Study looks at why we hear talking as singing after many repetitions

first_imgShare on Facebook Pinterest LinkedIn Share on Twitter Emailcenter_img The KU researcher said previous studies have looked at characteristics of phrases that contribute to the illusion and have elicited the phenomenon in speakers of English, German and Mandarin. Further studies have shown brain regions that process speech to be active when a phrase is perceived as speech while brain regions that process music fire when the phrase is heard as song.“But nobody had a good explanation about how this illusion was coming about in the first place,” Vitevitch said. “A lot of the researchers who looked at this were music-perception scientists, but there weren’t a lot of people coming at it from the speech-and-language side. I’m one of the few speech people that started looking at this. I brought some of these models of how language processing works to see if that might explain what’s going on with this illusion.”Along with KU graduate student Nichol Castro and undergraduates Joshua Mendoza and Elizabeth Tampke, Vitevitch designed six studies to test if a model of language processing known as Node Structure Theory that accounts for other aspects of language processing might also be responsible for the Speech-to-Song Illusion. Under Node Structure Theory, word nodes and syllable nodes act as “detectors” when people hear syllables, words and phrases.“You’ve got word detectors and syllable detectors and, like with lots of things in life, as you use them they’re going to get worn out — like your muscles. As you use them, they get tired,” said Vitevitch. “Like with muscles, you have a type of muscle for short bursts of sprinting and also muscles for endurance, like running a marathon. Word nodes are like sprinting muscles, and syllable nodes are like endurance muscles.”Vitevitch said the results of six experiments — which used 30 KU students as subjects — suggest word detectors initially are activated, giving one the perception of speech, but they fatigue as the phrase is repeated. The continued presentation of a phrase still activates syllable detectors, which do not fatigue as quickly as the word detectors. Because syllables carry the rhythmic information of language, the continued stimulation of the syllable detectors — but not the word detectors — shifts perception to a songlike state.“We tried to test the different parts of the model,” he said. “We looked at the word nodes and singled out phrases that had a lot of similar-sounding words. We tried to take out words altogether by using Spanish words with non-Spanish speakers. We tried focusing on the syllables and number of syllables. We looked at different characteristics, like is it the word that matters or the number of syllables?”The authors even created random lists of words to prevent the inherent intonation in everyday speech from influencing the subjects’ perception of musicality.“Because we do have intonation, we wanted to have the strongest-possible test of the mechanism of these detectors,” said Vitevitch. “We tried to strip musicality away by randomly putting words together without intonation shifts, so it didn’t sound musical at all to begin with. When people hear it once, they said it didn’t sound musical at all. The fact that we could get people to shift perception to something musical after several repetitions gives us confidence that we’re on the right track with the mechanism explaining the effect.”While the Speech-to-Song Illusion could be seen as a mere novelty, like the Laurel-or-Yanny meme, Vivevitch said the phenomenon has the potential to greatly increase our fundamental understanding of speech and music perception.“All scientists are trying to look inside of a black box to understand what’s going on inside,” he said. “We’re all trying to understand the universe or the brain or how atoms work. So, any opportunity to get a crack in the black box where you can look inside, you need to take. Things like illusions are often dismissed, but they’re unique opportunities to get another angle on what’s going on. Yes, they’re kind of fun and interesting and goofy and they get attention — but really they’re another opportunity to see what’s going on inside the black box.” The great Laurel-or-Yanny debate of 2018 was so fun because it shined a light on the often-illusory nature of auditory perception. What you hear may not be the same as what somebody else hears. Or, perhaps what you hear could change over time. What surely was “Yanny” to some people at first sounded a lot more like “Laurel” upon their 27th listening.New research appearing today in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE explores these ideas further. A team from the University of Kansas has investigated the “Speech-to-Song Illusion,” where a spoken phrase is repeated and begins to sound as if it were being sung.“There’s this neat auditory illusion called the Speech-to-Song Illusion that musicians in the ’60s knew about and used to artistic effect — but scientists didn’t start investigating it until the ’90s,” said Michael Vitevitch, professor and chair of psychology at KU, who conducted the study with undergraduate and graduate student researchers in the department’s Spoken Language Laboratory. “The illusion occurs when a spoken phrase is repeated— but after it’s repeated several times it begins to sound like it’s being sung instead of spoken.” Sharelast_img read more

