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Teju Cole — Sitting Together in the Dark - The On Being Project
"Writer and photographer Teju Cole says he is “intrigued by the continuity of places, by the singing line that connects them all.” He attends to the border, overlap and interplay of things — from Brahms and Baldwin to daily technologies like Google. To delve into his mind and his multiple arts is to meet this world with creative raw materials for enduring truth and quiet hope."



"I’m going to go back to a word I used earlier, which is how much help we need. We sometimes think of culture as something we go out there and consume. And this especially happens around clever people, smart people — “Have you read this? Did you check out that review? Do you know this poet? What about this other poet?” Blah blah blah. And we have these checkmarks — “I read 50 books last year” — and everybody wants to be smart and keep up. I find that I’m less and less interested in that, and more and more interested in what can help me and what can jolt me awake. Very often, what can jolt me awake is stuff that is written not for noonday but for the middle of the night. And that has to do with — again, with the concentration of energies in it.

Tomas Tranströmer, the Swedish poet, who died — can’t remember; maybe 2013 he died. He seemed to have unusual access to this membrane between this world and some other world that, as Paul Éluard said, is also in this one. Tranströmer, in his poetry, keeps slipping into that space.

In any case, I just found his work precisely the kind of thing I wanted to read in the silence of the middle of the night and feel myself escaping my body in a way that I become pure spirit, in a way. I remember when he won the Nobel Prize, which was in 2011. We live in an age of opinion, and people always have opinions, especially about things they know nothing about. So people who were hearing about Tranströmer for the first time that morning were very grandly opining that his collected works come to maybe 250 pages, that how could he possibly get the Nobel Prize for that slender body of work? — which, of course, was missing the fact that each of these pages was a searing of the consciousness that was only achieved at by great struggle. I think the best thing to compare him to is the great Japanese poets of haiku, like Kobayashi or Basho."



"But I wrote this today, and — for a long time now, but very definitely since January 1 of this year, I’ve been thinking about hospitality, because I wanted a container for some things I didn’t know where to put about the present moment. Who’s kin? Who’s family? Who’s in, who’s out? And just thinking this whole year about the question of hospitality has given me a way to read a lot of things that are very distressing, in this country and in the world, around the border but also around domestic policy. So this one goes against the grain, but I needed to put it down.

“The extraordinary courage of Lassana Bathily, an immigrant from Mali, saved six lives during a terrorist attack at a kosher supermarket at the Porte de Vincennes in 2015. He was rewarded with French citizenship by the French president, François Hollande.

“But this is not a story about courage.

“The superhuman agility and bravery of Mamadou Gassama, an immigrant from Mali, saved a baby from death in the 18th Arrondissement in May 2018. He was rewarded with French citizenship by the French president, Emmanuel Macron.

“But this is not a story about bravery.

“The superhuman is rewarded with formal status as a human. The merely human, meanwhile, remains unhuman, quasi-human, subhuman. Gassama crossed the Mediterranean in a tiny boat — that was superhuman, but no one filmed that, he remained subhuman, and there was no reward.

“Such is Empire’s magnanimity. Merci, patron. Je suis tellement reconnaissant, patron.

“The hand that gives, it is said in Mali, is always above the hand that receives. Those who are hungry cannot reject food. Not only those who are hungry but those who have been deliberately starved. But soon come the day when the Hebrews will revolt and once and for all refuse Pharaoh’s capricious largesse.

Hospitality.”

Because I wanted to think about this beyond what seemed, to me, too easy — the headlines, the gratitude — “Oh, he was heroic. He was like Spiderman, and the French government did a great thing and made him a citizen.”

How did we get here? Why is this enough? How did we get into the position where he kneels down to receive the crumbs?

If I were still on Twitter and I wrote that, I might get cancelled. You get cancelled when you’re out of step with the general opinion."



"I just find that anything really loud and hectic can just last for a moment, but it does not get to that deepest place, that place of self-recognition, which becomes indistinguishable from other-recognition, which is continuous with world-recognition. So I’m attracted, in all the arts, to those places where something has been quietened, where concentration has been established. I think one of the great artistic questions for any practitioner of art is, how do you help other people concentrate on a moment? This photograph, it’s a frontal portrait of a young woman, but it’s not a posed portrait. She’s in a crowd, and he has photographed her. She’s African-American, but her skin is dark, and he has made it darker still in the way he has printed it so that your first thought is, “Oh, could we lighten that a little bit?” And then you think, “No — no, no, no. Why am I feeling this way about this image?” In all the arts, there are those moments that are as though somebody has made the gesture of raising a palm, which is not a stop sign, but a — ”Attend, hush, listen.”

I think those are the moments we really live for in art, the moment where the artfulness falls away, and all that is left is that thing we don’t have a better word for beyond poetry."



"This is going to be my worst misquotation of the evening. But Toni Morrison talks about — we die, and that may be the — does anybody know it? — that may be the length of our lives or span of our lives; but we do language, and that may be the meaning of our lives — something in that direction. And I think it is somewhere in there. A frank confrontation with the facts is that between two cosmic immensities of time, you are born, you flare up for a moment, and you’re gone. And within two generations, everybody who knew you personally will also be dead. Your name might survive, but who cares? Nobody’s going to remember your little habits or who you were. So one meaning of our lives might be that we die.

But then the other is this other thing that has nothing to do with the noise out there — advertising, arguing on social media, which we all can get tempted into — or even our personal disputes or even our anxieties, even our struggles — but some other thing that is like this undertow that connects us to everyone currently alive and everyone that has lived and everyone that will live. So I think there’s just the stark, existential fact. It’s not fashionable to take up labels or whatever, but on some level, I’m sort of an existentialist. I don’t think it necessarily has a grander meaning. I certainly don’t believe that God has a wonderful plan to make it all OK. I used to. I don’t believe that anymore. You die; I don’t know what happens. I talk to my dead; I don’t know if they’re anywhere. You die, and it hurts people who love you.

But then, the other thing is that if there’s no grander, larger meaning, in real time there does seem to be a grand and large meaning. Right this minute, this does seem to be something that is real, that might not be meaning but comes awfully close to it: to be sitting together in the dark of this political and social moment, to be sitting together in the dark of what it actually means to be a human being, even if this were a euphoric political moment.

So there’s the grim view of, we’re not here for very long, and LOL no one cares, and then there’s the other thing, which is when your favorite song gets to that part that you love, and you just feel something; or when you’ve had a series of crappy meals and then finally, you get a well-spiced, balanced goat biryani — you know, when the spices are really fresh? Black pepper — a lot of people get black pepper wrong. Really fresh black pepper — and you have this moment.

So these moments of pleasure, of epiphany, of focus, of being there, in their instantaneous way can actually feel like a little nudge that’s telling you, “By the way, this is why you’re alive. And this is not going to last, but never mind that for now.” It happens in art, and it happens in friendship, and it happens in food, and it happens in sex, and it happens in a long walk, and it happens in being immersed in a body of water — baptism, once again — and it happens in running and endorphins and all those moments that psychologists describe as “flow.”

But what is interesting about them is that they happen in real time. As Seamus Heaney says, “Useless to think you’ll park and capture it / More thoroughly. You are […] / A hurry through which known and strange things pass.”

You’re just a conduit for that. But if you are paying attention, it’s almost — I’m not sure if it’s enough, but it’s almost enough. I’m certainly glad for it. I’d rather have it than not have it.

