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Europe Begins Noise Mapping Effort

Hemos posted more than 10 years ago | from the mapping-of-a-different-ssort dept.

Science 381

Makarand writes "The European continent has begun its fight against noise pollution by initiating a program to map noise levels for cities in the European Union with more than 250,000 people. As placing microphones on every building in London or Paris to measure noise was not practical, data on the amount of traffic carried by roads and the noise levels was fed into computers to generate a model of noise levels across the city. The model's accuracy was verified by taking readings with microphones at 100 points in the city and was found to be accurate on average to within 1 decibel. The noise maps will allow planning to insulate the public from noise by directing traffic away from residential areas and making funds available to sound-proof thin walled homes."

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381 comments

Phase 1: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659046)

Tell the Francophones to SHUT THE F'UP!

Rich country? (5, Insightful)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659052)

Sometimes I wish the U.S. government wasn't spending so much trying to build up the military and instead redirect those funds to building up the national infrastructure.

It especially pangs me when I read about things like this where the British government is spending lots of excess government funds on sound-proofing people's homes.

Re:Rich country? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659078)

The US has a lower population density than Europe. So noise problems are a bigger issue.

Re:Rich country? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659085)

Put solar cells on your roof, buy a hybrid car, put in insulation that keeps sound out and heat (or cold) in. You'll get a little love from Uncle Sam too. Oh. You wanted a fucking hand-out? Well, you're not cutting in front of me, I'll tell you that much!

Already spending a lot.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659088)

"Sometimes I wish the U.S. government wasn't spending so much trying to build up the military and instead redirect those funds to building up the national infrastructure"

The US government is already spending billions and billions on infrastructure. The problem is that so much of the money is wasted, such as on overpaid union "workers" through scams such as the Davis-Bacon Act, designed just to waste a lot more money on government projects.

Re:Already spending a lot.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659127)

Overpaid???!! How is getting paid $25/hr for directing traffic with a "SLOW/STOP" sign overpaid? :)

Re:Already spending a lot.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659136)

I can hire a dozen Indian telecommuters to do the job for $25/hr!

Let us outsource it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659150)

Why don't we outsource it, so instead of a dozen, we can have 36 Indian telecommuters holding SLOW/STOP signs in Bombay?

Re:Let us outsource it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659206)

And they'd be laughing all the way to the bank! It's a win-win situation!

Well aside from the guy who's going to be homeless now that we've taken his job away, but all the money we're saving, we can buy bullets! One for each of his family members, and still have shitloads left for Iraq!

Re:Let us outsource it. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659211)

Fuck it. Fly them over. Let them get run over by drunk drivers at night. It's not like we'd run out. And if we did, then we could out source it to the Chinese. Like when we built our railroad network. And that worked out alright. (Unless you happened to be a chinese railway worker.)

Re:Rich country? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659100)

Ummm... Did you even think before you posted, or do you just like to bring politics into every possible discussion? Europe has a much higher population density, therefore you can expect noise problems to be worse. I'm from Canada, but I don't recall hearing people from the US ranting and raving about the "noise pollution". It's barely been touched on by the media.

Re:Rich country? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659109)

The road is noisy? Ok, in the next highway spending bill we'll see what we can do about putting in some barriers. Presto.

Re:Rich country? (4, Insightful)

RevMike (632002) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659125)

Sometimes I wish the U.S. government wasn't spending so much trying to build up the military and instead redirect those funds to building up the national infrastructure.

It especially pangs me when I read about things like this where the British government is spending lots of excess government funds on sound-proofing people's homes.

Please explain this to me. Someone purchases a house with walls that aren't very sound proof. They presumably knew this at the time of purchase, it would be ridiculous to think otherwise. Someone else spends the time to investigate their choices, and eventually spends more money on a house with more sound proof walls. Why should the person who spent extra to buy a house with soundproof walls now have to pay additional taxes to soundproof someone else's home - someone else who didn't care enough about it to shop for that feature in the first place?

