The Colors of Noise: different kinds of static have distinctive tones

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I sleep to the tone of octarine noise. (The sound of magic.)


When I need to concentrate in a crowded room I exclusively play brown noise. It’s so much more sonorous than white noise.

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Ah, yes… Ruby Noise.

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As an undergrad I worked in a lab studying the effect of stress on memory. The stressor was loud white noise. So I got the job of asking participants to sit down and then put on headphones with 100 dB white noise and take a bunch of memory tests. I’m happy to have moved from human to insect research subjects

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Where do you get insect-sized headphones?


Ears in insect have evolved independently many times, but as far as I know they’re never in the head, so no headphones for them.

also unlike undergrads they let me skip over the outside and interface directly with the nervous system in insects. bad things happen when you try to implant electrodes in undergrads’ brains (or so I’ve heard)


When my brother would party with his loud, obnoxious friends in the house, I’d don headphones and listen to the static between a couple of FM stations. With all the racket going on, that was the only way I could study.

That reminds me of the time when a guest lecturer (in a colloquium) let us listen to the way a grasshopper perceived Mozart and Beethoven. He used electrodes to get the signals from the neurons at receptor level. When he amplified them and put them to a speaker, the interesting bit was what you could not hear.


Do you remember the speaker’s name? My guess is that the receptors would mostly follow the strings and woodwinds. Grasshopper ears evolved for 2 things: to hear wing stridulation for mating and to hear bat echolocation for escape. The result is that they hear only what we’d consider high frequencies (going into ultrasound) and the frequency resolution is really poor. Basically they need to determine is it a conspecific calling (if so how close) or is it a bat trying to eat me (if so how close) or is it everything else (if so don’t care).


Sure, that was Ulrich Thurm of Münster University.

If I remember correctly, a lively discussion followed why they would be able to hear parts of the frequency spectrum which, from a teleological POV, would not be necessary for them.


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