Questions still swirl over China’s unexplained pneumonia outbreak

first_imgInvestigations are still under way to identify the pathogen involved in an unexplained pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, China, as yesterday local health officials announced 15 more cases and said tests have ruled out severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).In other developments, the World Health Organization (WHO) weighed in on the outbreak with a few more details and a risk assessment based on limited preliminary information, and US officials posted a travel watch.Meanwhile, administrative regions and other countries in Asia continue to flag sick travelers coming from Wuhan, a city of 19 million inhabitants, but so far none appear to be linked to Wuhan’s pneumonia cluster, which is centered around a seafood market that also sold birds, other animals, and organs from wildlife.Wuhan cluster grows to 59Wuhan health officials said 7 of the 59 patients are critically ill, a decline from 11 reported Jan 3, and they added that illness onsets range from Dec 12 to Dec 29, according to a statement translated and posted by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board. The patients are being treated in isolation, and no deaths have been reported.So far 163 contacts are under monitoring, an increase of 42. No clear evidence of human-to-human transmission has been found and no illnesses have been reported in healthcare workers. The epidemiologic investigation shows that some patients were vendors at the South China Seafood Wholesale Market.Earlier in the investigation, Wuhan officials said tests had already ruled out respiratory pathogens including influenza, avian influenza, and adenovirus.WHO offers risk assessmentIn a statement yesterday, the WHO said China notified it about the outbreak on Dec 31 and added that WHO officials are seeking more information to help with their risk assessment. The main clinical signs are fever and pneumonia, with some patients experiencing breathing problems. Chest radiographs show invasive lesions of both lungs.Chinese authorities told the WHO that some patients were dealers or vendors at the seafood market and that the preliminary investigation by Chinese investigators has found no evidence of significant human-to-human transmission and no sign that sick patients have passed the infection to medical workers.The WHO said there is limited information to form a risk assessment. The link to the wholesale fish and animal market could signal a link to an animal source. It added that the patients’ symptoms are common to several respiratory diseases, and that pneumonia is common in the winter. “However, the occurrence of 44 cases of pneumonia requiring hospitalization clustered in space and time should be handled prudently,” the agency said.Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province, which is home to 58 million people, the WHO said, adding that it has requested more information on lab tests performed and the differential diagnoses that clinicians considered.The WHO said it doesn’t recommend any specific measures for travelers and urged travelers who experience respiratory symptoms during or after travel to seek medical attention and share their travel history with health providers.CDC issues travel watchIn a related development, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today issued a level 1 travel watch—the lowest of its three levels—for China’s outbreak. It said the cause and the transmission mode aren’t yet known, and it advised travelers to Wuhan to avoid living or dead animals, animal markets, and contact with sick people.The CDC said the market connected to the mystery outbreak sells chickens, bats, marmots, and other wild animals and has been closed since Jan 1 for cleaning and disinfection.”The situation is evolving. This notice will be updated as more information becomes available,” it said. The CDC also urged clinicians to take a cautious approach to sick patients who have a history of travel to Wuhan.Regional governments flag sick travelersAs a precaution, some administrative regions and countries near China have stepped up screening in people who traveled to Wuhan, but so far, there’s no indication that any of them are part of the Wuhan cluster.As of today, Hong Kong has identified 21 sick travelers arriving from Wuhan, and most have tested positive for different respiratory viruses, according to an enhanced surveillance list from the Centre for Health Protection (CHP). They include seasonal influenza (2009 H1N1 and H3N2), human rhinovirus, enterovirus, parainfluenza type 1, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), coronavirus 229E, coronavirus OC43, and metapneumovirus.In a separate statement today, the CHP said that over the past 24 hours six patients who had been to Wuhan in the past 14 days presented for medical care. None had visited live-animal markets in Wuhan before their symptom onsets, and all are in stable condition. Of 21 sick travelers identified so far, 7 have been discharged.According to media reports over the weekend, Singapore identified a sick Wuhan traveler, a child who tested positive for RSV, and Taiwan identified eight passengers with mild symptoms, with tests results for four of them revealing common viruses such as seasonal flu.No sign of a rapidly escalating situationMichael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, said it would be useful to know more details about testing, including more details on results that were negative. For now, the key message is that the outbreak isn’t rapidly escalating, he added.Osterholm is director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, which publishes CIDRAP News.Experts in and outside of China have raised the possibility that a new type of coronavirus may be responsible, and since the SARS outbreak in 2003, scientists have been looking for clues about how that virus emerged and for warning signs of any newly emerging similar viruses.Earlier coronavirus investigationsIn April 2018, Chinese researchers and their collaborators in the United States identified a novel coronavirus that triggered die-offs in piglets at four farms in Guangdong province in 2016 and 2017. The new coronavirus, called swine acute diarrhea syndrome coronavirus (SADS-CoV) in the piglets matched genetic sequences found in Chinese horseshoe bats, which are known to harbor SARS-like viruses.Blood tests on farm workers were negative for exposure to SADS-CoV.In a 2017 study, Chinese researchers who spent 5 years analyzing SARS-related viruses in horseshoe bats in a cave in Yunnan province found 11 that had all the genetic building blocks of the strain that infected humans, including 3 that use the same receptor to enter human cells.Osterholm said if the pathogen implicated in the Wuhan cluster is a coronavirus, he worries about possible hospital outbreaks and a “superspreader” event. “But without evidence that a coronavirus is involved, we just don’t know,” he added.See also:FluTrackers threadJan 5 WHO statementJan 6 CDC travel noticeHong Kong CHP surveillance listJan 6 CHP statement on hospitalized patientsApr 5, 2018, CIDRAP News story “New SARS-like virus from bats implicated in China pig die-off”Dec 1, 2017, CIDRAP News story “Bat cave study finds new clues about SARS virus origin”last_img read more

