This Week in Sound: The Speed(s) of Sound on Mars

A lightly annotated clipping service

These sound-studies highlights of the week are lightly adapted from the March 28, 2022, issue of the free weekly email newsletter This Week in Sound (

As always, if you find sonic news of interest, please share it with me, and (except with the most widespread of news items) I’ll credit you should I mention it here.

If you enjoyed the story last week about the rooster making lots of noise in a San Franciso neighborhood that already has its share of challenges, then you’ll appreciate this update: the rooster has been moved two hours east, to the Parrot & Exotic Rescue Sanctuary in Modesto. “Their website says they take in ‘parrots, turtles, snakes, lizards and more,’” reports Joe Kukura. ➔

“Google and Bolverk Games have published a new video game called Voice Attorney running solely on voice commands and available only on the Google Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max smart displays.” ➔

Amazon wasn’t successful in reversing a suit by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute related to smart

Nvidia has announced chip solutions for voice technology, including speech recognition. One market is the automation of menu trees for phone systems: “Synthetization could boost actors’ productivity by cutting down on the need for additional recordings, potentially freeing the actors up to pursue more creative work — and saving businesses money in the process,” reports Kyle Wiggers, in a final AI column for VentureBeat. ➔

Interesting tidbit from a story about Spotify’s efforts in voice-only controls, for use in vehicles: “The jury is still out on whether hands-free voice recognition actually makes driving safer (some studies suggest drivers who use voice controls are more distracted).” ➔,

News from the Red Planet: “sound on Mars travels at 787 feet per second (240 meters per second), which is significantly slower than the sound of speed on Earth at 1,115 feet per second (340 m/s).” And it gets weirder: “the speed of sounds below 240 hertz fell to 754 feet per second (230 m/s). That doesn’t happen on Earth, as sounds within the audible bandwidth (20 Hz to 20 kHz) travel at a constant speed.” This has been dubbed the “Mars idiosyncrasy,” reports George Dvorsky. ➔

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