In A Battle Of The Senses Hearing Loses - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 04-05-2014, 08:29 PM - Thread Starter
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http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/sensation-best-memories-75667/

"I've found that when you want to know the truth about someone that someone is probably the last person you should ask." - Gregory House
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post #2 of 32 Old 04-06-2014, 06:22 AM
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don't put much stock in this...do you?
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post #3 of 32 Old 04-06-2014, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by lefthandluke View Post

don't put much stock in this...do you?

What is there to not like?
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post #4 of 32 Old 04-06-2014, 07:07 AM
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it's pretty vague...


in what context are we to take this...?
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post #5 of 32 Old 04-06-2014, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by lefthandluke View Post

it's pretty vague...


in what context are we to take this...?

More details here: http://now.uiowa.edu/2014/02/one-ear-and-out-other

I read the article as pointing out that memory for things we hear is far from perfect.

This complements many other findings of science such as those summarized in "This Is Your Brain On Music" by Levitin which everybody who does listening tests should read:

http://www.amazon.com/This-Your-Brain-Music-Obsession/dp/0452288525

Those of us who are into science-based listening tests have known about these failings of hearing for at least 40 years. We knew the results then but it took several decades for science to explain them.
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post #6 of 32 Old 04-06-2014, 07:37 AM
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ahhh...i see (no pun intended)


the first thing i thought of was "how accurate is our aural memory...?"


to which i would reply..."very"
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post #7 of 32 Old 04-06-2014, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by lefthandluke View Post

ahhh...i see (no pun intended)


the first thing i thought of was "how accurate is our aural memory...?"


to which i would reply..."very"

Has the accuracy of your aural memory been tested, or do you just take it on faith that yours is accurate?

God willing, we will prevail in peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids. God bless you all.
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post #8 of 32 Old 04-07-2014, 03:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Jack D Ripper View Post

Has the accuracy of your aural memory been tested, or do you just take it on faith that yours is accurate?


not just mine General...it's how we're designed


let's say you were seated blindfolded in a room and 25 of your family members and friends were to enter one at a time and say "good afternoon, jack...how are you today?"

could you name each of them by the sound of their voices only...?

a good friend of mine (may he rest in peace) could tell the difference between a p-51 mustang powered by a packard or rolls-royce engine...


even a old rube like me can tell the songs of a bluejay, robin, cardinal and finch from one another...


are these experiences not based on aural memories...?
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post #9 of 32 Old 04-07-2014, 04:30 AM
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Originally Posted by lefthandluke View Post

ahhh...i see (no pun intended)


the first thing i thought of was "how accurate is our aural memory...?"


to which i would reply..."very"

It depends on what level of detail you are speaking of.

Memory for really general, broad brush features of sound such as the identity of a familiar human voice can be very impressive. We can even recognize familiar human voices when words we've never heard before are said. So, we are not remembering the actual sound, we are remembering abstract characteristics of that sound. The same thing applies to pieces of music, natural sounds, etc.

In contrast small details such as errors in the reproduction of sound can be very fleeting. This became clear shortly after the commencement of audio equipment DBTs. Listeners deprived of any but audible clues become very critical of small time delays between the presentation of alternative sounds.

At the time, back in the middle 1970s there was only very limited science that explained what we heard and didn't hear. However, since then the science has filled in very nicely and it confirms our observations.
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post #10 of 32 Old 04-07-2014, 04:58 AM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

So, we are not remembering the actual sound, we are remembering abstract characteristics of that sound.






come again...?
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post #11 of 32 Old 04-07-2014, 07:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lefthandluke View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

So, we are not remembering the actual sound, we are remembering abstract characteristics of that sound.

come again...?

So, we are not remembering the actual sound, we are remembering just the few properties of that sound that we find important.

By properties I mean things like:

Loudness
Timbre
Pitch
nature of articulation, whether drawled or choppy for example
etc.

