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A traveling exhibition about the sounds and songs of life

Wild Music in the News

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Updated: 20 min 41 sec ago

They like to watch, yes, but that's just the beginning

October 14, 2014 - 4:08am
Kai Huotari was a visiting scholar at Berkeley's School of Information in the spring of 2011, when the Fox TV series Glee—a weekly musical drama about the fictional McKinley High School glee club—took an unexpectedly interesting turn. While the club's lovable misfits struggled, as usual, to navigate the shoals of sex, social life and show tunes, the Twitter hashtag "#Glee" now floated persistently in the lower-right corner of the screen.

Take note: Jazz and silence help reduce heart rate after surgery, study shows

October 13, 2014 - 12:16pm
Researchers are one step closer to confirming what people in New Orleans have known for decades: Jazz is good for you. Patients undergoing elective hysterectomies who listened to jazz music during their recovery experienced significantly lower heart rates, suggests a study.

Review: Earplugs crank down the noise while still letting you hear

October 10, 2014 - 2:50pm
Awhile back, I reviewed the Bean Quiet Sound Amplifier from Etymotic. The Beans are basically hearing aids that amplify sounds so you can hear better.

Bose and Beats end beef over headphone patents (Update)

October 10, 2014 - 11:30am
Audio technology veteran Bose Corporation and Beats Electronics on Friday called a ceasefire in a lawsuit over patented technology for canceling noise in earphones.

Improving bridge health condition data

October 10, 2014 - 7:30am
On August 1, 2007, when a section of an eight-lane bridge on Interstate 35W in downtown Minneapolis plummeted into the Mississippi River, killing more than a dozen people, Visiting Associate Professor Zhigang Shen—like many hearing the news—was appalled: he had been driving on the bridge himself just one week earlier. Unlike most people, however, Shen was in a position to actually address a significant part of the problems that had led to the horrifying collapse: how to improve the tracking and management of bridge health condition data.

Killer Whales Learn How to Speak Dolphin

October 10, 2014 - 5:46am
Killer whales are known for their haunting songs consisting of complex whistles and clicks, but they can also learn "dolphin speak," a new study finds.

[Special Issue News] Minds of their own

October 9, 2014 - 6:00pm
EyeRover may look like a miniature Segway with eyes, but the foot-tall bot is packed with some of the most advanced robotic technology ever devised, including a prototype computing platform designed to emulate the human brain. Unlike conventional computer chips and software, which execute a linear sequence of tasks, this new approach—called neuromorphic computing—carries out processing and memory tasks simultaneously, just as our brains do for complex tasks such as vision and hearing. Many researchers believe that neuromorphic computing is at the threshold of endowing robots with perceptual skills they've never had before, giving them an unprecedented level of autonomy. At the same time, robots could provide the perfect demonstration of the power of neuromorphic computing, helping persuade scientists in fields ranging from computer vision to environmental data analysis to embrace the approach. Author: Robert F. Service

[Special Issue News] Getting a feel for the world

October 9, 2014 - 6:00pm
To be fully autonomous, robots must be able to make sense of their surroundings, but designing mundane, practical sensors for robots has proven to be a formidable challenge. Today's machines have the ability to gently touch objects with tactile "skin," differentiate beers with an electronic tongue, or even stay balanced on one leg when whacked with a 9-kilogram wrecking ball. Still, the automatons fail at many basic human skills, from filtering out noise during cocktail party conversations, to making sense of what they see and walking around without breaking an ankle. Some say that equipping robots with the senses humanizes them. Authors: Hassan DuRant, Jia You

NASA parachute engineers have appetite for destruction

October 9, 2014 - 7:07am
Engineers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, are bound and determined to destroy a perfectly good parachute this week during the latest test for the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project. The parachute to be tested at the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station in California is the same 100-foot (30.5-meter) parachute design that flew during the first supersonic flight of LDSD this past summer. That test took place in June in Kauai, Hawaii, at the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility.

New Manhattan Project director documents released

October 8, 2014 - 11:39am
The U.S. Department of Energy has declassified documents related to a Cold War hearing for the man who directed the Manhattan Project and was later accused of having communist sympathies.

