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A traveling exhibition about the sounds and songs of life

Wild Music in the News

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'Seeing' bodies with sound (no sight required)

March 5, 2014 - 11:00pm
(Cell Press) People born unable to see are readily capable of learning to perceive the shape of the human body through soundscapes that translate images into sound, according to researchers who report their findings in the Cell Press journal Current Biology. With a little training, soundscapes representing the outlines and silhouettes of bodies cause the brain's visual cortex -- and specifically an area dedicated in normally sighted people to processing body shapes -- to light up with activity.

Ultra sensitive detection of radio waves with lasers

March 5, 2014 - 12:23pm
Radio waves are used for many measurements and applications, for example, in communication with mobile phones, MRI scans, scientific experiments and cosmic observations. But 'noise' in the detector of the measuring instrument limits how sensitive and precise the measurements can be. Now researchers have developed a new method where they can avoid noise by means of laser light and can therefore achieve extreme precision of measurements.

Ultra sensitive detection of radio waves with lasers

March 5, 2014 - 12:00pm
Radio waves are used for many measurements and applications, for example, in communication with mobile phones, MRI scans, scientific experiments and cosmic observations. But 'noise' in the detector of the measuring instrument limits how sensitive and precise the measurements can be. Now researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute have developed a new method where they can avoid noise by means of laser light and can therefore achieve extreme precision of measurements. The results are published in the prestigious scientific journal, Nature.

Bird song – it's not just a male gig

March 5, 2014 - 8:12am
Since Darwin's observations we thought that bird songs were a male trait for courting with females who were drawn to the most seductive male song.

Birdsong is not all about sexual selection: Female birds sing much more often than previously thought

March 5, 2014 - 7:46am
In 71 percent of all songbird species with available data, the female sings, too. This is remarkable because in the wake of Darwin’s theory of evolution, birdsong has generally been seen as a characteristic of male birds, allowing them to compete with other males and attract females. The exciting question now is how females apparently repeatedly lost their song in the course of evolution. Why did they stop singing in some lineages, but not in others?

Darwin: It's not all sexual (selection)

March 4, 2014 - 11:00pm
(University of Maryland Baltimore County) Scientists have long considered bird song to be an exclusively male trait, resulting from sexual selection. Now an international team of researchers says that's not the whole story. In Nature Communications, they write that 71 percent of songbirds in their extensive global survey had female song, and trait mapping revealed a common ancestor of modern songbirds also had female song. This research opens the door to explore alternative processes in the evolution of bird song.

We’d love these new fair-trade sustainable condoms, if the marketing weren’t kinda sexist

March 4, 2014 - 3:58pm

Is there anything more fun than sexism in marketing? (See: Bic Pens for Her. And yes, everything short of toenail removal is more fun.) Its latest coup: tarnishing the enthusiasm we might have otherwise felt for Sustain Condoms. Created by the founder of Seventh Generation and his daughter (um, AWKWARD), the condoms are made from non-toxic, fair-trade rubber from an Indian plantation that pays workers a fair wage.

Sustain thinks fair-trade condoms will primarily appeal to us ladies with our squishy bunny hearts, rather than men, who hate sustainability and only buy brands that sound like monster trucks. (Trojan Magnum Destructo! OK, maybe Destructo would be a poor choice for a condom brand.) Explains Jeffrey Hollender:

Part of the challenge we are facing is the huge discomfort women feel buying condoms. If a man buys them, he’s having sex and he’s cool. Women have a negative attitude.

Right. Because a woman buying condoms is NOT having sex. She’s purchasing them to stitch into a wedding gown while crying softly and watching Say Yes to the Dress with her cat and a bottle of merlot. Yes, women get slut-shamed more than men, but we’re pretty sure almost EVERYbody feels self-conscious about buying condoms, not just women.

So yes, fair-trade condoms are cool. Less cool is assuming dudes don’t care how their sausage wrappers get made. If Sustain really wants to appeal to women, maybe they should brand vasectomies.


