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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for December 18, 2002

Research Shows Music Rewires the Brain - Scientists at Dartmouth College have found that certain areas of the cortex of musicians are up to 5% larger than in people with no musical training. With musicians who started studies early in childhood, the neural bridge linking the brain’s hemispheres is up to 15% larger. The cortex of a professional musician - the portion associated with hearing - can contain 130% more gray matter than that of non-musicians. The researchers used Western music from Mozart to Miles, but speculated that all music should have the same effect.

Mahler’s Manuscript for First Symphony Discovered - An American conductor discovered in the library of a music academy in Jerusalem a first edition of Mahler’s First, copiously altered by the composer in red ink. The changes subtly but decisively change the sound of the symphony as we know it. Musicologists are now asking why Mahler’s changes were for the most part completely ignored by his publisher’s editors and typesetters.

TiVo’s Misguided Assumptions of Owners’ Viewing Tastes - Many electronic gadgets and commercial web sites are now featuring “personalization technologies” - computerized profiles of customers’ past history of listening, watching, and buying. The web software then recommends other items based on the customer’s tastes. The TiVo personal video recorder has a similar feature which is evidently a default (though it can be disabled). It evaluates which TV series and movies the owner selects to be time-shifted, and then goes out and unilaterally records other similar fare off the satellite. Stories are being told of TiVo owners finding their video hard drives full of cooking shows, for example, due to their having recorded just one Julia Child show. Another user tried to dissuade TiVo from thinking he wanted hours of gay programming by deliberately selecting the Playboy Channel and bikini shows on MTV. No mention was made in any of the reports about the competing PVR - RePlayTV - perhaps it allows for more owner control of excessive time-shifting behavior.

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