If you bought a four bedroom home, and your neighbor only bought a two bedroom home, would you expect that the tax man would come and empty your bank account so that you neighbor could get an addition built?

All this does is encourage people to do the cheapest thing possible, then use some ill concieved government program to clean up the mess afterwards.

Please note: I'm not talking about a situation where the government built an airport or some such thing near a previously quiet neighborhood. I'm talking about cases where the home-owner knew (or should have known) the conditions prior to purchase.

Re:Rich country? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659160)

Excuse me, but this is Slashdot. Don't post things like this and expect to get meaningful, well-thought responses.

Re:Rich country? (5, Insightful)

ThogScully (589935) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659193)

I know this is Slashdot, but don't you ever go outside? Not much you can do to sound proof your yard, is there. I assume you never open your windows either? Personally, I do both and if I were in England, I would hope the government would be spending a little effort to make living areas a little more liveable.

Now, I'm from the US, so I can't say if this is useful or not to the areas being investigated because I've never been there and don't know how loud it is. Realistically, there's the potential that this is more of a made up problem and people shouldn't be so concerned as the noise levels don't warrant it. However, just from this article, I'd say that's not an assumption I can jump to.

You seem to have no trouble jumping to it though.
-N

Re:Rich country? (3, Informative)

stry_cat (558859) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659273)

I know this is Slashdot, but don't you ever go outside? Not much you can do to sound proof your yard, is there. I assume you never open your windows either? Personally, I do both and if I were in England, I would hope the government would be spending a little effort to make living areas a little more liveable.
Most neighborhoods I've seen build near roads have large sound barriers that really cut down on the noise. In many cases where new roads are made or old ones enlarged, sound barriers are included in the construction. Of course this doesn't actually put the cost of the things on the people who benefit from them. The people who benefit from these things should be the ones paying for them not the public at large. A better solution would be to have the homeowners association pay for the sound barriers.

Re:Rich country? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659298)

Of course this doesn't actually put the cost of the things on the people who benefit from them.
No, of course you don't charge homeowners extra money in order to run a motorway through their back garden. Are you insane? Even putting up a sound barrier probably won't prevent the value of the nearby property from falling, so actually you should be charging tolls on all new or enlarged roads and paying a proportion of those tolls to people who live nearby.

Re:Rich country? (2, Insightful)

RevMike (632002) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659437)

I know this is Slashdot, but don't you ever go outside? Not much you can do to sound proof your yard, is there. I assume you never open your windows either? Personally, I do both and if I were in England, I would hope the government would be spending a little effort to make living areas a little more liveable.

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but the original comment was discussing the soundproofing of walls in homes. No matter how much money the government gives people to sound insulate their walls, it isn't going to help their yard. (Unless, of course, the major source of sound pollution is in their home. Turn the Stereo down!)

There are reasonable steps that governments can take to reduce outdoor noise pollution at its source. For many years now various agencies have been mandating the use of quieter jet engines. Highways are frequently built with noise barriers. These steps reduce all noise pollution, and allow people to enjoy their gardens as well as their homes.

Re:Rich country? (5, Interesting)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659213)

Please explain this to me. Someone purchases a house with walls that aren't very sound proof. They presumably knew this at the time of purchase, it would be ridiculous to think otherwise. Someone else spends the time to investigate their choices, and eventually spends more money on a house with more sound proof walls. Why should the person who spent extra to buy a house with soundproof walls now have to pay additional taxes to soundproof someone else's home - someone else who didn't care enough about it to shop for that feature in the first place?

It's obvious if you live in Europe, where a lot of houses and buildings are old, and do not provide adequate sound-proofing.

If you add to this situation the fact that a lot of streets in large European cities are small and not made for cars (meaning medieval streets, not US-Grid-Style streets/boulevard), you have a recipe for a lot of noise and pollution, which many European cities are/were not designed to take into account.

