Here's How to Tell What Your Voice Actually Sounds Like, Sans Recorder

iStock
iStock

Even the most confident of crooners may cringe upon hearing a recording of their own voice: "Is that what I actually sound like?" Unfortunately, the answer is yes, according to Lifehacker. This raises the question: Why do we hear one thing while the rest of the world hears another?

Vocal coach Chris Beatty—a singer/songwriter who’s also the nephew of famed classical composer Samuel Barber—provides an answer in the video below: "We get a preview of sound that comes up the side of the face, right into the ears," Beatty explains. "In addition to that, we get some inner vibration in the ear and the head, and we judge that as being our sound, but it really isn't."

Curious to know what your own voice sounds like? If you don't own a vocal recorder, Barber recommends taking file folders (a couple of magazines or pieces of paper will do in a pinch) and placing them in front of your ears so they're sticking out from the sides of your head. This makes the sound of your voice go out in front of you, instead of to the side, so it's affected by variables like temperature, humidity, the thickness of the carpet, and the number of people in the room.

Count from one to five. Hear that? This is what others hear when you talk or sing—and after you get over the initial embarrassment, you might even start liking it.

Can You Find the Lost Items in This Santa's Workshop Puzzle?

iStock.com/LiliGraphie
iStock.com/LiliGraphie

If the holiday season has you feeling stressed, here's an opportunity to take a break from making travel plans and brainstorming gift lists. This picture puzzle from Attic Self Storage features six hidden items, and it takes most people a few minutes to find them all.

The scene below depicts the chaos of Santa's workshop leading up to Christmas Eve. Hidden among the elves and toys are some lost items: a stocking, a nutcracker, Santa's hat, a mince pie, a Christmas cracker, and a robin. If you aren't sure what you're looking for, a visual key of the items is included at the bottom of the image.

Santa's workshop brain teaser puzzle.
Attic Self Storage

It took Attic Self Storage staff members 3 minutes and 26 seconds on average to solve the brain teaser, so that's the time to beat. After completing the challenge, see if you can spot the sheep hidden among the Santas in this holiday-themed puzzle.

You Can Gift Your Favorite Nerd a Subscription to Famous Letters From History

Letterjoy
Letterjoy

Letter writing may be a lost art at this point, but you can still give someone the gift of getting a great letter in the mail, without ever picking up a pen yourself. Letterjoy, a subscription service for historical letters, sends out a different archival letter each week, giving subscribers the opportunity to dig through their mail and find a work of great writing rather than a pile of junk advertisements.

As part of the service, Letterjoy sends out one authenticated historical letter or telegraph each week, according to monthly themes. The letters are largely drawn from the last 400-plus years of American history, sourced by Letterjoy founder Michael Sitver from historical archives and private collections. Previous monthly themes have included "presidents and the press," "the right to vote," "Civil War spies," and "the birth of aviation." The letters often come from famous figures like Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Clara Barton, and the Wright brothers.

Recipients don't just get a photocopy of an archival letter. Each letter is custom-designed by Letterjoy, either typed up on a Smith-Corona typewriter (for more modern missives) or handwritten by designers and enhanced with software. The goal is to make each letter look and feel as authentic as possible while maintaining readability—since the whole point is to read the letters, not just look at them.

Every letter comes with a context section that explains what the letter is and why it matters, including who the letter-writer and recipient were and the historical events surrounding its writing.

You can buy someone (or yourself) a yearly plan for $160 ($13.33 a month), a six-month plan for $100 ($16.66 a month), or a three-month plan for $50 (also $16.66 a month). Discounts are available for educators who want to use the letters in their classrooms.

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