follow us in feedly
You can take this test to see if you’re a ‘super recognizer’ of faces
08.24.2016
01:55 pm

Topics:
Science/Tech

Tags:
super recongnizer


 
Boing Boing just hipped me to this online test to see if you’re a “super recognizer” of faces. Josh P. Davis, a psychology professor at the University of Greenwich in England who studies the “super recognizer” phenomenon, says that about 1% of the population can actually do this.

I think of myself as pretty good at remembering faces. I almost never forget a face. An ex-boyfriend used to tell me all the time “You should work for the CIA!” (Full disclosure: I’m terrible at remembering names.)

Via Science Alert:

In 2009, a team of neuroscientists from Harvard did one of the first studies of super-recognisers. In it, they looked at just four people who claimed to have an unusually good ability to recognise faces.

All four subjects told the researchers about instances when they’d recognised practical strangers: family members they hadn’t seen for decades or actors they’d glimpsed once in an ad and then seen again in a movie. They felt like there was something wrong with them.

One of the people in the study told the researchers that she tried to hide her ability and “pretend that I don’t remember [people] ... because it seems like I stalk them, or that they mean more to me than they do.”

I took the test and got 12 out of 14 correct. According to my results, “If you scored above 10 you may be a super recogniser, but you would need to do more tests to find this out.”

Of course I was interested in the next test and clicked on the link to to take it. It’s over an hour long. Boo! I can’t commit to that right now, but I might do it later. I’m curious as to if I’m a “super recognizer” or not. Not sure I wanna work for the CIA, though. I want cash and prizes.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Three words: Drum. Crotch. Pants.
08.23.2016
09:39 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Science/Tech

Tags:
electric sexy drum pants


 
“Single Stroke Roll,” “Flam Paradiddle,” and “Swiss Army Triplets” are among the names of percussion rudiments that could pass for sexual acts, but Japanese multimedia artist and experimental pop music composer Kaoring Machine has answered the question: why can’t they be both? He’s crafted a pair of “Electric Sexy Drum Pants” with a synth drum trigger for a crotch, and a few days ago uploaded a demonstration video, which is amusing as all hell despite sorely lacking any overtly suggestive moves involving mallets or kick pedals. Still, given the possibilities, of course we want these. Perhaps one could combine them with those Converse high-tops with built-in wah pedals and this theremin bra to form the most physically awkward one-person band ever.
 

 
Many thanks to Sarah Lee for this find!

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Study finds scary ‘da dun da dun’ music causes people to view sharks negatively
08.19.2016
09:23 am

Topics:
Music
Science/Tech

Tags:
Jaws
sharks
soundtrack
John Williams


 
UC San Diego researchers studying the effects of ominous background music on the public’s perception of shark footage have recently published their findings.

Not surprisingly, when the researchers played music that was “modal with only fragments of melody accompanied by sporadic and sparse atmospheric percussion and a repetitive flute motif [creating] an unsettling sound” over the top of shark footage, the test subjects reacted more negatively to that footage than to footage accompanied by “uplifting background music.”

Though the findings may seem like a no-brainer, this study is the first, according to the researchers, “to demonstrate empirically that the connotative attributes of background music accompanying shark footage affect viewers’ attitudes toward sharks.”

In the article’s abstract the researchers assert that ominous music used in films and documentaries affects the public’s perception of sharks, leading to marginalization of the creatures:

“Despite the ongoing need for shark conservation and management, prevailing negative sentiments marginalize these animals and legitimize permissive exploitation. These negative attitudes arise from an instinctive, yet exaggerated fear, which is validated and reinforced by disproportionate and sensationalistic news coverage of shark ‘attacks’ and by highlighting shark-on-human violence in popular movies and documentaries. In this study, we investigate another subtler, yet powerful factor that contributes to this fear: the ominous background music that often accompanies shark footage in documentaries. Using three experiments, we show that participants rated sharks more negatively and less positively after viewing a 60-second video clip of swimming sharks set to ominous background music, compared to participants who watched the same video clip set to uplifting background music, or silence.

