Showing posts from April, 2016

Neuro misconceptions

I'm sure it's due to the frequency illusion, but having switched from tech into more of the psych/neuroscience fields, I'm starting to notice an increase in the number of articles coming out claiming new findings on how the brain works. For example, this coverage of the effects of LSD on the brain, or this one on creating a map of where each word is 'represented'. (Note: using guardian articles just for consistency, not because they're particularly good/bad). This time related to the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect, I also find articles about the brain to be fairly poorly written - e.g. misrepresent the trial, explain it badly, leap to wrong conclusions, etc. The same is true sometimes also when talking about the research, and surprisingly, even in the research papers themselves! So in case it's useful for anyone reading these things, I figured I'd note a few things to be wary of when reading any upcoming neuro-related news. With the caveat: this is only my f…

Sounds good - part 1.5

The last few posts on sounds seemed well received, so I'm inserting a few more explanations of sound-related concepts between the first (basics) and second (spectrogram-based) installments. Consider this part 1.5, covering some of the more fundamental topics, but migrating towards spectrogram-based ideas at the end.

Karplus–Strong (string synthesis):
You might recall from part 1 that pressure that changes in the form of a sine wave is interpreted by our ears as a single, pure tone. As explored in the waveforms section though, other shapes (triangle, square, saw, ...) when repeated at the same frequency also sound like the same note, just the acoustics are a bit different. This leads to the question: if it's just the repetition that is important, what do other shapes sound like? It turns out, that you can start with a random shape, repeat it at the right frequency, and it will usually sound like a stringed instrument. Adding in a filter (see below), you get a nice synthesized (i…

Kindling #4

This post is from a series of review posts - for the whole list, see my Kindling page.

Now that I've finally managed to finish the novel I've been reading for almost half a year now it seemed a good time to do another book review dump in case anyone is reading these (and while waiting for music uploads to be processed for another post).

Catch-22(Joseph Heller) - On my list of 'classics to read', I didn't really find myself getting in to Catch 22, although I can see its appeal. It fits in a style of novel that I see a lot but doesn't gel with me: a collection of weird events that aren't that related, centered around unusual characters and their weird behaviors and circumstances. In an earlier post I mentioned the same problem with Kurt Vonnegut, so while it was well written, I couldn't help feel I would rather be reading about Milo's story of growing his trade empire, rather than Yossarian's.

Armada(Ernest Cline) - Armada is the second novel from t…