News Scan for Sep 22, 2020

first_imgMassachusetts reports fifth EEE case of the yearHealth officials in Massachusetts recently reported the state’s fifth eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) case of the year, involving a woman in her 60s who was exposed in Plymouth County, where a similar was detected earlier this month in an area known to be at higher risk.The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) said most of the state’s cases since 2000 have occurred before the middle of September, and though mosquito populations are dropping, the risk of contracting EEE remains until after the first hard frost. Wisconsin and Indiana have also reported sporadic cases this year.The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the infections are rare but can be fatal and that the nation averages about 11 EEE cases a year, but 38 were reported in 2019, with Massachusetts the hardest-hit state. Transmission is most common in and around freshwater hardwood swamps in Atlantic and Gulf Coast states and in the Great Lakes region.Sep 17 MDPH press release CDC background information WHO advisors urge flu vaccination to prioritize health workers, seniorsVaccine advisors to the World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday released new interim guidance for flu vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic, which slightly changes the order of the priority risk groups to put health workers at the top of the list, followed by older adults.The WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) said flu transmission might have been altered by COVID-19 measures and limited travel due to travel restrictions, but noted the steps vary by country and flu transmission could rise and circulate alongside SARS-CoV-2 as steps are relaxed.It emphasized that the interim recommendations should be considered alongside its 2012 guidance, knowing that demand for flu vaccine this year might be higher. Modifications this year were made to optimize control of flu during the COVID-19 pandemic and should not interfere with targeting existing risk groups based on national policies.The expert’s interim guidance also covers program considerations for those planning flu vaccine campaigns, research considerations, and knowledge gaps.Sep 21 WHO SAGE interim flu vaccination recommendationslast_img read more

