Slurp Clank Doom

We all know at least one person who loses his damn mind over things like the sound of chewing, slurping or silverware hitting someone’s teeth. And guess what. All those times you’ve wondered either to yourself or out loud about whether there’s something wrong with him, you were right. There is in fact a name for that. No, not moody pain in the ass, eeven though that one’s often accurate. It’s actually called Misophonia, and it can be quite rough for some people.

“For people who suffer,” says Jennifer Brout, a psychologist in Westport, Connecticut, who specializes in treating children with misophonia, “it’s as though the brain misinterprets the auditory stimuli and experiences it as harmful or toxic or dangerous.” The body responds, she says, by going into fight-or flight-mode. “It happens,” she adds, “in a millisecond.”
To help explain the mechanics of misophonia, Brout uses the example of a sleeping dog hearing, say, a door clicking shut. “The dog’s response is to wake up and think, is that something I need to be aware of?” If so, the dog barks or runs off to hide. If not, the dog goes back to sleep and pays no more attention to the sound. “In misophonia, there is no decrease in response; there is an increase,” Brout says. “You just keep alerting to the sound.”

Eventually, she stumbled upon the work of Pawel and Margaret Jastreboff, doctors who were treating patients at Emory University for tinnitus, a ringing in the ears, and hyperacusis, conditions in which sound is perceived as abnormally loud or physically painful. The couple noticed that some of their subjects had a specific type of decreased sound tolerance, where specific patterns of sounds, rather than decibel levels, set them off. Something, they hypothesized, was amiss between the auditory pathways in the brain and the pathways in which emotions are processed. In 2001, the Jastreboffs proposed the name for this condition, calling it misophonia, which means hatred of sound.

That’s As Queer As A $25 Bill…Wait, What?

I just learned something. Canada used to have a $25 bill.

Front of the Canadian $25 bill, which is a real thing that used to exist.
No officer, this is not a counterfeit. Honest.

It was a limited-edition commemorative banknote, issued only for a short period in 1935 to in honour of the silver jubilee of King George V, Canada’s reigning monarch at the time. The note features a portrait of the King alongside his wife, Queen Mary.
There are approximately 1,840 of these bills and they’re still legal tender, meaning you could technically take one to a store and make a purchase if you had one.

If you want to do that, you’ll need to do it soon. As of January 1st, 2021, they, along with our old $1, $2, $500 and $1000 bills will be losing that legal tender status. After that, it will no longer be lawful to confuse the living heck out of the poor kids behind the counters of our land.

Personally, I’d hang on to that $25. I imagine it’s going to be worth a good bit more than that if it isn’t already. And hey, even if it isn’t, it makes for a cool conversation piece.

Pirates And Creators Living Together! Mass Hysteria!

After decades of wasted effort and billions in wasted money, it’s good to see that somebody is finally starting to figure this out.

There will always be online piracy. That’s just a fact. No amount of enforcement or revenue choking or anything else you can think of will ever stamp it out completely. At best maybe you can drive it further underground, but at this point even that’s a stretch. If you kill one, three more pop up to replace it. It’s been that way for years. And even if somehow you get a decent handle on one aspect of it, somebody is going to unleash some sort of new technology and we’re right back where we started. So instead of continually crying poor as you set your money on fire and toss it down the futility hole, why not come up with a system that might actually accomplish something worthwhile for everyone?

A few weeks ago, we reported that anti-piracy company DMCAForce offered a rather unique partnership to torrent and streaming sites.
Where many companies in the advertising industry do their best to avoid sites that are linked to piracy, the San Diego-based company takes the opposite approach.
In an email, the company promised the sites a revenue-sharing opportunity. Instead of removing a link or file, they can remain up, if the site owner agrees to share part of its advertising space.
“DMCAForce recently launched a new way for File Sharing sites to work with content creators. Where you as the file sharing site can distribute their content for free, but in exchange provide the advertising space around the product,” the email read.

“We chose this approach as corporations, large to small, constantly pay DMCAForce and our other companies like DigiRegs, for services to remove content all day every day,” Bauman said.
“It’s a loss on the content creators books to pay us, but a necessary job that needs to be done. To further that, it’s a loss on the books of the place it’s taken from, as it is technically ad space for users who are looking for their product.”
When copyright holders have to pay to remove content and site owners lose appealing content and advertising space, nobody wins.

The key to this being successful is the very thing we don’t learn here. What are the revenue splits? And unfortunately, that also might be the key to the whole thing’s undoing. This might work just fine on a small scale with lesser known companies, but once the bigger players get hold of it, what happens? The next time one of those corporations isn’t trying to take all of the money for itself will be the first, and nobody on the other side is going to stand for that if they can avoid it. And once that happens, yet again we’re right back where we started.

