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Not surprisingly, cities tend to be very noisy, with background levels averaging around 50 to 60 decibels. And that’s just the average: heavy truck traffic can reach around 85 dB, while construction jackhammers can reach 95 dB if you’re standing less than 50 feet away.
By contrast, regions like Yellowstone National Park have background noise levels down at around 20 decibels, which, as Underwood reports, is about as hushed as things were before European colonization.
So who cares? For one, all the artificial noise and light that cities produce can have bizarre effects on humans and wildlife — effects we have yet to fully understand. Loud cities can interfere with the ability of owls and bats to hunt. And, because of urban noise, some male birds now have to sing at higher frequencies, making them less attractive to potential mates.
Tag Archives | sound
“The universe is a symphony of vibrating strings… We are nothing but melodies, we are nothing but cosmic music played out on vibrating strings and membranes.” -Michio Kaku
Alexandre Tannous is one of those guys whose insight just continually surprises you. It’s as if he’s studied everything and gone everywhere, yet, still manages to maintain a disposition that’s totally down to earth, openminded and in awe of everything. He’s some sort of humble scientist, mystic, musician, renaissance man hybrid.
To add some specificity, Alexandre holds multiple degrees in music and philosophy. More importantly, he has traveled to over 40 of countries where he has participated in dozens of shamanic, meditative and initiatory ceremonies. Alexandre also researches the esoteric and therapeutic properties of sound from scientific and shamanic perspectives. He has lectured at many major universities including Georgetown, Princeton and NYU.
Ilima Loomis writes at openDemocracy:
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In 1989, ‘acoustic ecologist’ Gordon Hempton received a grant to document and record the natural sounds of the state of Washington in the USA. He identified 21 wilderness places to record—sites unsullied by the sounds of traffic, aviation, construction, and other human-made noise. Twenty-five years later, only three of those sites remain muted.
Little by little, our world is becoming louder, with the creeping spread of noise pollution infiltrating our homes, our workplaces, and even our wilderness.
Hempton, whose work for the past 30 years has been traveling the world to survey and record natural sound, says he’s seen firsthand how the hum, ping, and roar of modern life has taken over our sound-scapes. By his count, the United States has only 12 remaining truly ‘quiet places,’ which he defines as somewhere you can go for at least 15 minutes without hearing artificial sound at dawn, the hour when sound travels farthest.
Levitating objects with sound has been done before, but these scientists have taken it to a new level.
Researchers in Tokyo have put a new twist on the use of sound to suspend objects in air. They’ve used ultrasonic standing waves to trap pieces of wood, metal, and water – and even move them around.
Researchers have used sound to levitate objects in previous experiments, dating back decades. But that work has largely relied on speakers that were set up in a line to bounce sound waves off a hard surface.
The new experiment uses four speakers to surround an open square area that’s about 21 inches wide. Four phased arrays use standing waves to create an ultrasonic focal point in that space, as the researchers explain in a video about their work.
The rich, complex musical symphonies produced by nature are now being irrevocably destroyed. The Guardian writes:
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When musician and naturalist Bernie Krause drops his microphones into the pristine coral reef waters of Fiji, he picks up a raucous mix of sighs, beats, glissandos, cries, groans, tones, grunts, beats and clicks. The water pulsates with the sound of creatures vying for acoustic bandwidth. He hears crustaceans, parrot fish, anemones, wrasses, sharks, shrimps, puffers and surgeonfish.
But half a mile away, where the same reef is badly damaged, he can only pick up the sound of waves and a few snapping shrimp. It is, he says, the desolate sound of extinction.
Krause, whose electronic music with Paul Beaver was used on classic films like Rosemary’s Baby and Apocalypse Now, has spent 40 years recording over 15,000 species, collecting 4,500 hours of sound from many of the world’s pristine habitats.
But such is the rate of species extinction and the deterioration of pristine habitat that he estimates half these recordings are now archives, impossible to repeat because the habitats no longer exist or because they have been so compromised by human noise.