Dolphins forced to simplify calls due to human noise pollution in the oceans

As a result of noisy ship engines and the racket of ocean mining, bottlenose dolphins have slowly reducing the complexity and changing the frequency of their calls. According to new research from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and published in the journal Biology Letters, "the noise-induced simplification of dolphin whistles may reduce the information content in these acoustic signals and decrease effective communication, parent–offspring proximity or group cohesion." From YaleEnvironment360:

“It’s kind of like trying to answer a question in a noisy bar and after repeated attempts to be heard, you just give the shortest answer possible,” Bailey said. “Dolphins simplified their calls to counter the masking effects of vessel noise.”

Dolphins are highly social animals and use their calls to stay together as a group, talk as they feed, and call out their names when they meet new members of their species. Each animal has a distinctive whistle, which typically uses complex sound patterns with variations in pitch and frequency.

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Start your monday with this enormous Scottish foghorn

The foghorn at Sumburgh in the Shetland Islands of Scotland is powered by more than one 44hp Kelvin K-Series diesel engines, powering the Alley and MacLellan compressors which blow the horn itself.

"Just so's you know," writes JJ Jamieson, who posted this footage to YouTube, "the horn was originally much louder at the end, but YouTube's audio algorithm turned the volume down. I tried several versions but it wasn't having it." Read the rest

Engineers mimic owl wings to reduce wind turbine noise

Aeroacoustics expert Nigel Peake of Cambridge University leads a group of engineers mimicking owl wing feathers to reduce noise on wind turbines. Read the rest

Tuning in to ambient urban sound: Alex Braidwood's "Listening Instruments"

[Video Link, via LAist]

Los Angeles area radio station KPCC produced this lovely video portrait of designer, educator, and media artist Alex Braidwood. His work "explores methods for transforming the relationship between people and the noise in their environment." In the video, you'll see Alex wearing what I believe may be his Noisolation Headphones, "an invention for mechanically transforming the relationship between a person and the noise that immediately surrounds them." His video about that project is below.

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