When comparing reasonably modern audio electronics, all of those things remain identically the same.
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post #12 of 32 Old 04-07-2014, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

So, we are not remembering the actual sound, we are remembering just the few properties of that sound that we find important.


what are the properties of sound that we find NOT important...?
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post #13 of 32 Old 04-07-2014, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lefthandluke View Post

what are the properties of sound that we find NOT important...?

My guess is nuances in Arny's criteria are important--In your original example-It's like not being able to differentiate between two brothers that sound similar...Insofar as your bird example--All of those have different 'songs." I also am not a car person, but feel an experienced mechanic who made it his life's work could tell the difference in the motors because they are in fact different sounding.
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post #14 of 32 Old 04-07-2014, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Zen Traveler View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by lefthandluke View Post

what are the properties of sound that we find NOT important...?

My guess is nuances in Arny's criteria are important--In your original example-It's like not being able to differentiate between two brothers that sound similar...Insofar as your bird example--All of those have different 'songs." I also am not a car person, but feel an experienced mechanic who made it his life's work could tell the difference in the motors because they are in fact different sounding.

Not only do different species of birds make different sounds, different individual birds of the same species make different sounds (which can be demonstrated with recordings and analyzing the signal with various electronic devices). So it depends on the level of detail we are talking about, as to whether people are up to the task or not. Which is what Arny already stated above:

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post


It depends on what level of detail you are speaking of.

Memory for really general, broad brush features of sound such as the identity of a familiar human voice can be very impressive. We can even recognize familiar human voices when words we've never heard before are said. So, we are not remembering the actual sound, we are remembering abstract characteristics of that sound. The same thing applies to pieces of music, natural sounds, etc.

In contrast small details such as errors in the reproduction of sound can be very fleeting. This became clear shortly after the commencement of audio equipment DBTs. Listeners deprived of any but audible clues become very critical of small time delays between the presentation of alternative sounds.

At the time, back in the middle 1970s there was only very limited science that explained what we heard and didn't hear. However, since then the science has filled in very nicely and it confirms our observations.


An example of the fact that we do not use all of the sound is demonstrated with good impressionists. Some people can mimic the sound of another person speaking very well, enough to fool someone on the other end of a phone. But if one records them and compares the recording using various tools, one can show that they are not the same. So, again, it is a question of the level of detail that we are talking about.

So, to:
Quote:
Originally Posted by lefthandluke View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack D Ripper View Post

Has the accuracy of your aural memory been tested, or do you just take it on faith that yours is accurate?


not just mine General...it's how we're designed


let's say you were seated blindfolded in a room and 25 of your family members and friends were to enter one at a time and say "good afternoon, jack...how are you today?"

could you name each of them by the sound of their voices only...?

a good friend of mine (may he rest in peace) could tell the difference between a p-51 mustang powered by a packard or rolls-royce engine...


even a old rube like me can tell the songs of a bluejay, robin, cardinal and finch from one another...


are these experiences not based on aural memories...?

It really depends on a number of factors, such as whether an impressionist tries to mimic a family member or not. The simple fact is, people can be fooled, and so their abilities are far from perfect, even though we could record and analyze the mimic and show that it was not the family member.

If you have two family members who sound very similar, it can also be easy to make a mistake when one picks up the phone and says "hello." But, again, their voices are never identical (which can be demonstrated by electronically analyzing the frequency spectrum of each), even though a human may not always accurately distinguish between them.

If your aural memory were anywhere near perfect, not only could you distinguish between a bluejay and a robin, you could distinguish between every bluejay you have ever heard. Although some people can distinguish between some individual birds, I am pretty sure that no one can accurately distinguish between them all.

God willing, we will prevail in peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids. God bless you all.
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post #15 of 32 Old 04-07-2014, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lefthandluke View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

So, we are not remembering the actual sound, we are remembering just the few properties of that sound that we find important.


What are the properties of sound that we find NOT important...?

For openers, all of the sounds that are at frequencies that are masked are not found by us to be important. As you may know MP3 lossy compression is based on removing sonic information that is masked by the ear/brain. I find it quite impressive that 75% of the information in an audio recording can be replaced with noise (IOW lost) and precious few if any listeners can detect the substitution in a blind test. With slightly less stringent listening tests, the percentage of information that can be lost without detection can be over 90%.

