Best Lab Report Ever

Electron Band Structure In Germanium, My Ass

Abstract: The exponential dependence of resistivity on temperature in germanium is found to be a great big lie. My careful theoretical modeling and painstaking experimentation reveal 1) that my equipment is crap, as are all the available texts on the subject and 2) that this whole exercise was a complete waste of my time.

Read the rest here.

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For those who know anything about audio…

I’m working on encoding videos from the big Ship of Fools / Andy Ober Orchestra show this past March. The video’s coming through OK (though I’m still fiddling with mencoder’s various knobs to get a good-looking video without taking up too much disk space).

However, making the audio come out well is giving me some problems. I fear there’s no real solution to this, but I’m going to throw this out there in case someone reading this in the near future knows anything about this topic.

Here’s the situation: I have a live recording that has four basic sources of sound in it: a keyboard, an electric guitar, vocals and speech (primarily but not exclusively male), and an audience. On the recording, the instruments and audience come through quite well, but the vocals and speech are way too quiet, sometimes to the extent that they’re completely drowned out. (The imbalance was a bit of a problem live, but on the recording it’s much worse.)

I’d like to somehow remedy that, or at least ameliorate the problem, so that you can actually hear what’s being sung or said. Unfortunately, everything’s on one audio track, which means I have no simple way of adjusting a single source. Whatever I do, it has to be done on the entire audio stream.

So, is there any way to make the vocals and speech louder without distorting everything else too much? The only thing I can think of is to tweak the audio equalization to make some frequency ranges louder and others quieter. Is there a frequency range that primarily only the vocals will fall within? A little random experimentation suggests not, but this is definitely out of my area of expertise.

Or might there be some other trick I’m missing?

Of course the “proper” solution would require having recorded separate audio tracks for each instrument and vocalist, but that presupposes access to equipment we don’t (and didn’t) have access to. And it’s too late to argue about that now, since the recording’s already been made.

The recording is mostly servicable as it is, but it’s hard to fully appreciate song parodies when you can barely hear the lyrics.

I promise a free copy of the video to anyone who offers a good solution. (Pay no heed to that it’s my intention to distribute the video free to the world once I’ve got a good encoding.)

Quote of the Week #91

Atheists are angry for the same reason Jews are cheap. Jews are cheap because people say Jews are cheap, because of a hatred for Jews. It’s not true. It never has been true; it never will be true. There is nothing about temperment that is tied to being Jewish, either in culture or religion. That is an evil, hateful lie that people who do not like Jews, people who are anti-Semitic, people who are evil, say stuff like “Jews are cheap.” It’s a bad, evil, horrible thing to say, and it’s said by people who want to breed hatred toward Jews. Precisely the same reason why atheists are angry.

Penn Jillette

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