[cut]

Given that nature documentaries are often regarded as objective and authoritative sources of information, it is critical that documentary filmmakers and viewers are aware of how the soundtrack can affect the interpretation of the educational content.”

The abstract curiously puts the word “attacks” in quotes, as if to indicate that shark attacks aren’t a real thing—perhaps one could make that argument depending on one’s definition of the word “attack,” but these shark “accident” victims might be hard to convince.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Like a demonic Stephen Hawking: Cenobites scene from ‘Hellraiser’ performed by speech synthesizers

01helvox1.jpg
 
DECtalk was a text-to-voice speech synthesizer popular in the 1980s. This nifty little piece of technology came with a variety of built-in voices which enabled people who had lost the power of speech to communicate. Its best known user is Stephen Hawking who communicated with the voice “Perfect Paul” (DTC 01).

The DECtalk was also famously the voice of the US National Weather Service on radio and supplied the message to many a telephone answer machine.

In 1939 the Voder was the first attempt at synthesizing human speech by breaking down words into acoustic components. It was the “first device that could generate continuous human speech.”

All well and good, but the one that tickles my fancy was the first time a speech synthesizer was successfully used over a phone to order pizza. This happened at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Michigan State University in 1974, when Donald Sherman who suffered from Möbius syndrome—a facial paralysis—made his order using a Votrax voice synthesizer and a mainframe computer.
 

 
Now you may have seen the recent clip of Monty Python’s argument sketch recreated with speech synthesizers by Per Kristian Risvik. Well here’s another little film he’s made using speech synthesizers to recreate a classic scene from Clive Barker’s Hellraiser. It’s a perfect fit and far, far more creepier.

Here’s the dialog as performed:

Lead Cenobite: The box… you opened it, we came.
Kirsty Cotton: It’s just a puzzle box!
Lead Cenobite: Oh no, it is a means to summon us.
Kirsty Cotton: Who are you?
Lead Cenobite: Explorers… in the further regions of experience. Demons to some, angels to others.
Kirsty Cotton: It was a mistake! I didn’t… I didn’t mean to open it! It was a mistake! You can… GO TO HELL!
Female Cenobite: We can’t. Not alone.
Lead Cenobite: You solved the box, we came. Now you must come with us, taste our pleasures.
Kirsty Cotton: Please! Go away and leave me alone!
Lead Cenobite: Oh, no tears please. It’s a waste of good suffering!
Kirsty Cotton: Wait! Wait! Please, please wait!
Lead Cenobite: No time for argument.
Kirsty Cotton: You’ve done this before, right?
Lead Cenobite: Many, many times.
Kirsty Cotton: To… to a man called Frank Cotton?
Female Cenobite: Oh, yes.
Kirsty Cotton: He escaped you!
Lead Cenobite: Nobody escapes us!
Kirsty Cotton: He did! I’ve seen him, I’ve seen him!
Female Cenobite: Impossible.
Kirsty Cotton: He’s alive!
Lead Cenobite: Supposing he had escaped us, what has that to do with you?
Kirsty Cotton: I… I can… I can lead you to him and you… you can take him back instead of me!
Female Cenobite: Perhaps we prefer YOU!
Lead Cenobite: I want to hear him confess, himself. Then maybe… maybe…
Female Cenobite: But if you cheat us…
Lead Cenobite: We’ll tear your soul apart!
Asian Merchant: What is your pleasure, sir?
Lead Cenobite: We have such sights to show you.

Risvik used a DECtalk Express for the central character Kirsty (“Rough Rita modified for higher stress level”). A Dolphin Apollo 2 for the voices of Pinhead and the female Cenobite (“Heavily altered versions of voice 2/3”). And an Intex Talker (Votrax SC-01A) for the Asian Merchant.
 