I could go on about masking for hours, but its all on the web in zillions of different places including this one. I've found references to masking in audio texts going back to the early 1950s, but our ability to isolate it and capitalize on it was not really mature until the late 1980s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auditory_masking
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post #16 of 32 Old 04-07-2014, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack D Ripper View Post

If your aural memory were anywhere near perfect, not only could you distinguish between a bluejay and a robin, you could distinguish between every bluejay you have ever heard. Although some people can distinguish between some individual birds, I am pretty sure that no one can accurately distinguish between them all.

I believe that birds recognize their mates by this means. So, the differences exist, its just that most of us are oblivious to them.

It is possible that the mechanisms for masking in bird ear/brain combinations are different from those in humans so there may be sonic details in bird calls that no human will never be able hear.

Masking is a data reduction technique and allows our brains to differentiate the sounds that matter (i.e. that are related to survival) without putting a big load on our brains for bandwidth.
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post #17 of 32 Old 04-07-2014, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack D Ripper View Post

If your aural memory were anywhere near perfect, not only could you distinguish between a bluejay and a robin, you could distinguish between every bluejay you have ever heard. Although some people can distinguish between some individual birds, I am pretty sure that no one can accurately distinguish between them all.

I believe that birds recognize their mates by this means. So, the differences exist, its just that most of us are oblivious to them.

Not only that, but scientists have also been able to distinguish between them with recordings and analyzing the frequency spectrum. So yes, the differences are real. But we usually are oblivious to them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

It is possible that the mechanisms for masking in bird ear/brain combinations are different from those in humans so there may be sonic details in bird calls that no human will never be able hear.

Masking is a data reduction technique and allows our brains to differentiate the sounds that matter (i.e. that are related to survival) without putting a big load on our brains for bandwidth.


Yes. If people paid too much attention to details that don't matter, they would never have survived. When one crosses the road, one tends to look for important details, like whether a large moving object is on a collision course with one, and not pay attention to unimportant ones, like all the various shades of color in the pavement one is crossing. If one's brain were too much occupied with unimportant details, one would have a very difficult time in life. Or rather, one would likely have a very short life, unless others took care of one.

Human brains are very limited (as one can see from studies of how bad people are at multitasking, see this and this, even though people often delude themselves into believing they are good at it). And given the great limitations on processing power, it is essential that one not waste it on details that don't matter instead of paying attention to the things that do. In our modern lives, there is more leeway in wasting one's thoughts, but one still needs to pay attention to what matters and not get lost in the vast amounts of irrelevant data to which one is constantly exposed. In the case of savants, it seems that they use their processing power on what would normally be thought of as irrelevant details, like the ability to calculate the day of the week from being given a random calendar date, at the cost of normal functioning in other areas.

Humans are much more limited than they like to believe. The truth is not very flattering.

God willing, we will prevail in peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids. God bless you all.
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post #18 of 32 Old 04-07-2014, 12:11 PM
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... In our modern lives, there is more leeway in wasting one's thoughts, but one still needs to pay attention to what matters and not get lost in the vast amounts of irrelevant data to which one is constantly exposed. In the case of savants, it seems that they use their processing power on what would normally be thought of as irrelevant details, like the ability to calculate the day of the week from being given a random calendar date, at the cost of normal functioning in other areas.

Humans are much more limited than they like to believe. The truth is not very flattering.

Hmmm...Outside of that calendar thing I may be a savant. biggrin.gif
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post #19 of 32 Old 04-07-2014, 12:13 PM
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Insofar as your bird example--All of those have different 'songs." I also am not a car person, but feel an experienced mechanic who made it his life's work could tell the difference in the motors because they are in fact different sounding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack D Ripper View Post

Not only do different species of birds make different sounds, different individual birds of the same species make different sounds (which can be demonstrated with recordings and analyzing the signal with various electronic devices).


