Microsoft via Youtube
Microsoft via Youtube

Microsoft Audio Lab Named World’s Quietest Place

Microsoft via Youtube
Microsoft via Youtube

Many people associate quiet with peacefulness, but a few minutes inside Microsoft's anechoic chamber in Redmond, Washington might create the opposite effect. That’s because the room, which recently nabbed the Guinness World Record for the quietest place on Earth, is so silent that all visitors can hear are the sounds of their own bodies.

Before earning the title, two independent sound specialists carried out separate tests measuring the room at -20.6 dBA and -20.1 dBA (dB standing for decibels and the “A” designating sound pressure). Mathematicians theorize the quietest sound to be Brownian motion, or the movement of particles in a gas or liquid. This is calculated at -23dB, making Microsoft’s anechoic chamber closer to the quietest sound possible than it is to the previous record of -13dBA held by Orfield Labs in Minneapolis.

At such extreme levels of silence, visitors are able to hear things like the blood rushing through their veins and their scalps moving across their skulls. Apparently, that’s enough to drive people up the wall. In fact, the president and founder of Orfield Labs, Steven Orfield, wasn’t able to last in his own chamber for any longer than 30 minutes at a time.

But the facility in Microsoft’s Building 87 wasn’t built as a center for torture. The echo-absorbing wedges lining the room make it the ideal place to test microphones, speakers, and voice recognition technology. You can take a look inside the chamber in the video below.

[h/t: Hyperallergic

A Florida Brewery Created Edible Six-Pack Rings to Protect Marine Animals

For tiny scraps of plastic, six-pack rings can pose a huge threat to marine life. Small enough and ubiquitous enough that they’re easy to discard and forget about, the little plastic webs all too often make their way to the ocean, where animals can ingest or become trapped in them. In order to combat that problem, Florida-based Saltwater Brewery has created what they say is the world’s first fully biodegradable, compostable, edible six-pack rings.

The edible rings are made of barley and wheat and are, if not necessarily tasty, at least safe for animals and humans to ingest. Saltwater Brewery started packaging their beers with the edible six-pack rings in 2016. They charge slightly more for their brews to offset the cost of the rings' production. They hope that customers will be willing to pay a bit more for the environmentally friendly beers and are encouraging other companies to adopt the edible six-pack rings in order to lower manufacturing prices and save more animals.

As Saltwater Brewery president Chris Gove says in the video above: “We want to influence the big guys and kind of inspire them to also get on board.”

When Chuck Yeager Tweeted Details About His Historic, Sound Barrier-Breaking Flight

Seventy years ago today—on October 14, 1947—Charles Elwood Yeager became the first person to travel faster than the speed of sound. The Air Force pilot broke the sound barrier in an experimental X-1 rocket plane (nicknamed “Glamorous Glennis”) over a California dry lake at an altitude of 25,000 feet.

In 2015, the nonagenarian posted a few details on Twitter surrounding the anniversary of the achievement, giving amazing insight into the history-making flight.

For even more on the historic ride, check out the video below.


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