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Interactive video lesson plan for: 4 Unidentified Sounds | What the Stuff?!

Activity overview:

Have you ever heard the Taos Hum, or detected a signal from space? What the heck is that radio tower in Russia doing? Learn more about the world’s most mysterious noises.

10 Unidentified Sounds:

"I Don't See the Branches, I See the Leaves" by Chris Zabriskie

* Have you ever heard a weird, unexplainable sound? Like a bump in the night, a voice from an empty room and stuff like that? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, there are a few strange noises even the experts can’t explain.
* Wow! Signal –
In 1997 at Ohio State University’s Big Ear radio telescope, a volunteer named Jerry Ehman noticed an extremely powerful signal from space
30 times louder than the typical ambient noise of the cosmos – and very close to 1,420 megahertz, the frequency of hydrogen.
Only lasted 72 seconds. Despite more than 100 subsequent studies of the same region, no one’s found anything like it again.
Was it a natural anomaly? Some sort of alien signal? We have no idea.
*The Upsweep
Earth’s oceans are pretty mysterious today, so it’s no wonder that they’d also be a source of bizarre noises, from volcanic tremors to humpback whales.
Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration use a network of hydrophones to detect sounds across the maritime world. We can explain most of these noises – or at least make a pretty compelling guess.
But there’s one thing we can’t explain – at least, not yet: The Upsweep, first detected in 1991.
It’s a set of narrow-band upsweeping sounds, each lasting several seconds, powerful enough to be recorded throughout the Pacific. The Upsweep seems to be seasonal, peaking in spring and fall. Why? We have no idea.
In the 1980s, a radio tower north of Moscow transmitted a series of beeps, switching to buzzing sounds in 1992.
Each buzz only lasted about a second, occurring about 21-34 times a minute.
Every few weeks, a male voice would interrupt the signal to recite a string of numbers and words. The tones, amplitudes, and pitch of the buzzing shifted, and the intervals also changed.
In 2010 the station briefly stopped sending out signals twice. At the end of August, after the second break in the signal, everything changed.
The station broadcasts thuds and shuffling sounds, along with snippets of music like “Dance of the Little Swans” or “Swan Lake”.
Though there’s no public proof, most people assume this is a spy operation, transmitting messages to secret agents.
*The Max Headroom Incident
This one is unexplained, in that nobody knows who did it or how they did it.
On Nov. 22, 1989, a hacker took over the frequencies of two Chicago-area TV stations.
The first time, during a CBS newscast, technicians shut it down in 30 seconds. The second attack, against a public TV station, lasted well over a minute.
The PBS drama cut out and a man in a Max Headroom mask appeared, broadcasting a cryptic audio message, with lines like "your love is fading" and a hummed snippet of the theme song from the cartoon "Clutch Cargo" 
For more than two decades people have tried to figure out who did this. You can find some compelling theories, but for now, this remains the world’s most mysterious Max Headroom impersonator.
*The Taos Hum
Taos, New Mexico isn't the only place where a bizarre ambient hum is heard, but it's probably the most famous spot for the mysterious droning.
The Taos Hum has been described as a sound similar to the low rumble of a diesel truck's engine
People who noticed it are bothered to varying degrees, with some experiencing a mild feeling of irritation, while others report sleep disturbances, dizziness and nosebleeds.
Scientists think it may be caused by low frequency waves that originate in the atmosphere or else by vibrations from deep within Earth. Or perhaps some people are extraordinarily sensitive to certain electromagnetic frequencies, and that the hum is caused by devices such as cell phones.
Conspiracy theorists suggest that it's caused by some sort of secret military communications system used to contact submarines, or a clandestine weapons testing program.
But again, nobody really knows for sure 

* And you know what that sound means – our time is up. Thanks so much for watching. Can you think of an explanation for these sounds? Let us know in the comments, and if you’d like to know more, check out our article “10 Unidentified Sounds That Scientists Are Seriously Looking Into.”

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