What do you think?"
tejucole  stillness  2019  truth  hope  interconnected  jamesbaldwin  brahms  place  borders  interstitial  tomastranströmer  smartness  reading  poetry  wokeness  kin  family  families  hospitality  photography  art  silence  quietness  listening  donaldtrump  barackobama  howwewrite  howweread  writing  tonimorrison  socialmedia  noise  meaning  seamusheaney  fear  future  optimism  johnberger  rebeccasolnit  virginiawoolf  hopelessness  kalamazoo  pauléluard  primolevi  instagram  twitter 
5 weeks ago by robertogreco
Superblocks: How Barcelona is taking city streets back from cars - YouTube
"Modern cities are designed for cars. But the city of Barcelona is testing out an urban design trick that can give cities back to pedestrians."
cities  cars  transportation  pollution  2016  airpollution  noise  noisepollution  urban  urbanism  superblocks  urbanplanning  air  pedestrians  ildefonscerdà  classideas 
may 2018 by robertogreco
Austin Kleon on Twitter: "I think a lot about how the phone call — hearing the sound of a real human voice — is becoming a more intimate, meaningful option in the face of 24/7 text/image connection… https://t.co/dDx24gJ62v"
"I think a lot about how the phone call — hearing the sound of a real human voice — is becoming a more intimate, meaningful option in the face of 24/7 text/image connection

There’s a really interesting part of @dada_drummer’s THE NEW ANALOG, where he talks about how different phone calls became when they went digital — background noise was reduced, and so the sense of distance https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1620971976/

He points out that the iPhone has 3 microphones, but they're not used to capture extra sound, they're for noise-cancelling — they're used to isolate signal from noise [image]

On the iPhone, “*what* is being said is very clear — but *how* the message is delivered is lost. Is the voice loud or soft? Are we being addressed intimately or publicly? Can we hear hints of other meanings in the speaker’s voice, or does the delivery match the words exactly?”

There’s a “cell yell” that @dada_drummer points out: when we're out in the world on the phone, we tend towards shouting — even though we can be clearly heard in a noisy environ thanks to noise cancellation — b/c the phone doesn't feed our voice back to us, so we can’t regulate it

"essay idea: how the rise of podcasts corresponds to the decline of (personal) phone calls for millennials"
[https://twitter.com/popespeed/status/971940280709603328 ]

This is an interesting point. When I do podcast interviews, I have an extremely good USB mic and headphones to monitor my voice, so I can move closer to the mic, speak softer,

Maybe people like podcasts so much because they replicate more of what a real world or analog telephone conversation sounds like? Something to ponder!

Oh, I’m reminded now: @cordjefferson told a beautiful story at @PopUpMag about a voicemail message his mother left him, and how it changed the way he thought about phone calls. (I don’t think it exists online, or I’d link to it.)"
austinkleon  audio  microphones  mobile  phones  telephones  intimacy  voice  sound  recording  noise  noisecancellation  analog  conversation  phonecalls  humans  connection  2018  digital  iphone  podcasts 
april 2018 by robertogreco
One Square Inch of Silence – Forks, Washington - Atlas Obscura
"In the verdant wilderness of Olympic National Park lies a small red pebble covering one square inch of space atop a moss-covered log. Though easy to miss among the snarls of flourishing flora, this red pebble marks what some claim to be the quietest place in the United States.

One Square Inch of Silence, an independent research project created by the author and Emmy Award-winning acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton, aims to protect the space from human noise intrusions. The tiny quiet spot, accessible via a three-mile rainforest hike down the Hoh River Trail near Forks, was designated on April 22, 2005 (Earth Day) as a “noise control project” to ensure the decibel count at the square inch would never rise.

It’s supposed to be a place utterly devoid of ambient noises, such as the roar of an airplane or the shrill ring of a cellphone. But the area isn’t completely silent. It’s designed to highlight the difference between natural sounds—things like the soft trickle of rainwater or the buzzing hum of an insect—and human noise. Hempton launched this “sanctuary of silence” with the hope the place will allow people to listen to and connect with the sounds of nature. The absence of anthropogenic noise is also good for the wildlife, as human noise often negatively affects animals’ feeding, breeding, and nesting habits.

Ideally, One Square Inch of Silence acts as an epicenter for a phenomenon that will reverse the effects of noise pollution. By encouraging and spreading silence, it could potentially counteract the rippling consequences loud human noises have on the local environment.

So far, the whole endeavor has been effective for the Olympic National Park preservation movement. Hempton chose the spot because of the park’s preexisting dearth of roads and air traffic. It was a clever conservation tactic: by protecting the square inch from noise pollution, it becomes necessary to preserve the entire surrounding national park as well.

The square inch of silence is one of only 12 “quiet zones” remaining in the U.S., and its claim of being the country’s quietest place has been supported by the readings of decibel meters. However, its integrity is at risk. There’s no way to enforce absolute silence within the area. When an intrusion occurs, Hempton tracks down the offending party and sends them a recording of the soundscape they’ve interrupted with the hope they’ll voluntarily make an effort to reduce or reroute the source of the noise.

It is ironic that the one man-made noise heard at this site is made by a federal agency, illegally. Since 2012 the US Navy has been flying through the airspace above on training missions. Growler jets on electronic warfare simulations are often heard by visitors to the Hoh Rainforest, including the one inch of silence location. Despite protests by local and national activists and concerned citizens, the military continues their intrusive noise campaign."
olympicnationalpark  silence  us  washingtonstate  2017  hohrainforest  sound  noise  nature  via:subtopes 
july 2017 by robertogreco
The Walking Playground – Linda Knight
"Edges are an interesting concept to consider. Do edges exist? Does everything have an edge, even the atmosphere or air? If edges do exist, are they sharp, sudden? Do edges sit alongside each other without space between them? What might be between the edge of an object and the edge of air? Ideas about matter are being reconceptualised and ‘things’ are being thought about less as discrete bodies, but as clusters of forces, what Karen Barad calls ‘transmaterialities’, energy fields of particles moving in times and patterns with lively edges that move back and forth. Barad’s research into theoretical physics exposes how even seemingly inert matter is not dormant or static but consists of particles busily moving and experimenting with possibilities and futures.

These theoretical reconceptualisations around matter enable thinking about taken-for-granted notions of how space, structures and forms can be allocated particular purposes. Playgrounds are static, demarcated architectural sites, however I’m curious about where the edge of a playground sits. Clearly, invisible force fields do not surround a playground so at what point does the playground end?

My work explores the pedagogies that occur in pedagogic sites and how ideas about pedagogy as a human exchange, might be rethought. I also explore the pedagogic in/of the other-than human, including surfaces, light, time, animals, birds, sounds, gestures, shade, rain, and noises. In rethinking where and what is pedagogic, the static playground loses its edges and becomes a series of moving, traveling, multispecies events, shifting locations in unpredictable ways. This project investigates the walking playground through a series of inefficient mappings."
lindaknight  edges  karenbarad  maps  mapping  multispecies  playgrounds  walking  birds  animals  light  time  morethanhuman  human  surfaces  gestures  shade  rain  noise  sounds  sfsh 
march 2017 by robertogreco
Why Are BART Trains So Loud? | Bay Curious | News Fix | KQED News
"Also, Kolesar says BART’s banshee wail is not a mistake. It isn’t the result of some design mishap. It came from a conscious engineering choice.

