What we hear is incredibly personal and we all hear things differently. Sometimes our ears can even play tricks on us. Sonic illusions put a spotlight on the unique function of our hearing and how our backgrounds and biology affect how we process sound. Psychologist Dr. Diana Deutsch and neuroscientist Dana Boebinger explain why our hearing is a unique sense and why sonic illusions can fool us.
Paula Fairfield is the sound designer behind the more fantastical elements in Game of Thrones. She’s given a voice to dragons, direwolves, white walkers, and more. But the story behind these voices goes much deeper than you might think. Hear how Paula’s personal journey played a part in creating some of the most iconic fantasy sounds of the day, and how Game of Thrones helped restore her spirit.
Over his long career, Gordon Hempton has mastered the art of truly listening. He’s known as the Sound Tracker. Some people call him an acoustic ecologist. His recordings and books have made him an international expert on the beauty and importance of undisturbed, natural soundscapes — and the ways human beings have changed them.
Now, Gordon Hempton is losing his hearing. But with that loss has come an intense urgency to share his life’s work — and his passion — with as many people as are willing to listen.
In the late '70s, NASA launched Voyagers 1 & 2 to explore the furthest reaches of our solar system and beyond. But something amazing was included on those space probes... a 90-minute time capsule of sounds, language, and music from Earth called The Golden Record. Its intended recipient? Any intelligent extraterrestrial life that might stumble upon it. What did Carl Sagan and his team put on the record to represent all of humanity? How would aliens decode it?
When was the last time you stopped and really listened to birdsong? Ever wonder what they’re singing about? We chat to Kenn Kaufman and Dr. Irene Pepperberg about the extraordinary complexity to the avian arias, how they’re produced, what they mean, and how vocal acrobatics can reveal a surprising hidden intelligence.
As technology advanced rapidly over the course of the 20th century, the telephone industry went through several transformations. From Strowger switches to rotary dials, the Bell company continually experimented with inventive ways of making phone calls. In 1963, AT&T’s patented “Touch Tone” technology changed the telecommunications industry forever. The Dual Tone Multi Frequency signals used by these push button phones could make phone calls, control voicemail machines, and even insert local TV ads into national broadcasts. This episode features interviews with author Annabel Dodd and telephone aficionado Jim Hebbeln of the Telecommunications History Group.
Movie trailers have undergone a huge evolution. They’ve gone from those cheesy voice-of-God narrators in the ‘80s and ‘90s, to solemn but somehow even cheesier trailers that utilize the same few epic sound effects, over and over. Professor James Deaville delivers the history of trailers, and Youtuber Craven Moorhaus offers a hilarious takedown of the sounds and dialogue that are common in the modern trailer style. After you hear this episode, you’ll never be able to watch a blockbuster trailer the same way again.