back 43,000 years with the discovery of a prehistoric flute made from a mammoth bone.

A bone flute is a curious artifact to find at that period of human development. Why would early humans create a flute which is not essential to survival? One possible reason is communication. Another plausible reason is entertainment. This is an interesting question, but more background is needed to explore it further. I will retrace the line of inventions connecting the bone flute to programmable computing.

43,000 year-old flute

Oldest instrument discovered

Millennia passed with no advances toward programmable computing. That changed during the 3rd century before the common era (B.C.E.). Now, instead of a single flute, humans invented an instrument containing many flutes of different sizes powered by water called a hydraulis.

A water organ

Hydraulis (water pipe organ)

The hydraulis required the invention of the manual (keyboard). When the player’s finger presses a key (lever), it opens one end of the pipe (flute) allowing air to enter and produce sound.

Lever & fulcrum

The lever

Johnson stressed that many inventions closely associated with play had a profound effect on society. The line of programmable computing splits into a short and a long line of innovations. The short line extends from the keyboard of the keyboard instruments to the mid-1800s when a group of inventors applied the keyboard technology to trigger letters instead of pitches that they called the writing harpsichord, but commonly known as the typewriter.

The first typewriter

Originally called the writing harpsichord

The long line of innovations begins during the zenith of the Islamic Renaissance in Baghdad in the 9th century when the three Banū Musā brothers invented a mechanical organ that played by itself—a music box. The Mūsā brother’s music box contained a rotating metal cylinder encoded with raised pins that plucked tuned lamellae (teeth) of the steel comb.

First music box

The Banū Musā brother’s device that continuously plays music by itself.

During the 18th century, Jacques Vaucanson (1709-1782) applied the Mūsā brother’s encoded cylinder to play music and to control the movements of a mounted figure called the automata (1737) played the flute and the tabor.

Flute playing music box

A music box with an encoded cylinder that controlled the music and a figure’s movements.

A few years later, Vaucanson designed the programmable loom that linked the encoded cylinder to specific colors of fabric instead of pitches. The encoded cylinder was expensive and time-consuming to make inhibiting production.

Jacquard's loom

Jacquard’s loom that replaced the encoded cylinder with punch cards

In 1804, Joseph Marie Jacquard invented the first power loom that used a “chain of cards” (punched cards) that replaced the expensive encoded cylinder. His innovation enabled the automatic production of unlimited woven patterns. The use of punched cards was a tremendous technological advance because using paper was inexpensive and provided greater programming flexibility. Punch cards were so successful they remained in use until the late 1970s. Jacquard’s loom inspired Charles Babbage, who invented an analytical engine (1843). This was the first real programmable computer that used punch cards.

Babbage's analytical engine

The first apparatus that performed calculations. Babbage called it his Analytical Engine.

TED Talk panelist, Steven Johnson concludes by recognizing the important contributions of the U.S. military but stresses that the source of innovation is not limited to a need or a desire to conquer or defend. His main point is that innovation can also spring from a playful state of mind which is intrinsically curious and open to exploration.

Johnson presents a strong argument, but I do not agree with a playful state of mind is not contingent on music. Conversely, music will not always encourage a playful mental state. That view assigns music to a utilitarian role. In other words, the to achieve a non-music end.

If music were limited to utilitarian purposes alone, why would it survive millennia? Communication was one of the possible reasons to explain why our early ancestors created a bone flute. However, verbal communication and sign language are more precise than using music to communicate complex ideas.

Johnson’s lecture omits two important agents. The first concerns the functions that music plays in society and the second involves the motivation to make and experience music. Rather than a playful mental state, the desire for an aesthetic experience and entertainment are other sources of innovation.

According to Alan Parkhurst Merriam, there are ten ways that people in every culture use music for instances, entertainment, emotional expression, communication, physical response, and aesthetic enjoyment. Music performs the same ten functions in ancient and modern societies. Although, Johnson’s lecture included all ten functions.

Johnson stated that early humans used music to communicate which gave them advantages over their competition. However, Merriam argues that music is not universally understood. In other words, the information communicated by music will be understood only by members of the culture that made the music. Musical information is culture-dependent.

If early humans used music to communicate and strengthen bonds, they also used it for entertainment and aesthetic experience. Aesthetic experience results from a person’s interaction and response to the intrinsic expressive qualities in a given musical composition. Expressed another way, the music itself can arouse feelings, images, emotions, sensations, and other mental states. Aesthetic experiences are important philosophical considerations of civilization.

All of the music related innovations in Johnson’s talk were used for enjoyment, draw people together, religious rituals, and emotional expression. Enjoyment is a way that humans frequently experience music and early humans probably used music for this purpose.

Motivation theory explains what drives behavior. Music entertainment and aesthetic enjoyment are the only two of Merriam’s functions that are not utilitarian. The answer to what motivates humans to make and experience music is for entertainment and the pursuit of an aesthetic experience.

This article was first published on The Huffington Post. You will find it here.

How to Create Drop-down Menus in Microsoft Excel

Creating drop-down lists and other functions in MS Excel

About Drop-down Menus

Drop-down menus are graphical control elements, much like a word bank, that allows the user to select one item from a list. Drop-down lists come in handy when there is a finite number of possible values (either number or text). Using drop-down lists promotes higher productivity and accuracy.
Other names for the drop-down list include drop down, pull-down menu, pull-down list, drop menu, drop-down menu, and drop down menu.

