Friday, September 25, 2015

Episode 283 (9-25-15): Turning Water to Music through Sonification

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:08)

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 9-25-15.



TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of September 28, 2015.

MUSIC – ~ 5 sec

This week, we travel to New Hampshire’s White Mountains, where music like this is bringing sound to the realm of water-science measurements.  Have a listen for about 15 more seconds.

MUSIC  - ~16 sec

You’ve been listening to an example of sonification – that is, using sound to represent data, and by doing so, help people interpret or appreciate such data.  Sonfication is used in many fields, ranging from medicine to psychology; a Geiger counter’s clicks in response to radiation levels is a familiar example.  The sonification you heard applies music to water and weather data—such as stream flow [MUSIC – 3 sec], temperature [MUSIC – 3 sec], and soil moisture [MUSIC – 2 sec]—measured at the U.S. Forest Service’s Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire.  Scientists have long used graphs and other visual aids to interpret their data; Hubbard Brook’s Waterviz project is exploring new ways that visual arts and sound can make water data more widely understandable.

And there’s a lot at Hubbard Brook worth understanding.  Hubbard Brook is a nationally important research facility, celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2015.  Among other achievements, acid rain research at Hubbard Brook helped lead to federal Clean Air Act amendments in 1990.  Since 1998, the facility’s been one of the National Science Foundation’s long-term ecological research sites: 26 areas—including the Virginia Coastal Reserve site—that allow scientists to study large natural systems over a long time, using consistent measurements.  At Hubbard Brook, stream processes within watersheds and the water cycle are studied by scientists from around the country, including from Virginia, and those studies are supported by continuous measurements that generate lots of data.  Waterviz’ sonification efforts aim to help scientists and citizens alike explore those data through the ear as well as the eye.

Thanks to Marty Quinn of Design Rhythmics Sonification Research Lab and the Hubbard Brook staff for permission to use this week’s music, and we close with an excerpt from the sonification of data in August 2011, including heavy rainfall, saturated soils, and surging stream flows brought by Tropical Storm Irene on August 28.

MUSIC – ~ 13 sec

For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Thanks to Lindsey Rustad and Marty Quinn, at the U.S. Forest Service’s Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, for permission to use the sounds heard in this episode and for their other help with the episode.

The excerpts used were from the sonification of all data combined for June 2015; samples of music used for stream flow, temperature, and soil moisture; and the sonification of all data combined for August 2011, from “Hurricane Irene: A Combined Waterviz and Sonification,” online at http://waterviz.org/listenin.shtml.

SOURCES

Used in Audio

Thomas Hermann, Andy Hunt, and John G. Neuhoff, eds., The Sonification Handbook, Logos Publishing House, Berlin, Germany, 2011; available online at http://sonification.de/handbook/.  [Used Chapter 1 to see overview of sciences using sonification.   Chapter 20, p. 509: “One of the oldest technological examples of auditory display is the Geiger counter, invented by the German nuclear physicist Hans Johann Wilhelm Geiger in 1908.”]

Long-term Ecological Research Network, online at http://www.lternet.edu/.  For the Virginia Coastal Reserve site, see http://www.lternet.edu/sites/vcr.

U.S. Forest Service, “Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study,” online at http://www.hubbardbrook.org/index.shtml.

U.S. Forest Service (and several partners), “Waterviz at Hubbard Brook,” online at http://waterviz.org/index.php (sonification section at http://waterviz.org/listenin.shtml; visualizations section at http://waterviz.org/hbvisualizations.shtml; water cycle section at http://waterviz.org/watercycle.shtml).

For More Information on the Water Cycle or Watersheds

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Surf Your Watershed,” online at http://cfpub.epa.gov/surf/locate/index.cfm.  This site allows users to locate larger watersheds and watershed information across the United States.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), “USGS Water Science School,” online at http://water.usgs.gov/edu/.

USGS, “Water Resources of Virginia,” online at http://va.water.usgs.gov/.  This is the home page for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Virginia Water Science Center.

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, “Virginia’s Major Watersheds,” online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/soil_and_water/wsheds.shtml.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES

Some previous episodes focusing on the water cycle or watersheds include the following:
Hydrologists Study and Sing, “Where Does the Water Go?” – Episode 198, 1/27/14;
The Water Cycle – Episode 191, 12/9/13;
A Watersheds Lesson in “Mountain Stream” by Bob Gramann – Episode 156, 4/8/13;
One Big, Blue Ridge Helps Create Three Big Virginia Rivers – Episode 209, 4/14/14;
A Musical Tour of Rivers and Watersheds – Episode 251, 2/2/15.

All episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).

SOLS INFORMATION FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS

This episode may help with the following Virginia’s 2010 Science Standards of Learning (SOLs):

Grades K-6 Force, Motion, and Energy Theme
5.2 – sound creation, transmission, and use.

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
6.7 - natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems.

Life Science Course
LS.6 - ecosystem interactions, including the water cycle.

Physical Science Course
PS.8 – characteristics of sound waves, including technological applications of sound.

Earth Science Course
ES.8 - freshwater resources, including groundwater, and influences by geologic processes and the activities of humans.

Physics Course
PH.2 – analyzing and interpreting data.

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2008 Social Studies SOLs:

Government Course
GOVT.9 – public policy at local, state, and national levels [the episode may help with learning about the role of U.S. and state government—via universities—in scientific research at experimental forests and their influence on public policy.]

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Episode 282 (9-21-15): Water's Among the Non-Living, But It's All Around and Within the Living

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:09)

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, photos, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 9-18-15.

