Acoustics researchers suggest that it's possible to hear the quality of champagne just by listening to the bubbles form. According to the University of Texas scientists, "There is a well-known notion that the quality of a sparkling wine is correlated to the size of its bubbles, and we are investigating whether the bubble size distribution of a sparkling wine can be obtained from simple acoustical measurements." Many people believe that smaller bubbles mean a better taste. From Smithsonian:
To measure the sounds of wine, researchers used small hydrophones—microphones which can record underwater sounds. They poured California Brut and Moët & Chandon Imperial champagne into flutes and listened in as the bubbles formed. The results suggest that they could indeed hear the fine champagne, discerning that bubbles of this drink are slightly smaller in size, more evenly sized and have more activity than the lower-quality sparkling wine.
I remember the first time a blind friend let me listen in on her screen-reader's text-to-speech narration, a high-speed chipmunk squeal that she had trained herself to decode; I was hugely impressed. Read the rest
At the French site Anecdote du Jour you can listen to the world's first audio recordings, made in 1859 and 1860 by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville. The recordings, one of a tuning fork being struck and two of de Martinville singing, are scratchy and thoroughly eerie. All the more so because de Martinville himself never heard them. In fact, nobody heard them until 2008.
The reason we credit Edison with the invention of recorded audio and not de Martinville is that de Martinville failed to invent a way to play back his recordings.
De Martinville's phonautograph turned sound waves into 2-dimensional squiggles on soot-blackened paper or glass. It was meant to be a lab instrument, to help study acoustics, not a method of recording and playing back sound. Apparently, several decades passed before anybody even realized the sounds could, theoretically, be played back.
Via Greg Gbur
Image: One of de Martinville's phonautograms. A recording of a tuning fork made in 1859.