Nose Blowing

And other strange sounds

Sounds accompany many kinds of activities. The buzz of a mosquito in the bedroom comes to mind; and then there is the clashing of horns of mountain sheep in combat, the chewing of food, the knock on the door, sounds in courtship, territorial claims in birds, monkeys and other animals. etc. Come to think of it there aren’t really terribly many animals that are totally silent; worms perhaps and, with very few exceptions, spiders, but certainly not fish. —>

hear silence noise korea

To hear or not to hear

Those menacing sounds of silence

For the inauguration speech of North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un we handful of western professors teaching in Pyongyang at that time were shepherded to the event and seated on a huge balcony overlooking the huge Kim Il-Sung Square with its hundreds of thousands of participants. It was obviously important for the local TV-bosses to show that there were also foreigners, who were celebrating and honouring the new leader. The only problem was we were placed only a few metres away from the enormous loudspeakers and throughout the great new leader’s speech I kept my ears covered with my hands. Continue reading

voices sound benno meyer roc how biology science


Could there be a reason why females have high and men low voices?

Some ants, like the tropical Pogonomyrmex, produce faint sounds. But since ant colonies are composed of only female individuals, the latter alone are capable of making sounds in these insects. When some sneaky males occur, it is only for the purpose of reproduction. But a situation like this is exceptional. Had the ancient philosopher Xenarchos of Seleukia known of it, it would have surprised him greatly, for he is credited with that famous (albeit somewhat impolite) exclamation: “Cicadas have such happy lives, for they have silent wives!” Continue reading