 
TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of September 21, 2015.

This week’s episode is especially for some of Virginia’s youngest science students: those in
kindergarten.  We’ll use water sounds to learn about differences between living things and non-living things.

To start, have a listen to two watery mystery sounds, and see if you know which one’s living and which one’s non-living.  Here goes!

SOUNDS – 8 sec – Beaver tail splat, North Fork Roanoke River flow


The first sound was a beaver slapping its tail on water – living!  The second sound was water flowing in a river – non-living!  But both the beaver and the water were moving, weren’t they?  So moving, by itself, isn’t enough to tell us what’s living and what’s non-living.  Let’s hear some other sounds to learn about more about living things.  Ready?

SOUND – 4 sec –
Spring Peepers and Gray Tree Frogs

That’s the sound of frogs in spring looking for mates to produce frog eggs, which hatch into tadpoles and then become new adult frogs.  So part of living is producing new living things in a life cycle.  Ready for the next one?

SOUND – 4 sec – Pelican chicks

That’s the sound of baby pelicans, before they grow into adult birds.   So growth is part of living.  Ready for another?

SOUND – 3 sec –
Mosquito buzzing

That’s a mosquito buzzing around someone in the insect’s surroundings, or its environment.  And if you hear that sound in your environment, you’ll probably do something, like swat at the insect.  So doing things in response to one’s environment is part of living.  And here’s the last one:

SOUND – 7 sec –
Whale surfacing and spouting air

That’s the sound of a whale surfacing to get air.   Living things need air, water, and food in order to keep living.

Now, here’s a riddle for you – what do you do every day that makes something non-living become part of something living?  And here’s a sound hint:

SOUND – 6 sec –
Pouring water and dropping ice cubes into a glass

When you drink water, that non-living water becomes part of the living you!

Let’s close with four more water sounds, and see if you can tell what’s living and what’s non-living.  Thanks for listening, and good luck!

SOUNDS - ~ 21 sec - motor boat; loons; rain/thunder; person wading into the New River in Giles County, Va., on New Year’s Day


For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at
virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


The pelican chicks sound was taken from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Digital Library,
http://digitalmedia.fws.gov/cdm/ (for sound clips specifically, see http://www.fws.gov/video/sound.htm).  Pelicans were the subject of Virginia Water Radio Episode 92 (week of 1-16-12).

The loons sound was taken from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Digital Library,
http://digitalmedia.fws.gov/cdm/ (for sound clips specifically, see http://www.fws.gov/video/sound.htm).  Loons were the subject of Virginia Water Radio Episode 88, 11/14/11.

The mosquito sound was recorded by user Zywx and made available for public use on Freesound.org, online at
https://www.freesound.org/people/Zywx/sounds/188708/, under Creative Commons License 0 (public domain).  For more information on Creative Commons licenses, please see http://creativecommons.org/.  Mosquitoes were part of the subject of Virginia Water Radio Episode 259 (3-30-15).

The whale spouting recording was taken from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Digital Library,
http://digitalmedia.fws.gov/cdm/ (for sound clips specifically, see http://www.fws.gov/video/sound.htm).  Whale sounds were the subject of Virginia Water Radio Episode 92 (12/12/11).

All other sounds were recorded by Alan Raflo for Virginia Water Radio and the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.

Thanks to Dr. Daniel McLaughlin, of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center and of the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, for his assistance with this episode.



PHOTO



Which are living things and which are non-living things in this photo, from the North Fork Shenandoah River in Shenandoah County, Va., August 31, 2007?  Living things include the water striders on the surface, algae on the surface of the rocks, fallen leaves (formerly living), and clam shells (formerly living).  Non-living things include the water, rocks, and the mineral particles (sand, silt, and clay) in the river bed.

SOURCES USED IN AUDIO AND PROVIDING MORE INFORMATION


“Kindergarten...kindergarten” blog, “A Science Mini-Unit: Living and Non-Living,” 3/25/12, available online at http://www.kindergartenkindergarten.com/2012/03/a-science-mini-unit-living-and-non-living.html.

Public Broadcasting System (PBS) and WGBH-Boston, “Living vs. Non-living,” online at http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/tdc02.sci.life.colt.lp_living/living-vs-nonliving/ (resources for grades K-2 and 3-5).


Utah State Office of Education, “Are You Among the Living or the Nonliving?”; available online at http://utahscience.oremjr.alpine.k12.ut.us/sciber06/3rd/Stand_2/html/2_1c.htm (designed for grade 3).

VocabularySpellingCity.com, “Kindergarten Science Vocabulary,” online at http://www.spellingcity.com/kindergarten-science-vocabulary.html.


RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES

The following episodes were written especially for certain science subjects and grade levels in Virginia:

At the Freezing Point – Episode 249, 1-9-15 (for K-3)
Density – Episode 255, 3-2-15 (for Grades 5-6)
Reaching the Boiling Point – Episode 250, 1-26-15 (for K-3)

Many other episodes cover topics that Virginia K-12 science students study.  All episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).

SOLS INFORMATION FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS

This episode is intended to help specifically with the following Virginia 2010 Science Standard of Learning (SOL):

K.5 – differences between living organisms and non-living objects; key characteristics of living organisms include growth, movement, response to the environment, having offspring; and need for food, air, and water.

The episode may also apply to the following other Science SOLs:

Grades K-6 Life Processes Theme
K.6 – basic needs and life processes of plants and animals.
1.5 - animals’ basic needs and distinguishing characteristics.
2.4 - life cycles.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.