umm...that's kinda the point here fellas
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post #20 of 32 Old 04-07-2014, 12:17 PM
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Although students’ memory declined across the board when time delays grew longer, the decline was much greater for sounds, and began as early as four to eight seconds after being exposed to them.
http://now.uiowa.edu/2014/02/one-ear-and-out-other
That seems about right based on my experience when testing some equipment. That why the statement"you need longterm listening" in audio equipment tests is nonsense.
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post #21 of 32 Old 04-07-2014, 12:24 PM
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umm...that's kinda the point here fellas

I thought the point was that the differences folks can differentiate in the real world in regard to humans and birds are greater than what can be heard in electronics that have similar characteristics and measure close to the same. IOW two brothers voices are going to measure quite differently even though they sound the same vs the same voice being recorded and played on the same player but different amps.
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post #22 of 32 Old 04-07-2014, 12:33 PM
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http://now.uiowa.edu/2014/02/one-ear-and-out-other
That seems about right based on my experience when testing some equipment. That why the statement"you need longterm listening" in audio equipment tests is nonsense.

Okay, here is where Arny couldn't convince me that what I was hearing using a different AVR with my same speaker outlay for a year, and not being able to get it loud enough between two that were rated to drive 4 Ohms speakers. I actually used an SPL meter to verify the results on a regular basis. That said, he also mentioned that the EQ program was different on the 3 AVRs and that could also be where the difference came from. I dunno. The AVRs where I could get it loud enough were the Denon AVR-4806 and my current AVR-4311ci and the one where it started to get bright at higher levels was the AVR-3805.

{EDIT: to clarify--I listened to multichannel music on the AVR-4806 for several years until it ran into a problem. I then used an older AVR-3805 for a year and I could never get it to the same SPL. I then purchased the last AVR and have been happy for the last 6 months.}

{2nd EDIT: If I am remembering correctly, he also said don't rely only on an SPL meter.}
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post #23 of 32 Old 04-07-2014, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lefthandluke View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zen Traveler View Post

Insofar as your bird example--All of those have different 'songs." I also am not a car person, but feel an experienced mechanic who made it his life's work could tell the difference in the motors because they are in fact different sounding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack D Ripper View Post

Not only do different species of birds make different sounds, different individual birds of the same species make different sounds (which can be demonstrated with recordings and analyzing the signal with various electronic devices).


umm...that's kinda the point here fellas

The point is that humans do not tend to observe all of these things with hearing alone, but need equipment to analyze the difference. Thus, human hearing is quite poor, even within the range of frequencies that are audible to humans. Indeed, if it were not poor, whenever we wanted to compress an audio file, we would have to always use lossless compression for audio instead of being able to get away with DD and dts and MP3s. The fact that we do not have to always have lossless demonstrates our inability to notice a significant part of what there is going on within the frequency range of human hearing.

You can pretend to have superhuman hearing if you wish, but it is only pretend. Typically, a well-trained bird enthusiast can distinguish between different species of birds with some degree of reliability, but not between all of the individuals of one species, even though they are generating different frequencies from each other, even between 20 and 20,000 Hz (or in other words, within the frequency range that humans are able to hear). Closer to home, as it were, people often mistake one brother for another on the phone, when they have brothers who sound similar to each other. Yet with them, too, a difference in frequency content can be demonstrated to exist, even within the limited frequency response of a common telephone. In other words, people fail to notice differences in the frequencies where humans have their best hearing.

You seem to have forgotten that this was in response to your question above, which I will presently quote for everyone's convenience:
Quote:
Originally Posted by lefthandluke View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

So, we are not remembering the actual sound, we are remembering just the few properties of that sound that we find important.


what are the properties of sound that we find NOT important...?

A good deal of the sound even between 20 and 20,000 Hz is unimportant for humans to notice, or we would be able to distinguish between every individual bird we ever heard. We can't do that because much of the sound is unimportant to us. This applies whether one is an audiophile or someone who cares nothing at all about audio equipment. The kinds of imperfections in human hearing are the sorts of things that are commonly exploited in compressed formats like DD and dts and MP3s, though one can go too far and get rid of bits of sound that are important. In other words, we are not all deaf, but we all have very limited hearing ability.

