Step Into an Interactive Map Made From the Songs of Thousands of Birds
Google and Cornell University used artificial intelligence to map bird songs on a remarkable interactive platform.
With a disembodied beauty, the song of a bird inevitably transcends the being which emits it. It becomes an archetypal sound, a call to the unconscious, a melody that awakens human intuition, and which is immortal, as the poet John Keats put it in his Ode to a Nightingale – perhaps one of the most important poems in the English language. In this context, a new project by the Google Creative Lab and the ornithological laboratory at Cornell University emerges as a celebration of birdsong, mapping them on an interactive platform which, though it bears a scientific purpose, is also a sublime, inspiring catalog of sound.
Some years ago, Cornell University published an enormous archive which includes 150,000 individual bird songs, some of them recorded decades ago. Based on all of this information, ornithologists at Cornell, along with computer experts from Google, developed an interactive map which graphically depicts the songs of these thousands of birds. Users may listen to them by clicking on a button which then displays the name and photograph of each species.
The process of organizing the files began by fragmentating the sound of each bird into sections of less than a second. A complex mathematical algorithm and artificial intelligence allowed the computer to assign a kind of “fingerprint” to each of the songs and grouped them according to their similarities (in terms of sound and type of bird). The map also allows users to search for songs using the birds’ names.
The difficulty in realizing a project of this nature lies in the tremendous number of individual species of birds that exist in the world, each with its characteristic sound. What’s more, songs from one species may be nearly imperceptible from those of another. The long-term goal of the project includes gathering recordings of birds and other animals to identify the fauna of any given ecosystem entirely through their sounds.
But beyond an exciting collaboration of biology and computer science, the project is also an opportunity to navigate the timid, bizarre, sweet, terrifying, and strange sounds birds are able to make, a music which has always accompanied the mythology of humankind.
Pictorial spiritism (a woman's drawings guided by a spirit)
There are numerous examples in the history of self-taught artists which suggest an interrogation of that which we take for granted within the universe of art. Such was the case with figures like
Astounding fairytale illustrations from Japan
Fairy tales tribal stories— are more than childish tales. Such fictions, the characters of which inhabit our earliest memories, aren’t just literary works with an aesthetic and pleasant purpose. They
A cinematic poem and an ode to water: its rhythms, shapes and textures
Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water. - John Keats Without water the equation of life, at least life as we know it, would be impossible. A growing hypothesis holds that water, including the
Watch beauty unfold through science in this "ode to a flower" (video)
The study of the microscopic is one of the richest, most aesthetic methods of understanding the world. Lucky is the scientist who, upon seeing something beautiful, is able to see all of the tiny
To invent those we love or to see them as they are? Love in two of the movies' favorite scenes
So much has been said already, of “love” that it’s difficult to add anything, much less something new. It’s possible, though, perhaps because even if you try to pass through the sieve of all our
This app allows you to find and preserve ancient typographies
Most people, even those who are far removed from the world of design, are familiar with some type of typography and its ability to transform any text, help out dyslexics or stretch an eight page paper
The secrets of the mind-body connection
For decades medical research has recognized the existence of the placebo effect — in which the assumption that a medication will help produces actual physical improvements. In addition to this, a
The sea as infinite laboratory
Much of our thinking on the shape of the world and the universe derives from the way scientists and artists have approached these topics over time. Our fascination with the mysteries of the
Sharing and collaborating - natural movements of the creative being
We might sometimes think that artistic or creative activity is, in essence, individualistic. The Genesis of Judeo-Christian tradition portrays a God whose decision to create the world is as vehement
John Malkovich becomes David Lynch (and other characters)
John Malkovich and David Lynch are, respectively, the actor and film director who’ve implicitly or explicitly addressed the issues of identity and its porous barriers through numerous projects. Now