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robertogreco : noisepollution   5

Why Everything Is Getting Louder
“Experts say your body does not adapt to noise. Large-scale studies show that if the din keeps up—over days, months, years—noise exposure increases your risk of high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and heart attacks, as well as strokes, diabetes, dementia, and depression. Children suffer not only physically—18 months after a new airport opened in Munich, the blood pressure and stress-hormone levels of neighboring children soared—but also behaviorally and cognitively. A landmark study published in 1975 found that the reading scores of sixth graders whose classroom faced a clattering subway track lagged nearly a year behind those of students in quieter classrooms—a difference that disappeared once soundproofing materials were installed. Noise might also make us mean: A 1969 study suggested that test subjects exposed to noise, even the gentle fuzz of white noise, become more aggressive and more eager to zap fellow subjects with electric shocks.”



“Though data are scarce, the world appears to be growing louder. The National Park Service’s Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division, which sends researchers to measure the acoustics of the American outdoors, estimates that noise pollution doubles or triples every 30 years. The EPA last measured our nation’s volume in 1981; assuming (generously) that our collective cacophony has remained constant, calculations from 2013 estimate that more than 145 million Americans are exposed to noise exceeding the recommended limits. In the absence of more recent surveys, the volume at which emergency vehicles shriek is telling, given that sirens must be loud enough to pierce the ambient noise level. According to measurements by R. Murray Schafer, a fire-engine siren from 1912 reached 88 to 96 decibels measured from 11 feet away, whereas by 1974, sirens’ screeches hit 114 decibels at the same distance—an increase in volume, he noted, of about half a decibel a year. The latest fire-engine sirens howl louder still: 123 decibels at 10 feet.”
sound  noise  health  urban  urbanism  2019  soundpollution  stress  bodies  biancabosker  technology  cacophony  sounds  noisepollution  pollution 
3 days ago by robertogreco
Oceans of Noise: Episode One – Science Weekly podcast | Science | The Guardian
"Contrary to popular belief, and the writings of Jacques Cousteau, life beneath the ocean surface is not a silent world but a dense and rich sonic environment where sound plays a fundamental role in life.

In episode one of this three-part series, pioneering nature sound recordist Chris Watson begins a journey driven by his fascination with recording the songs and signals of life under the ocean surface. He will meet scientists examining the possible impacts of noise pollution, from the likes of shipping noise and seismic explosions used in the search for oil and gas. He will also talk to sound artists trying to raise awareness of the issue through their art.

Watson talks to Dr Lucille Chapuis, a marine biologist from the University of Exeter, who explains why water is such an effective medium for sonic communication, and how different types of marine life take advantage of this. Marine biologist Asha de Vos is an ocean educator, senior TED fellow and pioneer of blue whale research in the northern Indian Ocean. De Vos talks about how the mystery of life under the sea lured her towards an incredible career in conservation. She believes that just as sound is crucial to these majestic creatures, their survival is crucial to us.

Much of what we know about the significance of sound to the marine environment began with the research of Prof Christopher Clark from Cornell University. He takes Watson back to where it all began as he relives the moment where he realised just how important sound is to all life in the sea. But Clark also reveals the gradual realisation of the extent of the threat of sound pollution to marine life."

[Episode 2
"In episode two, the pioneering nature sound recordist Chris Watson and sound artist Jana Winderen meet a team from Norway’s Institute of Marine Research and climb aboard a research vessel setting sail around the Austevoll islands.

Like many countries, Norway benefits economically from oil and gas exploration and shipping. However, the threat of ocean noise pollution and its potential to harm fish stocks has instigated trailblazing research into the impact of sound pollution, in this case on spawning cod. On choppy North Sea waters Watson and Winderen meet scientists Nils Olav Handegard and Karen de Jong who, along with a team of international scientists, are using complex underwater recording techniques to try to capture the sound of reproducing cod.

As the sun sets, Watson and Winderen reflect on the relationship between scientists and sound artists, and ponder the role they can have in helping people understand and appreciate the underwater acoustic environment."

Episode 3
https://www.theguardian.com/science/audio/2019/may/03/oceans-of-noise-episode-three-science-weekly-podcast

"As wildlife recordist Chris Watson looks for solutions to ocean noise pollution, he hears from Tim Gordon, whose long-awaited trip to the Great Barrier Reef became a devastating experience when he heard the eerie silence of a dying coral reef, caused in part by global warming.

But despite the pessimistic tone evident in many environment debates, reduction in ocean noise pollution is one area that could spark optimism. Action is being taken across the world – from policymakers to private companies – to address some of the causes of sonic assaults on the underwater acoustic environment. While more action is needed, the future of marine soundscapes is still very much in play.

Watson calls in Markus Reymann, whose organisation TBA21–Academy uses a state-of-the-art sound recording sea vessel to connect scientists and policymakers with the ocean. Watson also talks to Nicolas Entrup of Oceancare, an organisation attempting to build international consensus on how to address oceanic noise pollution.

Watson also calls again on scientists and ocean conservation advocates, including Asha de Vos and Prof Christopher Clark.

We would like to thank all of our contributors for the series, as well as: Carlos Duarte, Jana Winderen, Knut Korsbrekke at Norway’s Institute of Marine Research, Steve Simpson at the University of Exeter, Marianne Helene, Roger Payne, Michel Andre, Bob Dziak, Ray Fischer and Christ de Jong."]
sound  oceans  audio  chriswatson  ashadevos  animals  nature  2019  janawinderen  markusreymann  multispecies  morethanhuman  noisepollution  hydrophones 
may 2019 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
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

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