Also, if you are lucky enough to find a cheap place to live in one of those cities (London and Paris -- for instance -- are among the most expensive places on Earth), noise control is going to be the least of your worries -- rent is a killer in those cities. And forget about space, since having more than one bedroom is going to deplete your bank account for the next 10 years or so.

Finally, I suspect most european governments are going to finance this simply by giving tax-breaks to people who will overhaul the sound-proofing of their flats and houses, and not tax other home owners.

Re:Rich country? (4, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659227)

those houses were probably built decades ago. if they were built now they would have adequate soundproofing from day 1. it's more of a problem in old, big, central area buildings. these buildings have a lot of other problems as well though, but it's not the way you do things in certain countries that you would just demolish them and build them again properly(and sometimes it's wanted to keep the old buildings as heritage in the city picture). these buildings that are in the centres of the cities are sometimes 50 or more years old, and back then soundproofing wasn't viewed as necessity(there weren't that much noise anyways).

it's in goverments(the peoples!) intrest to protect the people from stress that comes from extra noise.. it costs money you know when people are unable to work for some reason or another. you could argue that it's in their(peoples) intrest to spend the money in nukes that are then stored in silos for 50 years and then thrown away as well, but i might not agree(the nukes don't up the productivity or enhance the living quality).

Re:Rich country? (2, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659423)

50 years old is fairly new for a lot of buildings in European cities. The flat I live in is in a building that's only about 120 years old. My own house up north is about 400 years old.

Re:Rich country? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659232)

Someone purchases a house with walls that aren't very sound proof. They presumably knew this at the time of purchase, it would be ridiculous to think otherwise.

Actually there are a lot of houses built when traffic was minimal (I talking two or three cars an hour minimal here) which only sixty years later find themselves plonked only a couple of yards away from some of the busiest roads in and out of Central London. A lot of people bought these houses back when noise was not an issue, but have found that over the years the roads have been expanded and the traffic levels increaed until it has been a major problem. Councils have never allocated funds to improve the noise levels, either.

Before anyone gets all excited and tries to argue that these people should move, let me just say:

  • Why the hell should they? They were there first.
  • These are almost without exception older couples who have lived in the same house for sixty years. These houses are very much their homes.
  • The resall value of their houses are pitiful (They're right on a major road!) and wouldn't provide them with even slightly enough money to purchase a similiar property anywhere else.

Re:Rich country? (4, Funny)

chrispl (189217) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659293)

Maybe if you consider that spending money improving problems in residential areas (like doing stuff about traffic noise) that raises the value of the area and make it a more desirable place to live might have some beneficial, if not immediate effects for everyone.

At least that's what Sim City taught me.

Re:Rich country? (5, Insightful)

aallan (68633) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659317)

Please explain this to me. Someone purchases a house with walls that aren't very sound proof. They presumably knew this at the time of purchase, it would be ridiculous to think otherwise. Someone else spends the time to investigate their choices, and eventually spends more money on a house with more sound proof walls. Why should the person who spent extra to buy a house with soundproof walls now have to pay additional taxes to soundproof someone else's home - someone else who didn't care enough about it to shop for that feature in the first place?

Welcome to the difference between a pure capitalist economy, and a one where some remenants of socialism still remain. The person buying the sub-standard house might not be able to afford a better one? Why shouldn't our tax money be used to improve their standard of living?

All this does is encourage people to do the cheapest thing possible, then use some ill concieved government program to clean up the mess afterwards.

No, it doesn't. The "ill concieved government program" is helping improve the country's housing stock. Eventually all houses will be well sound proofed and you've improved everyone's standard of living. What's wrong with that?

The problem with far right and the far left is that there are things wrong with both capitalism and socialism. Ayn Rand is just as bad a Karl Marx.

Al.

Socialism makes it worse. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659390)

"one where some remenants of socialism still remain. Why shouldn't our tax money be used to improve their standard of living?""

Because socialism is all about improving the standard of living for government elites.

