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Updated: 19 min 56 sec ago

What singing fruit flies can tell us about quick decisions

March 19, 2014 - 10:00pm
(Princeton University) Princeton University researchers have discovered that the pitch and tempo of the male fruit fly's mating song is based on environmental cues rather than a stereotyped pattern. These findings could be substantial for understanding rapid decision-making in more advanced beings such as humans.

US judge hands Pandora a partial victory on royalties

March 19, 2014 - 1:11pm
A US judge handed Internet radio company Pandora Media a partial victory in a royalties dispute with music publishers and songwriters in a decision released Wednesday.

Subscriptions woo fans back from pirated music

March 18, 2014 - 3:10pm
Fans are increasingly willing to pay for digital music through subscription streaming services rather than downloading it illegally for free, according to an upbeat report published on Tuesday.

Scientists to Americans: This climate change thing really is a big deal

March 18, 2014 - 2:44pm

One of the world’s largest and most influential science organizations is launching a new campaign to cut through the noise of climate denialism and help the public understand the threat of climate change.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science kicked things off on Monday by publishing a 20-page report entitled What We Know. The gist: We know that global warming is real, risky, and demands a serious response — “the three Rs of climate change.”

“We’re trying to provide a voice for the scientific community on this issue so that we can help the country, help the world move this issue forward,” AAAS CEO Alan Leshner said during a call with reporters on Tuesday morning. “If we don’t move now we are at tremendous risk for some very high impact consequences, many of which are laid out in the report.”

The AAAS has also assembled a panel of a 13 leading scientists who will make public presentations and try to spread climate smarts far and wide.

Here’s an explanation of those three climate Rs from the initiative’s website:

The first is Reality — 97% of climate experts have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening.

The second is Risk — that the reality of climate change means that there are climate change impacts we can expect, but we also must consider what might happen, especially the small, but real, chance that we may face abrupt changes with massively disruptive impacts.

The third R is Response — that there is much we can do and that the sooner we respond, the better off we will be.

The report is not all gloom and doom. The call to action is premised on hope:

By making informed choices now, we can reduce risks for future generations and ourselves, and help communities adapt to climate change. People have responded successfully to other major environmental challenges such as acid rain and the ozone hole with benefits greater than costs, and scientists working with economists believe there are ways to manage the risks of climate change while balancing current and future economic prosperity.

As scientists, it is not our role to tell people what they should do or must believe about the rising threat of climate change. But we consider it to be our responsibility as professionals to ensure, to the best of our ability, that people understand what we know: human-caused climate change is happening, we face risks of abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes, and responding now will lower the risk and cost of taking action.

Renowned climate scientist Michael Mann – a member at large of AAAS’s atmospheric sciences division but not a member of the new climate panel — lauded the initiative. “AAAS is the largest non-governmental scientific membership body in the world, so them taking such an affirmative role in the societal debate over climate change, and what to do about it, is significant,” Mann told Grist.

“The crux of the matter is that, despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that exists that, (a) climate change is real, (b) it is caused by us, and (c) it poses a grave threat to society if we do nothing about it, the public still thinks that there is a ‘debate’ on each of those elements,” Mann said.

Filed under: Climate & Energy

Global music revenue dips 3.9 pct on Japan decline

March 18, 2014 - 1:04pm
Global music revenues fell 3.9 percent to $15 billion in 2013, pulled down by a sharp decline in compact disc sales in Japan.

Analysis of 50 years of hit songs yields tips for advertisers

March 18, 2014 - 11:26am
Researchers from North Carolina State University have analyzed 50 years' worth of hit songs to identify key themes that marketing professionals can use to craft advertisements that will resonate with audiences.

Analysis of 50 years of hit songs yields tips for advertisers

March 18, 2014 - 9:13am
Researchers have analyzed 50 years’ worth of hit songs to identify key themes that marketing professionals can use to craft advertisements that will resonate with audiences. The researchers used computer programs to run textual analysis of the lyrics for all of the selected songs and analyzed the results to identify key themes. The researchers identified 12 key themes, and related terms, that came up most often in the hit songs. These themes are loss, desire, aspiration, breakup, pain, inspiration, nostalgia, rebellion, jaded, desperation, escapism and confusion.

