Tag: science/Archives

HV006- Radio Dial

KPRK art-deco building, Livingston MTHearing Voices from NPR®
006 Radio Dial: Signals from the Sky
Host: Barrett Golding of Hearing Voices
Airs week of: 2010-05-26 (Originally: 2008-04-09)

“Radio Dial” (52:00 mp3):

Radio stories about radio, then stories about radio stories:

“Dueling XMTRs! #3: VOIRI vs. the World” (2003 / 1:01 excerpt) ShortWaveMusic

These “Dueling Transmitters” are an atmospheric found-sound un-manipulated mix of Spanish ham-radio operators, slow Morse code, data squalls, and the Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran. From the Shortwavemusic blog post “The Effects of Radiation.”

“Urbana FM” (2004 / 4:05) Jake Warga

An FM radio station in Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, is called Urbana. It’s hip, bilingual, plays music from all over the world, and is famous in Uruguay for its 30-second sound portraits featuring the voices of famous people mixed over avante-garde music.

“Radio Reloj” (2005 / 1:02 excerpt) Vocal Sampling

The Cuban a-capella ensemble approximates a radio dial with their vocal chords. From the group Vocal Sampling’s (site | space) CD Una Forma Mas.

“The Grotesque” (2007 / 1:07 excerpt) Myke Weiskopf

Shortwave/music mixes by LA sound artist Myke Dodge Weiskopf, off his 30: a Retrospective 1976-2006

“WWV- The Tick” (0:46) Douglas Grant

The government’s all-time all-the-time radio station goes commercial, voiced by former WWV announcer John Doyle.


Singing Science Records

Singing Science Records is a collection of six records that illustrate science through song. They were produced in the 1950s and early 60s by Hy Zaret and Lou Singer; they were preformed by Tom Glazer, the 1940s folk musician who wrote “On top of Spaghetti.” Our Singing Science selections start with a song covered by They Might Be Giants:

Space Songs

CD cover

Energy and Motion Songs

CD cover

Nature Songs

CD cover

For complete mp3 albums visit Singing Science Records and explore science in a fun and inventive way.

The Ride

The idea of a nearly infinity-geared bicycle is a half-millennia old, first drawn by Da Vinci, and now realized by a couple San Diego designers: “The Ride” is one of Popular Science’s Best of What’s New 2007.
The Ride, nearly infinitely geared bicycle
Schematic of gearing

Saturn Sings- NASA

Saturn is one noisy celestial, and the Cassini orbiter and Huygens probe are catching it all. A/V from Saturn and its moons are housed in NASA’s Cassini-Huygens: Multimedia-Sounds exhibit. This audio is from the Cassini video “Sounds of Enceladus” (0:13 mp3):

NASA calls them “The Eerie, Bizarre Sounds of the Saturnian System,” as in this recording by Huygen’s microphones while “Speeding Through Titan’s Haze” (1:42 mp3):

The Cassini spacecraft is a multimedia reporter and has been snapping some astounding pix of Saturn:
Saturn photo by Cassini spacecraft

A while back WFMU blogged (“Saturn, Your Other Home for Hippy Noise“) some Saturn-sonicities from NASA (1:14 mp3):

And the audio from this Titan descent mission- video, “Saturn Electrostatic Discharge” by The Planet Saturn (4:34 mp3)

“Sounds from a left speaker trace Huygens’ motion, with tones changing with rotational speed and the tilt of the parachute. There also are clicks that clock the rotational counter, as well as sounds for the probe’s heat shield hitting Titan’s atmosphere, parachute deployments, heat shield release, jettison of the camera cover and touchdown.

Sounds from a right speaker go with the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer activity. There’s a continuous tone that represents the strength of Huygens’ signal to Cassini. Then there are 13 different chimes – one for each of instrument’s 13 different science parts – that keep time with flashing-white-dot exposure counters. During its descent, the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer took 3,500 exposures.”

via SALT-y Rob.

DNA Files

Drawing of DNAA few of us HV types have been working on The DNA Files, along with an army of engineers, producers, journalists, and scientists. The series of five hours are now online and on-air. Lotsa work, lotsa science, and lotsa sound went into these SoundVision productions.

Walking’s CO2 Footprint

We at HV occasionally explore science reporting. A post on the new blog Wallet Mouth (on consumer tools– buycotts & boycotts) links to a study which contends walking has a heavier carbon footprint than driving: Amuse-bouche: walking the walk. It also links to the reasons this s’pose-they’re-serious study is pure nonsense. Both point out the ways partial presentations of facts n’ figs can mislead.

(Wallet Mouth is writ by the better half of the quiet american radio family.)