Santa Fe National Forest: All Are Welcome But Please Recreate Responsibly Over Labor Day Weekend

first_imgPeople recreating Aug. 29 leave behind their garbage in Dolton Canyon. Courtesy/SFNF People recreating Aug. 29 leave behind an illegal campfire and garbage in Dalton Canyon. CourtesySFNFSFNF News:SANTA FE — With the three-day Labor Day weekend ahead, the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) is bracing for a huge influx of visitors – far more than a holiday weekend would normally bring.There are many reasons for the big crowds: state parks and campgrounds are still closed to out-of-state tourists and overnight camping; COVID-19 has closed many indoor recreational and entertainment options; and perhaps last but not least, people are just weary of quarantining at home.“We welcome everyone who wants to get outdoors, enjoy their public lands, maybe even discover the national forest for the first time,” Acting Forest Supervisor Debbie Cress said. “We also want to remind our visitors that if you plan to spend the holiday weekend on the national forest, please do so responsibly.”The SFNF is under Stage 1 fire restrictions, which prohibit campfires and charcoal grills unless you are using a Forest Service-installed fire ring or grill in a developed campground. Fire risk is unusually high for September due to prolonged drought, unseasonably high temperatures and low humidities.Responsible recreation, especially under COVID-19 conditions, extends beyond fire prevention. Garbage is a problem. Too many people are leaving too much garbage across the forest. Visitors should be prepared to follow “Leave No Trace” principles, including disposing of waste properly and respecting wildlife. Ideally, “pack it in, pack it out” means you take your trash home with you if trash receptacles on the forest are full. Dogs are welcome but must be leashed in developed recreation areas (campgrounds and picnic sites), parking lots and on interpretive trails.In the interest of public health and safety, please follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and comply with state public health orders to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Avoid crowded areas and park only in designated areas. Do not impede emergency access by blocking roadways, fire lanes or driveways.All SFNF offices will be closed Monday, Sept. 7, 2020, in observance of Labor Day. Virtual business hours will resume Tuesday, Sept. 8.Stay safe and stay up to date by checking the SFNF website and following the forest on Facebook and Twitter.last_img read more

Meritor Announces Carl Anderson Vice President and Treasurer

first_imgTROY, Mich. – Meritor Inc. has appointed Carl Anderson to the position of vice president and treasurer. In this position, Anderson reports directly to Jay Craig, senior vice president and CFO.   Anderson will be responsible for treasury, tax and corporate development. Previously, he served as assistant treasurer for Meritor. He has been with the company for nearly six years. Prior to joining Meritor, he spent close to 10 years in a variety of finance and treasury roles with GMAC.   “Carl’s extensive financial background and experience in treasury, tax and corporate development activities make him the perfect candidate for this position,” said Craig. “Carl has brought significant value to the team in the past several years and has proven to be a very effective finance leader.”   Anderson has an MBA in Finance from Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich., and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.   Mary Lehmann, formerly Meritor’s senior vice president, treasury, tax, corporate development and strategy, communications and investor relations, has elected to accept an opportunity outside the company following eight years with Meritor. Lehmann played an instrumental role in the transformation of Meritor over the past several years.   Meritor’s Corporate Strategy, Communications and Investor Relations functions will now report directly to Craig.     AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement,Lubrication Specialties Inc. (LSI), manufacturer of Hot Shot’s Secret brand of performance additives and oils, recently announced the expansion of senior leadership. Steve deMoulpied joins LSI as the company’s chief operating officer (COO). AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement With more than 20 years of experience across multiple industries and functional areas, deMoulpied has particular expertise in organizations with complex technical products. Combined, his prior positions have required a spectrum of skills in corporate strategy, operations improvement, product quality, and revenue cycle management. He has an impressive history of utilizing data driven problem solving (Lean Six Sigma) and project management (PMP and CSM) to achieve strategic goals surrounding customer satisfaction, operational efficiency and improved profit.  DeMoulpied comes to LSI from the Private Client Services practice of Ernst & Young where he managed strategy & operations improvement engagements for privately held client businesses. Some of his prior roles include VP of strategic development, director of strategic initiatives, and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt at OptumHealth, UnitedHealth Group’s health services business, as well as Lean Six Sigma Black Belt at General Electric, where he applied operations improvement principles to customer service, supply chain and product development. A successful entrepreneur, deMoulpied is also the founder of PrestoFresh, a Cleveland-based e-commerce food/grocery business.  DeMoulpied has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Management from the United States Air Force Academy and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Dayton in Marketing and International Business. He served six years with the USAF overseeing the development of technology used on fighter aircraft and the E-3 Surveillance aircraft, finishing his career honorably as Captain. LSI President Brett Tennar says, “Steve’s success in developing operational strategies that improves the bottom line, builds teamwork, reduces waste and ensures quality product development and distribution checks many of the boxes of what we were looking for in a COO. This, coupled with his career in the Air Force working with highly technical systems and his in-depth understanding of Lean Six Sigma and Business Process Management sealed our offer. As our tagline states, our products are Powered by Science. This data driven approach is one reason why our company has grown exponentially as we employ the most advanced technology to product development. I am confident that Steve is the right person to drive operational strategy for our diverse and growing brands.” Advertisementlast_img read more

