I hear Lauel! In the tremendous rush to understand the single greatest topic of conversation since that time nobody knew whether a dress was blue and black or actually white and gold. Popular Science has taken up the cause. Brad Story is a professor of speech, language, and hearing sciences at the University of Arizona, and he did a quick analysis of the waveform. That first waveform is of the actual recording, which features the primary acoustic features of the “l” and “r” sounds. That leads Story to believe that the voice is really saying “laurel.” The fuzzier image below shows that the recording is of the third resonance of the vocal tract. As your vocal tract changes shape to form different sounds, it produces specific resonances, or natural vibrational frequencies. It’s these resonances that encode language within a sound wave (and thus how you can analyze a waveform and determine speech sounds). He also recorded himself saying both words to demonstrate how the waveforms vary. You can see (though maybe only with the added arrows and highlighting) that the acoustic features match up between the actual video recording and the recording of Story saying “laurel.” It starts relatively high for the “l” sound, then drops for the “r” and goes back up high for the second “l.” Story explains that the “yanny” sound follows a similar path, just not with quite the same acoustic features. That wave also goes high-low-high, but the whole thing is shifted into the second resonance—not the third. Britt Yazel, a researcher at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain, agrees. “I honestly think after looking at the spectrograms and playing with some filters that this is just the word “Laurel” with some high frequency artifacts overlaying it,” he says. At first he thought it was two overlaid voices, but then he started cleaning up the audio a bit. Now he thinks that the overlaid frequencies above 4.5 kHz are what sound like “yanny” to some people. So what started off as just a fun thing has degenerated into just way way too much information.
President Trump and Former Security Advisor Michael Flynn
There is ever increasing evidence against President Donald Trump supporting a case of obstruction of justice. It includes a tweet that he fired his former security adviser Michael Flynn because he knew Flynn had lied to both the Vice President and the FBI. If he knew Flynn had committed a felony; that of lying to the FBI, then one could draw a conclusion Mr. Trump obstructed justice when he told then-FBI director James Comey to go easy on Flynn the day after the firing of Flynn. On December 1, 2017, Flynn appeared in federal court to formalize a deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller to plead guilty to a single felony count of “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI. As part of his plea bargain agreement to avoid additional charges Michael Flynn is talking to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation team regarding Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election in order to avoid a prison sentence. Should we believe a retired United States ArmyLieutenant General, a member of Trump’s inter-circle during the Trump presidential campaign, a member of the transition team and the National Security Advisor during the first days of the Trump presidency acted on his own in contacting the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak? And if he received guidance to contact the Russian government then its more than likely that guidance could only have come from Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, or President Trump. Tic, tic, tic, tic.
Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger Win Rookie of the Year Awards
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge and Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger won the Rookie of the Year Awards unanimously in their respective leagues, as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Judge, 25, hit .284/.422/.627 with 52 home runs, 114 RBI, and 128 runs scored in 678 plate appearances. He led the American League in home runs, runs scored, and walks (127). Judge made the AL All-Star team during the summer and just took home a Silver Slugger Award. He’s a major contender for the AL MVP Award as well. Judge is the first Yankee to win the Rookie of the Year Award since Derek Jeter in 1996.
Robert Mueller Can Now Close Down Russian Investigation
In May 2017, Robert Mueller was appointed by the Justice Department as special counsel to oversee the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, one of several investigations looking into the matter. Mueller can now close down that investigation because after chatting with former KGB agent and now President of Russia Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit President Trump is contradicting the overwhelming consensus among current and former U.S. officials that the Russian leader tried to manipulate the 2016 election. In a 26-minute question-and-answer session with reporters aboard Air Force One, the president managed to dismiss probes into whether his campaign colluded with Russia as an “artificial Democratic hit job,” said he believed Putin was being sincere when he insisted that Russia did not attempt to interfere in the 2016 election, and warned that the continued focus on Russian election meddling risks lives. I was worried there for a while that perhaps Russia didn’t respect us or value our way of life. So now I guess we can close down Mueller’s Russian investigation and get on with the real work of the Administration, that of giving a tax break to corporations as well as the wealthiest tax payers. And let’s create more ciaos in the health care system that will result in people paying more for health care no matter who they are.
