Not too long ago, people got creeped out by Amazon's Alexa devices randomly laughing at them. Now Jeff Bezos' digital assistant is offering folks the chance to put a sock in its mouth. Reddit users first noticed that when asked to turn light on, Alexa would complete the task and then append the exchange by saying it'd be the last time it would use a verbal confirmation. Instead, it'd beep upon a task's completion from that point forward, noting that this was a new feature called "Brief Mode" that'd curtail its speech. That was with a first-gen Echo.
Chief Justice William Rehnquist missed 44 arguments when he was dealing with the thyroid cancer to which he eventually succumbed in 2005. Justice William Douglas didn't return to the bench for nearly six months after he broke 14 ribs and punctured a lung in a horseback riding accident on the day before the Supreme Court term began in October 1949.
The team also mapped the correlation between emotion-related and sound-related tags, finding, for example, that human sounds often evoke joy or surprise, while traffic and mechanical sounds are associated with anger and fear. Take the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C., where the popular John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts is located. A click on a street near the office, which has been marked orange, produces charts on the right that reveal music-related sounds to be most dominant, followed by nature and transport sounds. The creators of Chatty Maps--including the map researcher Daniele Quercia, the social-science researcher Luca Maria Aiello, the data scientist Rossano Schifanella, and the acoustic researcher Francesco Aletta--write in a press release that city planners too often focus on the negative effects of urban sounds. That's true; a lot of research suggests urban noise is a health hazard, with studies warning that it can raise your risk of obesity and take a toll on your mental health.