23andEverybody

I’ve said before that I don’t understand the home DNA testing craze. Why would I, a sane person, voluntarily hork the very thing that makes me me (or to put it another way, the most personal piece of personal data I have) into a tube and mail it off to a corporation that’s going to do lord knows what with it? To my mind, that’s an extremely dumb thing to do. A lot of companies can’t seem to handle something as simple as your email address correctly, so why would you trust them with this? It’s your fucking DNA! And you’re making it publicly available! On purpose! Yeah, maybe finding out things you already know about where your grandma came from sounds fun, but what happens after that? What if, for example, that profile you sent to the publicly accessible database fell into the hands of an insurance company that was looking for a way to deny you coverage or make you pay more for it? Or what if, guilty or not, you wound up entangled in a police investigation? Finding out that you’re 98 percent Eastern European but you might be Asian too because you ate a grain of rice one time doesn’t sound quite as worth it now, does it?

But even though I fully intend to do my part to avoid having any of that happen to me, it may not matter. If an idiot or three in my family decides to waste his money, I’m as good as identifiable. If you don’t believe me, just ask the Golden State Killer. Yes, this one guy deserved it. But that doesn’t mean that everyone else is going to or that any of this is ok.

Even though the killer left his DNA at multiple crime scenes, investigators couldn’t find him until they turned to a massive genealogical website called GEDmatch. Users can upload their genetic profiles to GEDmatch — and websites like it — to learn about their family trees and look for long-lost relatives.
Investigators discovered that they could also use GEDmatch to look for a killer. They uploaded a fake genetic profile using crime scene DNA and found matches, not of the killer himself, but of his relative. From there, they could hunt through the family tree to find a suspect who had been in the right place at the right time. This is called a long-range familial DNA search, and it raises all sorts of questions about ethics, consent, and just how far law enforcement can go in their pursuit of a killer.

Happy Almost Retirement, Larry Mellott!


That’s some old audio of Larry Mellott, who somehow sounds both a little younger and exactly the same, calling a Guelph Platers game in 1988. He is, as it says in the tweet, retiring from full-time radio after nearly 50 years in the business. He’s going to keep on doing Storm games though, which is great news since I can’t imagine them without his voice.

After almost 50 years, renowned Guelph broadcaster Larry Mellott is calling it a career and heading into retirement — sort of.

Hockey fans need not worry, as he still plans on calling Guelph Storm hockey games on 1460 CJOY.

Mellott’s career began in St. Thomas, Ont., which he followed with jobs out west before settling in Guelph in 1974 and calling hockey games with Norm Jary, whom Mellott calls his mentor.
“A really good play-by-play man who took me under his wing,” Mellott said of Jary.

Mellott took over the duties full time when Jary retired in the early 1990s.
“Lots of good people to work with over the years, the listeners, the interviews — Gordie Howe and Terry Fox were at the top of that list — just lots of neat stuff,” he said.

A little bit of travelling and spending time with family are in the cards for Mellott this summer.
Storm fans will hear the familiar voice back on the airwaves when the team returns to action on Sept. 22 for the 2019-20 season.

Playing Music For A Few Seconds Whenever Somebody Blows A Whistle Is Harder Than It Sounds

Alan Cross spent a couple of years working with the Toronto Maple Leafs, helping to redesign the musical experience that anybody who has ever watched or been to a sporting event is likely familiar with. He recently wrote an article about what exactly that involves, and surprisingly it’s a hell of a lot more than you might think.

We began by researching the musical preferences of Leaf fans using data from a number of proprietary sources used by radio stations and record labels. Songs evaluated on the basis of era, energy, genre, key, subject matter, and even the image and reputation of the artist. For example, Gary Glitter’s Rock and Roll Part 2, once a global sports anthem, is completely toxic since Glitter’s conviction on pedophile charges.

Knowing the Toronto hockey fans are steeped in tradition and had strong opinions about everything involved in going to a game, we ran a preliminary list of songs past game ops and several people in the front office. At the time, fan sentiment leaned strongly towards rock, which was also the safest when it came to intergenerational tastes. We also sprinkled things with a few current pop, country, dance, and hip-hop tracks that we’d end up changing up every six weeks. The longest conversation was the goal song, the track played every time the Leafs scored. (We eventually decided on Feelin’ Good by The Sheepdogs.)
Another consideration was the needs of a major record label who paid for the privilege of having a slight majority of a game’s music come from artists on its roster. Anything played during the game had to conform to the terms of that contract.
There are anywhere from 60-80 moments within a game during which the DJ needs to play something appropriate for the situation. He or she needs to create a soundtrack for the game in real time. To increase the DJ’s reaction time, some 500 songs are plugged into a spreadsheet and then separated into categories for use in specific situations.

