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Early Sound Recordings From Alexander Graham Bell Recovered, Played Again

Sound recordings that hadn't been heard since they were first made by Alexander Graham Bell and others in the 1880s were played publicly Tuesday at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

The sounds captured in the collection include recited verse, human sounds and basic factual information such as the date.

The recordings — long stored at the Smithsonian Institution — were made on cylinders and discs of varying design. The Library of Congress teamed up with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to decode the recordings. The AP describes the process:

"Many recordings are fragile, and until recently it had not been possible to listen to them without damaging the discs or cylinders, the news release said. So far, six discs have been successfully submitted to the sound recovery process, which creates a high-resolution digital map of the disc or cylinder. The map is processed to remove scratches and skips, and software reproduces the audio content and produces a standard digital sound file."

More detailed information on how the maps are made can be found on the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's website. You can actually listen to some of the recovered sound on another page at the same site.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Jhumpa Lahiri Finds Freedom In Italian Memoir: 'No One Expected Me To Do It'

The Interpreter of Maladies author is a successful, Pulitzer Prize-winning English-language writer. But she found writing in Italian gave her true freedom; "Language is a very messy thing," she says.
NPR

Gulf Of Mexico Open For Fish-Farming Business

For the first time, companies can apply to set up fish farms in U.S. federal waters. The government says the move will help reduce American dependence on foreign seafood and improve security.
WAMU 88.5

What's Behind Trends In U.S. Violent Crime Rates

FBI data suggest there was a slight uptick in violent crime in the first half of last year, but overall violent crime rates in the U.S. have dropped dramatically over the last twenty years. What led to the long-term decline, and why do some say it’s likely to continue?

WAMU 88.5

Blocked: Twitter's Role In Combating Violent Extremism

Over the course of seven months, Twitter has suspended over 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts.

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