Fireball Rant of Day – The End of the Driving Your Automobile Is In Sight
In the beginning there were no automobiles and there was darkness along the roads. And man said let us have cars that will move us along the road more efficiently than the horse. At first man created basic transportation vehicles. Once two cars were created, they raced them to see which was better. Man then designed cars to reflect specific needs; functionality combined with beauty and style. The brothers August and Frederick Duesenberg, Henry Ford , Louis Chevrolet, Ferdinand Porsche, Enzo Ferrari all designed and built cars to go beyond transportation befitting our dreams of how to drive and what to drive. I’ve been a car guy all my life. My first car at age 3 was a pedal car very similar to this photo (below right). David Dikowski lived two houses down from us. He had a fire engine pedal car (below left). We raced each other routinely ‘cause that’s what guys do. I worn out three sets of tires on that pedal car. The first car I bought was a tangerine orange ’69 Porsche 911 E Targa. I purchased it from my high school French teacher, another car guy. I’ve had Porsche 911’s ever since. That’s mine below right. Why? Because they’re fun to drive; they were built to drive; to drive fast; to take corners with ease; to make a statement; to be the statement. I’ve also had a couple street rods over the years and as most of you know I’m building a ’31 Chevy 5 Window Coupe. (photo of a 3 window coupe – not mine) Your imagination and your wallet establish the design parameters for these most personalized vehicles. Today’s cars are already being homogenized so as to look nearly identical. They’re either black, white, one of the 50 shades of grey with one red and one blue car per 100 thrown into the mix. I noted that on 07 November, Waymo, a subsidiary of Google has partnered with several other big name corporations to introduce driverless ride-sharing within the next few months, beginning in Phoenix. Those partners include: Fiat-Chrysler for minivans, AutoNation for vehicle service, Avis for fleet management and Lyft for their ride-share technology. Every big name automobile manufacturer is employing all available technology to create driverless ride-share. It will only be a few years until driverless vehicles are accepted as the norm. Children born today will never need to obtain that rite of passage – a driver’s license.
When these blob vehicles reach a critical mass of say 75%; governments will say, driverless cars all obey the speed limits all the time, they reduce the number of accidents, cars driven by individuals are responsible for 90% of vehicle accidents; therefore you have five years to cease driving your vehicles on public roads – you may keep them in your own personal museum – under certain qualifying rules of course. What I see developing is a culture where we can’t and don’t drive. Vehicles will be owned, operated, maintained by conglomerates. People will just pay for a service provided ride from point A to B. The building of great automobiles and the experience of driving those automobiles will be gone forever. I will be both mad and sad. Comments please!
A lot of FOD to pick up. Comments welcomed of course.
Hurricane Maria Relief Efforts
We’re just beginning to grasp the scope of the devastation to Puerto Rico. This American territory has been holding on by a thread for years and has been on the verge of bankruptcy several times. Its infrastructure was already substandard and in need of major overhaul prior to Maria. Military Times is reporting, two U.S. Navy ships, National Guard, Air National Guard, Reserve troops and Army helicopters are providing aid to Puerto Rico. But questions are mounting over whether the U.S. is doing enough for its territory and people, who are American citizens. To date, the amphibious assault ship Kearsarge and dock landing ship Oak Hill have “conducted eight medical evacuations, 148 airlifts and delivered 44,177 [pounds] of relief supplies and cargo to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” U.S. Northern Command said in a statement. U.S. forces have also restored a mobile communications tower at St. Thomas International Airport to enable the airport to receive additional aircraft to evacuate residents. The amphibious assault ship Wasp has been conducting similar rescues in Dominica, but that ship will be departing the region to head to the Pacific, where it will eventually relieve the Bonhomme Richard, a Navy official said. Approximately 2,600 U.S. military personnel and National Guard members are currently involved in Hurricane Maria relief efforts, the Pentagon said. Currently, more than 700 Air National Guard airmen are deployed to Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to support relief efforts. Most of Puerto Rico has no electricity or cell phone capabilities because of Hurricane Maria’s damage to the electrical grid and cell towers. There are long lines for food and water. Likely we’ll need to do more and the more is likely to continue for years.
USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain Take Another Top Officer