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Aug 29, 2006

Two recent developments (and I’m only slightly bitter that I had to find out with the rest of the common people).

I didn’t even get any advance notice… I feel so out of the loop.

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Quoted for truthiness: a response from Ken Plotkin on a common question posed to all acoustical consultants:

I think that the most important thing to be learned from your reply is that there is no general answer and that the applicable answer depends on the specifics/details of the situation.

That’s true about so many things. That’s also why the best answer to so many of the “How do I solve a noise problem” posts is “Hire a local consultant.”

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Aug 24, 2006

From Alvin Foster:

I am sad to report that our friend Ira Leonard died early this afternoon.

The funeral service will be held at Stanetsky Memorial Chapel, 475 Washington Street, Canton MA on Monday August 28 [1 PM].

The best route there is via Rte 95 South, from Rte. 128, to Neponset Street East. Neponset Street intersects with Washington Street. Turn right on Washington Street and the Chapel is almost immediately on your right. If you need to call, the Chapel number is 781-821-4600. My number is 603-562-5437.

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Aug 22, 2006

Anti-noise warriors regroup:

“There are motorcycles. There are boom boxes. There are car alarms,” Holt said, ticking off the noisemakers that jar him awake night after night. “We know there’s going to be noise. There’s not much you can do about some of it. My concern is there is a lot of noise. Others are complaining about it, too.”

Well, if you guys can wait for a couple of months, you’ll be able to speak face to face with a few hundred of the world’s leading experts in noise control.

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Aug 14, 2006

Why I love my job: because I get paid to watch big things fall down.

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Aug 10, 2006

If you’ve spent time at BAES, GBC-ASA, or BAES meetings, you’ve likely have met Ira Leonard. Ira had a stroke some time ago which limited movement on one side, but otherwise he could get around. Unfortunately, Alvin Foster told me that he took a turn for the worse yesterday:

Starting around 3:30 PM today, Joe Leonard talked to multiple specialist at [Mass General Hospital]. The neurologist reported that Ira was, as a result of the massive strokes, essentially in a ‘vegetative’ state. In layman’s terms - even if Ira were to recover from the phenomena, he would have no communication skills or cognitive functions. Joe has decided to give Ira an additional few days before he decides to remove life supports in the hope that the doctors’ prognosis and Ira’s life signs change.

At this point, this is all I know. Email me (scroll to the bottom of the page) if you want updates on his progress.

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Aug 07, 2006

Posted by David Hadaway at the BAS website (reposting here because the “President’s Message” rotates off the site):

Black adults hear better than white adults, a study has found. The study also found that women hear better than men and that, overall, hearing in the United States is about the same as it was 35 years ago, despite the advent of ear-blasting devices such as the Walkman and iPod. The racial difference may be related to melanin, a skin pigment. Some scientists believe black people’s larger amount of melanin protect them from noise-induced hearing loss as the years go by. Scientists suspect melanin plays a role in how the body removes harmful chemical compounds caused by damage to the sensitive hair cells in the inner ear. Genetics or occupational noise exposure may explain the difference between women and men. The conclusion that the nation’s overall hearing has not changed since the early 1970s seems to contradict other recent research finding that modern teenagers do not hear as well as children did in the age before mobile listening devices. The study looked at more that 5,000 people who had hearing tests from 1999 through 2004 as part of an annual federal health survey. On average, the 1077 non-Hispanics blacks could hear higher tones at 15 to 22 decibels, while the 2,518 non-Hispanic whites could hear high tones at 21 to 32 decibels. [Our own tests of BAS members, a very limited sample, tend to confirm these results].

I’m guessing that the source is this AP report published a couple of months ago.

So, does this figure into noise-senstivity in majority minority neighborhoods? Does anyone care?

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Unless you’re living in a cave (or are not a U.S. resident), you’ve probably heard at least some of the bellyaching over problems in Boston’s Central Artery/Tunnel Project (aka the Big Dig), with some going so far as to ask if the project is “One of Engineeringšs Biggest Mistakes.”

The project holds a special place in my heart (yes, I do have a heart!), and so I’m happy that I get to point to a Washington Post article titled (appropriately enough) “Dig the Big Dig:”

The Big Dig demolished the Central Artery and diverted its traffic beneath the city, an engineering feat that has been chronicled in PBS and Discovery Channel documentaries. (It was done without shutting down the city, which was like performing open-heart surgery on a patient running a marathon. And all affected homes and businesses were compensated — sometimes excessively so.) The expressway eventually will be replaced by a ribbon of urban parkland, but its absence has already reconnected the city to its long-abandoned waterfront, which is experiencing a renaissance. The project also includes a tunnel to Logan International Airport, a gorgeous bridge over the Charles River and a slew of transit projects, including new commuter rail lines to the suburbs and better subway connections within the city. And the project has transported 3.5 million cubic yards of fill to a Boston Harbor garbage dump called Spectacle Island, which has been transformed into a 121-acre recreational jewel, featuring a marina, two beaches, five miles of hiking trails and 28,000 trees.

[From Starts & Stops]

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Aug 03, 2006

Sometimes danger is where you least expect it.

[from Reddit]

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Once again, politcs, grade-crossings and quiet zones intersect:

“Parallel steel ­ there’s some sort of attraction to it,” Mark Challed, Metrolink engineers’ supervisor, says over the engines’ roar. “People ­ they can’t seem to stay away.”

So Friesen pumps the yellow button ­ and more and more neighbors along the tracks go to city halls and make their own noise about somehow muffling the horns.


But there are costs: Some engineers feel safer hitting the horn, safeguards can require millions of dollars and city officials harbor a lingering concern about lawsuits if accidents do occur.


Another, perhaps more daunting hurdle for Santa Ana and other communities: If officials get horns silenced, and an accident occurs, could the city be dragged into a multimillion dollar lawsuit?

“It will be the first lawsuit getting filed in a quiet zone that decides it,” Ross says.

Lot’s of good questions, and no easy answers.

The article also has a good diagram that lays out the “2-quad gates + median” and “4-quad gates” options for quiet zones.

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I don’t know what’s worse: that this showed up in my referrer logs, or that my site was the first hit…

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