Contributors: Carlos García Benito, Marta Alcolea, Carlos Mazo
... In order to evaluate the musical performance of the most complete Gravettian aerophone recovered at the site of Isturitz, two experimental replicas were reproduced from the ulna of a griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus), each with a different way of elaborating their holes (boring and scraping). The operational chain that involves their manufacture is a sequence of single and simple actions that does not require the use of specialized tools. Its acoustics are explained by performing sound in three different ways in both replicas.
Eloquent silences: A musical and lexical analysis of conversation between oncologists and their patients
Contributors: Josef Bartels, Rachel Rodenbach, Katherine Ciesinski, Robert Gramling, Kevin Fiscella, Ronald Epstein
... Silences in doctor-patient communication can be “connectional” and communicative, in contrast to silences that indicate awkwardness or distraction. Musical and lexical analyses can identify and characterize connectional silences in consultations between oncologists and patients.
Contributors: David J. Morris, Kurt Steinmetzger, John Tøndering
... The modulation of auditory event-related potentials (ERP) by attention generally results in larger amplitudes when stimuli are attended. We measured the P1-N1-P2 acoustic change complex elicited with synthetic overt (second formant, F2Δ=1000Hz) and subtle (F2Δ=100Hz) diphthongs, while subjects (i) attended to the auditory stimuli, (ii) ignored the auditory stimuli and watched a film, and (iii) diverted their attention to a visual discrimination task. Responses elicited by diphthongs where F2 values rose and fell were found to be different and this precluded their combined analysis. Multivariate analysis of ERP components from the rising F2 changes showed main effects of attention on P2 amplitude and latency, and N1-P2 amplitude. P2 amplitude decreased by 40% between the attend and ignore conditions, and by 60% between the attend and divert conditions. The effect of diphthong magnitude was significant for components from a broader temporal window which included P1 latency and N1 amplitude. N1 latency did not vary between attention conditions, a finding that may be related to stimulation with a continuous vowel. These data show that a discernible P1-N1-P2 response can be observed to subtle vowel quality transitions, even when the attention of a subject is diverted to an unrelated visual task.
Auditory motion in the sighted and blind: Early visual deprivation triggers a large-scale imbalance between auditory and “visual” brain regions
Contributors: Giulia Dormal, Mohamed Rezk, Esther Yakobov, Franco Lepore, Olivier Collignon
... How early blindness reorganizes the brain circuitry that supports auditory motion processing remains controversial. We used fMRI to characterize brain responses to in-depth, laterally moving, and static sounds in early blind and sighted individuals. Whole-brain univariate analyses revealed that the right posterior middle temporal gyrus and superior occipital gyrus selectively responded to both in-depth and laterally moving sounds only in the blind. These regions overlapped with regions selective for visual motion (hMT+/V5 and V3A) that were independently localized in the sighted. In the early blind, the right planum temporale showed enhanced functional connectivity with right occipito-temporal regions during auditory motion processing and a concomitant reduced functional connectivity with parietal and frontal regions. Whole-brain searchlight multivariate analyses demonstrated higher auditory motion decoding in the right posterior middle temporal gyrus in the blind compared to the sighted, while decoding accuracy was enhanced in the auditory cortex bilaterally in the sighted compared to the blind. Analyses targeting individually defined visual area hMT+/V5 however indicated that auditory motion information could be reliably decoded within this area even in the sighted group. Taken together, the present findings demonstrate that early visual deprivation triggers a large-scale imbalance between auditory and “visual” brain regions that typically support the processing of motion information.
Songbird mates change their call structure and intrapair communication at the nest in response to environmental noise
Contributors: Avelyne S. Villain, Marie S.A. Fernandez, Colette Bouchut, Hédi A. Soula, Clémentine Vignal
... The coordination of behaviours between mates is a central aspect of the biology of the monogamous pair bonding in birds. This coordination may rely on intrapair acoustic communication, which is surprisingly poorly understood. Here we examined the impact of an increased level of background noise on intrapair acoustic communication at the nest in the zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata. We monitored how partners adapted their acoustic interactions in response to a playback of wind noise inside the nestbox during incubation. Both zebra finch parents incubate and use coordinated call duets when they meet at the nest. The incubating parent can vocalize to its partner either outside the nestbox (sentinel duets) or inside the nestbox (relief and visit duets), depending on the context of the meeting. Pairs use these duets to communicate on predation threats (sentinel duets), incubation duties (relief) and other nesting activities (visit duets). Each of these duets probably represents a critical component of pair coordination. In response to the noise playback, partners called less and more rapidly during visit and relief duets. Female and male calls were more regularly and precisely alternated during relief duets. Mates increased the number of visit duets and their spatial proximity during sentinel duets. Furthermore, both females and males produced louder, higher-frequency and less broadband calls. Taken together our results show that birds use several strategies to adjust to noise during incubation, underlining the importance of effective intrapair communication for breeding pairs.
