Tip of the hat to The Atlantic

The Atlantic tackles noise

For some reason, The Atlantic has decided to tackle our issue. Writer Megan Garber takes a good look at noise in our world in the newest issue. The article is subtitled “How digital technology is transforming our relationship with sound” because it presents some new ideas about how to deal with noise/sound via new technologies.

 Her article starts with a historical overview of the role and impact of noise on society, all the way back to very early days:

“[But] as long as there have been communal sounds, there have also been attempts to regulate them. The Epic of Gilgamesh, one of humanity’s oldest surviving works of literature, describes an ancient noise dispute. “In those days,” the poem declares (“those days” being the 18th century BC), the world teemed, the people multiplied, the world bellowed like a wild bull, and the great god was aroused by the clamor. Enlil heard the clamor and he said to the gods in council, “The uproar of mankind is intolerable and sleep is no longer possible by reason of the babel.”

The divine council’s reaction to Enlil’s complaints? “The gods agreed to exterminate mankind.” (The Atlantic)

And so they did, with a flood! (The same flood that shows up in the Old Testament in the Bible. Probably was noisy! I suspect that if you go and see the new movie “Noah”, it will be a loud event. Here is a link to the trailer. )


gilgamesh tablet (Gilgamesh flood tablet: this tablet tells the flood story, if you can read the text.)

Then Garber uses some good quotes from Charles Dickens and his colleagues living in noisy London and how they can’t get their work done because of all the noise around them. (Not much has changed since then!)

Charles-Dickens-007Dickens (He does look a tad sleep deprived!)
After this introduction to the issue of noise/sound, Garber looks at new ways people are using technology to deal with noise/sound concerns. About 3/5ths down the article, there is a great sound clip that deconstructs the overall sound/noise of a vacuum cleaner. The total noise makes more sense, and is even more annoying, once you identify know the various components.

There are also a few paragraphs about an acoustical architectural company called Accentech, which seems to be doing some good design work. Check out their website.


Later in the article is a wonderful link to a new piece of technology, SONO. Check out their video here! I need one, I WANT one. (Unfortunately you can’t get one yet; it is still in the ‘conceptual’ stage. But wow, when they build one? Yahoo!!)

sonic boom picHere is a link to the article in The Atlantic. Enjoy! But maybe activate your SONO first, so you can read it in silence?


By the way – Happy Mother’s Day; but the real one, not the ‘Hallmark’ version. The first attempt at creating a Mother’s Day was in 1870, by Julia Ward Howe. Her goal was to have an annual event to bring mothers together to unite for peace in the world. Here is part of her appeal to all women:

 Arise, then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, Whether our baptism be of water or of tears! Say firmly: We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country, to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says: Disarm, disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence vindicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of council. (Wiki)

 A much better sentiment than what happens these days, I must say.

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