Engineers had to make a trade-off back when they started building BART more than 50 years ago. They decided to make the wheels solid axle — or connected — so that they rotate at the same rate. Kolesar says that makes the trains quiet on the straightaways, which constitute a majority of BART’s tracks. But because of the design, one of the wheels ends up getting dragged against the rail on turns, which causes that high-pitched squeal.

“So one wheel has to be sliding while the other is rolling,” Kolesar says. “Or they both have to be slightly sliding, because they are turning at different speeds going around that bend. It just makes noise.”

Now there is a plan to make BART quieter. New train cars will have tapered wheels that drag less on the rail. That will help a little. But there’s a bigger change coming with the new cars.

Kolesar says the “the doors are the key.” No matter what you do, the wheels will always squeal a little. The current doors let in lots of that sound, but the new trains will have better insulated doors that could make the trains two or three times as quiet.

Again, we’ve got to wait a few years to enjoy that kind of relative quiet. All the old squealing cars won’t be replaced until around 2021."
classideas  bart  sanfrancisco  transportation  transit  trains  2016  noise 
march 2017 by robertogreco
Teju Cole: FABLE
"FABLE

It was true that the Adversary had brought other monsters into being. Each had been wicked in its own way, each had been an embodiment of one or other of the seven vices, and each had been strong and difficult to vanquish. Some of those monsters still roamed the land. But what made this new monster remarkable, indeed uniquely devious, was that it wasn’t strong at all. In fact, it was weak. The weaknesses through which the other monsters had been vanquished, this monster had tenfold. The new monster was not moral, but it is not in the nature of monsters to be moral. But the monster was also not beautiful, or intelligent, or brave, or well-dressed, or charming, or gifted in oratory, though usually monsters had at least some of those qualities. The Adversary had sent this new monster out, designing it to derive its strength from one source and one source alone, as in olden days was said of Samson and his locks, so that if that source were cut off, the monster would wilt like a severed flower stalk in the noonday heat. The source of the new monster’s strength was noise. If it heard a bit of noise pertaining to it, it grew stronger. If it heard a lot of noise, whether the noise was adulation or imprecation, it was full of joy, and grew even stronger. Only collective quietness could vanquish it, quietness and the actions that came from contemplation.

Having thus designed it, the Adversary sent the monster out to Noiseville. “A new monster!” the cry went up, and the monster grew a little stronger. “It grows stronger!” went the chorus, and the monster grew stronger still. And thus it was in Noiseville that the new monster, weaker than all the other monsters ever sent by the Adversary, was the only thing the people of Noiseville spoke about. The sound had reached a deafening roar. In every newspaper across Noiseville, the most read articles were about the monster. On television, the reporters spent most of their time making noise about the monster. On little devices the people carried around with them, it was all monster all the time. If the monster smiled, there was noise in reaction. If the monster scowled, there was noise. If it coughed, there was an uproar of coughing and commentary on the manner of the monster's coughing. The Adversary was astonished by how well his little stratagem had worked. The monster smiled and scowled and coughed, and learned to say the things that generated more noise. And on and on it grew.

“But it is so weak!” the people shouted. “It is not beautiful, or intelligent, or brave, or well-dressed, or charming, or gifted in oratory. How can it grow in strength and influence so?” And if the noise went down even one decibel, the monster did something again, anything at all, and the noise went up. And the people talked of nothing but the monster when they were awake, and dreamed of nothing but the monster when they were asleep. And from time to time, they turned on each other, and were distraught if they saw their fellows failing to join in the noise, for any quiet form of contemplation was thought of as acquiescence to the monster. Other monsters in the past had been drowned out by sufficient loudness. Besides, this was Noiseville, and there was no question of not making noise, there in the home of the loudest and best noise in the world, the most beautiful noise, it was often said, the greatest noise in the history of the world. And so the noise swelled to the very limits of Noiseville, and the new monster grew to gargantuan size as had Gulliver in the land of the Lilliputians, and their ropes were powerless against it, and there seemed no limit to its growth, though it was but the eighth month of that year."
tejucole  2016  monsters  fiction  donaldtrump  fables  electronics  attention  noise  media  power 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Dear Architects: Sound Matters - The New York Times
"A room sounds very different when a window is open. Sound defines, animates and enlarges the architecture."
sound  architecture  acoustics  noise  environment  cities  2015  design  audio 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Tomtown ( 8 Oct., 2015, at Interconnected)
"The web is busy now. No bad thing. But much too busy to have a single place to gather my friends around photos, another around status updates, etc. I used to have one community online, and now I've got a hundred. And while I can shard them by app (business on LinkedIn, family on Facebook, my global village on Twitter), it's a lot of effort to maintain that. And it doesn't make any sense.

Until:

Tom Coates invited me to join a little community of his in Slack. There are a handful of people there, some old friends, some new friends, all in this group messaging thingy.

There's a space where articles written or edited by members automatically show up. I like that.

I caught myself thinking: It'd be nice to have Last.FM here too, and Dopplr. Nothing that requires much effort. Let's also pull in Instagram. Automatic stuff so I can see what people are doing, and people can see what I'm doing. Just for this group. Back to those original intentions. Ambient awareness, togetherness.

Nobody says very much. Sometimes there's a flurry of chat.

It's small, human-scale. Maybe it's time to bring all these ambient awareness tools back, shared inside Slack instances this time.

You know what, it's cosy. I've been missing this. A neighbourhood."
2015  mattwebb  ambientawareness  ambient  community  culture  presentationofself  twitter  flickr  slack  tomcoates  email  neighborhoods  scale  groups  groupsize  glancing  jaiku  dopplr  im  instantmessenger  last.fm  openplans  offices  attention  socialmedia  noise 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Why I Unfollowed You on Instagram — Medium
"We often hear mainstream users talk about how “overwhelming” “social media” is. I posit this is because the products have been built to drive more following and offer no tools to cull a better, smaller (higher signal, lower noise) set of users to follow. The coveting of follower counts driven these products to encourage FOLLOW FOLLOW FOLLOW when UNFOLLOW would often make the service more valuable for the user, hence driving “overwhelming” instead of “relevant and useful”.

I unfollowed a few hundred people on Instagram this morning and Instagram blocked me. Not only do they not provide any tools to help you cull a better follower list they actually lock the feature if you unfollow too many in a short period. There is a fundamental misunderstanding of how people could get more value from their platform."
socialmedia  instagram  ianrogers  2015  following  unfollowing  relevance  noise 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Justin McGuirk on Bose headphones and the Internet of Broken Things
"You know when there's a teenager on the bus listening to music on his mobile – without headphones – and all the other passengers are stealing glances, unsure whether he's oblivious or sociopathic? Well things like that give the impression that cities are getting noisier, and that we need to retreat ever deeper into ourselves. I'm not convinced it's true. But one man who would have taken this incident as cast-iron proof was the social critic Ivan Illich.

"Silence is a commons," wrote Illich. He argued that just as the communal pastures were privatised in the 18th century, so now the collective sense of calm is being invaded by technology. He was thinking of loudspeakers, computers and electronic gadgets, which he lumped together in a single category: "the machines". This was in the 1980s, before email, mobile phones, texting and the infinite stream of social media. One can only imagine what he would have made of this daily communication firebombing. But the battered and shrivelled human attention span, if not quite a commons, would certainly have appeared to Illich as a victim of noise.

