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  • Say What?

    Vocal fry

    A sizzling or rattling sound to speech. Also known as the pulse register phonation or glottal fry, vocal fry is a quality of the lowest registers of the human voice.

    The effect is produced when the vocal folds in the throat are pressed toward each other and relaxed, creating a popping, creaky sound. The noise can be a result of voice pathology, or simply an affectation. Once you learn to...

    07/03/2014 - 10:45 Psychology
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Faraday, Maxwell, and the Electromagnetic Field’ is a biography of brilliance

    Faraday, Maxwell, and the Electromagnetic Field: How Two Men Revolutionized PhysicsNancy Forbes and Basil MahonPrometheus Books, $25.95

    On April 3, 1846, Charles Wheatstone was about to present the Friday evening lecture at London’s Royal Institution. He had been invited by Michael Faraday, who had long been conducting research there on electrical and magnetic phenomena.

    But...

    06/29/2014 - 16:00 Physics
  • Science Stats

    Westerners sleep more than people from Eastern nations

    People in Western nations tend to sleep more: seven to eight hours per night on average, compared with less than seven hours in many Eastern nations. A new study suggests that differences in the timing of the natural light-dark cycle are not to blame, but rather differing schedules for work and study. People in Singapore stayed up later on work days but rose around the same time as people in...

    06/29/2014 - 10:00 Psychology
  • Reviews & Previews

    Animal sex lives exposed in 'Nature's Nether Regions'

    Nature’s Nether RegionsMenno SchilthuizenViking, $28.95

    If you want to enjoy eating lightly cooked calamari, skip down two paragraphs. And avoid page 20 of evolutionary biologist Schilthuizen’s charming and potentially mind-boggling new book on what he calls the “science of the genitals.”

    An underappreciated quirk of squid genitals, he explains, provides a bit of truth behind...

    06/28/2014 - 16:00 Evolution
  • Screentime

    To ID birds, try facial recognition

    Birding just got easier. No need to page through guidebooks looking for the mystery bird you just spotted — all you need is an iPhone and the new Birdsnap app, or a digital camera and computer. Snap a picture in the app or upload an image to the Birdsnap website, click on the bird’s eye and tail, then enter the location and date where the bird was found. Sophisticated algorithms detect parts...

    06/28/2014 - 10:00 Animals