Prep Work

First draft a list of valid entries on a sheet. Rearrange the entries to the desired order that they should appear. That will serve as the source for the drop-down list of data. I choose Yerkes luminosity star classes.

Getting Started

1.  Open Excel.
2.  Select a cell that will be the Header for your drop-down list. I chose B2. Then, type in the Header for your drop-down list. My Header is Star Types.
Drop-down menu-1

Header cell

3.  In the cells below your Header, type each entry into a cell in a single column. No empty cells.
Drop-down menu-

Header cell and list items.

4.  Select Data from the menu bar.
Drop-down menu-

Select Data

5.  Choose Data Validate.
Drop-down menu-

Choose Data Validation

6.  Choose the Settings tab.
Drop-down menu-

Select the “Setting” button.

7.  Then, in the Allow pop-up menu, choose List.
Drop-down menu-

Choose “list”.

8.  Click in the Source field. While holding down the Shift Key, click on the first item of your list, followed by the last item in your list. Notice the entire list outlined in green, and the range automatically entered into the Source field. Click OK.
Drop-down menu-

Select all list items

9.  Now, when someone clicks into that field, an Expansion button appears.
Drop-down menu-

Select the cell you chose for the drop-down menu.

10.  Click on the Expansion button and the drop-down list appears.

Knowing When to Use the Verbs to Speak & to Talk

Speak vs Talk

The verbs speak and talk share similar definitions. They both generally mean communication using the mouth. Despite that shared general meaning, they are not interchangeable.

In this Grey Tech grammar moment, I explain the specific context of both speak and talk.

Focusing on the Verb Speak

If only one person is producing words and others are listening, the verb to speak is correct.

However, if two or more people take turns producing words and listening, the verb to talk is correct.

Another way to distinguish speak from talk is how formal the setting is.

For example, the king speaks to his people but talks with his wife.

In the first half of the previous example, the verb to speak is used in a formal setting where the king is the only one producing words.

In this second half of that example, the setting is informal with the royal couple conversing.

Examples of to speak in the present tense 
  • She always speaks quietly.
  • Speak slowly.
  • I speak English.
Examples of to speak in the past tense
  • The principal spoke sternly to the two girls.
  • They spoke to the manager about the poor quality of service.
  • He spoke longer than his allotted time.

Focusing on the Verb Talk

While speak is for formal settings, talk is for informal settings. Talk is the word to use when referring to a conversation or a discussion of two or more people.

 Examples Using the Present Tense of Talk
  • Your father and I will talk about it.
  • My friends and I always talk on Skype.
  • He loves to talk about it.
Examples Using the Past Tense of Talk
  • They talked for three hours before they found a solution.
  • I talked until I lost my voice.
  • The twins talked all night.


Use the verb to speak when only one person is producing words and in more formal settings. Use the verb to talk when referring to a conversation and during informal settings.

Continue reading

Cracking the Case. Knowing when to Use I and Me.

Is It Me, or I?

The English pronouns, I and me, are small words that confuse many people. They should not, but I understand why they do. In this article, I have cracked the case of the elusive first person pronouns.

Types of English Pronouns

So, why have four words to describe one person? The answer is that each of those pronouns performs a unique role in the English language. These pronouns fall under the grammatical category, case. The English language has three cases, subjective (I), objective, (me), and possessive (my) and (mine).

Those might be unfamiliar, depending on your generation. Older generations may know them as nominative (I), accusative (me), and genitive (mine). Let’s explore both pronouns, I and me, separately.

Correct Usage of the English Pronoun, I.

The pronoun, I, is the subject of a sentence. That means the person performing the action.


 I woke up.

 I paid for lunch.

 I write songs.

When you and another person performs the action of a sentence, the pronoun, I, is required.

My sister and I are dentists.

Tom and I graduated today.

Today, Julie and I went to the movies.

A mistake frequently made happens in sentences like the previous three where the pronoun, me, is used instead of I.


Yesterday, my sister and I went to the movies.

Yesterday, my sister went to the movies.

Yesterday, I went to the movies.

The pronoun, I, is the only correct choice. Let’s find out why the pronoun, me, cannot be used in that role of a sentence.

The Correct Use of the English Pronoun, Me.

The next pronoun to discuss is me. The pronoun, me, belongs to the objective case. In other words, the role that objective case pronouns receive the action of the verb.


My teacher gave me a compliment today.

He told me a horrific secret that I wish he hadn’t.

My grandmother often sang me to sleep.

Problems arise when you and another person receive the subject’s action.


Her mother took Nadia and me to the movies.

In the previous example, the person telling the story is the word me. The correct pronoun in that role is also me. Here’s why. First, three people went to the movies, Nadia, her mother, and the speaker (me). Nadia’s mom took her to the movies. Her mom also took me to the movies. Therefore, Nadia’s mom took both Nadia and took me to the movies.

Unless Nadia’s mother is Uma Thurman and this is the movie Kill Bill 3, there was no eye (I) taken (to the movies). When you and more or more people receive the action use and me.              


You will be able to see my mother, my brother, and me in the video.

The objective pronoun, me, always follows prepositions.


He yelled at me.

Give it to me?

The cat loves to sleep on me.

For articles on other topics go here. Visit the Grey Tech Writer to learn more about me. I’m a professional blogger and a technical and academic writer. Leave me a comment if you found this helpful. Share this post if you liked it!