Readers discuss jazz music, the next generation of astronauts and more
In full swing
The swaying feeling in jazz music that makes the feet tap can come from almost imperceptible delays in the timing of the musicians, reported Nikk Ogasa in “Jazz gets its swing from small, subtle delays” (SN: 11/19/22, p. 5 ). ).
Reader Oda Lisa, a self-described intermediate saxophonist, noticed these subtle delays in playing. “She praised my efforts overall, but suggested I get a metronome because the timing wasn’t right. My answer was that I am a slave to the rhythm I hear in my head. I think now I know why.”
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On the same page
Hazy definitions and measurements hinder social science research, reported Sujata Gupta in “Fuzzy definitions mar social science” (SN: 19.11.22, p. 10).
Reader Linda Ferrazzara found the story thought-provoking. “If there is no consensus on the terms used … then there can be no productive discussion or conversation. People end up talking and working past each other with no mutual understanding or progress,” Ferrazzara wrote.
fly me to the moon
Space agencies are preparing to send the next generation of astronauts to the moon and beyond. These crews will be more diverse in background and expertise than the crews on the Apollo missions, Lisa Grossman reported in Who Gets to Go to Space?. (SN: 12/3/22, p. 20).
“It’s great to see wider recognition of the work being done to make space travel accessible to more people,” wrote reader John Allen. “Future space travel will and must host a population that represents humanity. It won’t be easy, but it will be successful.”
The story also reminded Allen of the Gallaudet Eleven, a group of deaf adults who participated in NASA and US Navy research in the 1950s and 1960s. Experiments tested how the volunteers responded (or did not respond) to a range of scenarios that would typically induce motion sickness, such as: B. a ferry ride on rough seas. Investigating how the body’s sensory systems function without the usual gravitational signals of the inner ear allowed scientists to better understand motion sickness and the human body’s adaptation to space travel.
sweet Dreams are made of this
A memory-boosting method using sound cues could improve on an established treatment for debilitating nightmares, reported Jackie Rocheleau in “Learning trick puts nightmares to bed” (SN: 12/3/22, p. 11).
Reader Helen Leaver revealed her trick to getting a good night’s sleep: “I found out that while I was sleeping I was having strong uncomfortable adventures and waking up hot and sweaty. By eliminating the amount of heat from bedding and an electrically heated mattress topper, I now sleep well without those nightmares.”
In “Why Do We Hate Pests?” (SN: 12/3/22, p. 26), Deborah Balthazar interviewed former Science News Explores contributor Bethany Brookshire about her new book Pests. The book argues that humans—influenced by culture, class, colonization, and more—create animal villains.
The article got reader Doug Clapp to consider what he considers pests or weeds. “A weed is a plant in the wrong place, and a pest is an animal in the wrong place,” Clapp wrote. But what’s considered “wrong” depends on the people who hold power over the place, he noted. “Grass in the lawn can be a nice thing. Grass in a garden choking the vegetables I’m trying to grow becomes weeds. Mice in the wild don’t bother me. Field mice that migrate into my home in cooler weather become a nuisance, especially when they munch on my food and leave feces behind,” Clapp wrote.
The article encouraged Clapp to look at pests through a societal lens: “I’d never thought of pests in terms of high-class or low-class. Likewise the remaining implications of [colonization]. Thank you for prompting me to put some of these issues in a broader context.”