Dumbspeech State of Grace Echopraxia [website], the long-delayed "sidequel" depicting parallel events on Earth. Want more? Look inside for a guide to the rest of Watts' award-winning (and provocative) body of work. [more inside]
The Distortion of Sound is a documentary about the decline of sound quality and how technology has changed the way we listen to music. It will open your ears and inspire you to reach for richer, more soul-stirring musical experiences.
Where is the Drama takes any song input recognized by Spotify and analyses it to find the 30 seconds or so of highest drama, defined as the portion of the song with the largest increase in loudness. [more inside]
"Imagine a job where about half of all the work is being done by people who are in training. That is, in fact, what happens in the world of biological and medical research." --- NPR reports [audio] on postdocs & the scientific workforce as part of a series on the funding crisis in biomedical research. The series also includes When Scientists Give Up [audio], and U.S. Science Suffering From Booms And Busts In Funding [audio].
Lydia Davis on Madame Bovary, Nabokov's Marginalia, and Translation: [YouTube] In this video from the Center for the Art of Translation, author and translator Lydia Davis discusses how she used Nabokov's margin notes from his edition of Madame Bovary to aid her own translation. She also discusses in-depth translation choices that she made. A full audio recording of this event can be hard on the Center's website.
The BBC has announced that it will be producing a radio dramatization of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's book, Good Omens. The radio drama will be broadcast as six episodes in December on BBC Radio 4, and will feature Mark Heap and Peter Serafinowicz in the lead roles.
You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?Dr. Peter Watts is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials, heartbreaking eulogies, and agonizing run-ins with fascists (and fasciitis) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed 2006 novel Blindsight [full text] -- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room, the Philosophical Zombie, Chernoff faces, and the myriad quirks and blind spots that haunt the human mind. But Blindsight's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew/ship/"Firefall" notes, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism (PDF - prev.), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section, tomorrow will see the release of
Researchers at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Microsoft Research, and Adobe Research have presented a technique for reconstructing an audio signal by analyzing minute vibrations of objects depicted in video. For example, the method can be used to extract intelligible speech from video of a bag of potato chips filmed from 15 feet away through soundproof glass. [more inside]
"Masuma Ahuja and Denise Lu for the Washington Post applied a technique called databending to a bunch of photos. The idea is that computer files — even though they represent different things like documents, images, and audio — encode data in one form or another. It's just that sound files encode beats, notes, and rhythms, whereas image files encode hue, saturation, and brightness. So when you treat image files as if they were audio, you get some interesting results. Jamie Boulton has a detailed description on how to do this yourself with Audacity Effects." [via]
Why the modern bathroom is a wasteful, unhealthy design (The Guardian): "Piped water may be the greatest convenience ever known but our sewage systems and bathrooms are a disaster" [more inside]
Defense of the Ancients is a MOBA (what's a MOBA? | comprehensive history of MOBAs) that has skyrocketed in recent years from a humble Warcraft multiplayer mod to a genre-defining megahit whose worldwide competitive bracket The International (whose finale airs tonight) boasts a prize pool of more than $10 million dollars. While publisher Valve is determined to help mainstream the esports craze with helpful
noob newcomer-friendly broadcasts of the final and a simulcast on ESPN, the community has been dogged by accusations of hostility and a very steep learning curve. Luckily, you don't have to know anything about DOTA to enjoy the best thing to come out of it so far: 45 minutes of witheringly sarcastic in-game meta-commentary [playable transcript] in the dulcet tones of Kevan Brighting, the very charming (and very British) narrator of beloved metagame The Stanley Parable. Once you're finished with that delightful deconstruction of esport tropes, you might also enjoy perusing similar announcer packs for Portal's GLaDOS, Bastion's Rucks, and... a pirate. ＤＩＧＩＴＡＬ ＳＰＯＲＴＳ!
Radio Ambulante [Español] has been called "This Latin American Life". It is long-form non-breaking-news documentary journalism from across Latin America. It was recently featured in an episode of On The Media which looked at Latino and Hispanic media in the US. While the majority of its content is in Spanish, they do have some stories en Inglés.
Here's 42 minutes and 27 glorious seconds of audio sound effects from Warner Bros. cartoons. And, should you want more (and of course you do), here's one hour and 17 seconds worth from Hanna Barbera studios.
Stan Alcorn on Digg attempts to answer why audio almost never goes viral. Alcorn outlines a rare exception in how an audio interview of two girls and the "Worst Haircut Ever" went from a coffee shop show called “The Ear Cave” in Hartford to a one line link on Metafilter made several months later by gauche, to ultimately landing on gawker where it ratcheted up 1.3 million views. [more inside]
Mario Wienrroither cuts up music videos to create surreal, musicless clips: Firestarter - Smells Like Teen Spirit - I Want To Break Free (Music videos without music previously, more previously)
On The Media meets Matt Farley, who earns around $23k per year thanks to the 14,000 songs he has has composed, performed and uploaded to Spotify.
