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Tue, 22 Sep 2020
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Magic Wand

Essential tones of music rooted in human speech

The use of 12 tone intervals in the music of many human cultures is rooted in the physics of how our vocal anatomy produces speech, according to researchers at the Duke University Center for Cognitive Neuroscience.

The particular notes used in music sound right to our ears because of the way our vocal apparatus makes the sounds used in all human languages, said Dale Purves, the George Barth Geller Professor for Research in Neurobiology.

It's not something one can hear directly, but when the sounds of speech are looked at with a spectrum analyzer, the relationships between the various frequencies that a speaker uses to make vowel sounds correspond neatly with the relationships between notes of the 12-tone chromatic scale of music, Purves said.

The work appeared online May 24 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Download at http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/0703140104v1)

Purves and co-authors Deborah Ross and Jonathan Choi tested their idea by recording native English and Mandarin Chinese speakers uttering vowel sounds in both single words and a series of short monologues. They then compared the vocal frequency ratios to the numerical ratios that define notes in music.

Heart

Yoko Ono opens health foundation

A centre named after John Lennon has been opened by his widow Yoko Ono at a children's hospital in his home city.

©InstantKarma.com
John Lennon, Yoko Ono and their baby, Sean

Comment: "And in the end, the Love you take is equal to the Love you make."


Penis Pump

Greed Alert! Lowering the nicotine in cigarettes would increase profits

Philllip Morris would be very happy if the FDA controlled nicotine in cigarettes.

Comment:

©Ottawa Citation




Wine

Zero - the new alcohol limit in pregnancy

Women who are pregnant or trying for a baby should stop drinking alcohol altogether, the Government's leading doctors give warning today.

The new advice radically revises existing guidelines, which say that women can drink up to two units once or twice a week. Fiona Adshead, the deputy chief medical officer, said that the change was meant to send "a strong signal" to the thousands of women who drank more than the recommended limit that they were putting their babies at risk. But she admitted that it was not in response to any new medical evidence.

Women are often confused about what drinking in moderation really means, the new guidelines say, and surveys suggest that many accidently or deliberately exceed the limit. "Our advice is simple: avoid alcohol if pregnant or trying to conceive," Dr Adshead said. "We have strengthened our advice to women to help ensure that no one underestimates the risk to the foetus."

Health

TV linked with poor diabetes control

Diabetic children who spent the most time glued to the TV had a tougher time controlling their blood sugar, according to a Norwegian study that illustrates yet another downside of too much television.

Attention

Anti-abortion bill becomes law in Oklahoma

A bill prohibiting public funds from being used for most abortions has become law in Oklahoma after a deadline passed for the state's governor to veto the measure.

"If the governor doesn't act, it becomes law," said his spokesman, Phil Bacharach. Gov. Brad Henry had until midnight on Wednesday night to veto the bill.

Henry, a Democrat, vetoed a previous bill that contained no exceptions for publicly funded abortions even in cases of rape or incest. The new version allows such an exception if the victim reports the crime to the police.

It easily passed the Republican-controlled House and got through the evenly divided state Senate with several votes from Democratic lawmakers.

Coffee

Coffee may cut risk of gout, study finds

If men ever needed a reason to justify that extra cup of coffee, here it is: four or more cups of coffee a day appear to reduce the risk of gout, Canadian researchers said on Friday.

Gout is a painful joint disorder caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood. It affects about 6 million people in the United States, and tends to be a bigger problem for men than women.

Health

Ignoring the Warnings, Again?

The latest findings on Avandia, a top-selling diabetes drug, raise concerns both about its safety and about the way the manufacturer and the Food and Drug Administration have responded to signs of danger. It would be rash to make definitive judgments until the F.D.A. completes a detailed analysis. But the handling of this case bears disturbing resemblances to the Vioxx debacle, in which early warning signs were ignored by its manufacturer until the evidence of serious harm became inescapable and the drug was pulled from the market.

Bomb

Fear of Eating

Yesterday I did something risky: I ate a salad.

These are anxious days at the lunch table. For all you know, there may be E. coli on your spinach, salmonella in your peanut butter and melamine in your pet's food and, because it was in the feed, in your chicken sandwich.

Who's responsible for the new fear of eating? Some blame globalization; some blame food-producing corporations; some blame the Bush administration. But I blame Milton Friedman.

Red Flag

Indonesian girl dies of bird flu -health ministry

A 5-year-old Indonesian girl from Central Java province has died of bird flu, a Health Ministry official said on Wednesday.