Soon, app for recognizing wild birds’ songs?


This video is called Some Brazilian birds and sounds.

From Queen Mary University in London, England:

Birdsongs automatically decoded by computer scientists

Scientists from Queen Mary University of London have found a successful way of identifying bird sounds from large audio collections, which could be useful for expert and amateur bird-watchers alike.

Thursday 17 July 2014

 

The analysis used recordings of individual birds and of dawn choruses to identify characteristics of bird sounds. It took advantage of large datasets of sound recordings provided by the British Library Sound Archive, and online sources such as the Dutch archive called Xeno Canto.

Publishing in the journal PeerJ, the authors describe an approach that combines feature-learning – an automatic analysis technique – and a classification algorithm, to create a system that can distinguish between which birds are present in a large dataset.

“Automatic classification of bird sounds is useful when trying to understand how many and what type of birds you might have in one location,” commented lead author Dr Dan Stowell from QMUL’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science and Centre for Digital Music.

Dr Stowell was recently awarded a prestigious five-year fellowship from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to develop computerised processes to detect multiple bird sounds in large sets of audio recordings.

Birdsong has a lot in common with human language, even though it evolved separately. For example, many songbirds go through similar stages of vocal learning as we do, as they grow up, which makes them interesting to study. From them we can understand more about how human language evolved and social organisation in animal groups,” said Dr Stowell.

He added: “The attraction of fully automatic analysis is that we can create a really large evidence base to address these big questions.”

The classification system created by the authors performed well in a public contest using a set of thousands of recordings with over 500 bird species from Brazil. The system was regarded as the best-performing audio only classifier, and placed second overall out of entries from 10 research groups in the competition.

The researchers hope to drill down into more detail for their next project.

Dr Stowell says: “I’m working on techniques that can transcribe all the bird sounds in an audio scene: not just who is talking, but when, in response to whom, and what relationships are reflected in the sound, for example who is dominating the conversation.”

Want to know more? Read the paper.

United States cubist painter Max Weber exhibition


This video from London, England is called Private View – Max Weber: An American Cubist in Paris and London 1905-1915.

By Michal Boncza in London, England:

The wonders of Weber

Saturday 12th July 2014

MICHAL BONCZA welcomes an exhibition of works by an influential cubist painter

Max Weber: An American Cubist In Paris And New York 1905-1915

Ben Uri Gallery, London NW8

5/5

ART, identity and migration inform the Ben Uri gallery’s exhibition choices and this Max Weber show fits the bill to perfection. The fact that Weber’s work has not been exhibited in Britain since 1913 only heightens the interest.

Born in 1881 to a Jewish family in Bialystok — present-day north-east Poland but at the time part of the Russian empire — his peregrinations began at 10, when his family emigrated to New York.

It was there in 1898 that he began to study art but by 1905 Weber was in Paris, attracted by and absorbing the intellectual and artistic ferment of those heady days.

For a time he received tutoring, alongside many young artists, at the non-commercial Academie Henri Matisse from the master himself. But money ran out and after a relatively short three years Weber was back in New York.

His affectionate graphite sketch of his former tutor Matisse, perhaps completed before his return from Paris, is a delight — its minimalist strokes and likeness would certainly have pleased the master.

The experiences garnered in Paris allowed Weber to innovate and experiment in a varied palette of styles resulting in a sometimes disconcerting eclecticism.

Four dissimilar still natures on show, painted between 1910-12, reveal his dramatic progression from expressionism to cubism.

The principles of the latter are employed impressively when, “perched high above New York,” he renders the cityscape with subliminal feelings for its rich textures and crowded cement panorama.

Yet in The Dancers he retains elements of cubism but abandons fragmentation as a purely formal device to instead use it to organise the spirited movement and energy in simultaneous, separate perspectives reminiscent of reflections in a shattered mirror.

His contemporary — and fellow east European Jewish emigre — Marc Chagall’s expressionism comes to mind as the carnal sensuality feels as tangible as the bebop is audible.

Today Weber is considered to have been a major influence in the developing of modernism in the US. His work stemmed from many disparate influences, including Paul Cezanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau and African art, resulting in what’s been defined as “synthetic cubism with futurist devices.”