UW fusion reactor concept could be cheaper than coal

October 8, 2014 - 11:22am
Fusion energy almost sounds too good to be true – zero greenhouse gas emissions, no long-lived radioactive waste, a nearly unlimited fuel supply.

Country's economy plays role in Internet file-sharing patterns

October 8, 2014 - 11:16am
Peer-to-peer file sharing over the Internet is a popular alternative approach for people worldwide to get the digital content they want. But little is known about these users and systems because data is lacking. Now, in an unprecedented study of BitTorrent users, a research team has discovered two behavior patterns: most users are content specialists -- sharing music but not movies, for example; and users in countries with similar economies tend to download similar types of content.

Fujitsu Laboratories develops lower-cost millimeter-wave radar for automobiles

October 8, 2014 - 8:10am
Fujitsu Laboratories today announced that it has produced a transceiver chip for millimeter-wave radar in a complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) implementation, which is a semiconductor process that enables costs to be reduced, while at the same time successfully boosting the short-range detection performance of the transceiver. Existing millimeter-wave radar uses silicon-germanium (SiGe) transceiver chips. Using CMOS would allow for lower costs and lower power consumption than SiGe, but it is more susceptible to noise, particularly in lower frequency ranges, which has made the use of CMOS for millimeter-wave radar impractical to date. Fujitsu Laboratories has succeeded in producing a prototype CMOS transceiver chip that suppresses oscillator noise on the receiver circuit by configuring a frequency-conversion circuit so that it is compatible with the 76-81 GHz band used in automotive millimeter-wave radar. This greatly reduces noise levels found in previously attempted CMOS transceivers, resulting in performance equivalent to or better than current SiGe chips. This technology enables power consumption of CMOS-based millimeter-wave radar to be approximately halved compared SiGe chips, and at lower costs. Details of this technology are being presented at EuMC 2014, the European Microwave Conference 2014, opening October 5 in Rome.

Complaining in everyday conversations

October 8, 2014 - 5:20am
When was the last time you went through an entire day either not complaining or hearing a friend, colleague or family member whining about one thing or another? More likely than not the answer is probably never.

Killer whales living with bottlenose dolphins demonstrate cross-species vocal learning

October 8, 2014 - 4:33am
From barks to gobbles, the sounds that most animals use to communicate are innate, not learned. However, a few species, including humans, can imitate new sounds and use them in appropriate social contexts. This ability, known as vocal learning, is one of the underpinnings of language.

Killer whales learn to communicate like dolphins

October 7, 2014 - 9:10am
The sounds that most animals use to communicate are innate, not learned. However, a few species, including humans, can imitate new sounds and use them in appropriate social contexts. This ability, known as vocal learning, is one of the underpinnings of language. Now, researchers have found that killer whales can engage in cross-species vocal learning: when socialized with bottlenose dolphins, they shifted the sounds they made to more closely match their social partners.

A warm dark matter search

October 7, 2014 - 7:24am
The XMASS collaboration has reported its latest results on the search for warm dark matter. Their results rule out the possibility that super-weakly interacting massive bosonic particles constitute all dark matter in the universe.

A warm dark matter search using XMASS: Editors' suggestion of Physical Review Letters

October 7, 2014 - 7:20am
The XMASS collaboration, led by Yoichiro Suzuki at the Kavli IPMU, has reported its latest results on the search for warm dark matter. Their results rule out the possibility that super-weakly interacting massive bosonic particles (bosonic super-WIMPs) constitute all dark matter in the universe. This result was published in the September 19th issue of the Physical Review Letters as an Editors' Suggestion.

Observing the Birkeland currents

October 6, 2014 - 11:34am
When the supersonic solar wind hits the Earth's magnetic field, a powerful electrical connection occurs with Earth's field, generating millions of amperes of current that drive the dazzling auroras. These so-called Birkeland currents connect the ionosphere to the magnetosphere and channel solar wind energy to Earth's uppermost atmosphere. Solar storms release torrential blasts of solar wind that cause much stronger currents and can overload power grids and disrupt communications and navigation.

Children understand familiar voices better than those of strangers

October 6, 2014 - 11:29am
Familiar voices can improve spoken language processing among school-age children, according to a study. However, the advantage of hearing a familiar voice only helps children to process and understand words they already know well, not new words that aren’t in their vocabularies.