What struck me about Illich's argument is that my own response to the erosion of silence was the exact opposite of what he would have advocated. Faced with a dwindling commons, I was forced to privatise my own patch. I did this with a pair of Bose QuietComfort ® 15 headphones. Not only do they sequester the ears behind a wall of black leather, they feature "Acoustic Noise Cancelling ® technology". The way noise-cancelling works, in brief, is by measuring enemy sound waves and retaliating with their mirror image – the sonic equivalent of anti-matter. It's an invisible battle in which competing sound waves cancel each other out. Victory is the sound of orbital noise flatlining – silence is a sonic massacre. In other words, the QC 15s are the product of an arcane branch of physics that the rest of us know simply as "magic".

Man invented noise-cancelling to improve the signal-to-noise ratio for helicopter and airplane pilots, but later found a much more lucrative market in music lovers. I confess that I am no high-fidelity obsessive. I do not (although I think I'm in the minority here) manoeuvre through London in my own private sound bubble, listening to Eye of the Tiger as I power-cycle down the Clerkenwell Road. I shelled out for this exorbitantly pricey piece of equipment at a time when I was sharing an office and found that I simply couldn't concentrate. It's not the roiling drone of the city that is distracting – white noise is just fine. It's specific noise that is invasive, that conversation that earworms its way into your consciousness and, like a bad guest, won't leave.

Ideally, I was aiming for a portable isolation ward. Donning the QC 15s, you are met with the gentle roar of a conch shell. But flick the switch on the right ear-cup and you are suddenly hooded in silence. It's not the hollow sound freeze of outer space, but at the very least a tech-y tea cosy that takes the edge off. (Tip: for persistent earworms, add a layer of ambient insulation, something Brian Eno-ish or Arvo Pärt-ish.)

Easily distracted people such as myself attune all too readily to the peripheral, and there are times – pace Illich – when what is central must be walled off and gated. This is beginning to sound an awful lot like the neoliberalisation of sound, isn't it?"



"Weren't the DIY and Maker movements supposed to deliver us from the cycle of dispose-and-consume?"



"Despite being mechanically inept, I tend to romanticise a world of mechanical objects – of motorcycles and replacement valves. The obvious problem with today's hyper-performing, magical products is that they are black boxes. We are so in love with their metaphysics, with their gestalt, that we forgive their ephemerality. No one will ever write a book called Zen and the Art of iPhone Maintenance.

It seems to me that the logic of today's products is heading ineluctably one way. Our devices will be able to do more and more, while lasting less and less long, until eventually they can do everything for no time at all. In the future, we will bestride the Earth like gods, wielding awesome, omnipotent gadgets that break after two minutes. Calling up customer services at [insert evil tech company] we will be told that the warranty was only one minute, and didn't we read the terms and conditions?"
justinmcguirk  2014  headphones  noisecancellation  ivanillich  silence  dosposability  fixing  urbanism  urban  attention  noise  noisepollution 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Sonic Boom - The Atlantic
"How digital technology is transforming our relationship with sound"



"Sound, at its most basic, is simply a wave of pressure and displacement—a mechanical vibration that bounces around the surfaces of the world until it alights on an obliging eardrum. Some sound waves are audible to us; many are not. Some sound waves are pleasant to us; many are not. There are subtle subjectivities built into the act of listening. As Emily Thompson, a Princeton professor who studies the cultural history of sound, put it to me: “One man’s noise is another man’s music.”

The problem with this otherwise delightful diversity is that sound, whatever a single mind makes of it, is generally shared. (“Blindness separates people from things," Helen Keller once remarked, while "deafness separates people from people.”) Long before homes were built around Bourbon Street, human dwellings were designed around shared auditory experiences. The Huns arranged their pop-up towns in ways that would ensure human voices could be heard in a kind of relay: empire by way of earshot. Plato limited the size of his model Republic to 5,040—the number of people that could have been addressed, at the time, by a single orator."



"Which brings us back to noise’s pesky subjectivity. “If you can measure it, you can make it be quieter than some regulations say,” Berens says. “But that doesn't necessarily correlate well with whether people are annoyed by it."

We’re sitting in Acentech’s offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the middle of a reverberant room—a small chamber, about 20 feet long by 15 feet wide by 15 feet high, that exists for no other purpose than to encourage echoes. The chamber’s walls and ceiling are composed of concrete blocks; those blocks have been coated multiple times with thick white paint to seal their pores. This means, says Berens, that “there’s no place for the sound to go—nothing to suck it up.”"
megangarber  sound  digital  2014  history  humans  hellenkeller  blindness  deafness  blind  deaf  music  cities  urban  urbanism  stress  noisepollution  noise 
may 2014 by robertogreco
reading and thinking, one more time - Text Patterns - The New Atlantis
"The link is simply this: that one of the most reliable ways to sharpen your own thinking is to find out what other smart people have thought and said about the things you’re interested in — that is, to take the time to read. But the content-hungry world of online publishing creates strong disincentives for writers to take that time. Almost every entity that has an online presence wants to publish as frequently as possible — as long as the quality of the writing is adequate. And often “adequacy” is determined by purely stylistic criteria: a basic level of clarity and, when possible, some vividness of style. That the writer may be saying something indistinguishable from what a dozen or a hundred writers have said before is rarely a matter of editorial concern. Get the content out there!

And of course, writers want to be published and be read. If they can’t have their work in print magazines or books, then having it tied to a URL is the next best thing — sometimes even a better thing. The passion for self-expression is incredibly powerful. Consider, for instance, the unvarying lament of literary journals: that they have far more people submitting stories and poems to them than they have readers. (Would-be and actual creative writers rarely read, and often know nothing about, the journals to whom they submit their work and whose approval-via-acceptance they so desperately crave.)

So between the writers who desperate to be published and the editors desperate for “content,” the forces militating against taking time — time to read, time to think — are really powerful. So writers tend to trust the first thoughts that come to them, rarely bothering to find out whether others have already considered their topic and written well about it — and in fact not wanting to know about earlier writing, because that might pre-empt their own writing, their publication — the “content” that editors want and that will keep readers’ Twitter feeds clicking and popping with links. In the current system everyone feels stimulated or productive or both. And hey, it’s only reading and thinking that go by the wayside."

[See also: http://text-patterns.thenewatlantis.com/2014/01/the-confidence-of-elect.html ]
publishing  alanjacobs  reading  writing  listening  noise  2014  learning  thinking  howtolisten  attention  reputation 
january 2014 by robertogreco
The Open-Office Trap : The New Yorker
"The open office was originally conceived by a team from Hamburg, Germany, in the nineteen-fifties, to facilitate communication and idea flow. But a growing body of evidence suggests that the open office undermines the very things that it was designed to achieve. In June, 1997, a large oil and gas company in western Canada asked a group of psychologists at the University of Calgary to monitor workers as they transitioned from a traditional office arrangement to an open one. The psychologists assessed the employees’ satisfaction with their surroundings, as well as their stress level, job performance, and interpersonal relationships before the transition, four weeks after the transition, and, finally, six months afterward. The employees suffered according to every measure: the new space was disruptive, stressful, and cumbersome, and, instead of feeling closer, coworkers felt distant, dissatisfied, and resentful. Productivity fell.

