links for 2009-08-24

  • It begins soon after an African-American ex-convict named Black (Freeman Coffey) has stopped a Caucasian professor, White (Austin Pendleton), from throwing himself in front of a subway train. Black takes White back to his apartment, where he starts singing the praises of the Bible. White, an atheist, says the afterlife is just a pack of lies, and life is a futile joke. The only thing to do about it, he argues, is to commit suicide.

links for 2009-08-23

  • They like to do it froggy style, but urban noise could be ruining the sex lives of Melbourne's frogs.

    Research by Melbourne University expert Dr Kirsten Parris has found the mating call of frogs, a crucial element in the search for a sexual partner, are being drowned out by the everyday noise of the city.

    Speaking at a conference in Queensland this morning, Dr Parris said mating calls were travelling far shorter distances than in the past, up to several hundred metres less in extreme cases.

    "The male frogs call to attract females for mating and if the females can't hear them then perhaps their chances of breeding are lowered," she told The Age.

    With the low rumble of traffic and appliances like air conditioners drowning out their calls, Dr Parris said one type of frog - the southern brown tree frog - appeared to be adapting with higher-pitched, squeakier calls.

    After monitoring 50 sites around Melbourne, Dr Parris said Kew Billabong in the inner-eastern suburbs might be the worst

links for 2009-08-13

links for 2009-08-11

  • But while the notorious reverb that is inherent in those cavernous, underground commuter spaces muddles official communications, it conversely provides us with often inspiring performance space acoustics (if one can otherwise ignore all the other distractions that define such an environment, i.e. platform shaking, 80-decibel trains thundering by us).

links for 2009-08-08

links for 2009-08-07

  • Whether we hail noise as a boon, a perquisite of freedom, as did Molly and her neighbors, or rue it as a problem, a defect of modern America, as did Rice and her confreres, we would do well to remember that noise is as much a social construct as it is a physical phenomenon. “The Goldbergs” idealized and romanticized it; the real-life Rice sought to diminish and control it. That the show endured for as long as it did suggests that we are most likely to embrace the past when it is sugarcoated. While we are not about to yoo-hoo out of our windows anytime soon, it’s nice to think that we once could.
  • Much has been made of late of the yoo-hooing Molly Goldberg, the eponymous subject of Aviva Kempner’s warmhearted documentary about Gertrude Berg, the hugely successful actress and producer of the interwar years who created the long-running fictional character on radio and television. Framed by an open window and a cheery flower pot, Molly announces her presence to the world; she’s hard to miss.
    Related Articles

    * A Filmmaker’s Intimate Portrait of ‘Molly Goldberg’
    * Mrs. Goldberg: 'The Oprah of Her Day.'
    * Filmmaker Cries, ‘Yoo-hoo!’
    * Mad About Molly

    Chastened or charmed, either way we are held captive to a particular vision of the immigrant experience that owes more to sentiment than to history. “The Goldbergs” glosses the not-too-distant past, offering a steadying hand in place of instability. Consider the aural scape, the ambient noise that characterized the urban places that Molly and her friends called home. Noise was inescapable; it was everywhere, from the cr

    (tags: noise)
  • My, wouldnt it be fun to go and gawk at all those tall buildings and see the sights that weve all heard about. Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge await.

    And so you find a way to make the dream a reality. And for a week or so, youre in heaven.

    Then it slowly dawns on you. How do these people get by in a place where you cant afford a car and wouldnt want to try to negotiate the crazy streets anyway? How do they live with the constant noise? And dont they get tired of all the walking and relying on a dingy subway system to get around?

    (tags: subway noise)

links for 2009-08-06

  • We used a Flip HD camera to do the subway shots. The Flip is really small and inconspicuous–It almost looks like a cell phone. A lady cop even got on the train at one point during filming, but she had no idea what we were doing. We rode the G train after rush hour, so the crowd wouldn't be too thick. We didn't get much attention from the crowd–in typical NYC fashion, everyone was so concerned about getting to their next destination, that they didn't pay any attention to us. That doesn't mean we didn't feel awkward at times, though. Lipsynching on the subway is definitely a surreal experience.
  • Heaphone type: looking for closed cans. Preferably something that completley covers my ears but is not huge like some of the high end cans. Comfort is also a big factor in my decision.
    Useage: At work, on the commute to and from work on the subway. I will be listening via a non amped ipod or iphone or laptop. Not really interested in going down the amp route.
    Music: Mainly listen to hip-hop so bass is important, also some rock and drum and bass.
    Price: Max about £130 ($200US)
  • Anyway, on our way back to my apartment to crash, we were in the subway station when we realized that only three of us had metrocards, so we brainstormed a quick, and cheap way to deal with this situation - two people would go through the turnstile at once. Brilliant! However, little did we know that two police officers with nothing better to do, were hiding, and listening, on the other side. As soon as my two friends crossed to the other side, Dick and Prick Policeman were waiting for them with tickets, and none of my sweet-talk or fake threats would change their minds. After I finished my drunken, incoherent verbal beating, my friends dragged me off and we went on our way.
  • NEW YORK — The U.S. government needs to do more to educate and engage the public, so that everyday Americans can be part of a multi-layered strategy to prevent terrorism, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said.