God willing, we will prevail in peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids. God bless you all.
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post #24 of 32 Old 04-07-2014, 01:29 PM
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A good deal of the sound even between 20 and 20,000 Hz is unimportant for humans to notice

The simple question when it comes to hearing: what range, spatial hints and sensitivity of hearing gave us an advantage? As a prey animal (which at one point our ancestors were before we turned into predators) it was important to discern where the threat came from, how early a threat could be detected in a given environment and of what nature the threat might be.

As a hunter myself in the forests of northern Canada I rely mostly on my hearing. The woods are too dense to spot an animal far away (except if you are lucky close to a clearing), but the sound of a moose breaking through the brush can be heard quite far away.
You can also if it is quiet enough hear the bear approaching you from behind.....

Unfortunately - evolution isn't about music, it's about survival and reproduction.
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post #25 of 32 Old 04-07-2014, 01:42 PM
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If the twig snaps behind you when the bear steps on it your brain isn't going to spend much time storing the exact sound in your memory.

But if you are lucky to be able to hear a twig snap behind you the next time the sound is immediately recognized proven by the fact that you need to change underwear again.
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post #26 of 32 Old 04-07-2014, 02:12 PM
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I never have encountered a bear from behind. But it was quite an experience when hunting black bear (I like the meat, I am no trophy hunter) and my friend aimed at one who was about six feet standing and a mere twenty feet away and the gun made: click.....luckily the bear took off.
I still remember that click as a concept - don't know about the exact timbre or dB level...
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post #27 of 32 Old 04-07-2014, 08:23 PM
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Right. You don't need to know whether the twig is from a maple tree or an oak, though they would likely sound different if they were of the same size and both equally fresh (as they have different hardness). When you hear a twig break, you know that there is something that may be prey or a predator, and either way, that is the essential point, not the exact frequency spectrum that is the sound of the breaking twig.

And, our hearing is good enough to enjoy music. That we are not machines that rival test equipment is irrelevant to that, too. And, in fact, it is good that our hearing isn't so perfect, or we could never enjoy recorded music at all. With your typical 2 channel system, all of the sound is coming from two places, but to us, when it is set up well, it sounds like it is coming from in between them as well. Everyone should know, of course, that that is an illusion, and really an imperfection in our ability to hear. And with a 5.1 system, the sound is only coming from 6 places, but when set up well, it can sound like it is coming from all around one. And that ".1" is possible due to another defect of human hearing; at the frequency extremes of human hearing, we cannot distinguish direction, so we can get away with one subwoofer, instead of having to have 5 full range speakers. There is a lot that we get away with in our reproduced music that depends on imperfections in our hearing.

God willing, we will prevail in peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids. God bless you all.
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post #28 of 32 Old 04-08-2014, 03:08 AM
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gentlemen, i gotta hand it to ya...


some of the finest examples of the "strawman" technique i've had the pleasure of reading...damn fine work



please... do go on...
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post #29 of 32 Old 04-08-2014, 04:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lefthandluke View Post

gentlemen, i gotta hand it to ya...


some of the finest examples of the "strawman" technique i've had the pleasure of reading...damn fine work



please... do go on...

Do to its excessive brevity, the above comment appears to be about as useful as walking into a crowded theatre and calling out "Fire! Fire!" :-(

Got something to say? Then say it! Got nothing to say? Then say nothing!
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post #30 of 32 Old 04-08-2014, 08:30 AM
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http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/stradivarius-violins-lose-in-blind-test-against-new-ones-1.2601191
Quote:
In the equivalent of a blind taste test, 10 "renowned" violinists tended to prefer new violins over Stradivarius violins after playing them without being able to see them, a new study has found.

"No matter how results are tallied, it is clear that, among these players and these instruments, there is an overall preference for the new," said the study that will be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The violinists were also unable to tell whether an instrument was new or antique by playing it, even though seven of them regularly play antique violins.

So much for auditory memory.
Quote:
The findings were consistent with the results of a 2010 study involving fewer violins and violinists of varying levels of experience at the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis.
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