austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

And they could squeak and squawk and speak and talk to us

My brother and his wife also showed other of my niece's favorite apps, including one that presented animals and the noises they made. Some were surprises (I really had no preconceptions about how rhinos sound), some were obvious glitches (the badger and beaver had the same sound file), and the most curious was the rabbit. Rabbits, to a first approximation, don't make noise; as bunny_hugger noted, their sounds are from being either in heat or in distress. Either way that's an odd thing to give kids to hear. (I've found some YouTube videos of what sound like the same noise, from a rabbit that was just eating, and so I suppose not very upset with its current state. Still, it's a sound that needs footnotes.) Still, my sister-in-law was particularly interested in this because of such things as the nightmares she's going to have from the sound of a koala (it evokes someone with a cold having swallowed a faulty chainsaw).

The app my niece locked onto and wouldn't get away from, however much her mother encouraged, was one in which various animals on a farm or underwater scene are shown as parts of a cut-out puzzle. One clicks and drags them into place, and when done, the app asks the kid to identify each animal by name. With each animal's click it makes an appropriate noise; for cows or roosters or horses that's pretty predictable, but the fox sounds perfectly distraught about being picked. And the underwater animals are a grab-bag of splooshy, bubbly noises that seem kind of loud for a snail.

They also showed a video from several years back, when my brother and his (then) fiancee went to a swim-with-the-dolphins event. My sister-in-law was really into hugging and feeding and petting the dolphin and even feeling the dolphin's teeth. My brother managed to technically speaking complete each of these operations, but his body language clearly expressed the thought, ``while I am being treated well the Liberation Army will not release me until all their demands are satisfied''. The dolphin splashed him a couple times for his terrified-out-of-his-mind spirit (though the other husband/boyfriends in the group were as bad, and as splashed). My sister-in-law wants to do a swim-with-the-sharks event. I suspect my niece is serving as brake on some of these ambitions.

Trivia: The 1924 British Empire Exhibition drew over 27 million visitors to the 200-acre site and was so popular it had to be reopened in 1925; it nevertheless lost over £1.5 million even after a government subsidy of £2.2 million. Source: Empire: The Rise And Demise Of The British World Order And The Lessons For Global Power, Niall Ferguson.

Currently Reading: The Making Of The President: 1960, Theodore H White. (This is another Borders Book Sale/Book I Finally Ever Got Around To item.)


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