No. 118 (essentialsaltes) wrote,
No. 118

Starchild & Artificial Pinnae

Finished reading the Starchild trilogy by Pohl and Williamson. Plenty of whiz-bang style science fiction action, with some heady yet implausible science fiction ideas. Reading it right after Spin, I noticed a a strange parallel of having intelligent nano-ish things in the outer solar system. Starchild also includes some proto cyber stuff, with people having plugs in their head so that they can communicate with, and be pleasured by, the Machine.

Overall: Cockamamie and dated(*), yet many sections are quite enjoyable.

(*) It is funny, as wikipedia points out, to see Hoyle's Steady-State Theory being a foundation for the fictional universe.

On swmartin's recommendation, I started reading Jourdain's Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy. In the first chapter, he talks about the functions of the outer ear in providing directional information. In concert halls, obviously much is made of the acoustics of the room and how it bounces sound around and it gets into your ears from different directions adding a certain something to the experience. But he notes that if you use a typical recording set-up in such a hall, not only are the extra delays and echos of your outer ear missing at the mike, but playing it out of your stereo speakers will not provide your own ears with the extra echos and delays in the right way. However (and this was new to me) you can capture it by using dummy head recording. It's got ears! Is that not ridiculous and cool at the same time? For playback, if you use in-ear earbuds, then your own ears add no extra 'false' echoes, and you only hear the effect of the microphone's ears, providing you with the authentic experience of the concert hall.
I haven't gotten far into the book, and already it's provided food for my head.
Tags: book, music, science

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