Though best known to fans of Joe Frank, This American Life, and Hearing Voices for the irreverent spirit medium recordings he made as an telephone psychic in the 1990s, the Baltimore poet, composer, and artist David Franks spent decades creating his own work. Several recordings are now available at the internet archive. (previously) [more inside]
As the Christmas season winds down, but before New Year plunges a stake into its Dracula Corpse to end it, enjoy Matt Fraction, Maggie Serota and the War Rocket Ajax crew challening each other to create the worst Christmas mixtape. Not interested in audio format banter and such? There is a Youtube Playlist. WARNING: Mostly offensive for aesthetic reasons but there are some other terribles in there as well.
The Roaring Twenties: An Interactive Exploration of the Historical Soundscape of New York City (sound autoplays). via i09, which says The map uses a combination of noise complaints and old reel footage to plot everything from what must have been an exceptionally noisy subway turnstile (complete with notes from the police report) all the way to a carnival barkers in Coney Island, and is a great way to listen in on the everyday life of a New York City gone-by.
"The Synth Kit that just hit the market originated a year ago, at a TED conference where Bdeir and comedian/musician Reggie Watts met backstage after giving talks, and started discussing the idea of littleBits musical instruments."
Engineer turns hardcore band into EDM nightmare after they fail to pay. [T]he engineer, known only as Dan, funnelled the “best 30 mins I’ve ever spent” into reworking the material and uploading the final product. What was surely meant to be a hard-hitting, passionate composition of brutal metalcore integrity is now a cringeworthy dance track.
Simultaneous video and selectively played audio of every Apollo lunar landing on one screen. (via Collect Space) [more inside]
CBC host Peter Oldring discusses customer services at Canadian border crossings with Officer Murray Swift. Five minutes of unbelievable audio.
Tom Waits (on Robert Wilson): "Wilson, he's always playing with time. I heard a recording recently of crickets slowed way down. It sounds like a choir, it sounds like angel music. Something sparkling, celestial with full harmony and bass parts - you wouldn't believe it. It's like a sweeping chorus of heaven, and it's just slowed down, they didn't manipulate the tape at all. So I think when Wilson slows people down, it gives you a chance to watch them moving through space. And there's something to be said for slowing down the world."
The pre-2005 series had a Doctor who was dressed in vaguely Edwardian clothing, who spoke with an RP accent, who had his stories adapted into books. That’s just the way it was. - Andrew Hickey's Fifty Stories For Fifty Years, one for every year of Doctor Who, reaches 2004 and Scream of the Shalka (previously) - arguably the end of the line for "Classic" doctor who. Previous instalments had covered the TV series from start to end, as well as the odd novelisation or movie. Possibly of greatest interest are the years before the new TV series where, TV movie aside, the franchise survived and evolved in strange directions via novels and audio stories. Then, at the outmost reaches of Whodom, there is the Book of the War and the strange world of Faction Paradox, which THERE IS NO FACTION PARADOX, THERE IS NO EVIL RENEGADE, YOU DID NOT READ THIS POST.
An entire episode of the Simpsons sent through various Alignment And Distrubution vector tools becomes a mesmerizing, glitched out work of art
First Nations and the Future of Canadian Citizenship (CBC Ideas) Part history lesson, part memoir, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations takes to the stage to share stories of the people he represents and his own past. In his lecture titled It Feels Like We're On the Cusp, National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo sets out why he believes First Nations peoples are on the cusp of change. via CBC Ideas [more inside]
The Sound of the Earth is sound artist Yuri Suzuki's spherical record project, modeled after a topographic globe of the Earth. The grooves represent the outlines of each geographic landmass. Each country on the disc is engraved with a different sound. As the needle passes over, it plays field recordings collected by Suzuki from around the world over the course of four years: traditional folk music, national anthems, popular music and spoken word broadcasts. [more inside]
A wonderful, generous and free selection of authors, collections and books online at Lit2Go for awake times or drowsy ones. The Count of Monte Cristo from the Adventure collection | or perhaps a Just So Story from the Fantasy collection | Beowolf from the Here Be Dragons! collection | Aladdin from Andrew Lang's Fairy Books of Many Colors or The Heart of Happy Hollow from the African American collection. Also practical for children. Previously. [more inside]
The Daily .WAV has been online for at least fifteen years, bringing you fresh soundclips every day! Search the vast library to your heart's content.
In the pre-podcast days of 1999, the then Sci-Fi Channel website worked with the Seeing Ear Theater and Bablyon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski to produce a series of Twilight Zone-inspired radio stories called "City Of Dreams" along with a cast that included Steve Buscemi, Tim Curry, Kevin Conway, and John Turturro. 13 episodes were planned, but only 8 got produced, and with the decline of Real Player and the Seeing Ear Theater, the episodes were thought to be lost to the mists of internet history. Until someone uploaded all of them to Youtube. (each episode about 30 min, link goes to the first video for the episode) The Damned Are Playing At Godzilla's Tonight!. Rolling Thunder .The Friends Of Jackie Clay . The Tolling Of The Hour. Night Calls. Samuel Becket, Your Ride Is Here. The Alpha And Omega Of David Wells . MSCD 00121J [more inside]
Heard: a free iOS app that could solve a lot of arguments, and probably end a lot of marriages. It continuously records audio into a 12-second buffer (extend it to 5 minutes for $1.99), letting you save what you just, um, heard. Part Orwellian, part Chappellian (NSFW).
