The mystery of the whirly tube’s missing fundamental mode [study]

The musical instrument shown above is known by various names e.g. the whirly tube, the corrugaphone, the bloogle resonator, the voice of the dragon, the hummer, and even, according to American composer (and parodist) Peter Schickele the “Lasso d’Amore”. For acousticians, it’s noteworthy because the fundamental acoustic mode, that’s to say the note that one […]

Do orangutans prefer functional tools or non-functional tools?

Orangutans (Pongo spp.) have been observed to spontaneously use tools of various kinds to achieve their objectives. But researchers from The Great Ape Trust, Des Moines, IA, and Iowa State University wondered whether, given the choice, they might prefer to go for a functional tool (stiff) or a non-functional (floppy) tool. Their experimental study presented […]

When you need to breathe, not just any pen will do

Ball point pens are not all equivalent, suggests this emergency-medical study: “Airflow efficacy of ballpoint pen tubes: a consideration for use in bystander cricothyrotomy,” David Owens, Ben Greenwood, Alistair Galley, Alun Tomkinson, Sarah Woolley, Emergency Medicine Journal, 2010;27:317-320. (Thanks to investigator @MsCelsius for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at Princess of Wales Hospital, […]