Fish Listen to Music, Prefer Bach


Goldfish not only listen to music, but they also can distinguish one composer from another, a new study finds.

The paper adds to the growing body of evidence that many different animals understand music.

Lead author Kazutaka Shinozuka of Keio University’s Department of Psychology told Discovery News that “goldfish could detect complex properties of sounds, such as pitch and timbre.”
For the study, published in the journal Behavioural Processes, Shinozuka and colleagues Haruka Ono and Shigeru Watanabe played two pieces of classical music near goldfish in a tank. The pieces were Toccata and Fugue in D minor by Johann Sebastian Bach and The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky.

The scientists trained the fish to gnaw on a little bead hanging on a filament in the water. Half of the fish were trained with food to gnaw whenever Bach played and the other half were taught to gnaw whenever Stravinsky music was on. The goldfish aced the test, easily distinguishing the two composers and getting a belly full of food in the process.
The fish were more interested in the vittles than the music, but earlier studies on pigeons and songbirds suggest that Bach is the preferred choice, at least for birds.

“These pieces can be classified as classical (Bach) and modern (Stravinsky) music,” Shinozuka explained. “Previously we demonstrated that Java sparrows preferred classical over modern music. Also, we demonstrated Java sparrows could discriminate between consonance and dissonance.”

“Generally speaking,” he added, “modern music includes much dissonance. Thus, although there is no direct evidence, Java sparrows might prefer classical music because of less dissonance.

In general, non-human animals prefer silence to our music.

“Did we really think that bats would get little tears flowing up their little faces when listening to the Ave Maria?” said David Teie, a lecturer in the School of Music at the University of Maryland who is also a professional cellist.

Teie studied how cotton-top tamarins react to music. The monkeys showed little response, but surprisingly seemed to calm down whenever they heard the heavy metal band Metallica.
The diminutive, fluffy monkeys also listened intently to music Teie created that was based on the structure of their own calls.Shinozuka did not rule out that it might be possible to tailor make music to please fish and other non-human species, but said “ability for acoustic communications” might be needed by the animal.

There appears to be no winning formula, though, for creating music to please all people.

As Shinozuka said, “Some people enjoy classical music, but other people become sleepy when they hear it. Some people enjoy rock music, but other people experience it as noise.”

In terms of the fish findings, Clive Wynne of the Arizona State University Department of Psychology told Discovery News that he agrees with the new study’s conclusions.
Wynne said “the paper shows that fish hear sounds and can tell the difference between two pieces of music … Whereas people will pay money for music, the fish were not willing to hang out in a particular part of their tank in order to have the music turned on.”

Many families keep goldfish for pets. Shinozuka suspects most of us underestimate their abilities.

“Scientific studies have demonstrated that fish are more intelligent than people believe,” he said. “Please value your goldfish!”


How to Have a Sense of Humor

Having a sense of humor is one of the greatest assets a person can have. Not only will you be prone to spontaneous laughter and mirth, it will help lower your stress levels, interact more easily with others, and even diffuse difficult situations. What’s not often understood is that you don’t have to be funny to have a sense of humor—just the ability to see the lighter side of things. We’ll show you how to recognize and develop your own, unique sense of humor.
Find your funny bone. This is the first step—and probably one you’ve already got the answer to. There are various types of humor, from the witty humor of Mark Twain, to the physical humor of The Three Stooges, to the dark humor of George Carlin. Not all kinds of humor appeals to everybody, and some humor simply cannot be brought into everyday life. For example, making bad puns such as those in Airplane (“I’m not kidding, and don’t call me Shirley”) can be used anywhere, with the worst result being agonized groans, whereas reenacting the “Niagara Falls” bit from the Three Stooges—physically assaultingKnow the difference between being funny and having a sense of humor. Both are important, and it’s usually difficult to have one without the other—but it’s not impossible. Being funny means being able to express humor of one kind or another—maybe a pratfall, or a witty pun, or a good joke, well-timed. You do need to have a sense of humor to be funny.

Having a sense of humor means being able to laugh at—or at least see the humor in—life’s absurdities. You do not need to be funny to have a sense of humor.

Trying to be funny without a sense of humor is usually seen as bitter, sarcastic, and nasty. To cultivate a sense of humor, try and avoid this.Understand context. What might be humorous, or even funny, could also be seen as clueless, or even tasteless, depending on the situation. When you told the latest blonde joke at the bar with your buddies (several rounds after beer thirty), they almost fell out of their stools laughing.

Tell that same joke to your blonde date, and you’ll pretty much guarantee you’ll be watching Star Trek reruns—by yourself—in about 1/2 hour.
Stay above the fray. To develop a sense of humor about things, try and stay objective. Much that we call humor is victim related: the guy who slips on a banana peel; the bartender in those endless “guy walks into a bar” jokes; or the poor schmo who says “Niagara Falls.” If you are that person who slipped on the banana peel and ended up in traction for six months, you might not find banana peel jokes funny at all. However, if you recognize the irony; are not above understanding that you, too, are fallible; and that you’re collecting a million-dollar settlement from the people who tossed the banana peel in your path, you’ll have found the humor in it after all!

