Originally published on Sun August 25, 2013 3:32 pm
By Alva Noë
Music is not sound art, even though musical ideas find natural expression in melody and harmony, timbre and rhythm. Music may be carried in sound, but only in the way that our applause at a concert is carried in sound. Applause is clapping; it is stomping and shouting. These are noisy, but they are not noise. They are not sound as a physicist might think of sound. Music is to sound as gesture is to mere movement. Physics is only part of the story.
For the past decade, scientists have been waiting for the Voyager 1 spacecraft to cross into deep space. New research suggests it has left the solar system, but other scientists say it's still inside the sun's sphere of influence. (This piece initially aired Aug. 19, 2013, on Morning Edition.)
Technicians on Saturday are set to cast 20 tons of glass for the third of seven ultra-precise primary mirrors that will make up the 72-foot Giant Magellan Telescope, scheduled for completion in northern Chile's arid Atacama Desert in 2020.
The parabolic mirror will be cast at the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory Mirror Lab. The molten borosilicate, made by the Ohara Corporation, will be spun cast at 2140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Draft report from the intergovernmental panel on climate change was leaked to the media this week. The scientists will report to the U.N. that it is nearly certain that human activity has caused most of the earth's climate change over the last 50 years. Now, this leak is certain to rekindle debates about how best to contend with events like increasing temperatures and rising sea levels, and it might make some people take a new look at what's called geoengineering.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. East Coast seabirds have had a tough year. They've been battered by storms and disruptions in the food chain. Among them, the sturdy little Atlantic puffin. Now, here in the United States, their numbers dwindle to just a single nesting pair by 1901. Since then, thanks to the Audubon Society's Project Puffin, they've made a comeback. But as WBUR's Fred Bever reports, the puffins are now facing some new threats.
Next month, a scientific committee sponsored by the United Nations will put out its latest assessment of climate change. The report is expected to underscore yet again that climate change is a serious problem and human beings are largely responsible.
When you last visited your local science museum, what did you see? Those cavernous dark halls, the dinosaurs, a bone frozen into place. The dioramas of stuffed big-horn sheep in a painted habitat. We all know of those. At least that might be how you remember it. But museum directors today are reimagining that Victorian-era museum, reimagining it for the 21st century. They envision using everything from smartphone apps to walk-through labs and meet and greet with actual scientists.
Musical performances may not be a completely auditory experience, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Study author Chia-Jung Tsay discusses how visual cues can influence our judgments about music and other social settings.
Imagine a robotic lab that can sample ocean organisms on its own and perform DNA analysis of what it finds. William Ussler, of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, describes how a prototypical robotic explorer is helping study the life around undersea thermal vents.