Signal to noise

This is rather cool. The earliest known recording of a human voice has been found, from 1860, pre-dating Edison’s “Mary Had a Little Lamb” by 17 years. The full details of the recording and the work done to play it back are here and here, and the actual (rather warbly) sound files are here. The recording unfortunately reduced one Radio 4 presenter to a fit of giggles.

There’s another BBC story that my wife was ranting about the other day. Apparently — and I know this will come as a shock to you — unrealistic images of male bodies in lad’s mags can cause teenage boys to aim for an impossible ideal (to the point of taking steroids: a ‘condition’ named “athletica nervosa”. Really.) Apparently after years and years of everyone saying this about unrealistic images of women in the media, it’s considered surprising that men are affected the same way. I suppose it’s worth reporting but a) surely we all knew this and b) surely the pressure on men to achieve unattainable physical perfection is orders of magnitude less than the equivalent pressure on women? My impression is that images of male perfection in the media and in Hollywood are far more about attitude, looks and style, e.g George Clooney, than they are about toned abs. And surely lad’s mags in particular remain far more influential in their depiction of women’s bodies than men’s? Then again I don’t read lad’s mags.

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