People can hear your gesticulations

According to a new study from the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour in the Netherlands, our speaking voices actually register subtle changes along with our gesticulating limbs.

It’s all about acoustics: the pitch and volume of a voice change together with the movement of arms and hands. "That change is very subtle with a wrist movement," says Pouw. “It is less subtle with an arm movement. The pitch jumps up slightly whenever a movement slows down.”

According to Pouw, there are two different causes for these acoustic differences. One of the causes is the creation of vibrations. The forces involved in a movement cause vibrations in your body. Through the connective tissue that holds your body together, vibrations end up in your lungs, affecting the pressure in your lungs.

The second cause is muscle tension around your lungs that is needed to maintain balance. We do not merely use our arm muscles when we move our arms. “When starting the process of stopping your arm from moving, for example, other muscles are suddenly addressed to prevent your body from falling over. These muscles that maintain balance include muscles around your lungs.”

Pretty cool!

Acoustic information about upper limb movement in voicing [Wim Pouw, Alexandra Paxton, Steven J. Harrison, and James A. Dixon / PNAS]

Body language can also be heard [Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour]

Image: Public Domain via NeedPix Read the rest

These are the bullets that killed JFK

The above GIF was created from new 3D scans of the bullets that killed president John F. Kennedy. The GIF shows two bits of the bullets that killed the president along with another mostly complete bullet plucked from Texas Governor John Connally's hospital stretcher. The National Archives temporarily removed the historic projectiles from the vault so that the National Institute of Standards and Technology could create digital replicas of them at microscopic resolution. Next year, the digital replicas will become part of the National Archive's JFK Assassination Records publicly available online. From Smithsonian:

These bullets now enter the National Archives’ digital collection alongside three others thought to hail from the same firearm: two discharged as test shots, and another from an earlier failed assassination attempt on Army Major General Edwin Walker. All were imaged with a specialized microscope that scanned their surfaces, charting their features much like a satellite recording the topography of a mountain range. The pictures were then stitched together by NIST ballistics specialists to generate a vivid 3-D rendering detailed enough to show grooves left by the barrel of the gun.

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The platforms suck at content moderation and demanding they do more won't make them better at it -- but there ARE concrete ways to improve moderation

Concentration in the tech sector has left us with just a few gigantic online platforms, and they have turned into playgrounds for some of the worst people on earth: Nazis, misogynists, grifters, ultranationalists, trolls, genocidal mobs and more. The platforms are so big and their moderation policies are so screwed up, and their use of "engagement" algorithms to increase pageviews, that it's making many of us choose between having a social life with the people we care about and being tormented by awful people. Even if you opt out of social media, you can't opt out of being terrorized by psychopathic trolls who have been poisoned by Alex Jones and the like. Read the rest

Brain-computer interface successfully translates thought into synthesized speech

In a pioneering study, scientists have demonstrated that an implanted brain-computer interface (above) coupled with deep-learning algorithms can translate thought into computerized speech. Read the rest

American Conservative laments market concentration and private property as bad for free expression

For years, the big social media platforms have used their market dominance to decide who could speak and on what terms: they forced drag queens and trans people to use their "real" names; kicked Black Lives Matter activists off their platforms; and allowed autocratic rulers to force opposition activists to expose themselves to arrest and torture as a condition of using their platforms. Read the rest

Big Tech's active moderation promise is also a potential source of eternal commercial advantage over newcomers

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Hate groups expose the cynicism of social media platforms

Those praising social media for turfing out white supremacists (and those demanding free speech from it), are missing a deeper problem, writes John Herrman: that these commercial simulations of liberal public discourse are broken replicas of it, ultimately ruled by fiat.

But what gave these trolls power on platforms wasn’t just their willingness to act in bad faith and to break the rules and norms of their environment. It was their understanding that the rules and norms of platforms were self-serving and cynical in the first place. After all, these platforms draw arbitrary boundaries constantly and with much less controversy — against spammers, concerning profanity or in response to government demands.

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This never gets old. Read the rest

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Directed by David Terry Fine and based on the essay "Seeing at the Speed of Sound" by Rachel Kolb, who narrates this short film.

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How Twitter "quietly banned" harassment and hate speech

Sarah Jeong reports on how Twitter has begun to take control of the hatred, harassment and general horseshit posted on its site.

Twitter talked some big talk, but it has buckled under both lawsuits and media outrage, tweaking and changing the Rules around speech whenever something threatened its bottom line. For a business, free speech can only be a meaningful value if it doesn’t really cost anything. … The Twitter of today strikes an uneasy balance between its old self and the unapologetic, ideologically-unburdened censoriousness of Facebook and Instagram. It remains yet to be seen whether the company has the vision and creativity to live out its new identity.

The "free speech wing of the free speech party" couldn't have done this but two years ago. They had to wait until the issues at hand were understood (at least by and large) not as abstractions to be dealt with on principle, but as practical issues of everyday human suffering. Read the rest

Why do people in old movies talk weird?

How Stuff Works explains the "Transatlantic Accent," a cultivated accent that people in the United States affected in an attempt to trick others that they were in some way affiliated with the British upper crust. Read the rest

Washington Redskins' lawyers enumerate other grossly offensive trademarks for the USPTO

The US Patent and Trademark Office and the Washington Redskins are embroiled in a fight over whether the Redskins name is too offensive to qualify as a trademark. The Redskins have tried various tacks, including invoking the First Amendment, arguing that the Constitution guarantees them the right to be offensive and to then have the government stop other people from copying their offensiveness, but now they've taken a new -- and surprisingly compelling -- direction. Read the rest

Going to DEFCON? EFF's got your back

The Electronic Frontier Foundation always has a huge presence at Las Vegas's DEFCON, but this year, we're hosting our first-ever badge-hack contest! Read the rest

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Hodor from Game of Thrones manifests a condition called Broca's aphasia. Here's a real-life example of a man who communicates only using the word "tono." Read the rest

WATCH: Mario Cuomo's 1984 convention speech

mario cuomo

In memory of Mario Cuomo's remarkable legacy, listen to his inspirational speech. American Rhetoric ranks it as one of the 100 greatest speeches in American history. Some background: Read the rest

Hearing lips and seeing voices

This video explains the weirdness of the McGurk effect, a perceptual illusion demonstrating that understanding speech is not just about what we hear, but also what we see. You can learn more about the McGurk effect at Yale's Haskins Laboratories dedicated to the science of the spoken and written wordl. (via Imaginary Foundation) Read the rest

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