First Class Travel For Your Bags

first_imgGetting off the train one Friday afternoon, Danielle Candela returned home to the Hamptons. However, her tremendous bags reminded her of the commute to get there, countless shoes and all.During this tiresome moment in the summer of 2016, Candela found the inspiration for her new start up, Tote Taxi, set to launch this May.“I was dragging my suitcase from my apartment [in Manhattan], the subway station, my office and then packing myself on the LIRR with my over-sized bag on my lap. I looked around and saw there were so many other people doing the same,” Candela reminisced. “I had that light bulb moment.Why wasn’t there an affordable service that brought your things out to the Hamptons for you?” And just like that, a business plan was born.Tote Taxi is a same day courier service that brings your bags from your Manhattan apartment directly to the door step of your stay in Montauk. “It’s first class for your bags” for those using public transportation, whether it’s the Long Island Railroad, shared helicopter or small sized car service.Price points begin at $39 for a 25-lb bag and go up to $69 for a 56-lb golf bag, which can be sent to the club house itself. All of this is conveniently scheduled through the Tote Taxi website. Service will run to Montauk Thursday through Saturday and to New York City Sunday and Monday. Customers can pick the date of their early morning pickup — recommended scheduling is 24 hours in advance — and can expect their luggage delivered between the afternoon and evening hours.Yet, all of this wouldn’t be possible without the i-Hamptons community, an organization that focuses on aiding thriving entrepreneurs through local events, further education, and investment opportunities. Candela learned about i-Hamptons through another Southampton entrepreneur in September 2017.Ashley Heather, creator of i-Hamptons and The Spur, a new co-working space in Southampton, organized a “Shark Tank” style event that sparked Candela’s interest. A month later, while on a family trip to Rome, Candela entered the contest by creating a two-minute video explaining her business venture.“I had to put it together and find someone to help me edit while I was overseas,” Candela explained. “That’s being an entrepreneur for you. You have to be able to roll with it, step up to the plate — and in this instance, I loved the pressure. It was go time!”Fast forward to the November 25, 2017 event, Rip Tide [Hamptons] $ink or $wim, where Tote Taxi won $15,000, which thus far funded the website and a vehicle to transport customers’ bags. In addition to the grant, Candela received mentorship and membership at The Spur, with dual access to the New York City location, WorkHouse. As a city resident on weekdays and Hamptons bound during the weekends, this was an ideal situation for her busy, creative lifestyle.Candela noted, “The energy, the people — it’s so great. Heather really built a sense of community where everyone is on the same team. It’s really refreshing.”Local entrepreneurs Kathleen King, Bruce Bockmann, Meg Farrell, and David Bohnett have all supplied Candela with meaningful advice for Tote Taxi, through their learned expertise. Starting up a new business provides many obstacles, but support from other like-minded individuals makes the process easier, she said.To support her start up, Candela retains a day job at XO Group in Manhattan, a media company that publishes multi-media content for couples who are planning weddings, creating a home, and starting a family. A trained figure skater, she also recently completed a season instructing ice skating at Buckskill Winter Club in East Hampton. No matter where she is or what she’s doing, one thing is for certain, “being an entrepreneur isn’t something you can turn off. It’s an eat, sleep, dream mentality.” As a single woman in her 20s, without the responsibility of a family, starting up a business felt like a no-brainer. This is her time to take risks, to see how high she could soar, she noted.Her advice to other female entrepreneurs is to start small by setting aside at least an hour a day towards the dream. “Always trust your gut. Having a supportive, trustworthy team is crucial. As women, we have great intuition. Don’t doubt that voice. Only you know what’s best,” she said.Keep up to date on all that’s happening with Danielle Candela and Tote Taxi by visiting Sharelast_img read more