"The "ill concieved government program" is helping improve the country's housing stock. Eventually all houses will be well sound proofed and you've improved everyone's standard of living. What's wrong with that?"

What is wrong with it is that the government meddling ends up pricing the houses higher and higher. You end up with reduced housing stock, and perhaps homelessness.

"Ayn Rand is just as bad a Karl Marx."

Rand is no where near as bad as Marx. Rand inspires people to be merely selfish. Marx inspires them to go out and kill tens of millions of people.

"person buying the sub-standard house might not be able to afford a better one? "

If there was lower taxation and less needless regulation, the person would be better able to afford a better house.

Re:Socialism makes it worse. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659411)

Let me guess, you've never lived anywhere but the United States of America, you've likly never visited any other country, you've never taken a single PolSci course, you've never taken an Econ course, you've never read any actual factual books on any of the subjects you're talking about, you've basically no idea of what the poster whom you are responding too actually said.

Marx inspires them to go out and kill tens of millions of people.

Wow. We can certainly see that you've never taken the trouble to read Marx, at least. Thanks for making it so obvious, or someone might have thought you were actually serious.

Marx inspired the killing of tens of millions. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659448)

"Wow. We can certainly see that you've never taken the trouble to read Marx, at least"

I've read him. He does a poor job of describing the current situation in the world, and a very poor job of predicting and generalizing. However, it is a fact that he has inspired most of the worst genocidal monsters of the 20th century.

Marx's views have so little to do with the real world that it is not surprising that application of them to the real world has disastrous results.

"Marx inspires them to go out and kill tens of millions of people. "...is a fact. Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, and even Milosevic had Marx as their main inspiration.

Rand, at worst, inspires someone to sit at home and hoard.

Woe. We certainly can see that you have limited your study of Marxism to reading only his words, and have disdained any study of its practice.

Re:Rich country? (5, Informative)

slashusrslashbin (641072) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659340)

Those worst affected houses in London are in general not just decades old, they are well on their way to being centuries old!

Not only do they have no sound insulation, but they may also have little thermal insulation, and ill-fitting single-glazed windows and doors.

For some time it's been possible to get grants to thermally insulate a house, largely since it is only really economic to do so in the long term (the energy savings also contribute to cutting CO2 emmissions), and poorer people living in the poorer housing can't afford it, and are usually renting anyway.

It's great to hear that the government may be recognizing noise pollution as something which significantly affects people's health in the same way that it recognizes air pollution as doing so.

Noise pollution from traffic causes sleep-deprevation, stress and ultimately illness, and most of the people living in the worst affected housing have little choice in where they live; it's not a choice of moving to somewhere nice and quiet, because that's where all the rich people have moved to.

Caveat Emptor == noop() (1)

4of12 (97621) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659453)


Someone purchases a house ["PIG"] with walls that aren't very sound proof ["POKE"]. They presumably knew this at the time of purchase, it would be ridiculous to think otherwise.

Not it's not ridiculous to assume otherwise.

In case you haven't noticed, there are a lot of buyers out there that

  • do not thoroughly investigate their purchases,
  • are easily swayed by the superficial.
not to mention sellers that are financially motivated to
  • not disclose or to minimize hidden or long-term problems,
  • to emphasize the superficial attractiveness.
Despite 2000+ year old advice and plenty of unscrupulous sellers, there are still plenty of unwary and stupid buyers.

We could just say that stupid and unwary people get what they deserve. But I'd hate to live in a society where we encourage intelligent people to learn to profit by deceiving the less intelligent.

Since it's impossible to legislate people into being smarter, it's probably reasonable to legislate awkward regulations that require the home seller to check boxes disclosing substantive issues with homes or to get inspections that include decibel profiles during a week.

Re:Rich country? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659128)

If I were a tax-paying British citizen I'd be outraged that "lots of excess government funds" were being used for this purpose. If I were a whining hippy always looking for a handout, I'd be outraged because my VW van wasn't eligible for sound-proofing.

