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Morning Cup of Links: Seeing Thoughts

Scientists can extract images directly from the brain. The technology is still rather crude, but may lead to viewing dreams and hallucinations someday.
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Web Urbanist has posted so many features on abandoned places, they've compiled a meta-post where you can find all of them. Cities, towns, vehicles, and buildings, they're all here!
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Necessary Angels. Lower-caste Indian women trained in health care are the ones who save lives in small villages doctors don't want to work in. (via Metafilter)
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40 Motivational Speeches In 2 Minutes. After watching, I feel motivated to go watch a movie.
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The Levitating Lightbulb. Wireless energy transfer and magnetic levitation. Technology is so cool!
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When Mechanics Go Bad. We're not talking about repairs that don't last, oh no, these are much worse.
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How to swear, and rap, like an old prospector. Since that's what you've always wanted to do.

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Stradivarius Violins Get Their Distinctive Sound By Mimicking the Human Voice
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Italian violinist Francesco Geminiani once wrote that a violin's tone should "rival the most perfect human voice." Nearly three centuries later, scientists have confirmed that some of the world's oldest violins do in fact mimic aspects of the human singing voice, a finding which scientists believe proves "the characteristic brilliance of Stradivari violins."

Using speech analysis software, scientists in Taiwan compared the sound produced by 15 antique instruments with recordings of 16 male and female vocalists singing English vowel sounds, The Guardian reports. They discovered that violins made by Andrea Amati and Antonio Stradivari, the pioneers of the instrument, produce similar "formant features" as the singers. The resonance frequencies were similar between Amati violins and bass and baritone singers, while the higher-frequency tones produced by Stradivari instruments were comparable to tenors and contraltos.

Andrea Amati, born in 1505, was the first known violin maker. His design was improved over 100 years later by Antonio Stradivari, whose instruments now sell for several million dollars. "Some Stradivari violins clearly possess female singing qualities, which may contribute to their perceived sweetness and brilliance," Hwan-Ching Tai, an author of the study, told The Guardian.

Their findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. A 2013 study by Dr. Joseph Nagyvary, a professor emeritus at Texas A&M University, also pointed to a link between the sounds produced by 250-year-old violins and those of a female soprano singer.

According to Vox, a blind test revealed that professional violinists couldn't reliably tell the difference between old violins like "Strads" and modern ones, with most even expressing a preference for the newer instruments. However, the value of these antique instruments can be chalked up to their rarity and history, and many violinists still swear by their exceptional quality.

[h/t The Guardian]

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