Noise and Eating

No, not the actual noise made when a person eats. This is in reference to restaurants.

And yes, this blog has discussed the issue of noise in restaurants a few times now.

But a recent article reminded me of it again.

Perhaps today, when it looks like my town of Peterborough might soon go to code YELLOW in response to an increase in covid cases, is not the best day to talk about restaurants in any negative way. But – this article is not just a negative piece about noise in restaurants. It notes that making restaurants aware of the problem can lead to some good solutions.

This journal article from 2014 provides much more information on noise in restaurants.

Perhaps this year, which has been so hard on the restaurant industry, is a good time to re-visit how one’s restaurant addresses this problem. In the future, restaurants that survive may need to keep the noise issue in mind when emerging from 2020.

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Stuart Fowkes

Mr. Fowkes has been building a soundscape of the globe since 2014. This article is about what he has noticed in urban soundscapes since the corona virus hit. As you might guess, the urban soundscapes have changed a lot. People can now hear all sorts of sounds that were buried by noise. Check out his map.

If you go to the site with the map, you will that he is inviting people from anywhere in the world to send him a recording of where they live. Anyone interested?

You can read more about the project here, and read an interview with Mr. Fowkes.

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Forest Sounds

Many people travel in order to experience different sounds in different places.

But few of us get to travel abroad these days. In fact I don’t know anyone who has left the country.

Now there is a site that lets you visit forests around the planet, and listen to the sounds of that forest. You go to the site, click on an icon and away you go! Rather amazing! You can read about the site here.

You can add your own recordings of forests. There are instructions on the site.

This link will take you directly to the site.

Let me know what you think.

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My Annual Moan

(They look like they are members of a local militia, but armed with leaf blowers, not automatic weapons! That, at least, is a good thing.)

Yes, every year (or maybe twice a year?) I write about the noise of lawnmowers and leaf blowers. (Although don’t forget that I applauded the use of leaf blowers in Portland as a way to disperse tear gas.)

Anyhow – here you can find out why it is a GOOD idea to leave your leaves alone. Yes. It is good – good for noise reduction, good for bugs, good for your garden, etc.

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Two-strokes in Toronto

What the ????

Toronto’s city council has voted to ask staff and Toronto Public Health to explore lawn equipment that uses two stroke gasoline engines.

Don’t get too excited yet – it is a request for a study and a report. BUT – the motion passed 11 to 10.

Stay tuned.

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The Pandemic and Song Birds

The pandemic, which has reduced the amount of noise humans make, has had a tremendously positive effect on many aspects of nature.

This article from National Geographic deals with research done on the impact of the pandemic on white-crowned sparrows in the San Francisco area.

The researchers were expecting a difference – but what they found was that the difference was a lot more than they expected! Good news!

When you read the article, make sure to listen to the two sound clips. The differences are indeed amazing.

Let’s hope that when we go back to “normal” it no longer includes overloading the world with noise. Fingers crossed, very quietly.

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Music in Restaurants

Background music in restaurants has always been an issue for the NC.

Now, thanks to covid, this issue can be addressed easily. (At least in Toronto, and I assume in all cities.)

Here is a quote from the City of Toronto’s new guidelines for opening a bar/restaurant:

“It is advised to keep the volume of music, either live or recorded, at a reasonable level-one that does not cause customers to raise their voices or shout, thereby possibly increasing the risk of transmitting the virus.”

And there you have it – turn that background music down so I don’t risk spreading or getting the corona virus! Now we have clear permission make the request without feeling like we are messing up other peoples’ background music.

Perhaps if this virus continues for very long, low or no background music will become the “new normal”!! Yay!!!

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Football in Germany

No, not FOOTBALL, but football – as in what we in Canada call soccer.

Germany? Germany is one of those great European countries that take noise pollution seriously. They have quite strict rules and regulations about noise.

And in this recent article, you can read about an instance where the Freiburg football club cannot hold games on Friday nights or Sunday afternoons because of the noise level of the game (and fans, I assume.)

Yay for another decision in favour of decreasing noise in our world!

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Walruses and Double Bass

Yes, you read it correctly.

Who knew that a walrus could play a double bass? Well, in fact, they can’t.


But they do communicate with sound. They have quite the repertoire. You can read more about this aspect of ‘walrus-ness’ here.

So what is it about walruses and double bass? At a zoo in Tacoma, one of the workers is a bass player. She plays her bass for the walruses. And they seem to like it. OR perhaps not? It is not clear to me if they are happy to hear her or unhappy. See what you think when you watch the video.

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Race Horses and Noise

So who knew? Thanks to a tip off from my bookie MJB, I have found out that quite a few race horses wear earplugs when they race!

It makes sense, but was a surprise! Race tracks are loud, very loud. And horses have very good and sensitive hearing. The jockey does not want the horse distracted or scared by crowd noise. As this article notes, a pair of $6 earplugs helped win the Belmont race in 2015. (You can see the earplugs in the photo above.) As the article notes, other trainers and owners are following suit.

Now this year, the races are being run with no audiences, so maybe the earplugs are not necessary. But given that horses can hear sound that is far away, I would think they would use them in every race.

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