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The Sounds of Failure (and Science)

Wanna know what protein synthesis sounds like? Well, tough. Wanna know what Jad Abumrad (co-host of RadioLab) thinks it might sound like, rendered as muic? Okay, that we can tell you. In this talk from PopTech, Abumrad plays “the sounds of failure,” and goes on to play his musical interpretation of protein synthesis, does lots of fiddling with curious sounds, and says this rather remarkable quote:

“The noise within the crayfish’s tail takes that weak signal [from an attacking fish], bumps it up just over the threshold, and the crayfish gets a signal: ‘Oh, fish!’ and scoots away, milliseconds before that fish arrives.”

Trust me, it makes sense in context. There’s also a whole bit of business about monkey brains and rock-paper-scissors. Seriously. For instance:

“The latent stochastic chaos in the monkey’s brain was contributing to an effective rock-paper-scissors strategy — because you have to be unpredictable!”

Now, how can you not watch this video, after those two quotes?

Sound and science with Jad Abumrad from PopTech on Vimeo.

(Via Brain Pickings.)

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Date
March 22nd, 2011

Author
Stranger to the World

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