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Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

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 Disquiet.com weekly email newsletter This Week in Sound (tinyletter.com/disquiet).

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. ➔ hoodline.com

“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.” ➔ voicebot.ai

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

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. ➔ venturebeat.com

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).” ➔ engadget.com, nbcnews.com

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. ➔ gizmodo.com

By Marc Weidenbaum

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