Radio -3BY

Map of space with burst locationTalk about oldies radio, this signal left the station three billion years ago, and it’s just arriving: from SPACE.comAstronomers Find Mysterious Radio Burst.” Tune in if you’re roadtripping thru the small Magellanic Cloud (a couple small galaxies, about 200K LY away, in orbit around our Milky Way Galaxy) — that’s the direction in the Southern sky the signal was detected.

More at National Radio Astronomy Observatory, “Powerful Radio Burst Indicates New Astronomical Phenomenon.” The burst lasted less than five milliseconds. Journalists say the scientists say, “it may signal a cosmic car crash of two neutron stars, the death throes of a black hole—or something else.” Aka, dunno what ’tis. Maybe they can use it to fill the “Enormous Hole in the Universe” astronomers also recently found (“nearly a billion light-years across, empty of both normal matter such as stars, galaxies, and gas, and the mysterious, unseen ‘dark matter'”).

Storytelling — How Toons

[ How Toons ] Digg turned this up today:

How Toons

a collection of science- and engineering-related web comics.

I’m a bit partial to the form, my long-standing affair probably started about the time I got my first Dr. Seuss book. This struck me as particularly infectious — possibly because I’ve been re-immersing myself lately: novelized pastiches such as geoffrey woods’ Leaper and Austin Grossman’s Soon I Will Be Invincible; Moore and Gibson’s The Watchmen, Alex Ross and Mark Waid’s Kingdom Come, Frank Miller’s irrepressible Dark Knight and nearly everything Brian Woods has done; films such as Unbreakable, Sin City, Superman Returns, Batman Begins, and, of course Heroes.

What impresses me most, I suppose, is the resilience and versatility — how and why comics have persisted…

Out of Body Fighter Pilots

Still catching up on the Radio Lab listening. From season two’s “Where Am I?“:

Pilots call it “G-LOC” (gravity-induced loss of consciousness, pronounced “G-lock” not “glok”). Turns out this kind of experience (call it what you want) occurs quite frequently among fighter pilots. Producers Ann Heppermann and Kara Oehler bring us the story. We’ll hear from pilots Tim Sestak, and Col. Dan Fulgham on what it’s like to lose yourself while flying a plane. And we’ll hear from Dr. James Whinnery, who simulates G-LOC by placing pilots in giant centrifuges. His research monitors their brain activity as they accelerate to speeds inducing this loss of consciousness.

Pilot in cockpit of fighter jet

Thinking outside the circle

If I ever hear someone say the trite expression, “Think outside the box” I immediately think: Only a person who can’t think outside the box in the first place would utter such a thing. But this now, kind reader, is something entirely different and even amusing so check out this page.

Science Diaries- Koala

Koala bear in treeA story on last night’s NPR ATC, “Studying a Koala Mystery in Eastern Australia” was the first of a new series from Jim Metzner (Pulse of the Planet). The series Science Diaries puts recorders, and blogs, in the hands of scientists “to let these dedicated folks tell their own stories.”

For the next week the story is an NPR Story of the Day podcast, “I can see his bum…”:

Cloth Simulation

Check this line-vector simulation of a hanging cloth, writ by JRC313.com. Pull it with the mouse (click-drag), let go, and watch it swing — cheap e-thrills via a “physics library” of code; here’s some screenshots:
Screenshots of cloth simulation

NPR: Climate Change Worries Military Advisers

water scarcity thumbnail
larger view

Even the military is starting to see the light or feel the warmth, as the case may be. I thought the most interesting point (made in the audio portion) of the story was retired Gen. Anthony Zinni’s comment that the real resource war isn’t going to be about hydrocarbons. It will be about hydrology or, in other words, water scarcity. He noted that many of the same places in the world that are rich in oil are poor in water.

NPR story | source for map

Effects of Drugs on Spiders

In the 1960s, Dr. Peter Witt gave drugs to spiders and observed their effects on web building:

Listening to Northern Lights- Vid

Using our NPR story “Listening to Northern Lights” (NPR Lost and Found Sound), Joel Halvorson of NASA Earth-Sun Museum Alliance made a video for the Minnesota Planetarium (for use in dome, thus the circular frame of the images):

When solar flares hit the Earth’s magnetic field, the skies at both poles can light up with auroras. The particles also create very low frequency electromagnetic waves, a type of natural radio that can be picked up around the globe. Every year sound recordist Steve McGreevy heads north where the reception is best and points his receiver at the sky.Produced for Minnesota Planetarium and Space Discovery Center, by Joel Halvorson NASA Earth-Sun Museum Alliance (ESMA), as part of the International Polar Year (IPY). Aurora photography by Calvin Hall.Natural Radio recording by Stephen McGreevy. Radio story produced by Barrett Golding, for the series NPR Lost & Found Sound.