Listen to eerie sound of the Cenobites via a speech synthesizer, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Bass for your case: Vintage suitcases become functional old-school boomboxes


‘Gingerbear’ vintage suitcase boombox.
 
My DM colleague Ron Kretch recently wrote about a massive collection of 300 vintage boomboxes currently up for sale which led to me having a overdue hug-out with my dual-cassette boombox while it blasted tracks from Slayer’s Reign in Blood. Good times indeed. So I was pretty overcome when I came across a company in Portland, Oregon that is doing their best to keep things “weird” by creating something I am now coveting—vintage suitcases that have been converted into boomboxes. I’d tell Portland to go home because it’s drunk again, but in this case I’m wishing that I had been clever enough to come up with such a fantastically executed idea myself.
 

‘Lloyd.’
 
After “scouring the earth” for cool-looking vintage suitcases the brother duo behind Case of Bass, Ezra and Alex Cimino-Hurt and their team pair the cases with classic old-school audio equipment like speakers and dials as well as a Lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack that can go almost an entire day without needing to be juiced. Cases come in various sizes and shapes, weigh anywhere from eight to 25 pounds and come integrated with Bluetooth, auxiliary and Mp3 inputs. There’s even one that has been amusingly tricked out to homage the famous carpet in the PDX airport.

The other incredibly cool thing that Case of Bass came up with is something they call “A Touch of Bass.” Which is the wild idea to mount photographs of boom boxes on rigid material in a frame in a shadow box that holds a bluetooth sound system rigged with speakers mounted behind the photograph. In the words of the mad audiophile scientists at Case of Bass, it’s as if the picture hanging on your wall “has come to life.”

As you might imagine these unique audio creations are not cheap by any definition, but that isn’t going to stop me from lusting after every last one of them. Images of Case of Bass’ portable musical mashups follow. More information and all the products currently available from Case of Bass can be found here.
 

‘Big Blue.’
 

‘Cyclops.’
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Massive trove of over 300 boomboxes for sale—only $14,000
07.27.2016
09:08 am

Topics:
Hip-hop
Music
Science/Tech

Tags:
ghettoblaster
boom box


 
Boomboxes are kind of an of-a-certain-age thing, but if you were sentient in between the mid ‘70s and early ’90s, they were as common as stereo consoles and component systems. “Portable,” technically, inasmuch as they took batteries and weren’t literally furniture, they were huge, cumbersome radio/cassette deck combos with large stereo speakers. The classic stereotypes associated with the things were mulletted suburban rock ‘n’ roll scumbags tailgating with boomboxes in the trunks of their cars playing music at hateful and disruptive volumes, either oblivious to or give-a-fuckless about the public nuisance they were creating, or soul/disco/hip-hop fans with massive afros, strutting down crowded city streets with boomboxes on their shoulders playing music at hateful and disruptive volumes, either oblivious to or give-a-fuckless about the public nuisance they were creating. Their total ubiquity in breakdance culture (owing to their portability, naturally) led to the unfortunate and highly problematic nickname “ghettoblasters.”

By the late ’80s, a boombox could have as many features as a stereo component system—sophisticated EQs, detatchable speakers, dual cassette decks for dubbing (HOME TAPING IS KILLING MUSIC, YOU GUYS), even remotes. By the early ‘90s, when the boxy metal units were phased out in favor of less distinctive (and way less awesome) rounded black plastic ones with CD players, they often even replaced consoles as home stereos of choice for many listeners as cassettes grew in popularity over vinyl. And those feature-loaded boxy metal ones are the models that have, in the internet era of ever-increasing granularity in collecting, developed a cult.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Jack White wants to be the first person to play a record in outer space
07.20.2016
12:51 pm

Topics:
Music
Science/Tech

Tags:
Jack White


 
Yesterday Jack White’s Third Man Records dropped a cryptic video on its Facebook presence, in which it promised to make “vinyl history again” on “July 30th.”