    “For too long, we’ve treated the public as a liability to be protected rather than asset in our nation’s collective security,” Napolitano said Wednesday during a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. “This approach, unfortunately, has allowed confusion, anxiety and fear to linger.”

  • Here’s another example. Before I get on the N-R-W at 59th St. every morning, I have to ride the 6 train from my apartment at 96th Street, and of course back again every afternoon. Three times now in less than three months I have seen the beep-boxing, smile encouraging, Da-doo-run-running duo of old homeless men singing, dancing and asking for money on the 6 train. They must target a certain demographic with their oldies tunes, but I always find them entertaining. Of course I realize they go out of their way to be heard and recognized (unlike my button girl), but still what are the chances that I end up on the same train and the same car as this duo? I’m not going to find out the math, but I’d say slim.

links for 2009-08-05

  • Dr. Mariana Alves Pereira from the University of Lusofona located in Lisbon, Portugal sent a strong message to over 75 transportation union leaders that Vibration Acoustical Disease VAD is a problem that requires their immediate attention. She presented study results from over 20 years of research that impressed Seminar participants. This is a relatively new area of research.
  • The city is a noisy place, and sometimes I want a break from the honking taxis, shrieking trains, roaring buses, rattling jackhammers, screaming kids, and my downstairs neighbor who is perpetually composing his magnum opus.

    Putting in earphones and listening to a soundtrack of my own choosing is a way to cope. But in the din of a city like New York, standard ear buds—the type that come with an iPod or MP3 player—just don't do the trick. External noise leaks in, and your music leaks out.

  • An open letter to people who wear those Bluetooth headsets that blink:

    In case you haven’t noticed, your eyes are actually located in front of your ears.


    So that blue light that blinks incessantly can’t actually be seen by you. The rest of us, however, do see it. And it annoys us. Stop.

    “But how else will I impress the ladies?” you ask. I suggest purchasing some of those rims that keep on spinning after you stop.

  • "Beijing Times" reported that voice recorders will be installed in Beijing subway from August 1, 2009. Video cameras installed earlier.
    The government recently approved "Urban railway safety technical requirements" as a "compulsory local standard".
    According to these standards, the subway system must install video and audio recorder. In case of unexpected incidents, the police can access the recoded video while listening the audio playback. It is said this will help to get the scene of "original scene."
    Beijing Times reporter learned from the Beijing subway operating company that the current subway lines are equipped with electronic eyes (video). The subway is waiting for the installation of audio collecting devices.
    In addition to the provisions of the standard recording functions of the electronic eye, but also the provisions of its storage capabilities. Access images of trains, passenger carriages manual alarm, audio and chemical alarm monitoring of the local storage of information

links for 2009-08-03

  • The doors opened and the typical mass scrambled into the car, the late ones rushing as though they could make the subway system go faster simply by shoving their way in and being the first to grab the germ (but posh germ)-ridden safety pole. In the bustle of movement, a man who I can only describe as a cross between Danny DeVito and Jaba the Hut hopped (really hopped) on board. But it wasn't only him - he toted an amp and a 1,000,000 year old saxophone. A small cup made out of duct tape was fastened to the amp, which rode comfortably on a dolly. This man, I realized, was about to troub (what I've come to call it) on the subway.
  • A few weeks ago, I was walking between subway lines when I passed a busker- a common sight on the TTC. As I did, though, I noticed that all the people who were walking immediately by him had headphones plugged firmly into their ears. After noticing that, I scanned my eyes over the area- probably 30% of people walking through the subway were listening to some kind of music device- maybe 60% if you only consider people that were traveling alone. That 60% included me, by the way.
  • There is no reasonable way to reduce the noise without disrupting railroad operations.

    They could at least reduce the noise level during middays by using shore power to provide heating and circulation pump power with the prime mover turned off.

links for 2009-08-02