The International Dialects of English Archive (IDEA) is a free, online archive of primary-source dialect and accent recordings of the English language. Founded in 1997 at the University of Kansas, it includes hundreds of recordings of English speakers by natives of nearly 100 different countries. To find an example of an accent or dialect, use the Global Map, or select a continent or region at the Dialects and Accents page. [more inside]
We’re continually surrounded by masterful works of art that we hardly notice – objects created with fine craftsmanship on par with the work of any famous dead artist. No need to battle tourist crowds at the Louvre. Just crack open your dead cell phone and geek out! [more inside]
The University of Southern California's US-China Institute has a huge number of videos on YouTube regarding China, Taiwan, history, global diplomacy, etc. [more inside]
"Berkeley creates the first graphene earphones, and (unsurprisingly) they’re awesome." Since it was isolated by Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov at the University of Manchester in 2003, graphene has become something of a scientific darling. So, what to do with the "wonder stuff"? Why not make headphones? Turns out, graphene is great for the job: "Graphene has extremely low mass density and high mechanical strength, key qualities for efficient wide-frequency-response electrostatic audio speaker design."
"2,3,4 or more microphones are suspended from the ceiling by their cables so that they all hang the same distance from the floor and are all free to swing with a pendular motion. Each microphone’s cable is plugged into an amplifier which is connected to a speaker. Each microphone hangs a few inches directly above or next to its speaker. [more inside]
Specimen products is the workshop of Ian Schneller, a Chicago-based sculptor-turned-luthier. His site is worth a look if you are interested in unusual guitars and other stringed instruments (like this electic lute), eccentric amplifiers and speakers, or extreme guitar repair. Currently Schneller is collaberating with musician Andrew Bird on Sonic Arboretum, a musical perfomance/installation piece. Here is video of a performance at the Guggenheim in 2010, and a slideshow of the preparations for an upcoming performance at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art.
DO Lectures: a smaller, gentler TED, with annual conferences in Wales and the US. Every twenty-minute conference presentation is available as free online video. A sampling: Tim Berners-Lee on how the web just happened. Peter Segger on soil. David Allen on optimizing your brain. A complete list of presenters. The Do Village blog.
You know about TED, but do you know about the WGBH Forum Network? A project of the venerable Boston public TV station, the Forum is a web platform which aggregates lectures from cultural institutions, museums, libraries, bookstores, and colleges across the US - everything from current research in social science and hard science to author and poet talks. Presentations vary in topic, length, format, and level of eggheadiness, but if you love ideas, you'll find some good stuff here. Streams on demand, downloads often available if you register.
Explore your sense of hearing with LSD... the Leamon Sound Device, that is. The LSD is an extremely interesting audio project that I'd love to be able to listen to. [via]
Introducing the FPS Personal Backpack Audio System: With Sound This Fresh, Who Needs Headphones? A Japanese loudspeaker company specializing in flat panel technology has released a backpack that allows "music fans on the go ... to crank up the volume and express themselves in a whole new way." [more]
keywords: Bose speakers audio video A/V satellite subwoofer tweeter marketing audiophiles videophiles home theater
Just say 'no' to Bose. Bose speakers may be the best known brand to many people, but ask an audiophile about them, and be prepared for flames. Is this just snobbery and elitism? This guy walks you through why Bose speakers are a very poor choice for the money, Bose's deceptive marketing practices, and even gives you a list of better alternatives. [more inside]
Gourd Speakers. While listening to my new favorite album, Verve//Remixed, I noticed that the CD jacket features these silly yet remarkably futuristic looking gourd speakers. At $1200 a pair, cuteness has its price, but these are quite possibly the world's most adorable examples of vegetable hi-fi equipment.
Extreme Hi-Fi Buff. "...A further modification to loudspeakers that I found well worthwhile is to fill the cabinet with sulphur hexafluoride gas, SF6, in place of the air..."
Truth in advertising is such a rare thing. I particularly like the reply to the VP of Engineering from Polk Audio. You can only wonder if it was a real email or somebody just trying to yank his chain.
Turn any flat surface into a speaker. "The Soundbug can be plugged into the headphone socket of, for example, an MP3 player or a Walkman and then fixed by suction to the flat surface — effectively turning a desk or window into a speaker."