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Fox's "24" Is a Show Tailor-made for Video Games

This white-knuckle TV thriller not only puts you in the hero's place, it lets you play him in video games

4 min read

Last month, the sixth season of the Fox network television show "24" came to small screens, and fans began clearing their calendars accordingly. As any diehard will tell you, wearily, you don't just watch this show, you give your life over to it. You record it. You watch it again. Maybe you even pile up episodes in order to burn through two, three, four, or eight of them in a stretch.

The clever real-time premise is that of a bad-boy counterterrorist agent who has 24 hours, played out in as many episodes, to save the world. The secret sauce, however, is the science, which the show portrays and exploits in ways that compellingly reflect our times. In the world of Agent Jack Bauer, science is the root of all evil. Each season, without fail, a terrorist group has its paws on some newfangled weapon, often biological or chemical, that they're racing to unleash.

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford

Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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