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This Morning, I Didn't Know What A Binaural Soundscape Was. Now All I Want To Do Is Listen To Them.

I found a hidden gem on the Internet this week: NPR has a Soundcloud set of "binaural soundscapes." Strap on your headphones — it's going to be a surreal ride.Important note: If you have hearing loss, this may not work well for you.

Maybe you don't know what a binaural recording is.

Basically, the deal is, you have two ears.

They are the width of your head apart. And there's a big lumpy meatball in the middle. So your ears hear different things. Then your brain processes these two distinct streams of information and uses them to position stuff in space. Standard stereo recording often uses a couple of mics, but it's not trying to position them in a way that mimics your ears.


Recording artists have started building these crazy microphone setups that imitate the position and direction of your real ears.

Then they take them around the world. The results are astounding. You really can feel the birds singing as they move through space, or people passing you on the street.

It's like a window into other landscapes. It makes the world feel so close and small and familiar.

Here are a few of my favorites.

(Oh, and this doesn't work with regular speakers. Use your headphones.)

First stop: A regular day on a street in Tibet.

(Close your eyes. Trust.)

Wasn't that just amazing?

Next up, a stop in the Ecuadorean rain forest to hear the song of the orapendula. (It's a bird. I looked it up.)

I could listen to that all night.

Let's wrap up with a visit to Dzanga Bai, a clearing in the Central African Republic, where elephants gather as evening closes in.

For more magical journeys, check out the rest of NPR's Binaural Soundscapes.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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