Filed under: Living

What bat brains might tell us about human brains

March 4, 2014 - 3:20pm
Could a new finding in bats help unlock a mystery about the human brain? Likely so, say researchers who have shown that a small region within the amygdala, an almond-shaped structure in the brains of all mammals, is responsible for producing emotional calls and sounds. They say this discovery might be key to locating a similar center in human brains.

Futuristic Moon Elevator Idea Takes Aim at Lunar Lifts

March 4, 2014 - 1:42pm
An elevator to the moon might not be as crazy as it sounds, according to one company. A moon-based elevator to space could radically reduce the costs and improve the reliability of placing equipment on the lunar surface.

Greater music dynamics in shoebox-shaped concert halls

March 4, 2014 - 8:00am
Aalto University researchers have found that music is perceived to have greater dynamic range in rectangular, shoebox shaped concert halls than in other types of halls.

Species matters in a noisy world

March 4, 2014 - 5:53am
Fish exposed to increased noise levels consume less food and show more stress-related behaviour, according to new research from the University of Bristol and the University of Exeter. However, the way fish decreased their food intake differed between the two British species tested.

Greater music dynamics in shoebox-shaped concert halls

March 3, 2014 - 1:34pm
Researchers in Finland have found that music is perceived to have greater dynamic range in rectangular, shoebox shaped concert halls than in other types of halls.

Sound Machines Could Be Hurting Baby's Ears

March 3, 2014 - 6:24am
Parents may use noise machines to help babies sleep, but the sound may be loud enough to harm a little one's hearing, researchers reported today (March 3).

Google urges court to restore YouTube anti-Islam film

March 1, 2014 - 1:09am
Google on Friday urged a US appeals court to let it repost an anti-Islamic movie on YouTube, pending a re-hearing of the copyright case that got it removed.

NASA satellite sees great freeze over Great Lakes

February 28, 2014 - 3:40pm
At night, as cold settles in, lake ice creaks and groans. It's been excessively cold, and I camped exposed on the snow-swept surface. Other than the lack of vegetation and the sounds at night, you'd never know you were on a lake. It feels like an empty plain. In some places, you see pressure ridges where ice has pushed into itself, sticking up like clear blue stegosaurus plates.—Craig Childs

Emergency alert in the cell: Scientists identify new mechanisms in the cellular stress response

February 28, 2014 - 11:30am
When an organism is exposed to life-threatening conditions, it sounds the alarm and a cellular emergency program, the heat shock response, is initiated. However, the name "heat shock response" is misleading. In the beginning of the 1960s, this form of stress response was first observed. Scientists exposed fruit flies to high temperatures and discovered a complex emergency program designated to save single cells and thus the organism itself. Today researchers know that this program is also triggered by other dangers such as radiation or toxic substances. The terminology, however, is still in use.

Mars 2021 Human Fly-by - Public or Private $$? Congress Questions | Video

February 28, 2014 - 9:25am
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) questions a panel of space and aerospace professionals about the feasibility of the Mars mission at a hearing on Feb. 27th, 2014. Also, why the mission called 'Inspiration Mars' is now looking for public funding.

Battery-free technology brings gesture recognition to all devices

February 27, 2014 - 12:00pm
Mute the song playing on your smartphone in your pocket by flicking your index finger in the air, or pause your "This American Life" podcast with a small wave of the hand. This kind of gesture control for electronics could soon become an alternative to touchscreens and sensing technologies that consume a lot of power and only work when users can see their smartphones and tablets.

SciFri: Your Brain on Jazz

February 27, 2014 - 12:00pm
Researcher and musician Charles Limb created an fMRI-safe keyboard to study the effects of jazz on the brain.

Digital ears in the rainforest: Estimating dynamics of animal populations by using sound recordings and computing

February 27, 2014 - 8:14am
A Finnish-Brazilian project is constructing a system that could estimate the dynamics of animal populations by using sound recordings, statistics and scientific computing. The canopy in a Brazilian rainforest is bustling with life, but nothing is visible from the ground level. The digital recorders attached to the trees, however, are picking up the noises of birds.