Tag Archives: YouTube

Scientists explain how you can get earworms out of your mind

You know that one song that got stuck in your head this morning? Maybe you didn’t know where it came from – it was like a bolt from the blue – or perhaps you caught the chorus seeping out of someone’s headphones on the tube?

And now it’s just stuck.

We all know earworms – songs that get lodged in our brains and place themselves on infinite repeat.

Now scientists at Western Washington University claim they have found a way of helping you get rid of the earworms.

And, strangely enough, the solution seems to be difficult anagrams.

“The key is to find something that will give the right level of challenge. If you are cognitively engaged, it limits the ability of intrusive songs to enter your head.” Dr Ira Hyman, a music psychologist at Western Washington University and the one responsible for the research, explained.

“Something we can do automatically like driving or walking means you are not using all of your cognitive resource, so there is plenty of space left for that internal jukebox to start playing.”

“Likewise, if you are trying something too hard, then your brain will not be engaged successfully, so that music can come back. You need to find that bit in the middle where there is not much space left in the brain. That will be different for each individual.”

According to Dr Hyman, the project about earworms has wider potential than getting ‘that’ song out of your head.

“If we can understand how intrusive songs work, it should help us understand how having an intrusive thought stuck in your head can be controlled as well,” he said.

But even without the further potentials, I personally think Dr Hyman is on the short list for a Noble Prize. It, that is, his ideas helps me this Kylie Minogue song out of my mind (it’s been there ever since I read about his research):

BigDog robot tosses cinderblocks like tennisballs. What do you mean why?

Boston Dynamics have built the rather famous BigDog walking robot. Originally designed as an equipmnet carrying all-terrain robot, the boys in the lab decided to give it a little add-on. And hey presto, the robot can now fling around cinderblocks in a way that can really be summed up in the words ‘terrifying’ and ‘awesome’. OK, you could add that it looks a bit bambiesque as well 🙂

See it in action here:

Explaining science with things that make you go awwww

Cute baby goat
Photo by: tintedglass

I’m guessing that teaching science to younger children (or older children, or adults for that matter) can be a bit of an uphill struggle at times.

Part of the reason for that might by that science often involves abstract concepts. Take the atom, for example. How do you explain how an atom looks? Some would use stationary models, but they can’t encompass the fact that things in an atom move around.

Good thing we have golden retrievers.

‘Golden retriever?’ you ask.

Yep, golden retrievers:

Now if we were talking about chemical bond, you wouldn’t need golden retrievers. Most dogs can explain that concept. Like these two:

Dogs can also be used to explain more basic concepts. Like uneven surfaces:

Geeking out on a Wednesday afternoon

Geek Christmas Decorations
Photo by: Qole Tech

A great thing about working in the age of the Internet is that I can kinda decide my own hours. Not that I don’t have to work, but I sort of manga, no, make that manage myself. Now this might only count for me – or at least the me that I am these days..or the me I would be if I traveled back in time and…

Yes, I have been geeking out this afternoon 🙂

Not much to show for it except a smile on my lips, and a few little nuggets of nerd gold to share.

Like the site texts from superheroes, home of conversations like this one:


And this one:




Secondly, someone has (finally) recreated the epic sword fighting mini-game from Monkey Island as a browser game. Get ‘I’m Rubber and You’re Glue’-ing here:

Monkey Island Sword Fight.

And now that George Lucas has sold Star Wars to Disney (next episode to star Mickey Mouse as the good guy and Donald Duck as a Sith lord…wait, the second part would actually be funny…imagine Donald throwing a dark side of the force fit…) let’s take a little time to remember how he managed to ruin it for all of us:

Stunning animations of bacteria and more

Xvivo is a company, I recently stumbled across, who describes themselves as:

“XVIVO’s award-winning animation studio creates compelling visual productions for pharmaceutical, medical device and biotech companies, advertising agencies, educational organizations, museums and broadcast companies.”

OK, so they sometimes do things that look pretty for corporate evil. However, they also do some of the greatest scientific animations I’ve seen in a long, long time.

Like this one done for Harvard University:

Or this, rather impressive, demo reel:

Recording industry flails about with another stoneage move in a loosing battle

The recording industry are still sulking about the fact that Steve Jobs figured out how you could make money off on-line music and now they have found another thing on the internet to sulk about.

The Recording Industry Association of America, which represents the four largest record companies in the world, have asked Download.com to remove software from its site that would let users rip music from video files, such as those found on YouTube, and convert it to MP3’s.

“More than a year ago we asked Download.com to remove applications that are used to steal our members’ content,” the RIAA said in a statement.

The request follows quick on the heels of the story that YouTube-MP3.org was blocked from accessing YouTube. As the name indicates, YouTube-MP3.org is a site dedicated to ripping audio from YouTube videos.

Never being someone who was interested in the lessons of ancient Greece, RIAA seem intent on trying to push a stone uphill. In this case, the stone they’re behind is the copyright of songs.

The record companies have realised that you have to go where the kids are to get them to listen to your music. And the kids are on YouTube. A recent Nielsen study showed that more than two-thirds of American kids and teens used YouTube to listen to music. That’s more than any other technology, including radio and TV.

And trying to get in the way of kids ripping the audio from YouTube and sticking it on their iPods and phones, by going after a website and a hub for software distribution is about as effective as trying to empty the ocean with a bucket.