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Nov 26, 2004

Remember the old “This is your brain on drugs” commercial?

Well this is my brain on music. Seriously.


In other news, FuzzMeasure, the first MLS measurement software for Mac OS X has been released. I was a beta tester for the program, and it’s a great little app. It’s definitely worth trying if you have a Mac.

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Nov 16, 2004

When you work in noise control, you inevitably hear complaints about the noise from train horns. Abutters would, understandably, prefer that trains not blow their horns. The problem is that often when a train strikes a person or vehicle on railroad tracks, the railroad/authority is sued! Even though most reasonable people would think that the trespasser is at fault (after all, the train is exactly where it’s supposed to be), railroads and transit authorities still have to defend themselves from court action. As a result, many railroad operators would just prefer to blow their horns to limit their liability.

I mention this because the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review ran an article about a lawsuit brought by a woman who was struck by a freight train:

A Jeannette woman who was slightly injured after being struck by a train while walking along railroad tracks sued Norfolk Southern Corp. Thursday for failing to warn pedestrians that trains travel on tracks.

This article isn’t directly about horn-blowing, but you can see some of the parallels - the plaintiff apparently feels that more action needs to be taken to warn trespassers about the presence of trains.

Train operators don’t sound their horns to annoy residents, they sound their horns to prevent litigation. Any long-term solution to horn noise will have to address liability.

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Nov 06, 2004

Tired of those loud commercials and previews shown before movies at your local theater? You’re not the only one. Hollywood filmmakers, such as Steven Soderbergh, are leading the charge to lower the sound levels of the previews & ads. It seems that movie patrons frequently ask movie theaters to lower the sound level of loud previews, and the managers forget to raise the sound levels back to normal. The net effect is that the directors ‘vision’ is ruined, and the filmmakers get upset.


A British newspaper is carrying a story about helicopter noise resulting in the death of an equestrian. It seems that noise from a low-flying helicopter “spooked” a horse, which proceeded to throw its rider, killing a mother of two.


Speaking of health effects: ran an article a couple of months ago stating that motorcyle noise poses a hearing-loss risk to riders. “A ringing sound in the ears immediately after exposure and muffled hearing are warning signs of noise-induced hearing loss, which is permanent.

By the way: if you own a motorcycle with straight pipes, you give up the right to complain about noise. But that’s just my opinion.


Another tragic story about room acoustics:

‘”How could this be?” I asked. “How could you spend so much cash on a system only to not have the room be ready for it?” I mean, colors of the room, furniture, lighting, editing desk, carpet, even networking, plasma screen for the client, everything had been thought of.

Oh yeah…the architect of the room didn’t consider sound. At all.’

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