WBEZ | senses http://www.wbez.org/tags/senses Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Clever Apes #13: Origin stories http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2011-05-24/clever-apes-13-origin-stories-86999 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-May/2011-05-24/Kipunji.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="The only known specimen of rungwecebus kipunji is locked away at the Field Museu" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-25/Kipunji 1.jpg" style="width: 595px; height: 335px;" title="The only known specimen of rungwecebus kipunji is locked away at the Field Museum. "></p><p>Say the original <a href="http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/">Declaration of Independence </a>burned up. No problem, you might think – we have pictures of it. But then say someone discovered that a word had been scratched out and replaced. Without the original document to examine, we might never know what that discarded word was … or how close we came to being a nation founded on the right to pursue “life, liberty and the pursuit of waffles.”</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483509-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/Clever_Apes_13_Origin_Stories.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>There’s power in the original – whether it’s a document, the mold of a famous sculpture, or the standard of a common measurement, like <a href="http://www.bipm.org/en/practical_info/faq/faqs_mass.html">the kilogram.</a></p><p>Scientists who name a new species keep an artifact of its origin. It’s called the holotype – the standard by which a new species (or genus or subspecies) is designated. It turns out there are a whole bunch of these <a href="http://fieldmuseum.org/explore/our-collections/mammal-collection">locked away in secure cases in Chicago</a> – more than 500 just for mammals. It’s like a tiny National Archives of biology.</p><p>On this round of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/cleverapes">Clever Apes, </a>we consider origins, from the concrete example of a <a href="http://www.wcs.org/saving-wildlife/small-primates/kipunji.aspx">monkey holotype</a>, to the murk of the beginnings of consciousness. On that point, we check in with Malcolm MacIver of Northwestern, whom we visited last year to hear a choir of singing fish he helped create. Those fish inspired his theory on the origins of consciousness, which he first laid out in <a href="http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/sciencenotfiction/2011/03/14/why-did-consciousness-evolve-and-how-can-we-modify-it/">several blog posts.</a> He dates it back to our emergence from the primordial oceans, when all of a sudden we could begin to see much farther. That meant more time to plan, to consider possible futures. And that, by at least one formulation, is the essence of consciousness.</p><p>As always, subscribe to the Clever Apes&nbsp;<a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/CleverApesPodcast" target="_blank" title="http://feeds.feedburner.com/CleverApesPodcast">podcast</a>, follow us on&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/cleverapes" target="_blank" title="http://twitter.com/#!/cleverapes">Twitter</a>, find us on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clever-Apes-on-WBEZ/118246851551412" target="_blank" title="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clever-Apes-on-WBEZ/118246851551412">Facebook</a>.</p><p><img alt="Alas, poor Kipunj: Bill Stanley and the skull of a new genus he helped identify." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-25/Stanley and skull 1.jpg" title="Alas, poor Kipunj: Bill Stanley and the skull of a new genus he helped identify." width="600" height="337"></p></p> Wed, 25 May 2011 04:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2011-05-24/clever-apes-13-origin-stories-86999 Clever Apes #8: Sense abilities http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2011-02-28/clever-apes-8-sense-abilities-83045 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/ear_coch.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<img height="492" align="middle" width="428" title="Cochlear implants show how our senses depend on both machine and mind. " alt="Cochlear implants show how our senses depend on both machine and mind. " class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-February/2011-02-27/ear_coch.jpg" /></p><p>Our senses tell us about the world, but they also reveal a lot about ourselves. On the latest installment of Clever Apes, we find that research into <a href="http://www.utdallas.edu/~loizou/cimplants/tutorial/">cochlear implants</a> helps us understand how all hearing is really both mechanical and subjective, machine and mind. Then we meet a <a href="http://experts.uchicago.edu/experts.php?id=493">mathematical neuroscientist</a> (or would that be neuro-mathematician?) who has solved the equations behind <a href="http://thesciencenetwork.org/programs/raw-science/geometric-visual-hallucinations">visual hallucinations</a> (hint: it involves a fun romp into <a href="http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/quantum-field-theory/">quantum field theory</a>! Oh yeah, and it also may help explain cave art and religion &hellip; more on that in a future post.)</p><p><span player="null" class="filefield_audio_insert_player" id="filefield_audio_insert_player-89087" href="/sites/default/files/Clever Apes_110228_GS.mp3">Clever Apes_110228_GS.mp3</span></p><p>Meanwhile, as we discuss in the episode, cochlear implants work largely on the same principle as the vocoder (hear a fascinating history of the <a href="http://www.kraftwerkfaq.hu/equipment.html#vocoder">vocoder </a>from our colleagues at Sound Opinions). This involves encoding sound &ndash; as in, ripples in air pressure &ndash; onto a piece of white noise. The result is that familiar robotic-type sound that lovers of <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXa9tXcMhXQ">Kraftwerk </a>know so well. Dr. Valeriy Shafiro offers a fine<a href="http://www.rushu.rush.edu/cds/arl/CurrentResearch.html"> demonstration of the effect</a> at his lab's web site (heard only in Internet Explorer, I'm afraid). You can plainly hear how speech comes across much better than environmental sound.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="277" align="middle" width="369" alt="Implant patient Mary Callahan, with audiologist Dr. Valeriy Shafiro. " title="Implant patient Mary Callahan, with audiologist Dr. Valeriy Shafiro. " class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-February/2011-02-27/Mary small.JPG" /></p><p>Another Rush University researcher, <a href="http://www.rushu.rush.edu/servlet/Satellite?ParentId=1194024352668&amp;ParentType=RushUnivLevel3Page&amp;bcp=1194024350616&amp;c=RushUnivNews&amp;cid=1259591326935&amp;mHeaderImage=L2headAbt_01.png&amp;mHeaderImageOver=L2headAbt-over_01.png&amp;pagename=Rush/RushUnivNews/News_Detail_Page">Julia Cheng</a>, is doing work on cochlear implant patients' ability to appreciate music. Incidentally, Mary Callahan, the patient in the story, says she can really only appreciate music that she remembers from when she had in-tact hearing. She laments that she went deaf when Cindy Lauper's <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIb6AZdTr-A">&quot;Girls Just Want to Have Fun&quot;</a> was topping the charts, leaving her musical palate very limited. Though I have to say that Lauper has worn better than I ever would have expected.</p><p>Also, you&rsquo;ll notice Clever Apes is a tad shorter this month than in past episodes. This is part of what we hope will soon become the new-look, twice-monthly Clever Apes, heard regularly during Morning Edition and via a more robust podcast. So don&rsquo;t hate.</p><p>As always, subscribe to our <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-clever-apes/id379051174">podcast</a>, follow us on <a href="http://twitter.com/cleverapes">Twitter </a>and find us on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clever-Apes-on-WBEZ/118246851551412">Facebook</a>.</p></p> Mon, 28 Feb 2011 12:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2011-02-28/clever-apes-8-sense-abilities-83045