Saturday, August 16, 2008

Science News: POP CHIRP BITE CRUNCH CHEW


The story of David Dunn and James Crutchfield's investigation of the effects of Beetles on our forests includes, research, sonification, visualization and much more -- another innovative use of media, art and science right here in New Mexico.

It's a fascinating -- and alarming -- story, here in Science News:
POP CHIRP BITE CRUNCH CHEW

It turns out that a tree doesn’t have to fall in the forest to make a sound. Upright trees make plenty of sounds, even though human ears can’t hear them. But few aside from botanists would have known about the voices of the trees if two guys had not pounded an old meat thermometer turned ultrasonic microphone into a beetle-infested piñon.

When they did, composer David Dunn and physicist Jim Crutchfield heard “sounds that went on, uninterrupted, for long periods of time. It was a constant ultrasound, and it didn’t matter where you were, the sound was there,” Crutchfield says. “It was bizarre.”

The cacophony came from a tree besieged by drought — and from a frenzy of tree-invading beetles.

The duo’s investigation began after Crutchfield’s New Mexican piñon pine trees came under attack.

“I had to cut down 100 trees on my lot,” he says, “and I wanted to know what killed them.”

Much more at POP CHIRP BITE CRUNCH CHEW
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