Audio telescope' could save planes from birds. (New Scientist) An "audio telescope" that can identify different species of bird by their calls could soon help protect planes from crashing.
When planes collide with birds, the results can be catastrophic - an event most likely to occur on lower-altitude flight paths near airports. Radar and infrared detectors can already spot birds but cannot tell a large bird that could cause serious damage from a small, low-risk one.
"Bird strikes are a significant cause of plane crashes, particularly for small craft," says Vincent Stanford of the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in, Maryland, US, who is developing the system. Read Full Article.
Ottawa's National Arts Centre plans tribute to Schafer at 75. The National Arts Centre Orchestra has commissioned a new orchestral work from R. Murray Schafer as part of a tribute to the internationally renowned composer on his 75th birthday.
NACO, based in Ottawa, also plans a series of chamber and orchestral concerts in 2008 that are titled Schafer at 75. R. Murray Schafer is one of Canada's best-known classical composers. Schafer, who lives in a farmhouse near Maynooth, Ont., is known for his interests in soundscape and the environment, as well as being internationally recognized as a composer.
NACO has commissioned a 25-minute orchestral work to be premiered in celebration of the National Arts Centre's 40th anniversary season in 2009. Read More.
The Quiet Stage: The Myths and Truths of In-Ear-Monitoring. (Mix Magazine) Some say that tin-ear monitors will protect your hearing. Actually, that statement is partly true and partly false — it all depends on the application and the skill of the user. As with shotguns or banana cream pies, earpiece monitoring can be dangerous in the wrong hands or when used improperly. Read More
Apple invents iPod hearing protection technology. (Texyt) Apple acknowledges that portable media players, a class of products which includes the iPod, can cause hearing damage, according to a newly published patent application filed by the company. The application describes a method of reducing the risk of hearing loss. The document, which does not mention the iPod by name, was originally filed one month before a class action lawsuit which alleges the iPod series' design may exacerbate hearing loss. Read More.
French Weblog About Sound Available. Sonoris Causa is a French weblog about sound art, ecology, and very
different sounds listening. Visit web site: http://sonoriscausa.over-blog.com/
Sounds bring Google Earth to life. (BBC News) A Californian company has created software that can layer relevant recorded sounds over locations in Google Earth, New Scientist reports. Wild Sanctuary has over 3,500 hours of soundscapes from all over the world. The firm is in talks with Google, although no official agreement has yet been made. Read Full Article.
Secrets Revealed at 'Da Vinci Code' Church. (Globe Mail) Like a plot from "The Da Vinci Code," a team
of code breakers claims to have found music hidden for 500 years in intricate carvings at the church where author Dan Brown set the climax of the best-selling book.
Father and son team Thomas and Stuart Mitchell say they deciphered a musical code hewn into stone cubes on the ribs supporting the ceiling of Rosslyn Chapel in the village of Roslin, near Edinburgh. Read Full Article.
Hearing Loss Problem Nearing Epidemic Proportions in Canada. (CBC) Earplugs could have saved the day for Harvey Glatt. The Ottawa-based former radio station owner and concert presenter says he has paid a price for his years of "hugging speakers" at concert venues and working in production studios.
Now 73, he said that like most of the population out there, he was blissfully unaware of what noise exposure could do to his hearing. Around the age of 50, however, he was in for a rude awakening when a friend asked him to assess his home speakers. That was when he realized that 20 years of being in the thick of the music world had taken its toll. Read Full Article.
Many pupils 'struggling to hear'. (BBC News) Up to a million children are missing out in the classroom because they find it hard to distinguish speech against background noise, a charity has warned. Read Full Article
Scientists Study Sacred Sounds. (Wired News) Does your church sing? Or does its message fall flat in a mess of reverberation, boomy bass and muffled speech? Researchers here are investigating the subjective acoustic qualities
of church architecture in one of the most extensive scientific inquiries yet. By studying the best-sounding spaces (and the worst), the researchers hope to assemble practical design criteria for new churches. The data can also provide the clergy with some considerations on what music works best in existing places of worship. Read Full Article.
Nerves may use Sound not Electricity to propagate information. (CBC)A fascinating Danish study suggesting sound, not electrical current is what makes the nerves pass information in our bodies. Electrical systems generate heat and they weren't finding traces of it in the nervous system so they kept looking. Read Full Article.
Holy Bat Chat, Batgirl! Medic Is Cracking Bat Code. (National Geographic) Researcher Barbara French has, over the past decade, shared her house with a colony of up to 75 Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis). By watching and listening, day and night, she has decoded a basic repertoire of bat calls and deciphered the social context in which they are used. Her collection is the largest captive insectivorous bat colony in the United States and is proving to be an incredible resource for bat researchers. Read Full Article.
Sonic Postcards. (BBC) Sonic Postcards is a new, unique national education programme which is trying to link schools across the country by the medium of sound.
It's trying to get Devon students to explore and compare their local sound environments through the composition and exchange - via the internet - sound postcards with other schools in this county and nationwide.
The project focuses on the impact of sound on our lives and demonstrates the possibilities for creativity through the manipulation of sounds with technology. Read Full Article
Acoustic Shadows. (BBC) The design and control of the acoustics of a space is as much an ancient art as it is a modern science and it has profound influence on everything from creating a sense of place to the enjoyment of a performance. But how easy is it to get it right? Read Full Article
New Adventures in Sound Art. (NAISA) is a non-profit organization that produces performances and installations spanning the entire spectrum of electroacoustic and experimental sound art. Included in its Toronto productions are: Deep Wireless, Sound Travels, Sign Waves and SOUNDplay. The objectives of NAISA are to foster awareness and understanding locally, as well as nationally and internationally, in the cultural vitality of experimental sound art in its myriad forms of expression. This objective will be achieved through the exploration of new sound technologies in conjunction with the creation of cultural events and artifacts. Read More.
Why Do Robins Sing At Night. (BBC News) Dr Richard Fuller from Sheffield University's Animal and Plant Sciences department has - among other things - spent the last few weeks standing on street corners in Sheffield trying to figure out why robins sing more in noisier bits of cities than others. Read Full Article.
Acoustic Mapping. (BBC News) Scientists have been recreating the exact sounds of a building without having to actually be there. Damian Murphy from York University is using the latest acoustic mapping techniques to recreate the exact sound of ancient and new buildings. He does this by capturing a series of room impulse response profiles - the acoustic fingerprint of a particular environment for a sound source and listener located at a specific position within it.
He can even recreate the acoustics of buildings that no longer exist, such as the old cathedral in Coventry. Read Full Article
No Silence Please. (BBC News) There was no sound, nothing. A blanket of silence enveloped me and I could feel the weight almost as a physical presence. I searched for a reference and began to internalise sound sources. There was a hissing in my ears and a low pulsing that I can only guess was the sound of my blood circulating. After less than two minutes I could stand it no longer and asked to be let out. So, silence is not golden. The complete absence of sound was a disturbing and disorienting ordeal and for me an extreme form of sensory deprivation. Read Full Article.