Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Here are some interesting short snippets

net-wrapped Xmas trees - some tree vendors have a machine that that can wrap a tree in a net-like material for easier transporting in or on a car

camera that snaps only when you smile - some smart cameras will wait to snap the picture until the subject smiles

some smart cameras warn the photographer that the subject blinked during the shot

vocal fry entering speech - "vocal fry" is a kind of sound made with one's vocal chords.  If the voice is used to utter a very low note, the vibrations can heard almost separately.  Near the beginning of this Britney Spears song, you can hear her make a low more or less guttural sound.  That sound has been noticed in typical speech more often in New York women. Here Spears uses it to imply deep desire but in the science snippet I heard, it was used to imply deep fatigue

women's orgasms might = men's nipples in the way we got them (more or less by accident and early in developmental sequence) - evolutionary biologists  argue about the value to the species and the individual of the female human orgasm.  Science News reported a woman biological theorist examined all the current theories about the evolutional source/purpose of female capacity for orgasm.  After careful comparison of all current theories with current evidence, the only one that holds up is that its evolution is exactly parallel to that of men's nipples.  That theory concludes there is no purpose and that both develop in the body before the sex of of the individual develops.

disloyalty cards - some Singapore coffee shops are reported to be using "disloyalty cards".  A customer gets a free coffee after each of the participating 8 shops stamps his card as having been a paying customer there.

color-blindness occurs, too - despite the joys of color in our lives and choices, it is well to keep in mind that something like 8% (nearly 1 in 12) men have some form of color-blindness.  The linked article mentions many different types of color-blindness or color vision deficiency

talking African drum - I finally got around to a bit more exploring of what the Roku "channel store" means and is.  I wanted to stream movies.  So, we bought a Roku player after one of the Netflix ads in the paper container mentioned them.  When exploring a new area, I like to read and compare but I find I also benefit from some simple expenditures that provide the basis for experience.  Roku's channel store is an offering of different channels not available locally or from my cable company.  After my experience with cell phone charges and cable charges, I try to be cautious about taking on subscriptions or ongoing expenses.  But a few of Roku's channels are free.  One of those is Yale University and another is Missouri State U.  Missouri State offers include a course in World Music taught by Prof. John Prescott.  I thumbed through the lectures and found there are sets on Asian, African, East European and Latin American music.  I picked the first of three on African music.  

Prescott showed African instruments, including the "talking drum".  I thought it was especially interesting.  I was a drummer in a marching band in my all-boys high school.  I like drumming and rhythm.  This drum can be seen on the link.  It is held under the left arm and struck with a unique curved stick.  It is constructed in a way that the drummer can press on side cords, increasing the tension on the drumhead.  That is exactly the principle of the tympani, the king of drums in an orchestra, since different tensions produce different notes, hence "talking".

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