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Marine band confirms Beyonce lip-synced the national anthem at inauguration

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The singer has joined the ranks of Yo-Yo Ma and Whitney Houston, after lip-synching her way through the rousing song

It may not be Watergate, but Barack Obama’s second term has been hit by its first “scandal”, barely 24 hours since he took the oath of office.

The United States Marine Corps Band, which played throughout the pomp and ceremony of Obama’s historic inauguration, has disclosed that Beyoncé lip-synched her way through a stirring rendition of The Star Spangled Banner.

The news, revealed by The Times and rapidly confirmed by such august news outfits as ABC News, was greeted by howls of dismay on social media. Beyoncé’s performance had attracted rave reviews, and there was widespread disappointment that she had relied on a studio version rather than attempt a live rendition.

“We don’t know why Beyoncé decided to use pre-recorded music,” a spokesperson for the band told the Washingtonian blog. “All music (for inaugural ceremonies) is prerecorded as a matter of course, and that’s something we’ve done for years and years. The Marine Band did perform live throughout the ceremony but we received last-minute word that Beyoncé wanted to use the recording,” the spokesperson added.

The news, which rapidly began spreading on social media, appeared to explain why Beyoncé had sent out a photo of herself on Instagram several days ago in which she sat in a recording studio holding a piece of sheet music with the lyrics of the American national anthem on it. It also explained why Beyoncé at one point during her performance was able to dramatically remove her ear-piece.

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The Star-Spangled Banner is a notoriously difficult piece to sing, as it spans a huge vocal range. It was also bitterly cold in Washington DC on Monday. The combination of nerves and the cold may have influenced Beyoncé’s decision to rely on the pre-recorded track.

In another development, ABC News revealed that Kelly Clarkson, a former star from the reality show American Idol, had sung her song “My Country, Tis’ of Thee” live. On a day when Obama laid out a bold liberal agenda for the country, that news was likely to have been the only bit of cheer for his Republican opponents. Clarkson has said in the past that she is a supporter of former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.

However, as it seems Beyoncé is set to take a – very minor – spot in the list of presidential scandals, she is far from the first major star to get caught in a moment of high profile fakery. In 2009 acclaimed violinist Itzhak Perlman and cellist Yo-Yo Ma “finger synched” their inaugural performances as cold weather made performing live very hard in the face of frozen strings and hands.

And in 1991 Whitney Houston’s dazzling performance of The Star Spangled Banner at that year’s Superbowl was also later revealed to be lip-synched.

© Guardian News and Media 2013

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How Teach for America evolved into an arm of the charter school movement

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When the Walton Family Foundation announced in 2013 that it was donating $20 million to Teach For America to recruit and train nearly 4,000 teachers for low-income schools, its press release did not reveal the unusual terms for the grant.

Documents obtained by ProPublica show that the foundation, a staunch supporter of school choice and Teach For America’s largest private funder, was paying $4,000 for every teacher placed in a traditional public school — and $6,000 for every one placed in a charter school. The two-year grant was directed at nine cities where charter schools were sprouting up, including New Orleans; Memphis, Tennessee; and Los Angeles.

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Quantum physics experiment shows Heisenberg was right about uncertainty — in a certain sense

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The word uncertainty is used a lot in quantum mechanics. One school of thought is that this means there’s something out there in the world that we are uncertain about. But most physicists believe nature itself is uncertain.

Intrinsic uncertainty was central to the way German physicist Werner Heisenberg, one of the originators of modern quantum mechanics, presented the theory.

He put forward the Uncertainty Principle that showed we can never know all the properties of a particle at the same time.

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Why do conservatives hate Oberlin College so much?

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When I was an undergraduate at Oberlin in the mid-Aughts, there was a student in my class year who was obsessed with 19th-century British Royal Naval culture. Every Friday evening, he would host a sing-along in a dorm lounge, for which he would bring xeroxes of historical sea shanty lyrics and pass them around so that we could sing along, waving our glasses of “grog.” This was a semi-established event — he had distributed flyers around campus advertising the weekly British Royal Naval sea-shanty singalong and grog-drinking event, which would extend late into the night. Though he was not a resident of the dorm where it took place, he was welcomed into the lounge by its members, and became a fixture of sorts.Like many well-endowed liberal arts schools in rural areas, Oberlin College functions as a sort of de facto social welfare state, and is designed to encourage and cultivate one’s passions, even if they are not strictly academic. Thus, after writing up a proposal for the student-run activities board, the same student, the British Royal Navy culture guy, was able to plan, organize and execute a ticketed Royal Naval Ball, held in the atrium of the science center. The event featured 20 dishes of authentic British era-appropriate cuisine, cooked by student chefs, several courses of wine and port, and a violinist present to play period-specific music. The whole affair culminated with a traditional, British partner line dance — its sole inauthenticity the fact that we didn’t pay attention to our dance partners’ genders the way the Brits would have.
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