Stary Olsa performs “Marazula” at the 2018 Brevard Renaissance Fair in Melbourne, Florida (2018-02-04).
From Stary Olsa’s web page:
“STARY OLSA is a mediaeval Belarusian music band. It was founded in 1999 by its present leader Zmicier Sasnoŭski and now consists of six musicians. It takes its name from a brook in the west part of Mahilioŭ Region (Belarus).
The band’s repertoire includes Belarusian folk balladry and martial songs, Belarusian national dances, works of Belarusian Renaissance composers, compositions from Belarusian aulic music collections (e.g. Polack Notebook, Vilnia Notebook), Belarusian canticles of the 16th – early 17th centuries, as well as European popular melodies of the Middle Ages and Renascence.
STARY OLSA cooperates with many knightly clubs from Belarus and Europe, museums and research centres, masters of early instruments, bands of folk, aulic, sacred and city avital music, as well as with solo performers using old instruments, as well as with fire show theartes.
The band’s music makes it possible to restore sounds of many forgotten instruments. STARY OLSA uses for its performances maximal exact (in appearance, technology and materials) copies of old aged Belarusian instruments such as Belarusian bagpipe, lyre, gusli (Baltic psaltery) , svirel (reed pipe), jew’s-harp, ocarina, Belarusian trumpet, birch bark trumpet, hudok (Belarusian rebec), tromba marina and drums.
The purpose is to completely reconstruct (whenever possible) musical traditions of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania where Belarus was the main cultural and geopolitical part in the 13th – 18th centuries, and where there was a unique combination of Belarusian folk and aulic music with European musical achievements of that time. In order to revive this cultural peculiarity the band’s members mix early Belarusian instruments sound with all-European mediaeval instruments such as lute, rebec, cister, flute, Arabic drum.
Besides its own theatrical concerts, the band performs at mediaeval culture festivals, spear-runnings and folklore festivals.”
Since January, the CDC has issued multiple warnings of E. colicontamination causing hundreds of people to become infected across the nation. Of course, countless bags and heads of lettuce have since been pulled off of shelves and destroyed. On November 20, the CDC spoke out but gave no answers to the public on what caused the outbreak: “At this time, no common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand of romaine lettuce has been identified.”
But it’s been more than a month since the first E. coli cases were reported—and there is no culprit. As a result, thousands of grocers and growers are suffering from what might just be a contamination at a single farm. If the government would have utilized the power of blockchain, we might already have an answer.
Blockchain is simply a new, technologically advanced database used for tracking resources and information as they exchange hands. A copy of the database is stored by everyone on the blockchain network, which allows every user to track each item on the network. Each blockchain network can have different parameters for who can join—some are open to anyone, while others require permission from a central authority to join.
Anytime a change is made, every other user is notified and can make a copy of that change on their own computer. With a multitude of copies, no user can make a change to any information on the network that they don’t rightfully own.
Tracking produce on a blockchain could dramatically reduce the time spent tracing contaminated produce back to the source and put a cap on how often industry-wide recalls are even required. If health officials and retailers can pinpoint the exact sources of contamination and pull only the product at risk off the shelves, the danger to the public and the costs to the guiltless producers would be significantly diminished.
Say we use blockchain to track produce from farm to table. A grocer, truckers, distribution centers, packaging facilities, and the farmers could all have accounts on a blockchain network. Picked and packaged produce would be scanned, uploading a record of its location to the blockchain. From there, the lettuce might be trucked to the distribution center, and once it arrives, its location would again be uploaded to the blockchain. The same process would be followed until a grocery store cashier makes the final scan at the register. If a customer reports contamination from a single head of lettuce, they could trace it back to the source, identifying where it was at every step of the process.
Theory’s Great, but What about Real Life?
When it comes to agricultural products, there are so many parties involved in the growing, packaging, distributing, and selling of each piece. Blockchain offers tracking benefits that traditional databases don’t. The new technology allows multiple parties to be on the same database without risk of one party controlling all the information. The network is governed by the parameters are set up when it is established, and every user on the network must abide by those parameters. Small farmers and food-giants alike can participate in the network without one overshadowing the other.
That’s why Walmart and other grocers have already put this technology to test—with much success. When Walmart tested the technology with the recall of a batch of mangos, the time it took to trace the produce back to its farm was reduced from seven days to just 2.2 seconds. And major food producers are getting wind of how well this could work. Dole and Nestle, for instance, are set to track their products on the blockchain network at the beginning of the new year.
Moving food from the farm to the table is truly a miracle of the market. The vast majority of the time, the normal process works just fine. Yet, when contamination occurs, the process doesn’t lend itself well to pinpointing the source. It’s time for our food producers to realize that blockchain is the technology that will make sure the foods meant to keep us healthy aren’t the ones putting us at risk.