Once, while talking about his painting Chinese Restaurant (1915), Weber described the process thus: “light seemed to split into fragments in the interior… to express this, kaleidoscopic means had to be chosen.”

This video from London is called Cubist Max Weber’s ‘Brooklyn Bridge’ at Ben Uri Exhibition.

The iconic structure of his neighbourhood, the Brooklyn Bridge, is “hurled together in mighty mass against rolling clouds … this noise and dynamic force create in me a peace the opposite of itself.”

Weber’s words are as evocative as the brush strokes used to record that vision — it’s certainly the most vibrant image on display and possibly one of the best images of the bridge ever conceived.

Runs until October 5. Free. Opening times: (020) 7604-3991.

London solidarity with Spanish women


This video from Belgium is called Thousands protest in Brussels on planned anti-abortion law in Spain.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Human rights group targets Spanish embassy over abortion Bill

Saturday 28th June 2014

HUMAN rights activists descended on the Spanish embassy yesterday in protest at the right-wing Madrid government’s plan to roll back abortion rights.

Dozens of campaigners from My Belly is Mine have taken action against Spain’s anti-abortion draft Bill discussed in the country’s parliament on Friday.

This video from London, England says about itself:

British Spanish Society Reception at Spanish Embassy, London Wednesday 25th of July

On Wednesday the 25th of June, 2014, the Spanish Ambassador in London, Federico Trillo, hosted a reception for the British Spanish Society. We turned up uninvited alongside direct action feminist group Speaking of I.M.E.L.D.A and the Spanish Women’s Assembly from the 15M movement in London. We wanted to remind the ambassador, his guests and passersby that the rights of women are under serious threat in Spain.

The Morning Star article continues:

“Women have fought for their rights with great spirit and determination,” said one of the organisers Jade Hope. “For their rights to now be taken away from them is a disgrace.”

The campaign has emphasised how almost 50,000 women die after unsafe and regulated abortions every year across the globe.

Ms Hope added that abortions should be exclusively a woman’s choice.

“No one else has the right to impact on such a tough decision and the Spanish government thinking they can is to deny human rights,” she said.

Women’s rights activists in Britain stood alongside protesters in Berlin, Vienna and Lisbon in solidarity with Spanish women.

Polish workers at anti-fascist music festival in London


This punk rock music video from England is called Clash – Live at Rock Against Racism, Victoria Park, London – 30 April 1978.

By Luke James in Britain:

Unite Against Fascism organises festival at stabbing site

Saturday 28th June 2014

A COMMUNITY music festival is to be staged today at the site of a racist stabbing in north London amid concerns over reprisals.

Unite Against Fascism (UAF) organised the cultural event at Markfield Park in Tottenham, where a mass brawl was sparked last Saturday when Polish skinheads attacked another free musical event.

But the community is coming together to reclaim the park from the gang, which has used it as a recruiting ground in recent months.

Speaking ahead of the festival, factory worker Jacek Szymanski said the Polish community felt “angry and ashamed” by last week’s violence.

“Ashamed because they are Poles and brought disgrace on the whole Polish community in London,” he told the Star.

“And angry because we are afraid that this case will be used as a pretext for further attacks on the Polish community and the wider eastern European community.”

The attack had seen one man rushed to hospital with stab wounds and two Jewish men also targeted, with one having his kipah cap swept from his head.

Rocks, bottles and a flare were thrown in violent scenes as partygoers repelled the attack by the Zjednoczeni Emigranci (Immigrants Together) group of exiled Polish football thugs.

The group has since plastered the community in far-right stickers that show a crossed out hammer and sickle symbol.

UAF national secretary Weymann Bennett said the police were investigating but added that “the most important thing is that the community deals with it on the ground.”

Mr Szymanski said the fascist group represented a tiny minority and hoped “solidarity will emerge between the different local communities” after today.

He said: “It’s not about division between Poles and British people or Poles and Muslims. The man who was stabbed by the fascists in Markfield Park was a Pole himself.

“So the real division is about fascists and anti-fascists and we need to be united in the common good.”

The festival is being put on after more than 200 local people joined a display of unity organised by UAF at Tottenham Town Hall on Monday.