He goes on to list some of those categories and give examples of songs that fit into them. He also drops a lot of other details on us, including one I’ve never thought about but that made absolute sense as soon as he mentioned it.

Once all the songs were neatly categories, MP3s were loaded into a special music playback program similar to iTunes but much, much more powerful and specifically designed for live sporting events. It allowed for even more manipulation of the music for ultra-fast access. With only a second or two to react, you can’t have the DJ fumbling to fast-forward to the chorus of Rock and Roll All Nite from KISS. With this software, that clip and hundreds of others can be prepared for instant playback.

Like duh, of course that’s how they do that so quickly. But now I can’t help but wonder how it used to be done decades ago when that sort of computing power didn’t exist.

Anyway, this is a cool read if you’re interested in these things at all. I suggest checking it out.

Think Outside The Bun. Here, I’ll Show You How

We have an entire section here devoted largely to people being unhappy about food. This story is one of those, but it’s different. For instead of ending as so many do in assault, property damage or both, this one serves as a reminder that, like your dad and granddad always told you, if you want something done right, you’ve got to pull on those bootstraps and do it your own damn self.

According to cops, the suspect entered the Taco Bell in Spartanburg Wednesday afternoon complaining that “there was not enough meat on his Mexican pizza.”
A store employee told cops that she “re-made the suspect’s food.”
The man, however, was equally displeased with his second pizza and demanded a refund. When told that was not possible since a manager was not on the premises, the suspect became “enraged,” declaring that he “would show the employees how to make his food the appropriate way,” according to a police report.
The man then “walked behind the counter into the kitchen area and began making his own food.” A Taco Bell worker noted that the suspect “did not follow proper health/safety guidelines” by not wearing “protective gloves while making his food.”
The Taco Bell employee said the suspect “made himself another Mexican pizza and subsequently left the store and premises.”

Police are hoping to identify and track him down through either security footage or public assistance. When they do, there is a good chance he could receive misdemeanor larceny and trespass charges, which I assume is a strangely named citizenship award given to community members who non-violently resolve conflicts by making the best of less than ideal situations.

But I Made Copies!

I love the Register’s On Call feature. Basically it’s like those emails full of dumb computer user jokes that have gone around for years and years, only real. Every week, technicians write in and share stories of the ineptitude they’ve experienced in the wild. They’re usually pretty good, but every now and then you happen upon a true gem, the sort that makes you stop what you’re doing for a second and just think…wow. For example…User secures floppies to a filing cabinet with a magnet, but at least they backed up daily… right?

It’s important to note here that while this is never a good idea, it was an even worse idea than usual because this was back in the days when you needed those floppies to actually use the machine.

But though the originals were toast, at least there were copies. Lots and lots of copies.

Isabelle was now worried, and asked if the user had been making backups.
“Of course, as instructed I make a copy every night and keep them next door. Shall I go get them?”
The user soon came back with an A4 ring binder with plastic inserts inside – and Isabelle didn’t get the feeling her worries were over.
“I keep them next door as we were advised to keep them separate from the machine in case of fire,” said the diligent user.
“As soon as I switch the machine off for the day I take the disks next door and make copies. It’s convenient to leave them there and bring back the originals.”
At the same time, she opened the ring binder, selected the right day and handed Isabelle an A4 piece of paper.
“My heart was sinking as I took the A4 sheet of paper. It had two clear images of 5.25-inch disks and the labels,” said Isabelle.
“She had photocopied the two disks every day and written the date in the corner before putting it in plastic sleeves marked Monday to Friday, week 1 to week 4.”

Wow.

Also Sounds About Right

Ford government cancels tree planting program after learning trees also want to eliminate carbon

TORONTO – In a move harshly criticized by environmentalists nationwide, the Ford government announced yesterday that it is cancelling a program that would have seen 50 million new trees planted in Ontario, after realizing that trees, like the Conservative-denounced carbon tax, remove carbon dioxide from the country’s atmosphere.
The 50 Million Tree Program, which not only created jobs but helped to maintain Ontario’s forests and shorelines, was shut down to decrease Ontario’s financial deficit. However, Ford made it clear that the real reason he wanted it gone was because the planted trees were aiding Trudeau’s Liberal agenda.
“I bet Trudeau thought we’d never find out about this,” Ford boasted in Queen’s Park immediately following the announcement. “While we’ve been fighting the good fight against his joke tax, he’s planted his secret carbon-hating agents in every backyard. I know I’ll never trust a tree again.