After losing his voice to cancer, new software is allowing Roger Ebert to "speak" through a computer by taking sounds of his own voice from his DVD commentary on 'Casablanca' and 'Citizen Kane'.
After losing his voice to cancer, new software is allowing Roger Ebert to "speak" through a computer by taking sounds of his own voice from his DVD commentary on 'Casablanca' and 'Citizen Kane'. "Nearly four years after a battle with thyroid cancer robbed him of the ability to speak, iconic film critic Roger Ebert sounded like his former self Friday during a taping of 'The Oprah Winfrey Show,' the show's producer said. It was no medical miracle, but rather a demonstration of new software using audio recordings of Ebert to create a synthetic voice that sounds like his own. CereProc, a company based in Edinburgh, Scotland, created the voice for him using mostly audio of Ebert's DVD commentaries on 'Citizen Kane' and 'Casablanca.' The company's technology allows Ebert to sound more natural than other 'text to speech' software — even allowing for a range of emotions. 'Roger has many years of experience in broadcasting,' said Matthew Aylett, chief technical officer for CereProc. 'Obviously we couldn't record him but he did have a lot of audio material we could use to build his voice.' The company has used the technology — which turns text typed by the user into sound — to build voices of other famous people, including former President George W. Bush on a satirical Web site. But this is the first time the company has produced a synthetic voice that sounds like the old voice of the person using it, Aylett said."
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How you talk to people with drug addiction might save their life.
- Addiction is a learning disorder; it's not a sign that someone is a bad person.
- Tough love doesn't help drug-addicted people. Research shows that the best way to get people help is through compassion, empathy and support. Approach them as an equal human being deserving of respect.
- As a first step to recovery, Maia Szalavitz recommends the family or friends of people with addiction get them a complete psychiatric evaluation by somebody who is not affiliated with any treatment organization. Unfortunately, warns Szalavitz, some people will try to make a profit off of an addicted person without informing them of their full options.
Meanwhile, Spaniards are the least likely to say their culture is superior to others.
- Survey by Pew Research Center shows great variation in chauvinism across Europe.
- Eight most chauvinist countries are in the east, and include Russia.
- British much more likely than French (and slightly more likely than Germans) to say their culture is "superior" to others.
China's Chang'e 4 biosphere experiment marks a first for humankind.
- China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander touched down on the far side of the moon on January 3.
- In addition to a lunar rover, the lander carried a biosphere experiment that contains five sets of plants and some insects.
- The experiment is designed to test how astronauts might someday grow plants in space to sustain long-term settlements.
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