The Memory of the Netherlands is an image library making available the online collections of museums, archives and libraries. The library provides access to images from the collections of more than one hundred institutions and includes photographs, sculptures, paintings, bronzes, pottery, modern art, drawings, stamps, posters and newspaper clippings. In addition there are also video and sound recordings to see and listen to. The Memory of the Netherlands offers an historic overview of images from exceptional collections, organized by subject to provide easy accessSearch 833928 objects from 133 collections from 100 institutions.
The New York City Municipal Archives Online Gallery offers over 870,000 historical images related to the 'city that never sleeps,' including maps as well as video and audio recordings. A selection of 53 images from the collection can be seen at In Focus. [more inside]
The very first major science fiction series for adults on radio was Mutual Broadcasting System's 2000 Plus (1950-1952). An anthology program, 2000 Plus used all new material rather than adapting published stories. Just one month after its premiere, NBC Radio began airing Dimension X (1950-1951), which dramatized the written work of such young writers as Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Kurt Vonnegut. In 1955, NBC relaunched Dimension X as X Minus One (1955-1958), drawing from stories that had been published in the two most popular science fiction magazines at the time: Astounding and Galaxy. 17 of 30 episodes of 2000 Plus, all 50 episodes of Dimension X, and all 125 episodes of X Minus One are available for free download as individual mp3s from the Internet Archive. [more inside]
Footage of the "Sync" level from the indie game Fez. While Fez is mainly known for its central gimmick – it's a 2D platformer set in a 3D world – and for the complexity of its puzzles (which include a constructed alphabet, a code based on Tetris tetrominos, and a "practically impossible" final puzzle) – "Sync" is a retro-colored world with blocks whose rhythmic appearances and disappearances trigger notes when the player is near them. The result is somewhat enchanting (as is the rest of the game). [the Fez soundtrack with the Sync backing track; a Fez remix soundtrack with the various block rhythms added in; Fez previously on MetaFilter]
You've probably never heard anything quite like the musical documentary More About Henry. Remixing interviews with musical interpretation, composer Adam Goddard has woven a unique work of art from the stories of his grandfather, Henry Robert Tindale Haws, who spent a half-century farming in rural Ontario. More About Henry first aired on CBC Radio's Ideas. [more inside]
Daniel Handler, best known for A Series of Unfortunate Events and his accordion work with Stephin Merritt and The Magnetic Fields, reads a chapter from his novel Adverbs, which made Dave Eggers describe Handler as "something like an American Nabakov". An excerpt from another chapter, Immediately, is available courtesy of the New York Times. Handler's first adult novel, the nightmarishly satirical The Basic Eight (think the movie Heathers with a less reliable a narrator), is also well worth a read (excerpt from Google Books).
Teenage Diaries Revisited Beginning in 1996, Radio Diaries gave tape recorders to teenagers around the country to create audio diaries about their lives. NPR’s All Things Considered aired intimate portraits of five of these teens: Amanda, Juan, Frankie, Josh and Melissa. They're now in their 30s. Over this past year, the same group has been recording new stories about where life has led them for our series, Teenage Diaries Revisited. - The conversation at the end of the 2013 update on Josh is a complete gut-punch - it left me speechless and unable to breathe.
Listening to birdsong is really good for you. But many of us live in urban environments where birdsong is a scarce resource, so you might consider opening up this YouTube audio clip, or this one, or this one, and just let those little birdies serenade you while you work at your computer, or savor your morning coffee, or do your household errands. It's good for the soul.
Sometimes called the "Alan Lomaxes of India," the founders of Amarrass Records are on a mission to record and revitalize interest in traditional music from India, Turkey, and beyond. Over 100 videos on their YouTube channel chronicle their field recordings and festivals featuring artists like Lakha Khan, the Barmer Boys, Bombino, and many others. [more inside]
The Cleveland Memory Project is an archive of photos, postcards, videos, recordings, clippings, ebooks, personal papers, maps and other historical "goodies" about the city. "It's a collaborative endeavor of many local historical societies, public libraries and government agencies who have mounted their own local history." On Flickr. [more inside]
The Ceiling Janus. Just a beautifully designed ceiling-mounted rotating speaker, for instant room-filling psychedelia at the turn of a knob. [more inside]
Audio recordings usually include a low-level background noise caused by electrical equipment. The hum contains small frequency fluctuations which are propagated consistently over entire power grids. By storing the pattern of grid-wide fluctuations in a database forensics experts are able to use the hum as a watermark. This can determine when the recording was made, where it was made and whether it was recorded in a single edit. [more inside]