Thursday, July 03, 2008

Sound and Vision: The human sonar

When we first moved to our house in Ankara the whole neighborhood was supplied by a single lousy transformer. Every time it rained, it would short circuit, and left us without electricity for hours. When it was pitch dark, the first thing my sister would do was to shout "Mother!" I thought she had a fear of dark, but maybe she was following her Paleolithic instincts.

French Scientists made a very interesting discovery in the famous caves in France which are filled with paintings from the Paleolithic era. It turns out that the paintings might have been used as road signs in the dark caves!

Imagine you are in pitch black cave, and you have a light source that can only light up few meters around you. How would you go from point A to B. Answer? Take a singer with you!

The idea is to have the singer sing for you, and mark those points on the way, where the singers voice sounds like an animal due to echoes and the shape of the current section of the cave, by painting those animals on the walls. Clever, isn't it? Sure, our brains have not evolved all that much from those days. So we shout instinctively, when it gets dark. Speaking of Fear of The Dark:

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