In 2011, the organizational psychologist Matthew Davis reviewed more than a hundred studies about office environments. He found that, though open offices often fostered a symbolic sense of organizational mission, making employees feel like part of a more laid-back, innovative enterprise, they were damaging to the workers’ attention spans, productivity, creative thinking, and satisfaction. Compared with standard offices, employees experienced more uncontrolled interactions, higher levels of stress, and lower levels of concentration and motivation. When David Craig surveyed some thirty-eight thousand workers, he found that interruptions by colleagues were detrimental to productivity, and that the more senior the employee, the worse she fared."
business  environment  productivity  work  2014  officedesign  openoffices  openclassrooms  noise  matthewdavis  privacy  quiet  psychology  nickperham  garyevans  danajohnson  heidirasila  peggierothe  alenamaher  courtneyvonhippel  distraction  attention  multitasking  anthonywagner  schooldesign 
january 2014 by robertogreco
The Wapping Project: our obsession with house prices will turn our cities into cultural deserts | Society | The Observer
"It is impossible to legislate for all possible outbreaks of human obnoxiousness. Nonetheless, a useful job for the mayor of London, and the leaders of other cities, would be to see if laws can be framed that in urban areas shift the balance of rights away from rare individual complainants to institutions that serve the common good. Even better, but probably legally impossible, would be a law preventing people from objecting, except in extreme cases, to any business that was there before them.

But the real problem is more fundamental, which is that we live in a country besotted with residential property and its price. It is the main instrument for reviving the economy. It is the only commodity where inflation is seen as a good thing – when prices level or fall, which is probably a healthy market correction, it is seen as a crisis, to be fixed with emergency measures. Every aspect of life – social, cultural, personal, political, economic – is coloured. The role of housing bubbles in the 2008 crisis has changed nothing.

There is nothing inevitable about this, it's the result of the policy of successive governments, going back to Margaret Thatcher's first speech as Conservative party leader, when she declared her faith in a property-owning democracy. In Wapping and elsewhere, it is no longer democracy but tyranny, or oligarchy – rule by the few. It is time for a new definition of freedom, not of owners, but of a city-dwelling democracy."
cities  housing  london  noise  property  ownership  2013  humanity  economics  capitalism  democracy  urbanism  urban  rownmoore 
december 2013 by robertogreco
You Are Boring — The Magazine
"Everything was going great until you showed up. You see me across the crowded room, make your way over, and start talking at me. And you don’t stop.

You are a Democrat, an outspoken atheist, and a foodie. You like to say “Science!” in a weird, self-congratulatory way. You wear jeans during the day, and fancy jeans at night. You listen to music featuring wispy lady vocals and electronic bloop-bloops.

You really like coffee, except for Starbucks, which is the worst. No wait—Coke is the worst! Unless it’s Mexican Coke, in which case it’s the best.

Pixar. Kitty cats. Uniqlo. Bourbon. Steel-cut oats. Comic books. Obama. Fancy burgers.

You listen to the same five podcasts and read the same seven blogs as all your pals. You stay up late on Twitter making hashtagged jokes about the event that everyone has decided will be the event about which everyone jokes today. You love to send withering @ messages to people like Rush Limbaugh—of course, those notes are not meant for their ostensible recipients, but for your friends, who will chuckle and retweet your savage wit.

You are boring. So, so boring.

Don’t take it too hard. We’re all boring. At best, we’re recovering bores. Each day offers a hundred ways for us to bore the crap out of the folks with whom we live, work, and drink. And on the Internet, you’re able to bore thousands of people at once.1

A few years ago, I had a job that involved listening to a ton of podcasts. It’s possible that I’ve heard more podcasts than anyone else—I listened to at least a little bit of tens of thousands of shows. Of course, the vast majority were so bad I’d often wish microphones could be sold only to licensed users. But I did learn how to tell very quickly whether someone was interesting or not.

The people who were interesting told good stories. They were also inquisitive: willing to work to expand their social and intellectual range. Most important, interesting people were also the best listeners. They knew when to ask questions. This was the set of people whose shows I would subscribe to, whose writing I would seek out, and whose friendship I would crave. In other words, those people were the opposite of boring.

Here are the three things they taught me.

Listen, then ask a question
I call it Amtrak Smoking Car Syndrome (because I am old, used to smoke, thought that trains were the best way to get around the country, and don’t really understand what a syndrome is). I’d be down in the smoking car, listening to two people have a conversation that went like this:

Stranger #1: Thing about my life.
Stranger #2: Thing about my life that is somewhat related to what you just said.
Stranger #1: Thing about my life that is somewhat related to what you just said.
Stranger #2: Thing about my life…

Next stop: Boringsville, Population: 2. There’s no better way to be seen as a blowhard than to constantly blow, hard. Instead, give a conversation some air. Really listen. Ask questions; the person you’re speaking with will respect your inquisitiveness and become more interested in the exchange. “Asking questions makes people feel valued,” said former Virgin America VP Porter Gale, “and they transfer that value over to liking you more.”

Watch an old episode of The Dick Cavett Show. Cavett is an engaged listener, very much part of the conversation, but he also allows his partner to talk as well. He’s not afraid to ask questions that reveal his ignorance, but it’s also clear he’s no dummy.2

Online, put this technique to use by pausing before you post. Why are you adding that link to Facebook? Will it be valuable to the many people who will see it? Or are you just flashing a Prius-shaped gang sign to your pals? If it’s the latter, keep it to yourself.

Tell a story
Shitty pictures of your food are all over the Internet. Sites like Instagram are loaded with photo after photo of lumpy goo. What you’re trying to share is the joy you feel when the waiter delivers that beautifully plated pork chop. But your photo doesn’t tell the story of that experience. Your photo rips away the delicious smell, the beautiful room, the anticipation of eating, and the presence of people you love.

Instead, think of your photo as a story. When people tell stories, they think about how to communicate the entirety of their experience to someone else. They set the stage, introduce characters, and give us a reason to care. Of course, that’s hard to do in a single photo, but if you think in terms of story, could you find a better way to communicate your experience? How about a picture of the menu, or of your smiling dinner companions? Anything’s better than the greasy puddles you have decided any human with access to the Internet should be able to see.

Expand your circles
Several years ago, my wife and I went on a long trip. We had saved a little money, and the places we were staying were cheap, so we could afford private rooms in every city but one. Guess where we made the most friends? In Budapest, where we were jammed into a big room with a bunch of folks, we were forced into situations we never would have sought out. I wouldn’t have met Goran, the Marilyn Manson superfan who was fleeing the NATO bombing of Belgrade on a fake Portuguese visa. Or Kurt, the Dutch hippie who let us crash on his floor in Amsterdam. Stepping out of your social comfort zone can be painful, but it’s one of the most rewarding things you can do.3

As you widen your social circle, work on your intellectual one as well. Expose yourself to new writers. Hit the Random Article button on Wikipedia. Investigate the bromides your friends chuck around Twitter like frisbees.

When you expand your social and intellectual range, you become more interesting. You’re able to make connections that others don’t see. You’re like a hunter, bringing a fresh supply of ideas and stories back to share with your friends.

