The megaphone—first seen in historical artifacts from Ancient Greece and in Native-American artistic depictions of a chief, is a tool used even today to equalize the proverbial sound field. Samuel Morland and Athanasius Kircher are credited to have independently “invented” the modern acoustic version of this useful device around the seventeenth century 1.
The pure acoustics of a horn may have been augmented by the power of electronics since then, but the use of the megaphone has stayed with us. Today, megaphones are often at the center of social movements, political rallies, and other events that catch our attention even in the noisy world of anything-is-news.
Speaking of catching someone’s attention—have you ever thought of taking a megaphone to the club, or the crowded meet-and-mingle bar? A tiny little tree cricket does. It turns out that scientists had known about the baffling phenomenon of little crickets being just as noisy as large crickets when it came time to attract a mate, and had given the phenomenon the creative name “baffling.” But now scientists from the Indian Institute of Science have found the secret behind baffling.
They report that smaller male crickets position themselves strategically on leaves while chirping to attract females. They use these leaf surfaces as megaphones adding about 10 dB to their calls and equalizing the playing field with larger males able to produce louder chirps2. The natural world never seizes to amaze, … err baffle.
What Exactly Are Binaural Beats?
When you present one tone to one ear and a second to the other ear, your brain perceives an additional tone. This is the essence of binaural beats. The concept of two tones creating a third tone should ring familiar with audiologists. However, our clinical use typically is unilateral when assessing distortion product otoacoustic emissions….
Does Your Dog Listen to You?
Dogs have a reputation for being human’s best friend. If you have ever had one as a pet, you know that they can be a loyal companion. Maybe even a trusted confidante? You may have tried training your dog to follow basic commands like “sit” and “stay.” Have you ever noticed though that some…
Who’s Afraid of Snakes?
Research shows that approximately half of the population feel “anxious” about snakes, and a whopping three percent of the population meet the diagnostic criteria for snake phobia (Polak et al., 2016). Is it their skin? Is it that they have no legs and thus slither? Is it the tongue? Is it their ears? Wait—do snakes…