Casual Discussion Science Forum @scivillage

Full Version: Mini nuclear power plants? + Why do our recorded voices sound weird to us? (design)
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Miniaturized Nuclear Power Plant?

EXCERPT: Nuclear power plants are typically hulking structures made using billions of dollars of concrete and steel. But one company thinks that by going smaller, they could actually make nuclear power more affordable. [...] "Miniature" in nuclear terms is still pretty big. The modules are small enough to fit on flat-bed trucks, but they would stand nearly nine stories tall. Moreover, a power plant would probably require several modules hooked together like giant batteries. Of course, they'd need to be operated by professional nuclear engineers. But the design — a radical departure from other nuclear plants — would also have advantages....

Why Do Our Recorded Voices Sound Weird to Us?

EXCERPT: [...] There’s an easy explanation for experiences like Ms. Miyawaki’s, said William Hartmann, a physics professor at Michigan State University who specializes in acoustics and psychoacoustics.

There are two pathways through which we perceive our own voice when we speak, he explained. One is the route through which we perceive most other sounds. Waves travel from the air through the chain of our hearing systems, traversing the outer, middle and inner ear. But because our vocal cords vibrate when we speak, a second path is introduced internally, in which those vibrations are conducted through our bones and excite our inner ears directly. “The effect of this is to emphasize lower frequencies, and that makes the voice sound deeper and richer to yourself,” Professor Hartmann said.

Except when it doesn’t: Professor Hartmann’s explanation makes sense for many people, including Ms. Miyawaki. But it does not quite work for my classmate Walter or for me....
I can't find it now, but I think thorium reactors are smaller and don't necessarily rely on uranium (using thorium-containing minerals like salt instead).

I've long said that I don't know if I can sing well, but it sounds good vibrating through my skull.