In 2014 White set a kind of land speed record on Record Store Day when he recorded, pressed and distributed the title track of his second album Lazaretto in under four hours.

The Vinyl Factory believes that the project could be the realization of White’s long-standing goal to be the first to play a vinyl record in outer space.

In the video, a Star Wars-like caption states “On 30th July Third Man Records is going to make vinyl history again,” after which followed by a gold record bearing a label of Carl Sagan’s “A Glorious Dawn,” released as a seven-inch by Third Man in 2009, zips towards the viewer.

As The Vinyl Factory pointed out, in 2012 White spoke to astronaut Buzz Aldrin for Interview Magazine. During the chat, White discussed the breakup of the White Stripes and also divulged that he was working on a “secret project” to get one of the songs on Third Man Records to be the “first vinyl record played in outer space”.

White’s concept at that time was “to launch a balloon that carries a vinyl record player. And figure out a way to drop the needle with all that turbulence up there and ensure that it will still play.”

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
64 floppy disk drives flawlessly perform the ‘Game of Thrones’ theme song
07.14.2016
03:51 pm

Topics:
Music
Science/Tech
Television

Tags:
Game of Thrones


 
A Polish gentleman by the name of Paweł Zadrożniak has been posting videos on YouTube of sync’d-up floppy drives following a pre-arranged sequence of commands that collectively create music. He’s posted the “Imperial March” from Star Wars, as well as “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

The one that caught my fancy today, however, was the theme song from Game of Thrones.

Warning: Listening to this will make you want to watch the show, and it’s going to be like a year before there’s new episodes, so proceed with caution!
 

 
via Nerdcore

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
People face-swapping with their own tattoos = high-test nightmare fuel
07.13.2016
08:32 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Science/Tech

Tags:
tattoos
Face Swap
Snapchat


 
The Face Swap filter on the Snapchat smartphone app does exactly what it says on the box—exchanges two faces within a photo, or with a face in another photo in your phone’s picture library, all within the app, no need for any image editing experience. For an automated photo filter for phones, it can actually do a decent enough job, and the results are invariably highly weirding. Even if you don’t use Snapchat you’ve surely seen the filter’s output on your Facebook feed. It’s mostly goofy fun for normals—Snapchat is, after all, a social media platform based entirely around selfies—but I’ve seen it done creatively and disturbingly with pets, toys, and amusingly, inanimate objects the app has mistaken for a face.

But the most messed up expression of the fad yet has to be people face-swapping with their own tattoos, and the more rudimentary, abstract, or just plain bad the tattoo, it seems, the crazier the result. The pics below were culled from features on tattoodo and inkedmag, where you’ll find more like this.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Yes, that’s an owl theremin, why do you ask?
07.11.2016
01:08 pm

Topics:
Animals
Music
Science/Tech

Tags:
owl theremin


 
David Cranmer is a sculptor but it might be more accurate to think of him as a mechanical engineer of some sort. Most of his whimsical creations are actually contraptions of some sort, and many have a musical element.

In 2013 he was commissioned to do an owl theremin, so that is what he did. It is pretty much just a regular theremin with an owl statue on top. I was hoping that somehow the owl would be tethered to the theremin and the movements of the owl would create sounds. But when you stop to think about it, that’s a pretty stupid idea, owls hardly move around anyway.

In addition to this Cranmer has also created the “Badgermin” (a taxidemied badger with a theremin inside), a programmable musical pig, and a pointless but amusing mechanical duck sculpture. He also designed the enormous locomotive stage element for AC/DC‘s Black Ice World Tour a few years ago.

I love the detail of the scrupulous and deadpan knob label “ACTIVATE OWL” on the control panel.

If you’d like your own custom-made animal-theremin, Cranmer is available for commissions. You can contact him via his website.  
 

 

 

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Page 1 of 68  1 2 3 >  Last ›