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Air Flow In Trained Opera Singers

November 22nd, 2021

The airflow from a trained opera singer has been studied intensively. It led to this video, a year ago, and now to a published study (and a new video, too).

The study is “Tracking the Air Exhaled by an Opera Singer,” Philippe Bourrianne, Paul R. Kaneelil, Manouk Abkarian, and Howard A. Stone, Physical Review Fluids, vol. 6, no. 110503, 2021.

The researchers, at Princeton University and the University of Montpellier, report:

“We observed the air exhaled by a mezzosoprano singer during her performance of an Armenian lullaby “Oror.” We use a high-speed infrared camera (FLIR X6900SC) operating in the midwave range of the infrared spectrum (1.5–5 μm). The use of a filter in the absorption range of CO2 (4.2 μm) enables tracking the warm exhaled CO2. The opera singer sat beside a dark nonreflective curtain that provided a uniform background at the ambient temperature. As seen in the image sequence of Fig. 1, the infrared imaging captures the warm face of the singer and the warm exhaled CO2. The spatial extent of the exhaled CO2 can, thus, be estimated.”

There is an accompanying new video.

Canine Co-leadership Actorhood in Organizations [dog study]

November 22nd, 2021

“Dogs are mostly ignored by organization theory despite the existence of a rich literature on human–animal studies that helps theoretical extension in the direction of organization studies.”

Professor Miguel Pina e Cunha [pictured] along with colleagues Arménio Rego and Iain Munro show : “why and to what extent dogs are important actors in the lives of organizations and discuss reasons that explain such relevance in functional and symbolic terms” in the journal Human Relations, Volume: 72 issue: 4, page(s): 778-800.


“ In organizations, dogs are engaged in power plays and in the institutional functioning of organizations, gaining symbolic power and even co-leadership actorhood.”

A full copy of the paper may be found here.

BONUS If you’d like to view, appraise, or commission oil paintings of dogs in uniforms you could try Fabulous Masterpieces (London) which asks “Why is having your dog painted in uniform so in demand these days?”

Research research by Martin Gardiner

Listen to Your Tempura

November 21st, 2021

Fluid dynamics research useful in daily life:

The researchers who did the research: Akihito Kiyama, Utah State University Rafsan Rabbi, Utah State University Zhao Pan, University of Waterloo Som Dutta, Utah State University John Allen, University of Hawaii Manoa Tadd Truscott, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.

(Thanks to Patricia Yang for bringing this to our attention.)

Upside-down Rhinos, and other Cornellian Ig Nobel Prize winners

November 17th, 2021

Cornellians, the alumni magazine of Cornell University, celebrates some of the alumni who have been awarded Ig Nobel Prizes. The 2021 Ig Nobel Transportation Prize winners are just the latest:

“When you see a rhino hanging upside down, it’s a little bit comical,” he admits. “But it makes you wonder, and then you start to think—and I’m glad that it’s making people think, because our research is actually serious. Rhinos are highly endangered.”

Wait: upside-down rhinoceri?

Radcliffe and three colleagues (Vet College faculty Julia Felippe, PhD ’02, and Robin Gleed, and statistician Stephen Parry) won a 2021 Ig Nobel for their work in Namibia on methods of relocating black rhinos—which is often vital to protect the critically endangered species from poachers…..

Dog-Human Tennis-Ball-Based Internet Communicator

November 16th, 2021

The quest to more often communicate with one’s dog, if one has a dog, takes a big bounce forward with the invention of a tennis-ball-based dog-to-human internet communication system. A new study offers detail on how, and how well, it works:

Forming the Dog Internet: Prototyping a Dog-to-Human Video Call Device,” Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, Roosa Piitulainen, and Andrés Lucero, Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, vol. 5, no. ISS, 2021. (Thanks to Tom Whipple for bringing this to our attention.)

Lead author Hirskyi-Douglas is continuing her long line of work on this subject, a line that includes the study “On the Internet, Nobody Knows You’re a Dog… Unless You’re Another Dog.”

Table 1, in the new study, is of special interest to anyone who is interested in something special. Here is the beginning of Table 1:

Dogs and Cats and the Future

Some people, and perhaps many dogs and perhaps a few cats, yearn for a grand dog-cat-human communication system.

Research on the cat-human aspect of that was honored with the 2021 Ig Nobel Prize for biology, awarded to Susanne Schötz, Robert Eklund, and Joost van de Weijer, for analyzing variations in purring, chirping, chattering, trilling, tweedling, murmuring, meowing, moaning, squeaking, hissing, yowling, howling, growling, and other modes of cat–human communication.

The Talk of Scandinavia

Scandinavia appears to be, currently, the center of innovation for this kind of research. The dog/tennis-ball research was conducted primarily in Finland. The cat-human communication research was conducted primarily in Sweden. Norway and Denmark have still, each of them, to establish which kind of animal to claim as most central to their own communications research yearnings.

Improbable Research