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The God of Silence speaks up

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  • The God of Silence speaks up

    This article popped up on my Firefox homepage, most of which I pay no attention, but this one did catch my attention as I wanted to know more. It is about noise pollution which is no doubt more insidious than any other pollution since most people would go huh? Yet is there a point in your life where you were actually in a place and heard no man made sound for a period of time? Reading the article made me think about quiet which is something I value pretty much.

    I can think of one incident that is clearly etched into my mind from 1971. There are several events between 1962-1972 that are clear now as they were back then. Some good and some bad. The quite event was one of the good ones. I was up in the mountains east of San Diego, called Mt. Laguna, and it had just snowed heavily. The main road was closed to all traffic except those who lived up there. A friend's parents had a cabin up there so three of us drove up. We never went to the cabin but just stopped on the road to enjoy the snow. I walked up the hillside and found a log to sit on after brushing off the snow. Light snow was still falling and the other two were out of sight. or 30 minutes I sat there listening to the wind blow through the pine trees as the snow fell. No other sounds be it people, planes, cars, or animals. It was just me alone in the world and it was a very serene experience till they yelled, Mike, where are you. Have never experienced such total silence of man made noise since then. Close but not quite.

    The only others times I was able to avoid man made noise wasn't on land but diving. At 100 feet down off a Philippine Island along a cliff face before a deep drop off to the abyss. Obviously all you hear is your breathing and nothing else in the dark other than what your flashlight illuminates. That is very surreal. Long article so I'll post the link.

    https://www.afar.com/magazine/gordon...=pocket-newtab

  • #2
    There have been several times while in the country I have experienced almost total silence. The Alps, in the backwoods of West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania the light hiss of falling snow deep in the woods is a thing of beauty. Deep in Mojave Desert or Sahara Desert in total silence there is almost a low siren sound which is the wind whipping around. Both are extremely peaceful.
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
    Mark Twain

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    • #3
      “Just traveling to see the world is not enough,” says Hempton. “But to travel to become changed by the world? That’s everything we need.”
      Love that.

      Comprehensive article.

      If you are looking for a deeper dive of an obsessed expert consider https://www.amazon.com/Great-Animal-.../dp/031608686X

      Whats interesting is that its a very useful way of measuring environment change at low cost with high accuracy, by using the soundscape as an indicator of species composition. Very much data and ai driven. Its a major shame we werent recording in more places and for longer and we could now apply current technolgies to get a better sense of our impact over time.

      Disturbance ecology is a field in its own right. There is little doubt that the impacts are real and insidious for humans and other species. Evidence is now building that birds don't just alter their songs near roads but that they are evolving with genetic changes in response to noise pollution, especially if there bird sond is at similar frequencies to the vehicles. Species that are more flexible will likely fare better, less flexible species less so.

      I am hopefull we can make significant progess in the coming years. Electric vehicles can significantly reduce impacts as many remote places have roads cutting through them . Even locations that are road free often have air routes overhead. We may be only 5 years out from having battery energy densities that allows electric continental flights which would reduce remote noise pollution significantly from this source. Obviously it would take 10 years + for this to scale.

      One concern is if we get hooked on "flying" cars/drones. Even if electric, they would be considerably louder than cars on the ground due to air friction. Alternatively if we become hooked on subterranean tunnels, possible due to fumeless electric vehicles we could suck all the noise underground, soundproofed, welcome too a garden of eden silent like earth. There is considerable upside in the next 30 years to dramatically improve terrestial noise pollution while still growing human activity.

      I am not as clear on ocean noise pollution moving forward. Sound travels very very far under water and is therefore a major issue for large mammaliam species like whales so we need to address our practies here also.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
        There have been several times while in the country I have experienced almost total silence. The Alps, in the backwoods of West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania the light hiss of falling snow deep in the woods is a thing of beauty. Deep in Mojave Desert or Sahara Desert in total silence there is almost a low siren sound which is the wind whipping around. Both are extremely peaceful.
        Interesting you mention the Mohave given it's location slightly north but pretty much between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. You also have much in the way of military in the region especially for the Air Force.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post

          Interesting you mention the Mohave given it's location slightly north but pretty much between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. You also have much in the way of military in the region especially for the Air Force.
          Right smack in the middle is this big honckin' place called FT Irwin.....the Army's National Training Center. Been there about 30 times! When it is loud it is VERY loud. But there are parts where it can be amazingly silent.
          “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
          Mark Twain

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post

            Right smack in the middle is this big honckin' place called FT Irwin.....the Army's National Training Center.
            The God of Silence is a unique look at a form of pollution not often thought of. At the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Camp Wilson, part of 29 Palms, you can get that same VERY loud experience . As well as those amazingly quiet moments. Off to Camp Ripley in Minnesota during cold weather training, with the deep snow on the ground muffling all sounds........... the quiet is almost eerie at times. These experiences were in the 80's. Now, with any TOC Battalion and above with the constant generator whine powering the environmental and electronic needs of the connected battlefield that unremitting drone is unavoidable. I suppose many on this board now carry our own form of noise pollution in the guise of tinnitus, so the noise doesn't stop even in the most quite of places.
            Last edited by looking4NSFS; 20 Sep 20,, 14:43.

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            • #7
              Lo and behold quite a long story in this months Smithsonian called "The Last Quiet Places."

              Well one place I can definitely access would be Iceland where 80% of the country is uninhabited. Certainly easier than Antarctica, or the Valley of Silence Mount Everest. Also the Salar de Uyuni salt flat in Bolivia at 12,000 feet. Unfortunately it seems major deposits of lithium reserves are under the flats which could mean possible destruction in the quest for battery production. You hear that Musk.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post
                Well one place I can definitely access would be Iceland where 80% of the country is uninhabited.
                Anyone who hasn't been to Iceland......... go! Go NOW!! A most unique experience both geographically (where you can literally touch North America and Europe at the same time) educationally, topped off with a wonderful inventive people.

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