Britain. That's the one between Mars and Jupiter. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659228)

It especially pangs me when I read about things like this where the British government is spending lots of excess government funds on sound-proofing people's homes.
The money is being spent by the European Union, not the British government. Quite a difference.

Also, this is a survey - and might not lead to pan-European legislation. Even if it does, it could be years before this affects UK govt policy, and the media is likely to rehash the standard arguments about bureaucrats in Brussels (who still haven't been forgiven for mandating the straight banana).

Re:Rich country? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659248)

Wtf, if someone wants a soundproofed house they can bloody well pay for it themselves.

Keep your grubby little paws off my wallet.

Re:Rich country? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659348)

Unfortunately, the USA has to keep their forces up to strength because any time that anyone in the world needs a military presence, the USA is asked to be the major portion of that presence.

When you don't have to maintain much of a military because the USA has "got your back", then you can spend all that money that would have been spent on your military on other things, such as working on noise polution or whatever.

Unfortunately, no one has got the USA's back so they are where the buck stops. If they don't have a military, then no one else does either.

Cheap ways to reduce noise in cities... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659366)

I lived in NYC in 2001/2002 (I'm from Germany). There's ONE thing I learned: most noise did not come from traffic, but from idiocy:

- people keep their car's engines running while going grocery shopping

- every couple of minutes, some car alarm would signal that NO ONE was trying to pry the respective car open - for ETERNITY.


- every idiot with a remote for his car caused noise every time they opened/closed the damn thing. Nice to have audio feedback feature, but it SUCKS if you're a neighbor trying to sleep


None of the above is legal in Germany. The result is that I can sleep well despite LOTS of cars parking in front of my apartment.

Big Brother's Listening (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659053)

And, after they are done with this, they will leave the microphones in place and add a lot more to augment the growing video surveilance system.

If this works, the next time the government seeks to expand video surveilance, they can just say "Never mind. We're just putting cameras in place to do a scientific study of light pollution".

traffic.equals(noise) returns false (2, Informative)

Manos Batsis (608014) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659054)

As placing microphones on every building in London or Paris to measure noise was not practical, data on the amount of traffic carried by roads and the noise levels was fed into computers to generate a model of noise levels across the city. Who says noise comes only from traffic?

Re:traffic.equals(noise) returns false (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659083)

The rest is negligible.

Re:traffic.equals(noise) returns false (5, Insightful)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659114)

According to the article, 100 microphones do, and they agree within 1 decibel.

Re:traffic.equals(noise) returns false (3, Insightful)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659216)

According to the article, 100 microphones do [say noise comes from traffic], and they agree within 1 decibel.

So why not spend the billions developing quieter traffic? Put it into fuel cells and electric motors, for example.

Re:traffic.equals(noise) returns false (1)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659301)

Good idea.

I just read an article about the Prius. Its one of the few cars that gets better mileage in city driving vs. highway, since the gas engine is off most of the time. Its also quieter in the city. Of course, US refuses to impose tighter mileage requirements, and I note that since SUVs are getting a bad name, the car ads are now pushing 7-passenger "mini" vans. Makes no sense.

Re:traffic.equals(noise) returns false (1)

ThogScully (589935) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659214)

As other replies have already stated, their measures have been shown accurate... but consider this...

The rest of the noise at any part is likely related to the amount of traffic at that spot. So, Times Square is louder than some random road in the middle of nowhere in Nebraska. Since this is a mathematical equation, it's plausible the equation is designed to estimate a little higher than just the sound of traffic, so that any other sounds are included as a dependant variable on the amount of traffic.
-N

Re:traffic.equals(noise) returns false (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659253)

It's called statistics. They aren't estimating a little higher. Almost assuradly, they are using a linear regression fit to predict noise based on the traffic and maybe another covariate. The computer then does the rest.

