Solo Radio uses AI to match songs to your facial expression

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At this week's London Design Festival, design firm Uniform displayed Solo Radio. Stand in front of the device and it scans your face for input into software that assesses your emotions. Then it plays a song via Spotify algorithms with the appropriate mood. Read the rest

These are radio drama staircases

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These unusual "radio drama staircases" are inside the BBC's sound studios. When an actor is recorded walking up or down the stairs, the different surfaces (wood, carpet, cement) give the acoustic impression of unique locations for the radio drama. Samuel West shot the image above at BBC's Maida Vale Studios. Apparently, they are actually functioning staircases that lead somewhere in the building.

(via Neatorama) Read the rest

Primitive but clever inventions that predate today’s smart phones

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Where Discovery Sparks Imagination: A Pictorial History of Radio and Electricity by John D. Jenkins American Museum of Radio and Electricity 2009, 224 pages, 8.2 x 10 x 1 inches $16 Buy a copy on Amazon

If you’re ever up near the Canadian border in the little college town of Bellingham, WA make time to check out a gem of a museum there: The SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention. It’s fully charged up and literally crackling with excitement (and a 4-million volt Tesla coil!). SPARK showcases all manner of fascinating artifacts all about the history of electricity from early static electricity generators to advanced vacuum tubes that went to the moon. Can’t make the trip? Then get this wonderful book!

And even if you do go to SPARK in person, you’ll also want to read Where Discovery Sparks Imagination. It features lavish color photographs of hundreds of the items on display together with the interesting stories of the people and places that go along with the things. I learned even more about Alessandro Volta and volts, Andre-Marie Ampere and amps, and Georg Ohm and ohms. See the recreation of the Titanic’s radio room. Learn how an undertaker in Kansas City invented the first dial phone to short circuit his competitor’s switchboard shenanigans. Anyone who has used a phone, listened to a recording, or turned on a lamp will enjoy seeing the primitive but clever inventions that predate today’s smart phones, PCs and LED lights. Read the rest

The time the BBC News reported that "there is no news"

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I suppose no news was good news on April 18, 1930. At 6:30pm during the regularly scheduled news bulletin slot, the BBC News announcer turned on the mic and said:

"Good evening. Today is Good Friday. There is no news."

Piano music followed.

(BBC News History via r/todayilearned) Read the rest

Elon Musk Says Humans Will Go To Mars by 2024

Elon Musk (Reuters / Stephen Lam)

In my weekly segment on KCRW's “Press Play” news program with host Madeleine Brand, we listen to Elon Musk wax poetic about artificial intelligence and whether life might be a dream--and his plans to send humans to Mars by 2025.

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Archives of pioneering "Internet Talk Radio"

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Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "In 1993, I started a radio station on the Internet, engaging in activities that later became known as podcasting and webcasting. I'm pleased to say that I've finished uploaded the archive of Internet Talk Radio to the Internet Archive." Read the rest

Changing Minds: NPR series on people who’ve rethought convictions in an era of polarization and extremism

[Reuters]

Boing Boing pal Isabel Lara writes to give us a heads up about a new NPR series, “Changing Minds.” NPR launched the project this week and it looks at stories of people who’ve changed their positions in what has become a cultural moment of partisan polarization and extremism. The stories so far focus on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

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An animal filled a microwave antenna with over 300 pounds of acorns

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Who stuffed this microwave antenna to the bursting point with 300 pounds (about 35-50 gallons) of acorns?

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Hear a radio DJ's very strange on-air experience during huge 1965 blackout

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On November 9, 1965, a massive blackout impacted more than 30 million people over 80,000 square miles in the Northeast United States and parts of Canada. This is a live recording of the weirdness that Dan Ingram, a DJ on NYC radio station 77 WABC, experienced as the voltage drop slowly wreaked havoc on the audio system. From Wikipedia:

An aircheck of New York City radio station WABC from November 9, 1965 reveals disc jockey Dan Ingram doing a segment of his afternoon drive time show, during which he notes that a record he's playing (Jonathan King's "Everyone's Gone to the Moon") sounds slow, as do the subsequent jingles played during a commercial break. Ingram quipped that the King record "was in the key of R." The station's music playback equipment used motors that got their speed timing from the frequency of the powerline, normally 60 Hz. Comparisons of segments of the hit songs played at the time of the broadcast, minutes before the blackout happened, in this aircheck, as compared to the same song recordings played at normal speed reveal that approximately six minutes before blackout the line frequency was 56 Hz, and just two minutes before the blackout that frequency dropped to 51 Hz. As Si Zentner's recording of "(Up a) Lazy River" plays in the background – again at a slower-than-normal tempo – Ingram mentions that the lights in the studio are dimming, then suggests that the electricity itself is slowing down, adding, "I didn't know that could happen".
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LISTEN: The post-American Internet, with Schneier, ICANN boss, global academics

Michael writes, "The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Future Tense hosted a panel discussion on post-USA/NSA controlled Internet possibilities. The United States has signalled its willingness to give up its unofficial stewardship role of the Internet. Who should take over, and who will?" Read the rest

Space alien movie music

On BBC Radio 3's "Sound of Cinema," host Matthew Sweet shares terrific film music from movies about extraterrestrials. (via @chris_carter_) Read the rest

How to save the CBC, making it a global online participatory leader

In my latest Guardian column, What Canada's national public broadcaster could learn from the BBC, I look at the punishing cuts to the CBC, and how a shelved (but visionary) BBC plan to field a "creative archive" of shareable and remixable content could help the network lead the country into a networked, participatory future. Read the rest

Recordings of Houston radio programs in the 60s-80s

Houston Retro Radio has MP3s of newscasts, shows, and airchecks from Houston radio stations from the 1960s - 1980s. Radio was much more fun back then. They've also got some good photos from Galveston in the 1980s, like the one above. Read the rest

Morse code instructional film - made possible by Boing Boing readers!

Carl Malamud sez, "This 1966 military film on good style in sending Morse Code is a real hoot. 38k views on YouTube and another 3.6k on the Internet Archive. This video was made possible by a crowd-sourcing appeal on Boing Boing in 2009 (and in the case of this particular DVD, a donation by Mary Neff ... thanks Mary!)"

INTERNATIONAL MORSE CODE, HAND SENDING Read the rest

Jad "Radiolab" Abumrad's home studio

Wired visited the home studio of Radiolab's Jad Abumrad. It's a minimal set-up, and I dig his appreciation for vintage synths like the Moog Sonic Six and Roland Juno-60. "Sound Scientist: Inside the Home Studio of Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad" Read the rest

Science show on consciousness, with Alan Moore

BBC Radio 4 has kicked off a new season of the amazing science show The Infinite Monkey Cage, and the second episode of the series is a wonderful panel discussion on consciousness called Through the Doors of Perception. This episode is greatly enhanced by the presence of Alan Moore, creator of Watchmen, Lost Girls, From Hell, and many other standout comics. Moore's contributions on the relationship of art and magic to consciousness are the most interesting parts of the show -- though the whole thing is fascinating (Download the MP3).

(Image: Alan Moore, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from mbiddulph's photostream) Read the rest

Mel Blanc's radio show: 40+ free, downloadable episodes

Zack writes, "In 1947, Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny, the Road Runner and other beloved cartoon characters had his own radio show spinning out of his appearances on Jack Benny's program, where he played a fix-it shop owner. More than 40 episodes are available to legally download for free on this page." Read the rest

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