I’ve been in a non-blogging mode due to classes starting and being a bit overwhelmed by everything, but the news came out today that Microsoft Silicon Valley is closing. Although the article says that some researchers may find new homes at other MSR campuses, it’s not clear who is staying and who is going. As with all of the recent industrial research lab closures/downsizings, my first thoughts are to the researchers who were working there — even if one has an inkling that things are “going bad” it still must be a shock to hear that you won’t be going to the office on Monday. Here’s hoping they land on their feet (and keep pushing the ball forward on the research front) soon!
As an undergraduate I became interested in how timbre can be used to identify musical instruments. This was largely due to my first UROP (undergraduate research gig) with Keith Martin at the MIT Media Lab. Keith’s thesis was on identifying musical instruments from spectral features, and I worked a bit on this under Ryan Rifkin in a later UROP. I’ve been catching up on podcasts during my commute to campus this week, and a semi-recent Science Friday piece on the Steinway factory was on deck for this morning.
The piece talks about work in Agnieszka Roginska‘s lab at NYU, and in particular work from a paper from last year on measuring radiation patterns in piano soundboards. The radiation patterns are pretty but a bit hard to interpret, largely because I’m way out of the acoustical signal processing world. However, what’s interesting to me is that we’re still largely focused on overtones/cepstral coefficients. I wonder about how one might discover more interesting features to characterize this data. (I know someone will suggest deep learning but color me a little skeptical).
As a side note, one of the recent popular articles from JASA is on the acoustics of coffee roasting.
There’s a lot of talk about how the journalism industry is suffering and soon we’re going to be piled under an avalanche of Buzzfeed lists, reblogs of reblogs, doges.
My friend Celeste LeCompte and her friends have started a new venture called Climate Confidential — they are a collective of journalists and writers who will focus on environmental issues. They’re running a crowdfunding campaign on Beacon, a writer-focused site, to get started. I heartily encourage you lurking blog readers out there to support them.
In case you wanted to listen to old African vinyl albums, you’re in luck.
I have a burning-hot hatred of payday loan places, so this Pro Publica piece just stoked the fire.
A tumblr on how we make progress in research.
Via Inside Higher Ed I saw that Obama has nominated France Anne Córdova as the new head of the NSF. Córdova may be most famous as NASA’s Chief Scientist, but after leaving NASA she had a series of administrative positions, most recently as President of Purdue.
Do any of the readers of the blog have an opinion about this choice? Also, given the GOP’s oft-expressed dislike of the NSF, will she ever get an actual Senate confirmation?
An op-ed from n+1 on the safety of being brown.
Via Mimosa (I think), a profile of photographer Nemai Ghosh, who worked with Satyajit Ray.
Via my father, the story of Indian Jewish actresses in early Bollywood.
Things seems to be heating up on the LAC. Not a good sign.
This slideshow makes me want to go to Slurping Turtle again.