If you’re that blonde date in the above scenario, just laugh, knowing you just learned something that will help you avoid a terrible mistake. Alternately, you could say “Did you hear the one about the guy who had the best night of his life after telling his blonde date a blonde joke? No? What a coincidence, neither have I! Thanks for dinner, I have to go now.”
Lighten up. Not everybody’s humor will be the same as yours, and what might tickle them to death might make you yawn, or even want to throw sharp objects in their general direction. Instead, find the humor in the situation. Maybe laugh at how sincere the would-be comedian is, or upon looking around the room, realizing you’re not alone in thinking chuckles is not as funny as he thinks. Even if you’re laughing at how lame their attempts at humor are, you’re still laughing. You win!
Watch and learn. If you’ve already got a sense of humor, you know what makes you laugh. If you don’t have a sense of humor, you have a lot to learn! In either case, take in a funny movie, or a YouTube clip on occasion. It might broaden your sense of humor, or help you define for yourself what you think is funny—or not. The worst that could happen is that you’ll laugh.Enjoy the things that make you laugh or smile. That’s the best way to develop a great sense of humor.
Watch comedy movies. It will help you gain a sense of humor.
Be funny.
Keep at it! Don’t give up! Humor is a key part of life.
Whenever a spontaneous funny thought comes during conversation divulge if it fits the situation.
Don’t take yourself so seriously. Try to see the humour and laugh at yourself.
Unless you’re a professional comedian, it’s not a good idea to try and joke your way out of a dangerous situation. If you’re in a legal situation—even if you’re a professional comedian—consider yourself in the “no joking” section. When they say “Order! Order in the court!” do not stand up and say “I’d like a ham on rye, go easy on da mustard!” Judges might think it’s funny to sentence you to 30 days for contempt of court.
Don’t make tasteless jokes at funerals or weddings. Even those with the keenest senses of humor will simply find you loathsome or boorish.

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Dershowitz to PM: Watch ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’

Law professor sends episode of Larry David’s show to Netanyahu, hoping he will invite Abbas over to watch it together.Comedian Larry David has been called a lot of things over the course of his long and successful career, but we’re pretty sure “peace maker” has never been one of them. Until now. Well, almost sort of, anyway.

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has sent an episode of David’s HBO show “Curb Your Enthusiasm” to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in hopes that he will invite Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over to watch it, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
As dedicated “Curb” fans have likely already guessed, it’s none other than the Palestinian Chicken episode, in which David is conflicted over whether it’s okay to get chicken from a Palestinian-owned restaurant even though—to the dismay of his Jewish friends—it’s housed right next to a deli.

David got the whole thing going by first sending the DVD out to Dershowitz. The attorney says it’s been received by Netanyahu, who is “looking forward to watching it.”

“Maybe if they both get a good laugh, they can begin a negotiating process,” says Dershowitz of the two leaders.

It sounds as crazy as any good “Curb” episode, but after watching this clip we think maybe he’s right.


Carey Mulligan On Daisy Buchanan’s Diamonds

THE Tiffany & Co jewellery worn by Carey Mulligan on the set of The Great Gatsby was worth so much, that she had to be shadowed by a security guard. The jeweller created bespoke pieces for Mulligan’s character, Daisy Buchanan, to wear throughout the

“I would be doing a scene, wearing these fabulous jewels from Tiffany’s worth many, many millions,” said the actress. “There’d be diamond bracelets on each arm, and diamond earrings, and rings, and strings of pearls around my neck. And I could see this guy in the corner watching me intently, in case I ran off with anything.”

The 27-year-old also touched on how different playing Daisy was, in comparison to her previous film roles – and how the costumes created by Catherine Martin and Miuccia Prada, helped to get her into the role.

“All the characters I’ve played before have looked how they look – or looked like crap, which was great fun,” she explained. “[This time] there was a lot of emphasis on appearance. Not from Baz, but from my own reading of the novel. She has to be an object of desire. She’s the golden girl – the “king’s daughter”. Catherine Martin’s costumes were extremely helpful in making me feel that I was Daisy.”

And while on set, the Gatsby parties were thriving; behind the scenes it seems that the cast were demonstrating far more sensible behaviour.

“I also had to feel as healthy as I could, because I had to look good in those dresses. I went to the gym, and I ate well. We were a healthy pack of actors – Leo and Tobey kept themselves fit. In character, we were all drinking Moet; but off the set we behaved ourselves and were strait-laced in Sydney. There was the odd barbecue, but no partying around and going crazy. Leo set the tone and we all followed.”