This Week in Sound: Quiet Action Sequences

A lightly annotated clipping service

These sound-studies highlights of the week are lightly adapted from the July 18, 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.

Not sure what to make of it, but Vox Protect appears to be software designed specifically to hide identities of witnesses in judicial proceedings: ➔,

Scientists “have collected a database with the aim of diagnosing Covid-19 through the use of coughing audio samples.”

“The tiny-but-mighty pistol shrimp can snap its claws with sufficient force to produce a shock wave to stun its prey. So how come the shrimp appears immune to its sonic weapon? Scientists have concluded that the shrimp is protected by a tiny clear helmet that prevents any significant neural damage by damping the shock waves.” ➔

“In fact, while AI researchers have attempted to instill human emotion into otherwise cold and calculating robotic machines for decades, sales and customer service software companies including Uniphore and Sybill are building products that use AI in an attempt to help humans understand and respond to human emotion. Virtual meeting powerhouse Zoom also plans to provide similar features in the future.” ➔

Just a side note that the final episode of Ms. Marvel appeared to involve a sonic weapon, though its exact functionality wasn’t, I believe, identified. I could be wrong. Everything went quickly.

“Ring is rejecting the request of a U.S. senator to introduce privacy-enhancing changes to its flagship doorbell video camera after product testing showed the device capable of recording conversations well beyond the doorsteps of its many millions of customers.” ➔

NPR correspondent Linda Holmes makes a great case for “quiet” action sequences: “That means you are left with the sounds of the chase itself: feet over bricks that are slipping, police clambering down noisy stairs, the sound of running along an isolated street, the way echoes change depending on where you are. And then, of course, the roaring of the sewers, the splashing that’s deep or shallow, and the rich acoustics of underwater tunnels not meant for travel. Where loud scoring might hand you a mood or a monitor to attach to the tension level, using the sounds of the pursuit stresses the chaotic shifts from place to place and the abrupt arrivals in different settings that mark a truly desperate bid to get away.” ➔ (Thanks, Mike Rhode!)

Kaya Yurieff makes the case that Clubhouse, which normalized realtime audio chat (aka digital party lines), “isn’t dead yet.”

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