Why Everything Is Getting Louder

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The tech industry is producing a rising din. Our bodies can’t adapt.

Karthic thallikar first noticed the noise sometime in late 2014, back when he still enjoyed taking walks around his neighborhood.

He’d been living with his wife and two kids in the Brittany Heights subdivision in Chandler, Arizona, for two years by then, in a taupe two-story house that Thallikar had fallen in love with on his first visit. The double-height ceilings made it seem airy and expansive; there was a playground around the corner; and the neighbors were friendly, educated people who worked in auto finance or at Intel or at the local high school. Thallikar loved that he could stand in the driveway, look out past a hayfield and the desert scrub of Gila River Indian land, and see the jagged pink outlines of the Estrella Mountains. Until recently, the area around Brittany Heights had been mostly farmland, and there remained a patchwork of alfalfa fields alongside open ranges scruffy with mesquite and coyotes.

In the evenings, after work, Thallikar liked to decompress by taking long walks around Brittany Heights, following Musket Way to Carriage Lane to Marlin Drive almost as far as the San Palacio and Clemente Ranch housing developments. It was during one of these strolls that Thallikar first became aware of a low, monotone hum, like a blender whirring somewhere in the distance. It was irritating, but he wrote it off. Someone’s pool pump, probably. On another walk a few days later, he heard it again. A carpet-cleaning machine? he wondered. A few nights later, there it was again. It sounded a bit like warped music from some far-off party, but there was no thump or rhythm to the sound. Just one single, persistent note: EHHNNNNNNNN. Evening after evening, he realized, the sound was there—every night, on every street. The whine became a constant, annoying soundtrack to his walks.

Continue reading… “Why Everything Is Getting Louder”

Major cities are introducing noise radars that automatically issue fines to loud vehicles to combat noise pollution

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The measuring devices will be able to precisely measure and locate sounds from moving vehicles, as well as register their licence plates.

Noise pollution is one of the leading health problems in cities after environmental pollution.

In France, a noise radar has been installed to fine the noisiest vehicles, according to Reuters.

The radar isn’t actually the first of its kind in Europe; earlier this year, Switzerland also began installing the first of its own noise radars.

Continue reading… “Major cities are introducing noise radars that automatically issue fines to loud vehicles to combat noise pollution”

Noise pollution causing songbirds to cheat on each other

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Confusion arises in the city for songbirds.

Noise pollution from humans is guilty of many things — causing whales to lose their way, killing giant squid, leading baby fish away from good habitat, and generally stressing out animals. But while we know noise pollution in the oceans is causing whales to yell their songs, scientists have only just discovered that it is also causing birds to change their tune — and it seems to lead to a problem with fidelity and mate selection.

Researchers have discovered that noise from roads and highways has caused some birds, including the Great Tit to change their songs to a higher pitch so that they can be heard over the din. However, the change makes them less attractive to mates…

Continue reading… “Noise pollution causing songbirds to cheat on each other”

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