12 September 2006

Can You Hear Me...NOW??

Although this would appear like a post about cellular phones and the problems they cause (a good idea for another day), this rant will be primarily about...NOISE! Let's face it...we're one LOUD ASS country....wasn't always like that though. Time was when QUIET actually was a dominant feature about America, and NO, I'm not talking about some Jurassic period in Pangea's past. It's only been within the past 100 or so years that America has gotten WAY too loud for our own good.

We could blame it on the industrial revolution...and we'd only be PARTIALLY correct. Sure, the din of thriving industry in this nation was exponential in it's growth, but that's not the larger part of this equation. We could say that the advent of Rock and Roll is to blame. Again, we'd only be partially correct. Maybe the Beatles DID bring a louder type of music to our shores, but this is also only a variable in the equation.

The major focus of this problem has been our ACCEPTANCE (or tolerance, if you prefer) of louder and louder noise in our lives. basically, people just "rolled over and played dead" on this one. From all the Harley owners with their loud pipes, to the motorheads and their "performance" exhausts and engines...from the "fly-guys" carrying boom-BOXES in the 70s to the boom-CAR driving audio-terrorists TODAY, it's all the same. We just shake our collective heads at these morons, and wait for "someone else" to do something about the problem.

We have construction all OVER the place anymore, and not much is done to quiet that noise. At least they are providing ear protection for the WORKERS now (thanks to OSHA)...but what about US...the people whose TAXES are fronting all these infrastructural repair gigs? Police and firemen suffer from hearing loss thanks to the sirens they NEED to have on their vehicles. Technology is being created to better direct the sound AWAY from the vehicle and onto the highway (where it NEEDS to be).

We USED to have FAA regulations that banned low-flying airliners from residential areas due to the noise (and subsequent vibration) from the engines. For the most part, developers have worked that into their plans, but since the federal government disbanded the office of the EPA that pertained to NOISE back in the late 1970s, we're back to square one as far as having to put UP with these planes. You're on "your own" in this regard.

Case in point...FWIA (our main airport HERE for those reading from out of state) used to have a "localizer"...a device which guaranteed the CORRECT altitude for compliance to FAA height requirements for takeoffs and landings (Ft. Wayne is 830 ft above sea level...approx). It hasn't been functional for about FIVE years now (they apparently can't get parts to FIX it anymore), so I suppose the pilots are "dead reckoning" their way in AND out of FWIA. The former head of the FWIA board wrote me and told me this...I met with him and the board and was ASSURED the planes would meet the height of 1100 feet (that's adjusting for that 800 ft. sea level thing - at FOUR miles out). That provided a nice "buffer" zone. Well, The head of the board moved to KY, and the planes got LOWER...a LOT lower. We're talking about 400-500 feet now, instead of the 1100 that USED to be maintained. I know some of these guys light up my damn PATIO with their landing lights at night, and I'm OVER the aforementioned FOUR MILES from the outer marker of runway 2-3. At THAT altitude, if ANY "situation" were to occur...there ain't a helluva lotta room to do ANYTHING, but wind up in MY house or backyard...(not MY first choice)! After years of trying to do something on the local AND federal level...NOT ONE DAMN THING has come of it. Sure..the system works...just not for US.

Regarding BOOMCARS....same deal here. After years of supplying vehicle licenses, descriptions and the like....hardly ANYTHING is being done. MAYBE one or two cars don't show up anymore (one boomcar driver was shot dead on S. Anthony a few month ago....yaaaaayyyy)! But for the most part, we STILL have over 400 of these morons a MONTH driving around with impunity. The FWPD does nothing PROACTIVE to halt this. Yet they're SWORN to uphold the law...anyone see a contradictory dilemma here?

Cars with NO mufflers...again...same deal...NOTHING gets done. Considering that in the winter, a defective muffler can lead to fumes IN the car and the driver passing out, causing a potential accident, you'd THINK someone would get the clue by now...nope! It's called YEARLY VEHICLE INSPECTIONS (like they USED to have)...bring them BACK! Performance mufflers....who the hell NEEDS them in a damn CITY? If you lived in Nevada...with miles and miles of...miles and miles, sure it'd be fine to unwind it out THERE. But not here! Save it for Baer Field Speedway, you a$$holes!

Motorcycles, motor scooters and pocket bikes...like the ordinance states...if you can hear it THIRTY FEET AWAY....you're in violation....so to the boys & girls in blue...listen up...TICKET THOSE IN VIOLATION....try doing someting RIGHT here, OK?

Now..since we've shown the REASONS for the noise...what about the RESULTS of all this noise? I'm glad you asked....because there is a LOT of information about the BAD effects of exposure to LOUD noise. How does migraines, heart palpatations, high blood pressure, stress, hearing loss (duh), and road rage grab you for starters? How about Vibro-Acoustic Disorder? If anyone thinks these aren't bad for you, better tell the AMA (and a lot of other medical people), 'cause they're gettin' it wrong, apparently.