The Big Bore lurks inside us all. It’s dying to be set loose to lecture on Quentin Tarantino or what makes good ice cream. Fight it! Fight the urge to speak without listening, to tell a bad story, to stay inside your comfortable nest of back-patting pals. As you move away from boring, you will never be bored."
interestingness  interestedness  listening  scottsimpson  2012  uniqueness  hivemind  echochambers  noise  howtolisten  howto  storytelling  cv  homogeneity  diversity  exploration  interviewing  instagram  twitter  blogs  blogging  podcasts  dickcavett  boringness  interested 
october 2013 by robertogreco
school for poetic computation blog: Poetry and computation?
"Noise is undesirable in engineering, but artists find glitch to be beautiful and revealing inner workings of the system. Poetic computation may value expressive nature of code and computers more so than efficiency. This might an answer to questions like “Why Less Demos and more Poems?” Demonstrations are driven by end goal. It values practicality and functionality, while poems desire aesthetic and emotional impact. Hopefully what we make at School for poetic computation is for people, not computers. "
sfpc  taeyoonchoi  noise  inefficiency  poetry  coding  emotion  impact  aesthetics  2013  schoolforpoeticcomputation 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Comfort noise - Wikipedia
"Comfort noise (or comfort tone) is synthetic background noise used in radio and wireless communications to fill the artificial silence in a transmission resulting from voice activity detection or from the audio clarity of modern digital lines.

Some modern telephone systems (such as wireless and VoIP) use voice activity detection (VAD), a form of squelching where low volume levels are ignored by the transmitting device. In digital audio transmissions, this saves bandwidth of the communications channel by transmitting nothing when the source volume is under a certain threshold, leaving only louder sounds (such as the speaker's voice) to be sent. However, improvements in background noise reduction technologies can occasionally result in the complete removal of all noise. Although maximizing call quality is a primary importance, exhaustive removal of noise may not properly simulate the typical behavior of terminals on the PSTN system.

The result of receiving total silence, especially for a prolonged period, has a number of unwanted effects on the listener, including the following:

* the listener may believe that the transmission has been lost, and therefore hang up prematurely.
* the speech may sound "choppy" (see noise gate) and difficult to understand.
* the sudden change in sound level can be jarring to the listener.

To counteract these effects, comfort noise is added, usually on the receiving end in wireless or VoIP systems, to fill in the silent portions of transmissions with artificial noise. The noise generated is at a low but audible volume level, and can vary based on the average volume level of received signals to minimize jarring transitions."
sound  noise  comfortnoise  comforttone  silence  backgroundnoise  radio 
november 2012 by robertogreco
The Quiet Ones - NYTimes.com
"In his recent treatise on this subject (its title regrettably unprintable here), the philosopher Aaron James posits that people with this personality type are so infuriating — even when the inconvenience they cause us is negligible — because they refuse to recognize the moral reality of those around them. (James’s thesis that this obliviousness correlates to a sense of special entitlement is corroborated by my own observation that the crowd on Amtrak, where airline-level fares act as a de facto class barrier, is generally louder and more inconsiderate than the supposed riffraff on the bus.) It’s a pathology that seems increasingly common, I suspect in part because people now spend so much time in the solipsist’s paradise of the Internet that they carry its illusion of invisible (and inaudible) omniscience back with them out into the real world."

"It’s impossible to be heard when your whole position is quiet now that all public discourse has become a shouting match."
publicspaces  sharedspace  consideration  society  attention  davidfosterwallace  listening  distraction  2012  trains  noise  etiquette  publicspace  amtrak  quietcar  slow  quiet  timkreider 
november 2012 by robertogreco
A High Line For Me, Not You | pith.org
"a real New Yorker will seek out those moments when this city peels back its exterior (gritty, shiny, whatever phase it happens to be going through at the time) and reveals just a little bit of itself just to you"

"To live in New York is to be constantly bombarded by every possible kind of stimulation at every possible moment of the day. Or rather, it can be. To truly live in New York is to find your own pace, to understand that you can not possibly experience every facet of the city, ever, and to pick and choose those things that make you happy."

"My father often writes emails like this, often sans punctuation or capitalization. It’s quite nice, actually. It’s like I have a constant portal open to his consciousness all day through my inbox."
noise  happiness  pace  via:blech  email  parenting  cities  jessechan-norris  2012  nyc  highline 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Better - Merlin Mann
"What makes you feel less bored soon makes you into an addict. What makes you feel less vulnerable can easily turn you into a dick. & the things that are meant to make you feel more connected today often turn out to be insubstantial time sinks - empty, programmatic encouragements to groom & refine your personality while sitting alone at a screen."

"To be honest, I don’t have a specific agenda for what I want to do all that differently, apart from what I’m already trying to do every day:

* identify & destroy small-return bullshit;
* shut off anything that’s noisier than it is useful;
* make brutally fast decisions about what I don’t need to be doing;
* avoid anything that feels like fake sincerity (esp. where it may touch money);
* demand personal focus on making good things;
* put a handful of real people near the center of everything.

[Previously referenced here: http://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:2d41ea9e1e4d pointing to http://kottke.org/08/09/some-recent-merlin-mann-goodness ]
writing  media  culture  2008  sincerity  emptiness  addiction  boredom  noise  relationships  small  slow  meaningmaking  meaning  signaltonoise  attention  productivity  via:lukeneff  purpose  merlinmann  gtd 
august 2012 by robertogreco
How Silence Works: Emailed Conversations With Four Trappist Monks | The Awl
[via Caren]
Sometimes I think silence is one way of not letting our differences define who we are for one another.

[T]he habit of silence keeps me from seeking additional noise.


[via Migurski]

"If by “complexity” you mean the extraordinary diversification of forms of experience and the myriad ways they meet and interact in the course of living life, all of this is inexpressibly beautiful and it would be hard to see how it could be a challenge to anyone's faith. Probably, by “complexity” you mean rather the perplexing, self-defeating… binds we get ourselves into individually and collectively because of the influence of sin. It is sin that makes the world complicated, and sin comes from us. But if sin comes from in us, then a monk, living in silence and solitude, is sitting in the eye of the storm.

My own impression is that life in the world provides many diversions which guard a person from really engaging the battle with sin, and can even render him quite insensible of its existence. Such a person is not so much engaging the complexity of the world as becoming numb to it. In the cloister, on the other hand, you engage the Adversary face to face. It is hard for me to imagine where in the world a person more directly engages “the world in all its complexity” than battling with the very source of evil in one's own heart in the solitude and silence of the cloister.

As regards “grappling” with the world, in its present state, I will frankly confide to you two very personal vulnerabilities which would make living outside the cloister very difficult for me. First is my impression of the general formlessness of life in America today. So many people today live without a coherent language, symbol system, tradition, or rituals to give concrete expression to what they believe and so speak of seeking “happiness,” “contentment, “light,” “fulfillment”… The abstract formlessness of how Americans talk about matters of ultimate concern wearies me deeply.

The other is the loneliness that characterizes life in America today. Mother Theresa, visiting the U.S. for the first time in the 70s, said she had never seen poverty like what she saw here and she meant the loneliness of Americans. The breakdown and relinquishment of shared value systems and traditions, has left individuals adrift in a private search for God and meaning. This is a terribly lonely way to live. In America, loneliness can become like the blueness of the sky. After a while, people don't think about it anymore."
thinking  playlist  via:litherland  silence  noise  jeremymesiano-crookston  monks  trappists  trappistmonks  buddhism  complexity  simplicity  slow  attention  loneliness  sharedvalues  meaning  meaningmaking  happiness  contentment  fulfillment  solitude  mothertheresa  us  culture  society 
june 2012 by robertogreco
Mission Possible SF
Comprehensive portrait of the Mission, really worth a closer look (and thought). Love the orientation too.
cartography  maps  mission  sanfrancisco  design  census  berkeley  geography  coffee  gangs  population  noise  via:TomC 
june 2012 by robertogreco
City Sonic on Vimeo
"LA is loud. Cars roar, helicopters buzz, waves crash and (occasionally) subways rumble. Instead of muffling the noise out, Alex Braidwood decided to tune in.

Video by Mae Ryan
Music: Revolving Record Loop by Matthew Aguilez"
alexbraidwood  matthewaguilez  maeryan  music  recording  noise  sound  losangeles 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Twitter / @millsbaker: Information is ineffectual ...
"Information is ineffectual; news of all sorts is noise. Focus, attention, discretion: these are radical."
2012  discretion  distraction  millsbaker  attention  focus  noise  news  information 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Caterina.net» Blog Archive » Make things
John Holt: "Leaders are not what many people think–people with huge crowds following them. Leaders are people who go their own way without caring, or even looking to see whether anyone is following them. “Leadership qualities” are not the qualities that enable people to attract followers, but those that enable them to do without them. The include, at the very least, courage, endurance, patience, humor, flexibility, resourcefulness, determination, a keen sense of reality, and the ability to keep a cool and clear head even when things are going badly. This is the opposite of the “charisma” that we hear so much about."

…People ask me who inspires me…often stumps me because I have been inspired in my work by stuff that people make… [bunch of examples]…the people who make these things are my leaders. Most of the time I don’t know their names. Sometimes I’m lucky & do.

So, to hell with all that noise. It’s just a big mass of envy, chatter & FOMO. Let’s get excited & make things."
leadership  caterinafake  johnholt  making  doing  entrepreneurship  inspiration  noise  talk  technology  techindustry  whatmatters  cv  freemandyson 
september 2011 by robertogreco
aesthetics of joy » Blog Archive » Lollipop law
"What do lollipops have to do with keeping the peace? Surprisingly, more than a little. A recent initiative by a city council in the city of Victoria in British Columbia offered free lollipops to drunken revelers leaving bars to cut down on noise and violence after a night out. Councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe explained that the treats make it hard for inebriated partiers to be too loud, and that they minimize dialogue that could lead to brawls. More practically speaking, they also regulate blood sugar and, like pacifiers, have a calming effect.<br />
<br />
While there’s no hard evidence that the lollipops worked, councillor Thornton-Joe says that it seemed to be so effective that the city is considering making it a permanent program. It’s a charming idea – that something so childlike and innocent could disarm a rowdy bunch. And it makes for a joyful image, to imagine adults appeased by candies on sticks…"
lollipops  lollipoplaw  lawenforcement  drunkeness  drunks  noise  via:urbanscale 
august 2011 by robertogreco
TenderNoise Project | Movity.com
"TenderNoise (TN) is an applied acoustic ecology project that invites a large audience ranging from urban planners to government officials, from local residents to global design technologists to consider sound as a key proxy for urban activity, with all of its positive and negative ramifications.

TN collects, maps and layers noise data across Tenderloin, San Francisco, exploring the aural quality of streets via frequently-logged historical decibel (dBA) levels over a few days period.

TN has been developed as part of the CityCentered Festival organized by GAFFTA in June 2010. The project is the outcome of many individuals who are employed at various organizations and who have collaborated on a pro-bono basis. Three key organizations involved are Stamen Design, Movity.com and Arup:"
maps  information  visualization  data  noise  sound  mapping  stamen  stamendesign  tendernoise  acoustics  urban  urbanism  sanfrancisco  tenderloin 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Nothing « aronsolomon dot com
"Years ago, when I was a teacher and coach, I’d often finish my early-morning workouts on the basketball court. It was a simple routine of taking a foul shot, running a sprint, taking another foul shot, and so on and so forth.

I made the kids do it because they were going to be tired when they shot their throws in a game. Good practice replicates game conditions.

But I did it in the mornings to fall into a nothingness, as pure and black as the pre-dawn fields I’d look out upon through the gym windows. In thinking of nothing I was open to taking in everything.

The day would progress with classes and meetings and practice and dorm duty and every “thing” would make a light mark on the darkness. I could reset in the morning.

We make too little of nothing. We fear it by filling our nothing with meaningless marks. We chip at it with noise and let our technology create an illusion of full.

I crave nothing."
aronsolomon  simplicity  nothing  nothingness  teaching  thinking  clarity  noise  focus  technology  attention 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Basement.org: The New Clutter [via: http://www.marco.org/903165920]
"There’s a new kind of clutter littering Web pages...not just obnoxious “Refinance your mortgage” ads plastered atop & alongside articles. It’s also not just animated nonsense that floats by as you’re trying to read.<br />
<br />
It’s the article itself.<br />
<br />
In the never-ending quest to get page views, the choices writers & editors are making to attract eyeballs & drive traffic are creating a new breed of low-brow, gimmicky disposable content. At its best it adds little insight and at its worst amounts to a slimy bait-&-switch (catchy headline, nothing to say in the article).<br />
<br />
It’s the new clutter. [examples]<br />
<br />
So where’s the good writing on the Web? It’s everywhere else. The interesting new perspectives and provocative thinking isn’t coming from Gizmodo & Silicon Alley. It’s the blogger I’ve never heard of that is blowing me out of my chair these days. …<br />
<br />
This type of clutter only goes away if business models change & the mechanisms for determining success change along w/ them."
content  clutter  writing  blogs  blogging  2010  richardziade  quality  noise 
august 2010 by robertogreco
The Archdruid Report: Seeking the Gaianomicon
"Our time, as the media never tires of telling us, is the information age, a time when each of us can count on being besieged and bombarded by more information in an average day than most premodern people encountered in their entire lives. Now it’s important to remember that this is true only when the term “information” is assumed to mean the sort of information that comes prepackaged and preprocessed in symbolic form; the average hunter-gatherer moving through a tropical rain forest picks up more information about the world of nature through his or her senses in the course of an average day than the average resident in an industrial city receives through that channel in the course of their lives."

[via: http://www.doorsofperception.com/mailinglist/archives/2010/07/from_doomers_to.php ]
art  culture  economics  environment  philosophy  philanthropy  technology  information  hunter-gatherer  sensemaking  perception  noise  filtering  meaning  nature  media  johnmichaelgreer 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Everything is fizzling and bobbling about « Snarkmarket
"Thatcher’s study sug­gests a coun­ter­in­tu­itive notion: the more dis­or­ga­nized your brain is, the smarter you are...It’s coun­ter­in­tu­itive in part because we tend to attribute grow­ing intel­li­gence of tech­nol­ogy world w/ increas­ingly pre­cise electro­mechan­i­cal chore­og­ra­phy...

Instead of thoughts of con­crete things patiently fol­low­ing one another, we have the most abrupt cross-cuts and tran­si­tions from one idea to another, the most rarei­fied abstrac­tions and dis­crim­i­na­tions, the most unheard-of com­bi­na­tions of ele­ments… a seething caul­dron of ideas, where every­thing is fiz­zling and bob­bling about in a state of bewil­der­ing activ­ity, where part­ner­ships can be joined or loos­ened in an instant, tread­mill rou­tine is unknown, and the unex­pected seems the only law.

