Monday, October 02, 2006

Thanks, Australia

One small word is one giant sigh of relief for Armstrong - World - Times Online: "[Neil] Armstrong has long insisted that he meant to say “one small step for a man . . .” — which would have been a more meaningful and grammatically correct version, free of tautology. But even the astronaut himself could not be sure.

“Damn, I really did it. I blew the first words on the Moon, didn’t I?” he is reported to have asked officials later, amid uncertainty as to whether he had blown the moment or simply been drowned out by static interference as his words were relayed 250,000 miles back to Earth.

Now, after almost four decades, the spaceman has been vindicated. Using high-tech sound analysis techniques, an Australian computer expert has rediscovered the missing “a” in Mr Armstrong’s famous quote. Peter Shann Ford ran the Nasa recording through sound-editing software and clearly picked up an acoustic wave from the word “a”, finding that Mr Armstrong spoke it at a rate of 35 milliseconds — ten times too fast for it to be audible.


John Gooley said...

Thanks for showing me what Australians are doing. I tend to sleep late and miss most of the good stuff.

Nick Mariette said...

Peter Shann Ford's "analysis" of Neil Armstrong's moon landing speech is completely unscientific, and not a proof at all (and Peter is more a CEO and ex news anchorman than computer programmer). (1). No speech researcher would make a scientific claim using Goldwave software, they would more likely use Matlab or Praat, other software. (2). The audio used was 11.025 kHz, 8 bit quality. (3). The "control phrase" (for mankind) has shorter syllables because it has more of them. (4). Peter Shann Ford didn't use the first tool of any speech researcher - the spectrogram. (5). Peter's "research" was reviewed by an astronaut who emphasised the finding was "persuasive", and "Ms. Rano Singh, a Physiotherapist with a Masters in Biomechanics". (6). The mouth diagram is from a description of Korean alveolars, and Korean does not have the American English approximant /r/. (this point from
(7). There was no peer review by real speech analysis researchers. I believe the whole thing to be a dodgy publicity stunt for Peter Shann Ford and his Control Bionics company. Read more here: