Tymbrwulf's Sift Talk Posts

Create Yourself a Spotify Account!

Have you heard of Spotify? If not, research it!

It's a program that streams music in real-time, any song you want(95% are usually available), has search functions, and drag-drop playlists. When you click on the artist, it goes to the artist's page and gives you a list of all the albums he/she's ever been involved in including the top hits they've had, and the songs in those albums (which can also be drag/dropped into your playlist btw).

It also has a radio function. You choose the time period (from the before the 50's rangint to 00's) and the genre, then it plays random songs that fit in the categories you chose.

It's programmed SO well that it automatically detects the media keys on your laptop.

FURTHERMORE, once you create your username, it stores all your playlists server-side so wherever you log in in the world, it uploads your playlist to that version of Spotify.

Now the catch? It's free only if you are located in the UK or France, BUT don't fret! I know how to get around this little "problem."

Step 1. Find a good UK proxy. Easiest will be web-based, since you'll only have to use it to register. I used:


Step 2. Through the proxy, visit


Step 3. Register. You're going to need a UK postal code, the one I used is LS18 5AZ, but you might find another one on Google.

Step 4. Download the installer. It should give you a link, otherwise use

http://www.spotify.com/en/download/mac/ for you mac users *shudder*

Step 5. Install it and enjoy your music. No need for any proxies or anything, you're just enjoying free music. One extra pro here is that if you listen to it through an unsupported country there are no ads!

One more thing. Logging into Spotify when you're NOT in the UK/France, you will have a 14 day period where it allows you to listen to their music, but once again, don't fret! There are two workarounds for this:

Spotify allows the use of proxies, so if you go into the proxy settings fo your Spotify, you can find a UK/French proxy that you can log into every 2 weeks or so.

The SECOND method is one I inadvertantly found myself (not sure how popular this is, and I'm hoping they don't fix it). You can use a firewall to block the incoming connections going into Spotify, which blocks the region-check part of the program.


Cats 'exploit' humans by purring


From BBC News:

Cat owners may have suspected as much, but it seems our feline friends have found a way to manipulate us humans.

Researchers at the University of Sussex have discovered that cats use a "soliciting purr" to overpower their owners and garner attention and food.

Unlike regular purring, this sound incorporates a "cry", with a similar frequency to a human baby's.

The team said cats have "tapped into" a human bias - producing a sound that humans find very difficult to ignore.

Dr Karen McComb, the lead author of the study that was published in the journal Current Biology, said the research was inspired by her own cat, Pepo.

"He would wake me up in the morning with this insistent purr that was really rather annoying," Dr McComb told BBC News.

"After a little bit of investigation, I discovered that there are other cat owners who are similarly bombarded early in the morning."

While meowing might get a cat expelled from the bedroom, Dr McComb said that this pestering purr often convinced beleaguered pet lovers to get up and fill their cat's bowl.

To find out why, her team had to train cat owners to make recordings of their own cats' vocal tactics - recording both their "soliciting purrs" and regular, "non-soliciting" purrs.

"When we played the recordings to human volunteers, even those people with no experience of cats found the soliciting purrs more urgent and less pleasant," said Dr McComb.

How annoying?

She and her team also asked the volunteers to rate the different purrs - giving them a score based on how urgent and pleasant they perceived them to be.

"We could then relate the scores back to the specific purrs," explained Dr McComb. "The key thing (that made the purrs more unpleasant and difficult to ignore) was the relative level of this embedded high-frequency sound."

"When an animal vocalises, the vocal folds (or cords) held across the stream of air snap shut at a particular frequency," explained Dr McComb. The perceived pitch of that sound depends on the size, length and tension of the vocal folds.

"But cats are able to produce a low frequency purr by activating the muscles of their vocal folds - stimulating them to vibrate," explained Dr McComb.

Since each of these sounds is produced by a different mechanism, cats are able to embed a high-pitched cry in an otherwise relaxing purr.

"How urgent and unpleasant the purr is seems to depend on how much energy the cat puts into producing that cry," said Dr McComb.

Previous studies have found similarities between a domestic cat's cry and the cry of a human baby - a sound that humans are highly sensitive to.

Dr McComb said that the cry occurs at a low level in cats' normal purring. "But we think that (they) learn to dramatically exaggerate it when it proves effective in generating a response from humans."

She added that the trait seemed to most often develop in cats that have a one-on-one relationship with their owners.

"Obviously we don't know what's going on inside their minds," said Dr McComb. "But they learn how to do this, and then they do it quite deliberately."

So how does Dr McComb feel about Pepo now she knows he has been manipulating her all these years?

"He's been the inspiration for this whole study, so I'll forgive him - credit where credit's due."
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