What with getting ready for the Richard Peck workshop this weekend (which I think will be awesome, and I'll blog about it when it's over), raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through their Team in Training program (click here if you're interested in contributing to a great cause and helping me meet my fundraising goal), and working on revisions and getting photo permissions for the Volcano Scientists book, I haven't had much time to blog. But I just had to give you a heads-up for one of the coolest auditory illusions I've ever heard: The Virtual Barbershop.
Listening to it, you feel as though you are in a barber's chair, with the barber moving around you, clipping away at your hair. The illusion demonstrates our ability to locate sounds in space; by comparing the inputs to the two ears, we can work out where a sound is coming from. You'll need to listen with headphones:
Aren't you glad it wasn't the virtual dentist?
I discovered this and four other auditory illusions on The New Scientist's web exclusive, part of their special music issue. I've been interested in auditory illusions for years, since I went to a talk by Diana Deutsch, who studies the perception and memory for sounds and has discovered a number of musical illusions and paradoxes. I think that this kind of stuff would make for a great kids' book--but it would have to be accompanied by a CD. I wonder if anybody would be interested. Hmmm.
Now playing: Sam Moore with Wynonna, BeBe Winans & Billy Preston - I Can't Stand the Rain