A Flaneur in the Cloud – March 3, 2014

  • Oscar Glow, Today’s Tech Help Short Films Find Their Fandom : NPR 022814
    If you, an ordinary non-Academy member, wanted to see an Oscar-nominated short film a few years ago, you couldn’t — not unless you lived in a city with an art-house theater that happened to be showing them. Now, if you want to see an Oscar-nominated short like Mr. Hublot, an animated gem about a steampunk Paris filled with Victorian mechanical gadgetry, all you have to do is download it on iTunes or Amazon. Or you can watch via video on demand. This year’s Oscar-nominated shorts are also playing in more than 400 theaters across the country, where they’ve become an increasingly hot ticket. “Since 2006, we’ve probably had over an 800 percent increase in box office,” says Carter Pilcher, president of ShortsHD, a company dedicated to making shorts more accessible. “Short films used to be kind of out there, and nobody saw them. I would say the technology has caught up with content.” Now we have YouTube, among other things, and it’s created an insatiable appetite for short, easily digestible chunks of content we can watch on our mobile devices. And over the past 15 years, shorts have been redefined by Pixar.
  • Soviet Legacy May Fuel Ukraine’s Resistance To Russian Domination : NPR 022814
    Nikita Khrushchev transferred the Crimean peninsula to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954. David Greene talks Nina Khrushcheva, the Soviet leader’s great granddaughter about the history.
  • About | VocaliD
    In the United States alone, there are 2.5 Million Americans with severe speech impairments many of whom rely on computerized voices to express themselves. Yet many of them use the same voices as there are only a few options. That’s tens of millions of people world wide using generic voices. VocaliD (for vocal identity) aims to help children and adults with severe speech impairment find a voice of their own! | Our VocaliD approach extracts acoustic properties from a target talker’s disordered speech (whatever sounds they can still produce) and applies these features to a synthetic voice that was created from a surrogate voice donor who is similar in age, size, gender, etc. The result is a synthetic voice that contains as much of the vocal identity of the target talker as possible yet the speech clarity of the surrogate talker. It’s a simple idea that could make a powerful impact on the lives of those who rely on synthetic voices to express themselves.
  • Speech donors | Spark with Nora Young | CBC Radio 022314
    Until now, people living with severe speech disorders only had a few computerized voices to choose from. With the help of speech donors, Rupal Patel and collaborator Tim Bunnell are creating new, personalized voices that match the individual. | If you are interested in donating your voice or if you know someone who may want to receive a voice, please visit VocaliD.org
  • Gil Shaham And When The World ‘Got Much Smaller, Much Faster’ : Deceptive Cadence : NPR 022414
    The 1930s were among the most devastating and strife-filled eras in world history. Yet it was a time of spectacular artistic achievements as well, as violinist explores in a new multi-year recording project. The Israeli-American star soloist talked to All Things Considered host about the newly issued first volume in this series, which features Shaham playing concertos by , , , and the now little-heard German composer Karl Amadeus Hartmann.
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