Odds and Sods

Presented by Shawn Klein

Airs The 4th Friday of the month at 17:30 UTC, repeated Saturday at 06:30 UTC and Monday at 16:30 UTC

A half-hour monthly show featuring interesting things and curiosities Shawn has found on the Internet, touching on a variety of subjects. Humanity’s first recordings of its own voice in the 1850s, the US government bouncing shortwave signals off the moon, an old world-war II era film about the use of radio during the war, auditory illusions, alternate musical scales, what noise does an ostrich make? And other unusual and rare sounds, These and much more are fair game on Odds and Sods.

Recent Shows

May 2020

This month a little humor. In this age of covid19 we look at some weird ways, and 1 really weird way to make yourself sneeze. Maybe you want to get all the a-chewing out of the way and clear your head before you put on your mask and go out in the morning. After all, noone wants to sneeze into their mask and have a wet face all day.

April 2020

This month we explore how the corona virus lockdown is effecting nature and changed the soundscapes of the world from cities to forests. We’ll compare recordings from freesound.org recorded in the same areas then and now, and hear a short piece from NPR on the subject. Freesounds from the following users were used:

David from the UK
https://freesound.org/people/naturenotesuk/
Kevin Luce from France
https://freesound.org/people/kevp888/
Tim Kahn from Oregon
https://freesound.org/people/tim.kahn/
and user Klankbeeld from the Netherlands
https://freesound.org/people/klankbeeld/

March 2020

This month we're re-broadcasting the October 2019 edition in which we talk about how you can be one of millions of citizen scientists participating in one of the currently 105 projects on Zooniverse.org

We’ll hear an explanation of what crowd sourcing is, how Zooniverse got started in 2007 with it’s first project classifying by sight millions of galaxies, Galaxy Zoo, and we’ll hear about the 4 audio projects currently on Zooniverse that are accessible to screen reader users. All other projects are visual in nature.

Unfortunately I ran out of time this month and you’ll have to tune in next month for some actual walk-throughs and reviews of those 4 audio projects, but we will hear some comments from sighted students involved in the project called Earthquake Detective.

Online resources:
Zooniverse homepage
ahref="https://www.zooniverse.org/">https://www.zooniverse.org/

Zooniverse talk thread with all 4 audio projects listed in 1 place.
https://www.zooniverse.org/talk/18/1002723?comment=1652268

February 2020

This month we continue our series talking about how you can be one of millions of citizen scientists participating in one of the currently 100+ projects on Zooniverse.org. I'll be reviewing with the NVDA screen reader for Windows 1 of the handful of reasonably screen reader accessible projects that are primarily audio based, though this one has some unfortunately visual-only steps for some sound classes, and is more complicated to navigate than the other 3 projects I've reviewed to date. This project is called Sounds of New York City Sonyc, and volunteers are asked to Identify city sounds to train their sensors’ machine listening model that will automatically monitor and mitigate dangerous noise pollution. There are buttons for 32 choices ranging from various engines, construction equipment, human voices, music, sirens and alarms, and you can pick as many as are present in a given sound. I'll review 1 of the many field guides for training volunteers to identify sound sources, and will classify a couple audio clips, and talk about my ideas on how the researchers can make the visual-only choices, and the disorganized interface, more accessible.

January 2020

This month we continue our series talking about how you can be one of millions of citizen scientists participating in one of the currently 110 projects on Zooniverse.org. I'll be reviewing with the NVDA screen reader for Windows 1 of the handful of reasonably screen reader accessible projects that are primarily audio based. This project is called The Maturity of Baby Sounds, and it's not even available to the general public yet because it's just begun its beta testing and review process. As I write this there are 69 volunteers, and I am one of the first 2 to get involved. The first workflow was ready for classification only a week or so ago. In this project we classify short audio clips of half a second or less as cannonical sounds including a combination of vowel and consonant, noncannonical sounds consisting of just vowels or just 1 consonant, laughing sounds, crying sounds, or junk sounds (sounds made by the child such as snoring or breathing or sounds made by an adult or non-human sounds. Today, most of the babbling data for babies comes from the United States and from typically-developing babies. With our help, the researchers will be able to generate data for many more languages, cultures, and populations.

Online resources:

Zooniverse homepage
https://www.zooniverse.org/
Zooniverse talk thread with all active non-beta audio projects listed in 1 place.
https://www.zooniverse.org/talk/18/1002723?comment=1652268
Maturity of Baby Sounds homepage:
https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/chiarasemenzin/maturity-of-baby-sounds

December 2019

This month we continue our series talking about how you can be one of millions of citizen scientists participating in one of the currently 110 projects on Zooniverse.org. I'll be reviewing with the NVDA screen reader for Windows 1 of the 4 reasonably screen reader accessible projects that are primarily audio based. This project is called Earthquake Detective, in which you classify hundreds of times sped-up seismograms as earthquake, tremor, noise, or none of the above which refers to an unclear event. As with Humbug, the idea is to train an AI to differentiate seismic activity.

