This 50-Second Clip Proves Your Brain is Amazing

By Anupum Pant

There was a post I made in the past, about a popular email forward which mentioned a paragraph and it seemed like gibberish at first. But when you actually tried to read it, you were able to read is at a very normal pace. It was as if the totally mixed up spellings did not matter. Now, that wasn’t a very scientific way of going about claiming something – through an email forward. No one really knows where it came from. Certainly not from Cambridge. And right at the end of that article, the claims of that email were convincingly challenged.

What we see today is something similar, just that, it about listening, not about reading. Plus, this one, unlike the “spelling does not matter” claim, comes directly from a very reliable source – Jayatri Das, Chief bioscientist at Franklin Institute.

In an audio broadcast uploaded on soundcould, she demonstrates a very strong and fundamental trait of the human brain.

In the 50 second sound clip, she first plays a sound that is heavily distorted by a computer. You aren’t able to make any sense out of that sound. What happens next is amazing.

The sound plays again – the distorted R2D2-ish sound. Next, she plays the actual sentence which was distorted to make it sound like gibberish. The real sentence (which I won’t reveal in the text because it would ruin it for you if you read this first) is totally clear. Now, when she plays the gibberish again, somehow you are easily able to understand it!

It’s right here and you can experience it for yourself by listening (and participating) in the 50-second clip. It is a sound you literally “cannot un-hear”.

However, I had forgotten the real sentence after a couple of days, so the clip seemed to me like what it would to a fresh test subject when I listened to it again after a week. That means technically, you are able to un-hear it.

As this article from the Atlantic – where I first read about it – puts it. It is a lot like this visual experiment.

Did you happen to notice the following image that made fun of the FIFA Worldcup 2014’s logo? I’ve attached it below, if you haven’t seen it.

The image makes the logo look like a facepalm. Before this, you must have never thought of the logo to be a facepalm. But, after you see this, every time you see the actual logo, you’ll see a facepalm.

It’s amazing what the brain can do. world cup 2014 facepalm meme

A Flashlight That Uses Body Heat Instead of Batteries

By Anupum Pant

I talked about a light that utilizes the power of gravity to light up a few days back. This flashlight is a bit similar in a way that, it also doesn’t need any batteries. But the underlying mechanism it uses, is completely different.

The winner of this year’s Google Science Fair, in the age group of 15-16, was a 15-year-old girl from Canada, Ann Makosinski. In her project she created a flashlight that, instead of batteries, uses our body heat to light up. She calls it “Hollow Flashlight”

The flashlight uses 4 Peltier tiles to convert the temperature difference (between body and room temperatures) into energy. One side of the tiles is heated by our body heat and the other side is at room temperature. This temperature difference creates electricity using the Thermoelectric effect. The tiles used for this light need a minimum of 5 degree difference of temperature to work.

Peltier Tiles

Peltier tiles utilize thermoelectric effect to convert temperature difference into electricity. When there is a enough temperature difference, charge carriers move from hot area to the colder area. This separation of charges builds up a potential difference across the height of the tile. This potential difference can be used up for various things. In this case, it was used to light up LEDs.

Advantages: The amount of potential difference produced depends on the material. Peltier tiles are great because they are compact and they do not use any moving parts. Elimination of any moving parts eliminates wear and tear. They last long and do not need a lot of maintainance. However, their efficiency is not so great. So, they are used only where long life is essential.
The Voyager space probe and other deep space probes, where long life is of prime importance, use Thermoelectric generators (another image). The heat there is produced by a radioactive isotope. Implanted pacemakers which require long life also use it as a source of energy. All of them work utilizing the same effect – thermoelectric effect. The eco-fan, a wood stove fan, also uses the same effect in a very creative way.

Thermoelectric Generators have a very interesting history.