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Voicing an alien view in Smurf
NEXT time you tune into Dr Who and hear a Dalek scream ‘’Exterminate’ in its mechanically manical voice, you could be experiencing science fact as much as science fiction.
Apparently, if we humans were able to chat to each other in Outer Space, our voices might sound very much like such fictional TV characters. According to Southampton University researchers, humans having a chin wag on Venus would make noises like ‘bass Smurfs’.
Taking account of different atmosphere, pressure and fluid dynamics, the team’s spokesman, Professor Tim Leighton, says our voice pitch on Venus would become much deeper. It seems our vocal chords would vibrate more slowly through the planet’s dense atmosphere.
I could have told the good professor something like that would be the case, having conducted a number of bath night experiments in this area of acoustical research when I was a boy.
Indeed, everyone who is not afraid of getting their hair wet should know that when you stick your head under water and speak, you sound like an alien.
However, Southampton University’s research should not be dismissed as being without merit. At the very least it may help future Earthlings develop the right vocal capabilities to engage in verbal exchanges if they eventually meet intelligent beings from other worlds.
It could be a futuristic version of coughing up phlegm, very much like the early English had to learn to do when first trying to communicate with the Welsh.
Vocal dexterity was also required when communic-ating with the Scots, Irish, French and Italians. And you know what all that led to - Six Nations Rugby!
I’m not normally given to fanciful extrapolation, but imagine what would happen if in millennia to come we had a similar sporting test - the Six Planets - involving our closest alien neighbours. How, I wonder, would Earth’s away team feel about being cheered on by an army of supporting Smurfs?