Links for 21st October 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. The Match of Perceptual and Acoustic Features of Timbre over Time: "Heaviness" in the Perception of Heavy Metal Guitar Textures

    "This report describes a project that has two objectives. First, it explores the electric guitar timbre of a genre of popular music known as heavy metal. The concept of "heaviness" is applied by members of the heavy metal subculture to a variety of timbres (bass timbres, drum timbres, vocal timbres) and musical structures (melodic motifs, harmonic approaches) in their music, and heaviness is the defining feature of the genre. While the term "heavy" functions in a variety of ways, it is most commonly used to describe guitar timbres (Berger 1995, Walser 1993), and all other uses of the term are metaphoric extensions of this primary use. The project's first goal is to understand some of the acoustic features that correlate with the perception of heaviness." Now *that* is some proper research. 🙂

    Tagged with: musicmetalheavyheavinessperceptionsoundtonetimbre

  2. Beyond GDP: We need a dashboard for the whole economy

    "… look under the hood at the factors that feed into the calculation of GDP and you'll see some strange goings-on. For one thing, it's full of virtual production and trading. People who own their houses, for example, are deemed to pay themselves rent, which is included in GDP; it has to be this way, to keep the books tidy.

    Then there are the important transactions that are not included. No attempt is made to value the services provided by the state, for example. Fees charged by private hospitals are included, but when it comes to state-run hospitals only the goods and services they buy in are deemed to contribute to GDP.

    Also unaccounted for is activity in the "informal" economy. As well as dubious or downright illegal activities, this includes things people make and do for themselves, their families and their neighbours without cash necessarily changing hands."

    Tagged with: economicsGDPgovernmentaccountingcurrencycommercepoliticscapitalism

  3. Timewarp: How your brain creates the fourth dimension

    "By understanding the mechanisms of our brain's clock, Eagleman and others hope to learn ways of temporarily resetting its tick. This might improve our mental speed and reaction times. What's more, since time is crucial to our perception of causality, a faulty internal clock might also explain the delusions suffered by people with schizophrenia.

    But first, the basics. Perhaps the most fundamental question neuroscientists are investigating is whether our perception of the world is continuous or a series of discrete snapshots like frames on a film strip. Understand this, and maybe we can explain how the healthy brain works out the chronological order of the myriad events bombarding our senses, and how this can become warped to alter our perception of time."

    Tagged with: sciencepsychologybraintimeperceptionmemoryexperienceneuroscience

  4. Hard to swallow: race-based medicine

    "The implications of such associations are far-reaching. In a world of pills for black people, or tests for Jewish people, which other minorities will be left behind? Social scientists fear that linking diseases to specific ethnic groups also risks dire consequences for employment discrimination, healthcare and immigration. The election of the first "mixed-race" president of the United States illustrates, perhaps, the largest dilemma of all: how to tell who belongs in which group. Barack Obama identifies himself as a black man, but an equal proportion of his genetic make-up is Caucasian (from his mother). If Obama were diagnosed with congestive heart failure, would he qualify for BiDil?"

    Tagged with: medicineracegeneticsinsurancelaw

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