Only one fifth of people with hearing problems wear a hearing aid

March 18, 2014 - 7:33am
A new study has looked at the habits of 160,000 people in the UK aged 40 to 69 years. It found 10.7 per cent of adults had significant hearing problems when listening to speech in the presence of background noise -- but only 2.1 per cent used a hearing aid. One in 10 middle aged adults had substantial hearing problems and were more likely to be from a working class or ethnic minority background.

NASA centers team up to tackle sonic boom

March 18, 2014 - 5:40am
(Phys.org) —Since the Concorde's final landing at London's Heathrow Airport nearly a decade ago, commercial supersonic air travel has been as elusive as a piece of lost luggage. However, this hasn't stopped NASA from continuing the quest to develop solutions that will help get supersonic passenger travel off the ground once more. And, while aerospace engineers have made significant progress in their understanding of supersonic flight, one significant challenge remains: the loud sonic boom.

Researcher looks underwater for history of the Roman Empire

March 18, 2014 - 5:00am
Stanford scholar Justin Leidwanger spends a lot of time underwater. An assistant professor of classics, Leidwanger is a maritime archeologist. His research entails what it sounds like it would – exploring artifacts that lie beneath the sea.

Nanopores underlie our ability to tune in to a single voice

March 18, 2014 - 4:36am
Even in a crowded room full of background noise, the human ear is remarkably adept at tuning in to a single voice—a feat that has proved remarkably difficult for computers to match. A new analysis of the underlying mechanisms, conducted by researchers at MIT, has provided insights that could ultimately lead to better machine hearing, and perhaps to better hearing aids as well.

Russian Culture: Facts, Customs & Traditions

March 17, 2014 - 10:43pm
Russian culture has a long and rich history, steeped in literature, ballet, painting and classical music. Here is a brief overview of Russian customs & traditions.

Nanopores control the inner ear's ability to select sounds

March 17, 2014 - 10:00pm
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology) The inner-ear membrane uses tiny pores to mechanically separate sounds, researchers find.

Panasonic announces 'PSiP' power supply module with 50% smaller footprint

March 17, 2014 - 6:41am
Panasonic Corporation today announced that it will start shipping its new "PSiP" (Power Supply in Package) DC-DC regulator power supply modules with integrated inductor later this month. These new products are optimized for use in power supply units for communication infrastructure equipment and industrial devices. The PSiP series modules will help facilitate designing power supply for products that require downsizing, such as small cell base stations.

Cavemen's rock music makes a comeback

March 17, 2014 - 3:31am
Thousands of years after they resonated in caves, two dozen stone chimes used by our prehistoric forefathers will make music once more in a unique series of concerts in Paris.

Contagious yawning a mystery: May not be linked to empathy after all

March 14, 2014 - 7:18pm
While previous studies have suggested a connection between contagious yawning and empathy, new research finds that contagious yawning may decrease with age and is not strongly related to variables like empathy, tiredness and energy levels. Contagious yawning is a well-documented phenomenon that occurs only in humans and chimpanzees in response to hearing, seeing or thinking about yawning.

The Physics Of Tuning Out

March 14, 2014 - 7:09pm
A digital model demonstrates the inner ear can dampen background noises.

Earth From Space: Amazing Astronaut Photos

March 13, 2014 - 2:07pm
Astronauts adore looking at the Earth. It's something they've talked about in interviews, in books and sometimes, even in song. In recent years, space fans have been lucky enough to have astronauts sharing their amazing views of our planet on Twitter.

Japan's Panasonic to give China expats 'pollution pay'

March 13, 2014 - 4:50am
Japanese electronics giant Panasonic said Thursday it would give employees sent to China a wage premium to compensate for the country's hazardous air pollution, in a possible first for an international company.

This is what you’d get if Wes Anderson rode a fixie and spray-painted walls

March 12, 2014 - 4:30pm

Love him or hate him, Wes Anderson is the king of twee. We doubt the filmmaker has ever met Mart, an Argentinian street artist, but Mart’s delicate bike murals would definitely be at home gracing the Tenenbaums’ walls:


Mart made his first foray into graffiti at age 12. In 2007, he shifted from traditional graffiti to the more delicate painting style you see here.


The 28-year-old artist describes his work with words like “magic,” “dreamlike,” and “playful.” Sounds like someone else who shares his love of pastels and fantasy …


Aaand now we want to spend a sunny spring day listening to Mark Mothersbaugh and lazily pedaling a candy-colored bike.

Filed under: Cities, Living