Canadian Government invests $25m in Carbon Engineering

first_imgGet instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270. Subscribelast_img

MotivePower signs contract for first Tier 4 passenger locos

first_imgCANADA: Greater Toronto transport authority Metrolinx has signed a US$45m contract for MotivePower to repower 11 of its diesel locomotives with twin Cummins QSK60 engines.The MPXpress locomotives were built by MotivePower about five years ago for use on commuter services. After repowering, they will be the first North American passenger locomotives to meet US Environmental Protection Agency Tier 4 emissions standards, according to Wabtec Corp, MotivePower’s parent company. Repowering will reduce particulate emissions by about 85% and NOx emissions by about 75%. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2014. ‘We believe MotivePower is well positioned to participate further in this market by offering similar environmental upgrades to existing diesel-electric commuter locomotives throughout North America as the new standards are phased in over the next several years’, said Wabtec President & CEO Albert J Neupaver on August 14.last_img read more

Hybrid drive demonstrates 15% fuel saving

first_imgENGINE: A 15% reduction in fuel consumption compared to a conventional diesel multiple-unit was achieved by Deutsche Bahn’s VT642 test DMU when MTU undertook trials with a hybrid version of its PowerPack.MTU’s PowerPacks combine a DMU engine with electric, mechanical or hydraulic transmission, after-treatment, auxiliaries and cooling systems into a single unit mounted on a support frame. The Hybrid version adds an electric propulsion module with battery, power electronics and a control system. MTU has now delivered more than 6 000 conventional PowerPacks, and hopes the hybrid version can also achieve a firm foothold in the market. Trial runs totalling 2 300 km were undertaken between January and March on the 26 km Staudenbahn in Bayern. MTU used the tests to verify 70 scenarios which it had previously simulated in order to determine how the hybrid system would respond to different conditions, and how the DMU could be operated most efficiently. MTU believes that further fuel savings would be possible on a route with a profile which is more favourable for regenerative braking. Hybrid PowerPacks could also be combined with overhead electrification to produce an electro-diesel hybrid.‘These test runs represent a milestone in this project as a whole,’ said Dr Ingo Wintruff, Vice-President Propulsion & Power Generation, Head of Rail, Mining, Oil & Gas Business at MTU. ‘A fuel saving of 15% is a fantastic result and means that under optimum conditions, 20% to 25% should be possible.’ The trials showed that noise from a moving train could be reduced by five decibels, ‘a clearly noticeable reduction’, while the noise of a stationary DMU was 21 decibels lower, because auxiliary systems were powered by the batteries with the engine switched off.last_img read more

Ballard to supply hydrogen fuel cells to Pau buses

first_imgFRANCE: Ballard Power Systems has signed a letter of intent with Van Hool to provide hydrogen fuel cells for eight buses that Van Hool is supplying to operate a BRT route in Pau. Due to be delivered in the second half of 2019, the 18 m buses with capacity for 125 passengers will use fuel cells with back up from lithium batteries. Ballard will supply its FCveloCity-HD 100 kW fuel cell engines. These will allow the buses to run for up to 300 km between refuelling, which takes 10 min. ENGIE subsidiary GNVERT is to build and operate the hydrogen refuelling stations. The project is being funded through the EU’s Fuel Cells & Hydrogen Joint Undertaking programme.last_img read more