Online resources:
Zooniverse homepage
https://www.zooniverse.org/
Zooniverse talk thread with all 4 audio projects listed in 1 place.
https://www.zooniverse.org/talk/18/1002723?comment=1652268
earthquake-detective project page:
https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/vivitang/earthquake-detective

November 2019

This month we continue our series talking about how you can be one of millions of citizen scientists participating in one of the currently 110 projects on Zooniverse.org. I’ll be reviewing with the NVDA screen reader for Windows 1 of the 4 reasonably screen reader accessible projects that are primarily audio based. This project is called Humbug, and in Humbug volunteers help to train an AI by indicating if a short audio clip, part of many hours of recordings, did or did not contain the sound of a mosquito buzzing around. Humbug is planned to be part of humanity’s ongoing fight against malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

Online resources:
Zooniverse homepage
https://www.zooniverse.org/
Zooniverse talk thread with all 4 audio projects listed in 1 place.
https://www.zooniverse.org/talk/18/1002723?comment=1652268
Project Humbug
https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/yli/humbug

October 2019

This month we talk about how you can be one of millions of citizen scientists participating in one of the currently 105 projects on Zooniverse.org

We’ll hear an explanation of what crowd sourcing is, how Zooniverse got started in 2007 with it’s first project classifying by sight millions of galaxies, Galaxy Zoo, and we’ll hear about the 4 audio projects currently on Zooniverse that are accessible to screen reader users. All other projects are visual in nature.

Unfortunately I ran out of time this month and you’ll have to tune in next month for some actual walk-throughs and reviews of those 4 audio projects, but we will hear some comments from sighted students involved in the project called Earthquake Detective.

Online resources:
Zooniverse homepage
ahref="https://www.zooniverse.org/">https://www.zooniverse.org/

Zooniverse talk thread with all 4 audio projects listed in 1 place.
https://www.zooniverse.org/talk/18/1002723?comment=1652268

September 2019

August 2019

In this month's program, which first aired in April 2019, Odds and Sods is live and in color and sound. How does the human eye see color? It's so different from the way we hear sound, that if you could map the visible light spectrum onto an equal octave of sound, you couldn't possibly experience it in the same way with your ears as people do with their eyes. We'll find out why that is, explore how one blind from birth Youtuber who doesn't appear to know any physics or color theory thinks of color, and learn about a color-blind artist who has in fact done exactly what I described above. He considers himself a cyborg. He has sensors on his head that convert the visible light spectrum and even a bit of infrared and ultraviolet directly to an octave of sound plus a few more tones, and has been living with it 24-7 for years. Needless to say, his clothing choices are based on harmonies, not complimentary colors, which makes for a rather odd ensemble.

Some useful links.

Neil Harbisson: I listen to color
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygRNoieAnzI
Roel's World Blog, LIGHT & SOUND, COLOUR & MUSIC
https://roelhollander.eu/tuning-frequency/sound-light-colour/

July 2019

June 2019

This month we talk about data sonification. It can give scientists a new way to see their data, whether it’s deep space measurements or cancer research. It can be a direct transverting from 1 wave: (gravity, light, seismic or radio waves), to another type of wave, the sound waves we can hear. It can also be presented on different time scales and even compressed. Or, it could be represented in a completely arbitrary fashion by, say, giving each value of 1 variable a note on the diatonic scale, and giving another a different instrument on a synthesizer. Here in lies the problem with sonifying data from a purely scientific point of view, it can be manipulated to touch our emotions. What is that supposed to mean? Well, just listen to the show. We’ll hear from scientists from the Geant network with the pros of sonification, and Tanta Krul, a Youtuber and musician with some of the pitfalls.

May 2019

This month we’re picking up where we left off back in January with part 2 of the tutorial on microtonal or xenharmonic music. After that we’ll here a demonstration of 12 of the most popular Arabic Maqams or scales based on the 24-tone system. They’re not precisely scales as we know them in the west because some of them are different ascending versus descending. The notes you play coming down may differ from the notes you play going up. In this they are similar to Indian ragas and Indonesian Pelogs. Microtonal music is a collective name for various kinds of music that use tone systems different from what is customary in Western music. The distance from one key/tone to the next is called a semitone; twelve of these semitones make an octave. In microtonal tone systems this is different. Some systems are thousands of years old and come from non-western cultures. Some come from imaginative 20th and 21st century composers and musicians and even mathematicians, these days there’s a microtonal community putting out all sorts of interesting stuff online.


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