This Week in Sound: Crossed Wires Mini Issue

Correcting email newsletter snafus

Subscribers to my This Week in Sound email newsletter received an unfamiliar subject line sometime this morning (Pacific Time). I use the same software,, to send out both This Week in Sound and the instructions for the Disquiet Junto (a weekly online music community I’ve been managing since January 2012). Unfortunately, I was logged into the wrong account when I hit set.

To make up for my mishap, I posted a follow-up This Week in Sound email with some mid-week links of sonic interest. (Oy — and to add to the confusion, I left out the URL for the fourth item below. I’ll include it in next Monday’s regularly Bat-scheduled issue.)

First, though: Trigger warning for Batman spoilers and animal protection.

More scientific research shows that white noise helps learning — presumably that means the best place to study is on a cross-country flight: “In neural systems, information processing can be facilitated by adding an optimal level of white noise. Although this phenomenon, the so-called stochastic resonance, has traditionally been linked with perception, recent evidence indicates that white noise may also exert positive effects on cognitive functions, such as learning and memory.” ➔ (Thanks, Lucas Gonze!)

“The farm’s pens are a cacophony of squeals, screams, barks and grunts, with each sound telegraphing a different feeling or need. Pigs are expressive animals with a wide range of vocalizations. … Interpreting their calls can occasionally stump even experienced farmers. … Decoding the emotions behind those oinks could soon become a little easier. Researchers in Europe have created an algorithm that assesses pigs’ emotional states based on the sound the animals make.” ➔

A new film adds to the growing list of recent deaf mute (or deaf, or mute) characters. Boy Kills World will be directed by Moritz Mohr, and it stars Bill Skarsgård. Sam Raimi produced it. “It centers on Boy (Skarsgård), a deaf mute with a vibrant imagination. When his family is murdered, Boy escapes to the jungle and is trained by a mysterious shaman … to repress his childish imagination and become an instrument of death.” Okey doke. ➔

“But suddenly, there’s another rumble—one that rapidly transforms to an earsplitting, unnatural shriek. The gunfire stops, the yelling stops, even the roar of the heavy Gotham rainfall gives way to this ever-deafening shriek. The rumble returns as a backing chorus to this horrifying, alien sound—revealing itself to be the banshee-like cry of the Batmobile’s souped up engine screaming to life, equally alien blue flames licking from its exhausts to complete the demonic image.” James Whitbrook waxes rhapsodic about the sound of the Batmobile in the latest installment of Batman movies. ➔

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