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Apr 24, 2007

My sound level meter and I make a brief appearance on a WBZ TV (Boston) News segment about loud toys.

And yes, the maracas were really that loud.

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If you spend any time around community noise activists and anti-noise internet forums, you inevitably find noise-impacted residents who yearn for a magic point-and-shoot ray beam that they could point at boom cars to destroy car stereos. Well, wish no more: Barney Vincelette of Houston, Delaware has apparently done just that:

Vincelette used his genius-level IQ and parts of household microwave ovens to develop a makeshift device that uses electromagnetic waves to temporarily jam the circuitry of his neighbors’ stereos.

At first I thought the article had to be an April’s fool joke. However, a few Google searches turned up plenty of evidence that someone named Barney Vincelette has been pursuing microwave research for some time. My guess is that his device is causing the same type of interference that cell phones cause on analog sound circuits, but on a massive scale.

For anyone that might be thinking of following in his footsteps: don’t. First of all, it’s illegal to intentionally jam a radio signal in the U.S. (well, it’s legal under certain circumstances, but those circumstances basically render your device useless as a jammer). Second, if a homemade microwave weapon is powerful enough to disrupt electronics at great distances you gotta wonder what it’s doing to the operator.

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Apr 11, 2007

What comes after blasting music? It could be hearing loss, students told:

Her meter showed 85 to 90 decibels, the equivalent of a gas-powered lawnmower held at arms’ length. At that level, the federal government would limit exposure to eight hours or less in a workplace, said the audiologist, Sharon G. Kujawa .

Typical article describing the dangers of high sound levels on human hearing. I’m just impressed that the authors, in providing the obligatory “xx dB is roughly the loudness of <insert device/activity>” example, actually related the sound level to the distance of the source. Good job.

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Apr 05, 2007

A popular tactic to fight noise from loud car stereos is for police to confiscate, and destroy, car audio equipment from offending cars.

Baltimore wants to this strategy one step further: they want to evict occupants who residential and commercial property if they are convicted of two noise violations in two years.

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The Fraunhofer Institute (of mp3 fame) is working on windows that can cancel interior noise.

It looks like the system is restricted to canceling low frequency sounds, so it should be effective. I’m wondering if it will really take four years for ANC windows to get to market - vibrating plates are pretty well understood and I wouldn’t think developing a marketable product would be that difficult.

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Apr 01, 2007

Scientists have discovered a way to recover past sounds that have been embedded in walls:

Scientists have worked on the software and technology that can measure how each atom has been disturbed and match each unique disturbance with a unique word.

The technology virtually “replays” the sequence of words that have been spoken inside the walls. It’s like rewinding a tape recorder and you can go as far back in history as you want.

[btw, please note the date]

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