He’s describ­ing “the high­est order of minds”—but he could just as eas­ily be describ­ing a startup, or a city. Which is exactly, I think, the point."
cognition  ideas  robinsloan  mind  brain  stevenjohnson  books  cities  startups  cv  howwethink  disorder  noise  disorganization  messiness  intelligence  crosspollination 
july 2010 by robertogreco
::NoiseTube:: Turn your mobile phone into an environmental sensor and participate to the monitoring of noise pollution
"Noise pollution is a serious problem in many cities. NoiseTube is a research project about a new participative approach for monitoring noise pollution involving the general public. Our goal is to extend the current usage of mobile phones by turning them into noise sensors enabling each citizen to measure his own exposure in his everyday environment. Furthermore each user could also participate to the creation of a collective map of noise pollution by sharing automatically his geolocalized measures with the community.

By installing our free application on your GPS equipped phone, you will be able to measure the level of noise in dB(A) (with a precision a bit lower than a sound level meter), and contribute to the collective noise mapping by annotating it (tagging, subjective level of annoyance) and sending this geolocalized information automatically to the NoiseTube server by internet (GPRS)."

[via: http://www.iftf.org/node/3314 ]
noise  gis  gps  sensors  pollution  crowdsourcing  activism  mapping  environment  maps  experience  sound  monitoring  mobile  research  community  collaborative  audio  soundscape  sensornetworks  noisetube  soundscapes  sounds 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Perlin Noise
"Many people have used random number generators in their programs to create unpredictability, make the motion and behavior of objects appear more natural, or generate textures. Random number generators certainly have their uses, but at times their output can be too harsh to appear natural. This article will present a function which has a very wide range of uses, more than I can think of, but basically anywhere where you need something to look natural in origin. What's more it's output can easily be tailored to suit your needs."
animation  mathematics  processing  algorithms  math  graphics  perlinnoise  random  howto  programming  visualization  software  design  gamedev  texture  noise  tutorial  via:robinsloan 
february 2010 by robertogreco
What Do Preschools Have in Common with Bridges and Airports? - NurtureShock Blog - Newsweek.com
"Kids in noisy environments hear enough words that they learn to communicate. But they miss out on the additional language necessary to master the more sophisticated nuances of phonics, vocabulary, and structure."
reading  learning  preschool  schools  schooldesign  development  education  hearing  children  noise  tcsnmy  lcproject  sound  auditory 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Saffo: journal - Save that old TV - there's a message in the 'snow"
"A TV antenna is a sponge for radio energy, collecting lots more than just the desired signal. Snow is the result of the TV attempting to turn stray signals into an image, signals from radio stations, emissions from power lines, transformers or appliances, or even from the electrical noise of the circuits in the TV itself...result is the strangely-calming ant-dance of black on white that we call snow. But snow has another source, a source far from this planet in both time & space. Mixed in with the noise of Earthling civilization are radio echoes of the Big Bang, the moment of the Universe's creation 13 Billion years ago...universe started out very small & very hot & has been expanding and cooling ever since. As it cools, the Big Bang's fossil radiation sheds radio energy in the same way a cake on a cooling rack gives up heat. & when those indescribably ancient radio waves run down the rabbit ears and into your analog TV, the TV's circuitry interprets it as an image & voila! - Snow."

[see audio version here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=105339922 ]
paulsaffo  analog  tv  television  noise  whitenoise  snow  obsolescence 
june 2009 by robertogreco
As TV Changes To Digital, White Noise Fades Away : NPR
"A familiar sight and sound is disappearing as digital TV takes over from analog: television snow and the "white noise" that accompanies it."

[transcript is here: http://www.saffo.com/journal/entry.php?id=1052 ]
analog  tv  television  noise  whitenoise  snow  obsolescence 
june 2009 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Cars b/w Are Friends Electric
"The opportunity to genuinely explore the sound of the city without this blanket of private cars is compelling, whether through sculpting sound through active intervention or simply through enjoying a level aural playing field for the everyday sounds that already conjure the city.
danhill  cars  bikes  cities  noise  sound  safety  change  adaptation  streets  design  cityofsound  urban  urbanism 
may 2009 by robertogreco
Wired 14.08: PLAY - Now Hear This!
"The more you can concentrate with background noise, the more it strengthens the brain. Isaac Asimov used to set his typewriter up in stores and other loud places to work. His claim was that you get really good at writing when you’re in a crowd. You want to be energized by that background noise, rather than distracted."
noise  concentration  psychology  productivity  focus  sound  creativity  attention 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Television and Brain Health - Prevention.com
"Reach for the remote and hone your concentration skills: Lowering the TV volume a little more each day can teach you to filter out background noise and improve focus, says University of California, San Francisco neuroscientist Michael Merzenich, PhD. Your training at home could even pay off at work by helping you block out the loudmouth in the next cubicle or fully concentrate on a meeting while ignoring noisy distractions outside."
focus  concentration  brain  noise  productivity  neuroscience  tv  television 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Why Online "Noise" is Good For You - ReadWriteWeb
"Social media noise is an essential part of learning and living on the web. Hear are some reasons why.: Unexpected opportunities, Future Needs, Maximizing Recall, General Knowledge, Personal Growth"
socialnetworking  socialmedia  noise  technology  complexity  serendipity  overload  aggregator  skimming  conversation  filtering  socialnetworks  lifestreams  learning  memory  rss  online  twitter 
june 2008 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Botanical Otology
"Alex Metcalf's Tree Listening Installation is a small electronic listening device built for eavesdropping on the inner acoustics of trees...placed on the trunk of a given tree, then connected to as many as ten sets of headphones, which hang down from the
art  sound  trees  noise  flora  bldgblog  science 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Blackhole Media - Noise
"pink noise masks background noise to help you concentrate. Now with source code and white noise, for those less colorful. Drown out annoying roommates and co-workers today!"
attention  productivity  focus  work  software  osx  sound  audio  noise  freeware  headphones  ambient  adhd  distraction 
april 2008 by robertogreco
The Next American City / 24 Hour Cities: Sensible or Superfluous?
"looking for shining example of truly 24 hour city, look no farther than postmodern spectacle known as a Casino...fortress defies all principles of rationality, reasonability...if that’s what Next American City would look like, I would have to politely
economics  urbanism  cities  future  via:cityofsound  sound  noise  sustainability  energy  green 
march 2008 by robertogreco
The Megapixel Myth
"This gimmick is used by salespeople and manufacturers to you feel as if your current camera is inadequate and needs to be replaced even if the new cameras each year are only slightly better."
cameras  digital  dslr  photography  imaging  images  comparison  noise 
december 2007 by robertogreco
» Best picture quality with 6 megapixels!
"The best compromise for a compact camera is a sensor with 6 million pixels or better a sensor with a pixel size of >3µm."
cameras  digital  dslr  photography  imaging  images  comparison  noise 
december 2007 by robertogreco
Why we love sounds of the city jungle | UK News | The Observer
"Hitting the right notes is more effective than noise reduction in making life less stressful"
cities  environment  landscape  sound  space  urban  urbanism  research  noise  music 
september 2007 by robertogreco
http://web.media.mit.edu/~nvawter/thesis/index.html
"Ambient Addition is a Walkman with binaural microphones. A tiny Digital Signal Processing (DSP) chip analyzes the microphone's sound and superimposes a layer of harmony and rhythm on top of the listener's world. In the new context, some surprising behavi
ambient  audio  cities  electronics  music  sound  space  interaction  place  play  architecture  psychogeography  soundscapes  sounds  mit  art  walking  wearable  installation  headphones  medialab  ipod  future  interface  noise  processing  portable  multimedia  monitoring  mobile  environment  dynamic  newmedia  wearables  mitmedialab 
december 2006 by robertogreco

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