Charles Brian Orner
SOSTENUTO - A Novel

Notes

Interested readers will discover additional details here in a wide variety of areas, including the arts, astronomy, business, culture, environment, gaming, geography, language, history, literature, music, mythology, philosophy, politics, religion, and science. Spend a little time with the notes; it'll pique your interest. Then buy the book. Most notes have been taken from public sources such as Wikipedia. The remainder are given attribution.

Chapter 11

1    The Q code is a standardized collection of three-letter message encodings, also known as a brevity code, all of which start with the letter Q, initially developed for commercial radiotelegraph communication, and later adopted by other radio services, especially amateur radio. Although Q codes were created when radio used Morse code exclusively, they continued to be employed after the introduction of voice transmissions.
2    In cryptography, the one-time pad is a type of encryption which has been proven to be impossible to crack if used correctly. Each bit or character from the plaintext is encrypted by a modular addition with a bit or character from a secret random key (or pad) of the same length as the plaintext, resulting in a ciphertext. If the key is truly random, as large as or greater than the plaintext, never reused in whole or part, and kept secret, the ciphertext will be impossible to decrypt or break without knowing the key.
       In mathematics, modular arithmetic (sometimes called clock arithmetic) is a system of arithmetic for integers, where numbers “wrap around” after they reach a certain value—the modulus.
3    “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”—Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb, quoting text on the Hindu scripture, The Bhagavad-Gita.
4    Formerly one of the four largest lakes in the world with an area of 68,000 square kilometers (26,300 sq mi), the Aral Sea has been steadily shrinking since the 1960s after the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet Union irrigation projects. By 2007 it had declined to 10% of its original size, splitting into four lakes – the North Aral Sea and the eastern and western basins of the once far larger South Aral Sea and one smaller lake between North and South Aral Sea. By 2009, the south-eastern lake had disappeared and the south-western lake retreated to a thin strip at the extreme west of the former southern sea. The maximum depth of the North Aral Sea is 42 meters (138 feet) (as of 2008). The region’s once prosperous fishing industry has been virtually destroyed, bringing unemployment and economic hardship. The Aral Sea region is also heavily polluted, with consequent serious public health problems. The retreat of the sea has reportedly also caused local climate change, with summers becoming hotter and drier, and winters colder and longer.
5    Dance of Death, also variously called Danse Macabre (French), Dansa de la Mort (Catalan), Danza Macabra (Italian and Spanish), Dança da Morte (Portuguese), Totentanz (German), Dodendans (Dutch), is a late-medieval allegory on the universality of death: no matter one’s station in life, the Dance of Death unites all. The Danse Macabre consists of the dead or personified Death summoning representatives from all walks of life to dance along to the grave, typically with a pope, emperor, king, child, and laborer. They were produced to remind people of the fragility of their lives and how vain were the glories of Earthly life. Its origins are postulated from illustrated sermon texts; the earliest recorded visual scheme was a now lost mural in the cemetery of the Holy Innocents in Paris dating from 1424-25.
6    Danse Macabre, Op. 40 by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns is a tone poem for orchestra, written in 1874. It started out in 1872 as an art song for voice and piano with a French text by the poet Henri Cazalis, which is based in an old French superstition. In 1874, the composer expanded and reworked the piece into a tone poem, replacing the vocal line with a solo violin. According to legend, Death appears at midnight every year on Halloween. Death calls forth the dead from their graves to dance their dance of death for him while he plays his fiddle represented by a solo violin with its E-string tuned to an E-flat in an example of scordatura tuning. His skeletons dance for him until the rooster crows at dawn, when they must return to their graves until the next year.
7    Martha is making a small joke; the word ‘evil’ is an anagram of Sandiego’s employer V.I.L.E.
      In the animated film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Jessica Rabbit is Roger Rabbit’s human buxom wife. In the book, she was an immoral, up-and-coming star and former comic character, over whom her estranged husband, comic strip star Roger Rabbit, obsessed. She is re-imagined in the film as a sultry, but moral, cartoon singer at a Los Angeles supper club called The Ink and Paint Club. She is one of several suspects in the framing of her husband, who is a famous cartoon star. Her most famous quotation is “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.”

Brian Orner