Connecting Wealth and Musical Ability

The Guardian shares research showing the connection between wealth, neighborhood, and measurable musical talent.

The Guardian recently posted an article detailing the connections between British postal codes and musical ability. Everybody slow down, Bow E3 is a ‘hype ting’ but there is empirical data and some interesting takeaways. Clearly there are exception to every rule but on this site we are lovers on both music and data and statistics so this seemed in the vein of our typical reporting.

Interestingly, it was the categories that seemed more objective such as ‘melodic memory’ and ‘beat perception’ that showed the strongest statistical correlation with wealth.

The article on The Guardian contains a table of melodic memory as it correlates to geographic region, but the short answer is we need to be hearing grime from Hastings and West Somerset. By the way, yes Hackney did make the top 10 list.

Key Findings

  • People had better “musical sophistication” in periods of their lives with more flexibility, such as at school, university or when they are self-employed.
  • Late adolescence is where a peak stage is reached for sophisticated engagement with music.
  • Gender and ethnicity explained “very little” when it came to musical ability.
  • People working in music, media and education keep their links to music throughout their life.

Relationship Status vs. Facebook Use

Previously we have looked at the effect of Facebook on breakups, in that same vein here are three charts showing how relationship status affects posting mood, and frequency.

Previously we have looked at the effect of Facebook on breakups, in that same vein here are three charts from Chartporn showing how relationship status affects posting mood, and frequency.

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The Science Behind Selfies

Data-mining the selfie with Selfiecity.com – extensive analysis and an interactive selfie browser

Enter SelfieCity, a website that takes an analytical view at “selfies” taken from users in Bangkok, Berlin, Moscow, New York, and Sao Paolo. The site uses image recognition and analysis to analyze tilt, angle, mood, and all the other things that make the selfie what it is.

This is data-mining and vanity together, at its finest – as well as an interesting use of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform.

Get down to the details by seeing the complete analysis and reading some full-length reports on SelfieCity, but most exciting is the interactive selfie browser Selfiexploratory.

Women’s selfies show more expressive poses; for instance, the average amount of head tilt is 150% higher than for men: (12.3° vs. 8.2°). Sao Paulo is most extreme – there, the average head tilt for females is 16.9°

Understanding Music Is A Learned Trait

A recently reported study from the University of Melbourne was covered in The Atlantic, for its scientific observation of how humans come to hear, understand, and appreciate music. I’m certain this comes to the chagrin of the Sidney Dean  who was quite insistent of Billy Hoyle’s well-established inability to “hear Jimi”

The ability to identify tones and thus enjoy harmonies was positively correlated with musical training. Said study co-author Sarah Wilson, “This showed us that even the ability to hear a musical pitch (or note) is learned.

From a practical standpoint, the results seem to suggest that we can train ourselves to better appreciate music. This includes that of unfamiliar traditions, which, assuming this is not just a clever way of promoting the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, is great news for those who’ve been wanting to get into jazz . [*]

Thanks to our friends at NPR for sharing this with us

The Science of Out of Body Experiences

Listen below to Dr. James Whinnery speaks about his research on the effects of g-forces on the brain’s spatial awareness and ability to position itself. Through inducing blackouts under high-g environments we get a glimpse into the biology of the brain, and an interesting inside to OBEs without the common new-age themes of metaphysics and spirituality.

centrifugeA scientific look at out-of-body experiences was presented on RadioLab many years ago and managed to stay out of my realm of knowledge until I heard it rebroadcast on NPR a few days ago.

Read the article on Radio Lab

Listen below to Dr. James Whinnery speaks about his research on the effects of g-forces on the brain’s spatial awareness and ability to position itself. Through inducing blackouts under high-g environments we get a glimpse into the biology of the brain, and an interesting inside to OBEs without the common new-age themes of metaphysics and spirituality.

Continue reading “The Science of Out of Body Experiences”

Ignorance: How It Drives

Answers have become so easy and so readily available that I think we now have too much emphasis on answers and not enough on questions

Continuing the theme diversifying content, we are sharing a link from NPR‘s Talk of the Nation. Recently, on Science Friday, Ira Flatow spoke with neuroscientist Stuart Firestein on the latter’s recent publication Ignorance: How It Drives Science Forward, outlining an important realization not unique to the scientific community.

“…answers have become so easy and so readily available that I think we now have too much emphasis on answers and not enough on questions” [*]

For more from icnt.mx, including the full interview with Firestein, continue beneath the fold.

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Why Your Mom Keeps Calling / How You Choose Best Friends

Science proves that your mom really does call more often now that she’s older – also, why your tastes in ‘best friends’ change over time. Fun with data mining!

A nice link to Scientific Reports from WaPo today, on a study utilizing cellphone data to analyze how people communicate and age and gender’s role in the process.

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Color Judgement Test

See how well you judge colors in a game from Method of Action, a site aiming to teach the fundamentals of good design to programmers

Color Game (Method of Action)Method of Action is an upcoming website promising “Design For Programmers.” A concept I am familiar with; having an understanding of technology but no background in design.

Often this makes it difficult to develop good design on my own simply because I have no fundamental knowledge of the underlying concepts. Admittedly, this site’s design is not unique — I aim to focus on content, and only essential ‘bells-and-whistles’ that benefit the site’s usability.

Have some fun and check out some of the games on the company’s website as they prepare for launch, they offer three examples to teach about Kerning, Text Shape/Bézier, and Color.

FYI: I scored 3.8 based on the following scoring break-down:
Hue: 8, Saturation: 7, Complementary: 4, Analogous: 0, Ternary: 2, Quaternary: 2

Criticism, Praise, and Artistic Distance

Views, and gratitude regarding criticism, from a critic, upon reading A List Apart’s writings on Artistic Distance

Far too often, honesty is met with ridicule, shame, or outright rage from people hiding behind electronic media. As a community, if our goal is to continue raising the bar for design, we need to get to a place where objective discussion is welcomed, not scorned or drowned in obsequiousness.

An excellent read from A List Apart on the importance of criticism by exploring the concept of artistic distance, the necessary ability for all artists  achieving detachment from the creative process and ultimately the products of their creation. I have brought similar concepts before in a post on objectivity and criticism, and was excited to read something new covering familiar concepts.

Continue reading “Criticism, Praise, and Artistic Distance”