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A traveling exhibition about the sounds and songs of life

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Updated: 18 min 31 sec ago

To eat or not to eat: New disposable biosensor may help physicians determine which patients can safely be fed following surgery

August 7, 2014 - 1:40pm
A disposal, plastic listening device that attaches to the abdomen may help doctors definitively determine which post-operative patients should be fed and which should not, an invention that may improve outcomes, decrease healthcare costs and shorten hospital stays, according to a study. The device could also be used to help diagnose irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease, in addition to helping obese people learn by the sounds from their gut when they should or shouldn’t eat to help them lose weight.

US spying revelations bring German encryption boom (Update)

August 7, 2014 - 12:00pm
Revelations about the U.S. National Security Agency's electronic eavesdropping capabilities have sparked anger in Germany and a boom in encryption services that make it hard for the most sophisticated spies to read emails, listen to calls or look through texts.

Close Your Eyes and Listen to the Night Sky

August 7, 2014 - 12:00pm
If the bright “supermoon” drowns out the Perseid meteor shower this year, why not listen for meteors instead?

Algorithm Turns Everyday Objects Into Microphones

August 7, 2014 - 12:00pm
Sound waves trigger tiny vibrations in objects. By studying the vibrations, researchers can recreate the sounds that caused them.

The fix is in: Team studies self-healing polymers

August 7, 2014 - 7:00am
(Phys.org) —A surfboard that seals its own cracks without having to cure in the sun for days. Underwater structures that can be fixed with less work and downtime. Joints that are almost instantly stronger after surgery. Sounds like science fiction, but thanks to researchers at UC Santa Barbara, it's coming closer to reality.

Attitudes toward individuals with disabilities improve after simulating disability

August 7, 2014 - 4:50am
Music students' attitudes toward individuals with disabilities are more positive after they simulate having a disability, a University of Kansas study found.

Man-made noise makes fish more susceptible to predators

August 6, 2014 - 5:00pm
Despite their reputation as slippery customers, a new study has shown that eels are losing the fight to survive when faced with marine noise pollution such as that of passing ships.

Government Officials May Have Mishandled DDT Superfund Site

August 6, 2014 - 8:00am
Health experts are questioning the Environmental Protection Agency and Michigan state officials for their decades-long delays in cleanup of a Superfund site that is killing songbirds in yards,...

-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Poor hearing confines older adults to their homes

August 6, 2014 - 7:47am
Vision and hearing problems reduce the active participation of older people in various events and activities. Group activities are challenging for older people with hearing problems, as they often have a great deal of difficulty conversing with several people in a noisy environment. The results also showed that people with hearing difficulties perceived their ability to live their lives as they would like as poorer than those with good hearing.

Distant Galaxies' Explosions Become Psychedelic Songs

August 6, 2014 - 6:32am
An astronomer and a graphic artist have teamed up to turn powerful explosions in distant galaxies into spellbinding music and animations. The unique celestial compositions are psychedelic and strangely beautiful.

Stop Lecturing Me

August 6, 2014 - 6:00am
At the college level, the evidence is clear: science students learn less when they are expected to listen passively

-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

StubHub Music app takes on Live Nation in concerts

August 6, 2014 - 3:20am
StubHub, the ticket reselling subsidiary of eBay Inc., is launching its StubHub Music app nationwide as it goes after core music fans in a challenge to Live Nation in the concert business.

Is Musical Talent Rooted in Genes?

August 5, 2014 - 12:49pm
Some aspects of musical talent are built into the genes, and perhaps cannot be improved much upon with practice, researchers said.

Pump up the music -- especially the bass -- to make you feel powerful

August 5, 2014 - 11:22am
It's the day of the big game -- before heading out to the field, you put on your headphones and blast some music to pump you up. The music seemingly empowers you to do great things. This effect is not all in your head: according to new research, music truly does make us feel powerful. But not all songs have the same effect, and the levels of bass are a key factor in their effectiveness.

Who are the music pirates and what do they want?

August 5, 2014 - 6:10am
Music piracy is a huge problem, if the music industry is to believed. But so far, very little has been done to stop it. We are, however, starting to get an idea of what motivates people to do it. If record labels want to survive, they should start looking at the growing body of evidence about why music lovers continue to refuse to pay.

Tainted Ohio water coming under increased scrutiny

August 4, 2014 - 11:35pm
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio's governor is promising an extensive review of how the water supply for 400,000 people in Ohio and Michigan became tainted with a toxin over the weekend while a high-ranking state lawmaker is planning hearings on the blooms of algae fouling Lake Erie....

