Twitter: Thumbs Up

Topic: The Value of Twitter

Jay Rosen: Well, I don’t think it’s necessarily it has value for everyone and I’m not one of these people who you should get on Twitter and everybody should have a Twitter account, no. I can tell you what's interesting about it for me is people can elect to follow writers and thinkers and speakers they’re interested in, and you can elect to follow them back or not. And so for me, it’s a great way to build a network of people who are interested in my work, friends of my ideas, so that’s what the people who follow me on Twitter are they’re friends of my ideas and I can talk to them through this network as they listen to me but also a lot of the other people at the same time, so I have a small part in their feed which is fine because I’m one of many voices they’re listening to. So that was Twitter is. It’s your own network of people who follow what you do and say.

Question: How do you use Twitter?

Jay Rosen: Well, I’m learning Twitter. In my first few months doing it and so I’m doing lots of things that just help me understand the form, and a lot of them probes, they’re just playing around, tinkering as it were with something new. But I used it the way other people do and that the people I follow are constantly posting links and ideas about stuff that I want to keep up with. When I find something that I think would interest the kind of people who read my blog or who follow my arguments, I post it. Hear something new. I post questions to my followers. I pushed out news of my work as it appears around the web, and I also get a kind of a real time reaction to things going out in the news that really interests me especially in the media biz and the whole realm of alternative media, new media. These are things that I follow with passion. And so, it’s keeping me in touch, it’s filtering the web for me. It’s reading the newspaper for me and it’s also a group of people who I trust with my ideas both in finished form and in the kind of tentative [groping] that you do when you try to figure out your reaction to things like the saddleback form where McCain and Obama appeared in last week. And so, it’s part of living in a world of information with really expert guides, that’s Twitter for me.

Recorded on: 08/19/2008

Jay Rosen talks about how Twitter provides him with a network of expert guides.

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First off, let's be clear what we mean by "hear" here. (Here, here!)

Sound, as we know it, requires air. What our ears capture is actually oscillating waves of fluctuating air pressure. Cilia, fibers in our ears, respond to these fluctuations by firing off corresponding clusters of tones at different pitches to our brains. This is what we perceive as sound.

All of which is to say, sound requires air, and space is notoriously void of that. So, in terms of human-perceivable sound, it's silent out there. Nonetheless, there can be cyclical events in space — such as oscillating values in streams of captured data — that can be mapped to pitches, and thus made audible.

BepiColombo

Image source: European Space Agency

The European Space Agency's BepiColombo spacecraft took off from Kourou, French Guyana on October 20, 2019, on its way to Mercury. To reduce its speed for the proper trajectory to Mercury, BepiColombo executed a "gravity-assist flyby," slinging itself around the Earth before leaving home. Over the course of its 34-minute flyby, its two data recorders captured five data sets that Italy's National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) enhanced and converted into sound waves.

Into and out of Earth's shadow

In April, BepiColombo began its closest approach to Earth, ranging from 256,393 kilometers (159,315 miles) to 129,488 kilometers (80,460 miles) away. The audio above starts as BepiColombo begins to sneak into the Earth's shadow facing away from the sun.

The data was captured by BepiColombo's Italian Spring Accelerometer (ISA) instrument. Says Carmelo Magnafico of the ISA team, "When the spacecraft enters the shadow and the force of the Sun disappears, we can hear a slight vibration. The solar panels, previously flexed by the Sun, then find a new balance. Upon exiting the shadow, we can hear the effect again."

In addition to making for some cool sounds, the phenomenon allowed the ISA team to confirm just how sensitive their instrument is. "This is an extraordinary situation," says Carmelo. "Since we started the cruise, we have only been in direct sunshine, so we did not have the possibility to check effectively whether our instrument is measuring the variations of the force of the sunlight."

When the craft arrives at Mercury, the ISA will be tasked with studying the planets gravity.

Magentosphere melody

The second clip is derived from data captured by BepiColombo's MPO-MAG magnetometer, AKA MERMAG, as the craft traveled through Earth's magnetosphere, the area surrounding the planet that's determined by the its magnetic field.

BepiColombo eventually entered the hellish mangentosheath, the region battered by cosmic plasma from the sun before the craft passed into the relatively peaceful magentopause that marks the transition between the magnetosphere and Earth's own magnetic field.

MERMAG will map Mercury's magnetosphere, as well as the magnetic state of the planet's interior. As a secondary objective, it will assess the interaction of the solar wind, Mercury's magnetic field, and the planet, analyzing the dynamics of the magnetosphere and its interaction with Mercury.

Recording session over, BepiColombo is now slipping through space silently with its arrival at Mercury planned for 2025.

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