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France to City Folk: Deal With Sounds of the Countryside

Senate passes law to protect rural areas' 'sensory heritage'

(Newser) - In an attempt to stop rural French neighbors from being at each other's throats, France has just passed a law to protect the nation's "sensory heritage." What that means, in essence, per CNN : Weekenders visiting from more urban areas won't be able to stifle most...

'Pink Noise' Could Save Your Hearing in Car Crash

Mercedes-Benz has been working on this tech for years

(Newser) - A coming safety feature for cars aims to protect drivers and passengers in a novel way: to save their hearing in a crash. The idea is that when a smartcar senses an imminent collision, the sound system sends out a burst of "pink noise" inside the car. That causes...

Near Ocean's Deepest Spot, a 3.5-Second Symphony

Scientists believe it comes from minke whales

(Newser) - The 3.5-second symphony covers nearly half of the sound range that humans can hear, rising from a frequency as low as 38 hertz to an 8,000-hertz "metallic finale." But unless you make a detour to waters above the deepest spot in the ocean, you might never...

There's a Mysterious Sound Coming From Canada's Arctic

Canadian military, however, found nothing odd

(Newser) - Something appears to be making a mysterious "pinging" noise on the sea floor of the Canadian Arctic. Inuit hunters in a remote community in Nunavut first reported the sound—also described as a "hum" or "beep"—complaining that it was scaring away marine animals in an...

Music Can Help You Enjoy Your Beer Even More

 Music Can Help You Enjoy 
 Your Beer Even More 
study says

Music Can Help You Enjoy Your Beer Even More

If you like the song, you'll probably like the brew

(Newser) - Some scientists get to have all the fun, especially those who live in the land of beer. A team of researchers led by Dr. Felipe Reinoso Cavalho of Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium set up an experiment to investigate whether music and packaging affect one's perception of taste. The...

Study: Dining in Silence Could Reduce Overeating

It seems hearing yourself chew is actually important

(Newser) - The hot new dieting fad could soon be eating in complete silence. A new study from researchers at Brigham Young and Colorado State found that people who can hear the sounds of their own eating—chewing, swallowing, and so forth—tend to eat less. Ergo, listening to music or watching...

At Ocean's Deepest Point, You Might Expect Silence. Not So

Researchers surprised by 'almost constant noise'

(Newser) - "You would think that the deepest part of the ocean would be one of the quietest places on Earth," says NOAA research oceanographer Robert Dziak, but it's not so. NOAA, with the help of partner scientists, recently listened in on the deepest point of the ocean and...

This Is the Quietest Place on Earth

Silence inside anechoic chamber at Microsoft HQ measures -20.6 decibels

(Newser) - Guinness World Records has officially ruled : an audio lab at Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Wash., is the quietest place in the world. Though Building 87 on the Microsoft campus is home to three anechoic, or "free from echo," chambers the company uses to test audio technology, the...

California's Drought: Listen, and You Can Hear It

Researcher finds that sounds of wildlife have dropped over the years

(Newser) - It's easy to look around the West and see startling signs of the region's drought. Trickier, but perhaps just as startling, is to hear signs of that same drought. Researcher Bernie Krause has made it possible thanks to decades of recordings at California's Sugarloaf Ridge State Park,...

Bats Are Like Humans in One Remarkable Way

Both species listen with both hemispheres of their brains

(Newser) - Humans were thought to be unique as a species in that we use both halves of our brains to "distinguish different aspects of sound," as Georgetown neuroscientist Stuart Washington puts it. Turns out we're not as special as we thought. A type of bat also displays this...

Scientists Map America's Loudest, Quietest Places
Scientists Map America's Loudest, Quietest Places
in case you missed it

Scientists Map America's Loudest, Quietest Places

It's part of investigation into how man-made noise affects wildlife

(Newser) - Scientists have put 1.5 million hours of acoustical monitoring to an interesting use: They paired them with data on overhead air traffic and average summer precipitation and turned a computer program loose on the info. The result: a detailed map of America's loudest and quietest places. Science News...

Revealed: Best Seats in a Movie Theater

It's all about the sound

(Newser) - With stadium seating in many theaters, these days you can get a good view from pretty much anywhere. So how do you choose where to sit? You may want to make your decision based on sound, says Holly Frey in a BrainStuff video . The best spot, according to Frey: in...

Star Trek-esque Device May Let Blind 'See'

Uses sound to activate visual cortex

(Newser) - Remember the iconic Star Trek visor that allowed a blind engineer to see? A team of scientists in Israel has developed something like a real-life version of the gadget, the Daily Mail reports. The Sensory Substitution Device turns visual information into sound that blind people can interpret after a little...

Can Birdsong Cut Crime?
 Can Birdsong 
 Cut Crime? 

Can Birdsong Cut Crime?

California mayor says it already has

(Newser) - Crime has dropped in a California town, and residents should be thanking their fine feathered friends, says the mayor. Last year, he began piping recorded birdsong to 70 speakers on a highway. Minor crime dropped 15% from 2010 while serious crimes dropped 6%, the Wall Street Journal reports. It's...

5 Artificial Noises You Hear Daily

The labor behind tricking our ears and minds

(Newser) - You’d probably never think of sound as strategic, but engineers and developers in a number of industries have discovered that people respond positively to … well, fake sounds. But whether it’s a satisfying clunk of closing a car door, or the reassuring whirr of the dollar bill deposit...

Tiny Tubes May Trumpet End of Bulky Loudspeakers

Nanotube technology could allow for speakers on clothes, windows, screens

(Newser) - You may soon be able to add paper-thin speakers to that flat-panel TV, the Economist reports. Scientists have used ultra-tiny carbon nanotubes to make a transparent film that produces sound identical to a signal-carrying current that passes through it. If the technology can be made commercially viable, you might be...

Fans Make Racket Over Too-Loud Music

Arms-race mastering is losing musical detail, listeners and engineers complain

(Newser) - Some fans have a surprising problem with Death Magnetic, the new Metallica album, the Wall Street Journal reports: It’s too loud. Since the advent of the compact disc, musicians have pushed mastering engineers to make albums as loud as possible. As a result, a new CD like Death Magnetic...

D'Oh!: 17 Sounds You Know
 D'Oh!: 17 Sounds You Know

D'Oh!: 17 Sounds You Know

Trademarks, can you hear them now?

(Newser) - Harley-Davidson's attempt to trademark its “Hog Call” V-twin engine sound stalled, but about 300 sounds have made the cut. Mental Floss sounds off on the 17 best-known:
  1. The first trademarked sound: NBC’s chimes, the notes G, E, C
  2. MGM’s lion’s roar

Earth Hits Cosmic Pitch
 Earth Hits Cosmic Pitch 

Earth Hits Cosmic Pitch

Cacophonous radiation beamed from planet could easily be intercepted by aliens

(Newser) - Earth’s atmosphere produces a natural sound and beams it off into the universe, reports. The sound—a painful series of chirps and whistles—is made by the collision of charged particles from the solar wind with Earth’s magnetic field.

New Notes in Earth's Hum
 New Notes in Earth's Hum 

New Notes in Earth's Hum

Scientists discover more complex oscillations in planetary symphony

(Newser) - Scientists have discovered a new dimension to the sub-aural sound emanating from our planet’s crust, dubbed “Earth’s hum.” Researchers have known about the hum, detectable only by seismometers, for a decade, though its ultimate cause is unclear. They expected to find hidden oscillations, but the amplitude...

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