Contributors: Nele Hellbernd, Daniela Sammler
... Action-theoretic views of language posit that the recognition of others’ intentions is key to successful interpersonal communication. Yet, speakers do not always code their intentions literally, raising the question of which mechanisms enable interlocutors to exchange communicative intents. The present study investigated whether and how prosody—the vocal tone—contributes to the identification of “unspoken” intentions. Single (non-)words were spoken with six intonations representing different speech acts—as carriers of communicative intentions. This corpus was acoustically analyzed (Experiment 1), and behaviorally evaluated in two experiments (Experiments 2 and 3). The combined results show characteristic prosodic feature configurations for different intentions that were reliably recognized by listeners. Interestingly, identification of intentions was not contingent on context (single words), lexical information (non-words), and recognition of the speaker’s emotion (valence and arousal). Overall, the data demonstrate that speakers’ intentions are represented in the prosodic signal which can, thus, determine the success of interpersonal communication.
Contributors: Zhenghui Liu, Fan Zhang, Jing Wang, Hongxia Wang, Jiwu Huang
... A content authentication and tamper recovery scheme for digital speech signal is proposed. In this paper, a new compression method for speech signal based on discrete cosine transform is discussed, and the compressed signals obtained are used to tamper recovery. One block-based large capacity embedding method is explored, which is used for embedding the compressed signals. For the scheme proposed, watermark is generated by frame number and compressed signal. If watermarked speech is attacked, the attacked frames can be located by frame number, and reconstructed by using the compressed signal. Theoretical analysis and experimental results demonstrate that the scheme not only improves the security of watermark system, but also can locate the attacked frames precisely and reconstruct the attacked frames.
A new technology of CO2 supplementary for microalgae cultivation on large scale – A spraying absorption tower coupled with an outdoor open runway pond
Contributors: Chun-Dan Zhang, Wei Li, Yun-Hai Shi, Yuan-Guang Li, Jian-Ke Huang, Hong-Xia Li
... An effective CO2 supply system of a spraying absorption tower combined with an outdoor ORWP (open raceway pond) for microalgae photoautotrophic cultivation is developed in this paper. The microalgae yield, productivity and CO2 fixation efficiency were investigated, and compared with those of bubbling method. The maximum yield and productivity of biomass were achieved 0.927gL−1 and 0.114gL−1day−1, respectively. The fixation efficiency of CO2 by microalgae with the spraying tower reached 50%, whereas only 11.17% for bubbling method. Pure CO2 can be used in the spraying absorption tower, and the flow rate was only about one third of the bubbling cultivation. It shows that this new method of quantifiable control CO2 supply can meet the requirements of the growth of microalgae cultivation on large-scale.
Contributors: Keith Pardee, Alexander A. Green, Melissa K. Takahashi, Dana Braff, Guillaume Lambert, Jeong Wook Lee, Tom Ferrante, Duo Ma, Nina Donghia, Melina Fan
... The recent Zika virus outbreak highlights the need for low-cost diagnostics that can be rapidly developed for distribution and use in pandemic regions. Here, we report a pipeline for the rapid design, assembly, and validation of cell-free, paper-based sensors for the detection of the Zika virus RNA genome. By linking isothermal RNA amplification to toehold switch RNA sensors, we detect clinically relevant concentrations of Zika virus sequences and demonstrate specificity against closely related Dengue virus sequences. When coupled with a novel CRISPR/Cas9-based module, our sensors can discriminate between viral strains with single-base resolution. We successfully demonstrate a simple, field-ready sample-processing workflow and detect Zika virus from the plasma of a viremic macaque. Our freeze-dried biomolecular platform resolves important practical limitations to the deployment of molecular diagnostics in the field and demonstrates how synthetic biology can be used to develop diagnostic tools for confronting global health crises.
Contributors: Vincent Debut, Miguel Carvalho, Elin Figueiredo, José Antunes, Rui Silva
... The bell from the church of S. Pedro de Coruche is one rare surviving example of early bells, cast during the 13th century in Europe, which was exhumed from a crypt-ossuary in an archaeological excavation carried out near Lisbon in Portugal. Of particular significance, it is believed to belong to a time period during which bell's profile has evolved noticeably, leading to bells with fine musical qualities and a well-defined sense of pitch. If the bell from Coruche was a tangible piece of evidence for tracing the history of bell casting in Europe, it had however lost all trace of its original sound: indeed the bell was found broken and incomplete and even if it has undergone a restoration process since the archaeological discovery, the use of an adhesive during the reassembly has changed somehow the vibrational properties of the bell structure. To bring back to life the sound of this broken musical artefact, a methodology combining experimental and numerical techniques from materials science and music acoustics is described in this paper. The general approach comprises material characterisation, geometrical measurements, modal analysis and physics-based sound synthesis techniques. By coupling a physical dynamical model of a bell impacted by a clapper with the modal properties of the original bell computed by Finite Element Analysis, realistic time-domain simulations of the Coruche bell dynamics were performed and realistic synthetic sounds were produced. As the original clapper has not survived, parametric computations have been performed to illustrate the changes in bell sounds associated with clappers of different mechanical properties. The overall approach provides insight into the tuning of this medieval bell which can be compared to the modern-type tuning, and reproduce the sound that the bell from Coruche might have had. The strategy developed can be easily adapted to other musical instruments in poor/variable states of preservation, therefore benefiting the importance of such non-renewable cultural resources.