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Transport yourself to a magical world with ambient soundscapes

Mashable

This post is part of Hard Refresh, a soothing weekly column where we try to cleanse your brain of whatever terrible thing you just witnessed on Twitter. Have you ever wanted to live inside a virtual world? If so, put on some headphones and follow me this way. Welcome to the magical world of ambient soundscapes. Here, you can instantly transport yourself to a secret bakery or pirate ship with a single click.


We Neglect Nature's Sonic Diversity at Our Peril

Mother Jones

The Rabbs' fringe-limbed treefrog, with its bark-like mating call, went extinct in 2016.Brian Gratwike/Wikipedia Commons This story was originally published by Yale E360 and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Sound is made of the most ephemeral stuff on Earth, insubstantial tremors of air. Yet sound is also the great connector and revealer. Because sound waves pass through and around obstacles, they link living beings into sonic information networks. Some of these networks are communicative--songs, music, and speech--and some amount to eavesdropping--predators and competitors listening to one another as they breathe, move, and eat.


The Dawn Chorus is getting QUIETER due to climate change

Daily Mail - Science & tech

There are few things more tranquil than the beautifully melodic sound of early-morning bird song. But a major new study has revealed that dawn choruses across North America and Europe are now becoming quieter and less varied because of climate change. Researchers said the intensity of bird song has reduced over the last 25 years as warming temperatures have shifted the distribution of species. Melodies: Dawn choruses across North America and Europe are now becoming quieter and less varied because of climate change. A study led by the University of East Anglia (UEA) used a new technique to reconstruct the soundscapes of more than 200,000 sites over the span of a generation.


The bag-of-frames approach: a not so sufficient model for urban soundscapes

arXiv.org Machine Learning

The "bag-of-frames" approach (BOF), which encodes audio signals as the long-term statistical distribution of short-term spectral features, is commonly regarded as an effective and sufficient way to represent environmental sound recordings (soundscapes) since its introduction in an influential 2007 article. The present paper describes a concep-tual replication of this seminal article using several new soundscape datasets, with results strongly questioning the adequacy of the BOF approach for the task. We show that the good accuracy originally re-ported with BOF likely result from a particularly thankful dataset with low within-class variability, and that for more realistic datasets, BOF in fact does not perform significantly better than a mere one-point av-erage of the signal's features. Soundscape modeling, therefore, may not be the closed case it was once thought to be. Progress, we ar-gue, could lie in reconsidering the problem of considering individual acoustical events within each soundscape.


The Struggle for the Urban Soundscape

The Atlantic - Technology

Others noticed this newfound quietude too. Friends online asked if the world had gotten quieter. My urban-birding mailing list was abuzz over the quality of new recordings. Scientists soon confirmed the phenomenon. First, Dutch seismologists showed that the lack of travel during lockdown had caused Earth's surface to vibrate less.