Sound and light

A sort of brainwave today, realizing that the difference between sound and light is that sound is energy moving through matter and light is matter (photons) moving through matter.

Our ears make sounds

The cilia of the inner ear - downloaded long ago, no source
The cilia of the inner ear - downloaded long ago, no source

According to this interesting article in New Scientist, our ears make sounds.  Called otoacoustic emissions or OAE’s, the tiny hairs in the ears (above) make very quiet sounds that are unique to an individual.

That’s because “hearing is an active process – the ear actually puts energy into the incoming sound waves to replace energy lost as sound is absorbed by the ear’s structure”, says Stephen Beeby, an engineer at the University of Southampton, UK, who is leading the research. “This process helps us hear things we otherwise would not, but as a result some of the energy added by the hair cells escapes as OAEs.”

Jacob Kirkegaard recording "Labyrithitis"

These sounds are between 0-5kHz and are thought to maybe be a kind of biometric password to be used over the phone.  A quick search found no recordings of OAE’s but did turn up the work “Labyrinthitis” by Jacob Kirkegaard.  The work is complicated, but Kirkegaard essentially recorded the frequencies his ear produced, synthesized and arranged a composition with them, and output them in a large performance/installation at the Medical Museion in Copenhagen.  The description of this work goes into more detail of how the piece was constructed and well worth the read.  An excerpt of a recording is below:

“Incomprehensible commentaries”

In his liner notes and broadcasts, [pianist Glenn] Gould created more than two dozen alter egos for satirical, humorous, or didactic purposes, permitting him to write hostile reviews or incomprehensible commentaries on his own performances. Probably the best-known are the German musicologist “Karlheinz Klopweisser”, the English conductor “Sir Nigel Twitt-Thornwaite”, and the American critic “Theodore Slutz”.

From the liner notes to Bach Partitas, Preludes and Fugues, p. 14: Sony CD SM2K-52597.

Via: Wikipedia

Pizza deliveries cataloged on Google Maps

Pizza delivery and military base

While looking at a grayed-out military base on Google Maps sent to me by a friend and visible above in the lower right-hand corner, I found a link to the above map.  It appears that pizza delivery driver Will Dockery and his fellow employees have documented their deliveries from October 20, 2008 until the most recent update on September 8, 2009.

I love the overlapping histories and trajectories; Dockery’s deliveries bounded by the forbidden zone of the military base.  What if every cell phones enabled a simple tracking of a behavior, overlaid on a map?  What if this kind of data were as ubiquitous as photography?