Then we have documented evidence about studies finding that children suffer from LEARNING disabilities, and are more prone to POOR GRADES when exposed to loud noise or music. No child left behind? Better turn DOWN the stereo then, JaQuan...yer killin' the kids!!! We also have the ability to use sound as a WEAPON. Remember the time in Panama when we surrounded Noriega's HQ...and blasted LOUD R&R music day and night at him, until he gave up? Think we can't use sound as a weapon? Just google the term LRAD...it's already being used, with very successful results (Middle East). Somehow, people just don't like being assaulted with ANY noise over 130 Db (decibel). Wonder why? The best part about LRAD...you can DIRECT the sound..cool, huh?

Well, let's see WHY people find loud noise irritating...at 185 Db, the human body suffers permanent damage. At 200 Db...you're DEAD, period. Prolonged exposure to 140+ Db will result in eventual associated problems. Most jet aircraft on a runway exhibit noise at about 130Db (gee...THAT'S why the flight line personnel ALL wear sound mufflers on their ears). Some boomcars on our streets are capable of the SAME level of noise (although some argue that it IS "music"...I say prove it). Hell, even some LAWN equipment needs SOME kind of noise reduction. I know I use an electric mower, and I still have ear plugs for protection. When I was welding we ALL wore hearing protection, and that noise, although not loud, was a REAL high frequency. Rock concerts..all the STARS on stage wear protection...what about the AUDIENCE? I wore ear plugs to a Van Halen concert ages ago...loved it..and not ONE ring in the ears afterward ( I learned from seeing Ted Nugent LIVE about ringing ears...LOL).

In many ways, it is getting EASIER to turn a deaf ear to all this (no pun intended), but with our acclimation and shrugging acceptance of this, we condemn future generations to problems we're still learning about every year. Fortunately, there are organizations that are leading a fight against noise such as this, whatever the cause might be. And their numbers are growing. That's the GOOD news. The BAD news is that most agencies that CAN enforce the noise ordinances, rarely do, unless even stricter laws are enacted. If this problem were made more enticing with stiffer fines confiscations of stereos, better mufflers or compliance to HAVE those mufflers in place and whatever else can be thought up to protect the quiet repose of the general citizenry, the rewards would be astounding.

You're never going to rid any place of ALL noise, that's a given these days, but fair being fair...there is a LOT of cacophony that is UNwarranted, UNwelcome, and UNecessary. THAT is what you deserve...and END to THAT noise. We're still going to need things built, fixed, torn down, or whatever, but there should be a limit in place for even that type of noise...like there USED to be.

Think about it..the next time that moron in the metallic pea-green 1978 Oldsmobile pulls up alongside, thumping YOUR guts and fillings loose. Consider these facts when that idiot with NO muffler cruises his POS Toyota past your house at 3AM, waking you from a sound sleep.

Peace and Quiet...yeah, it's STILL possible, but like anything..you have to WORK for it, and sometimes...even FIGHT for it.


Jana said...

While I'm sorry that you and D have to put up with all this bullshit about sound, this makes me glad that David and I live on a military post.

There is a "quiet hours" rule. After a certain time (I believe it's 8:00 pm) loud noises are a BIG no-no. If you violate this rule, the MPs (military police) come to your residence and chew/curse you out, even possibly take the soldier down to the MP HQ, where they have to notify the 1st Sgt (no matter what the time may be) of what's going on.

THEN, the 1st Sgt has to come down there to get you out. This results in even MORE chewing/cursing you out, while you have to stand at attention and take it, no questions asked.

Wouldn't it be lovely if the local police could (or WOULD) do that?

B.G. (Semper Paratus) said...

The dipshits around HERE could use some of that military disciplining...no doubt about it!

It USED to be called:

R E S P E C T !!!

Wonder what they call it NOW???

Jana said...

Well, I don't know what THEY call it, but I have a word for it:


Jessica Rabbit said...

Hmmmmm.....the kids and the bass, it hurts my ears, literally, sitting at a stoplight, their bass is excruciating for me. I work in radio, and our owner used to say that the bass and treble were adjusted on our station to be more soothing to the females, women's ears are more sensitive to it and this is a proven fact. I realize I am kinda off the mark a bit here, but in a way, its a valid point.

B.G. (Semper Paratus) said...


No...you're right on point with your views about noise.
And being in radio...well, you are more acquainted with volume, decibel levels, etc. so you know the score/

If there is a light at the end of this very loud tunnel, it might be the fact that all these idiots will be deaf a LOT sooner than they realize.

The down side to that...an entire generation of deaf folks running the nation....let's hope it NEVER comes to THAT, eh?