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May 26, 2008

Wikileaks has posted the manual for BBN Technologies’ Boomerang II sniper-locating system. The device consists of a three-dimensional seven-microphone array connected to a DSP that is mounted on a HMMWV (Humvee). Upon detection of a gunshot, the system calculates the direction of the shooter and presents this information to the HMMWV crew using audible and visual indicators.

[from Reddit]

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May 21, 2008

Wired has a feature that describes how man-made noise is drowning out the sounds of Earth’s ecology:

But Krause has noticed something alarming. The natural sound of the world is vanishing. He’ll be deep inside the Amazon, recording that cricket, but when he listens carefully he also hears machinery: The distant howl of a 747 or the dull roar of a Hummer miles way.

As the article notes, when background levels are very low (as is typical in very remote areas), transportation vehicles and industrial machinery can be audible even if the sources are located miles away.

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May 15, 2008

Savant has beaten me to the punch: ProAV Magazine tackles the oft thorny interaction between architects and acousticians.

Often, he explains, buildings will be designed with acoustic isolation problems, meaning sound leaks excessively from room to room. “The architect will say, ‘Fine, we’ll add an extra layer of wallboard, and we’ll make the wall thicker and heavier.’ But they won’t address the fact they have all this pipe work and conduit running through the wall, creating all of these penetrations.”


“Acoustical consultants are brought in for large projects like concert halls, but on smaller projects, it’s often the sound system contractor who needs to take care of acoustical problems,” says Brad Nelson, owner of Kennewick, Wash.­based Sound Solutions Northwest, a company that specializes in the house of worship sector. “And often the mindset is that the sound system itself will fix things. That’s where we get into a lot of problems.”

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