President Obama is beginning to make climate-hawk noises

August 4, 2014 - 1:27pm

At times, I become really, really curious about the Barack Obama we’re going to see once he’s done being president. He has a gift for talking about complex and unpleasant issues — one that has, for the most part, been submerged by political expediency, but that still pokes through occasionally. This interview with The Economist, conducted on Air Force One by John Micklethwait and Edward Carr, is one such occasion — and offers some encouraging signals about his administration’s approach to climate change.

For instance, during a discussion about the relationship between the White House and the business community, Obama, unprompted, segues into a discussion of denialism and carbon pricing.

Mr Obama: Well, I think—here’s what’s interesting. There’s a huge gap between the professed values and visions of corporate CEOs and how their lobbyists operate in Washington. And I’ve said this to various CEOs. When they come and they have lunch with me—which they do more often than they probably care to admit (laughter)—and they’ll say, you know what, we really care about the environment, and we really care about education, and we really care about getting immigration reform done—then my challenge to them consistently is, is your lobbyist working as hard on those issues as he or she is on preserving that tax break that you’ve got? And if the answer is no, then you don’t care about it as much as you say.

Now, to their credit, I think on an issue like immigration reform, for example, companies did step up. And what they’re discovering is the problem is not the regulatory zealotry of the Obama administration; what they’re discovering is the dysfunction of a Republican Party that knows we need immigration reform, knows that it would actually be good for its long-term prospects, but is captive to the nativist elements in its party.

And the same I think goes for a whole range of other issues like climate change, for example. There aren’t any corporate CEOs that you talk to at least outside of maybe—no, I will include CEOs of the fossil-fuel industries—who are still denying that climate change is a factor. What they want is some certainty around the regulations so that they can start planning. Given the capital investments that they have to make, they’re looking at 20-, 30-year investments. They’ve got to know now are we pricing carbon? Are we serious about this? But none of them are engaging in some of the nonsense that you’re hearing out of the climate-change denialists. Denialists?

Eric Schultz (deputy press secretary): Deniers.

The Economist: Deniers.

Mr Obama: Deniers—thank you.

The Economist: Denialists sounds better. (laughter.)

Mr Obama: It does have more of a ring to it.

So the point, though, is that I would take the complaints of the corporate community with a grain of salt. If you look at what our policies have been, they have generally been friendly towards business, while at the same time recognising there are certain core interests—fiscal interests, environmental interests, interests in maintaining stability of the financial system—where, yes, we’re placing constraints on them. It probably cuts into certain profit centres in their businesses. I understand why they would be frustrated by it, but the flip side of it is that they’d be even more unhappy if the global financial system unravels. Nobody has more of a stake in it than them.

Yup. The president is saying it — but it reads like something straight out of the Unburnable Carbon report, or this summer’s Risky Business project. Coming from a president whose approach to tackling climate change has been slower and more behind-the-scenes than activists would like, this is interesting, and might even bode well for the UN Climate Summit this September.

Not all of the Economist interview is this encouraging. For example, Obama says, as he’s said before, that he thinks the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP) will be a great idea.

This is not a view widely held by people who are concerned about the way that trade agreements like the TPP can be used to override local environmental laws. Specifically, alarms have been raised over the way that the agreement would allow any foreign-based company with investments here to sue America for damages via secret tribunal if they think our environmental or labor laws are affecting their ability to make money.

The agreement has also been criticized for failing to do anything to discourage trade partners from buying illegally logged or mined or fished or captured goods from one another — at a point in history where pretty much everyone is on the same page about there not being enough fish or trees to go around.

So the president isn’t going to please every green voter. But he’s definitely causing ears to perk up.


Filed under: Article, Climate & Energy, Politics

Bottling up sound waves: Acoustic bottle beams hold promise for imaging, cloaking, levitation and more

August 4, 2014 - 1:15pm
Researchers have developed a technique for generating acoustic bottles in open air that can bend the paths of sound waves along prescribed convex trajectories. These self-bending bottle beams hold promise for ultrasonic imaging and therapy, and acoustic cloaking, levitation and particle manipulation.

Bottling up sound waves

August 4, 2014 - 12:36pm
There's a new wave of sound on the horizon carrying with it a broad scope of tantalizing potential applications, including advanced ultrasonic imaging and therapy, acoustic cloaking, and levitation and particle manipulation. Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a technique for generating acoustic bottles in open air that can bend the paths of sound waves along prescribed convex trajectories.

New idea for hearing improvement in patients with hearing aids under background noise

August 3, 2014 - 10:00pm
(Neural Regeneration Research) Patients with implanted artificial cochlea often complain that they cannot recognize speech well in natural environments, especially if background of noise is present. Researchers think that a poor ability to localize sound in a complex auditory environment is responsible for the weak speech perception observed under these conditions.