Re:traffic.equals(noise) returns false (1)

ThogScully (589935) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659318)

Thanks for the lesson AC. And it is estimating higher because linear regressions (I doubt it's linear, but I'll use your wording) are estimates and in this case, it's higher because they have to add in extra variables to cover the miscellaneous sounds besides traffic.
-N

start with the following candidates (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659057)

UN genevia
European union parlament
and all of the other BS socialist multi national organizations

Cominists under every bed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659072)

"...genevia....parlament...."

If you can't spell the "Red Menice", how do you know that they are after you?

I shudder to think how you would have spelled Bildeburger.

That's it, I'm moving. (4, Funny)

sirReal.83. (671912) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659061)

The noise maps will allow planning to insulate the public from noise by directing traffic away from residential areas and making funds available to sound-proof thin walled homes.

I can't even get my landlord to shovel the 3 feet of snow in front of my apartment building.

Re:That's it, I'm moving. (2, Funny)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659279)

If you live in the US just slip and sue the mofo for like a million billion dollars. Then when you own the building you can... er... shovel the place lest you be sued!

Tom

Re:That's it, I'm moving. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659459)

You should let you landlord leave it. Snow provides great noise insulation.

Weird author's style (1, Interesting)

Zegnar (704768) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659065)

That article reads like a piece of prose... very nice, but not much good for a news article :) Anyway... I just play my music so loud I can't hear all the urban noise all around me... (London)... But then I guess that makes me part of the problem

Re:Weird author's style (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659183)

You sir, are worse than the urban noise.

cameras (1, Troll)

dan2550 (663103) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659069)

i heard the other day that london had the most hidden cameras in the world. is not being video taped good enough? i guess now they feel they need to get a 100.0 surround sound speaker system going too.

Re:cameras (1)

flewp (458359) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659089)

100.0 surround sound?

They should go for 100.1 surround sound. Y'know, the .1 for that extra oomph from the bass channel.

Re:cameras (1)

scorilo (654174) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659130)

I doubt that those microphones are really that accurate. They are probably good for measuring ambient noise, and possibly withstand harsh atmospheric conditions, but that's it. It'd be hard to include accuracy and hi-fi along with those design requirements. Anyway, here in Toronto you get your picture taken almost everytime you take a cab...

That's not a cab ! (0, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659175)

"Anyway, here in Toronto you get your picture taken almost everytime you take a cab..."

Hate to break it to you, but that is not a cab. All this time, you've been getting into one of those instant photo booths. This explains why it smells better than you would expect, why you always get a picture, and why when you get out you are always at the same place where you started.

Re:cameras (2, Informative)

blane.bramble (133160) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659212)

Yawn. Troll. The cameras aren't hidden, they are a combination of security cameras operated by businesses to protect their premises, and those operated by local cameras for traffic control, and where necessary, crime reduction in city centres etc. Yes, in London you are on camera much of the time. No, the cameras are not following you. The police can, after applying to the courts, ask for relevant tapes to solve crimes. Big f**king deal.

Have to say it, (0, Funny)

flewp (458359) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659070)

Lets hope they stay away from an empty (and therefor growling) CowboyNeal stomach, as that'll skew the results.

Alternative Traffic (5, Insightful)

fastdecade (179638) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659071)

About time noise pollution was taken seriously. But I'd question the solution...Instead of just diverting traffic, hopefully they look at reducing noisy types of transport and encouraging more quiet forms ---- e.g. light rail, bikes.

Re:Alternative Traffic (5, Informative)

scorilo (654174) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659105)

Most European countries are already doing this. There are lanes on the roads specially designated for bycicles, they even have special lights and special signs for bycicles. Some municipalities (Geneve, Wien, etc.) provide free bycicles (you only have to leave a deposit, which is returned when you bring it back) and you can rent a bycicle in nearly all train station (and almost every city has one), and trains have special compartments so that you can travel with your bycicle. Public transportation is usually subsidized, and they pay much more for gasoline then in North America. Paris has a rollerblade marathon (its reply to Pamplona, maybe?). It's really kewl, I nearly destroyed my rental rollerblades!

Re:Alternative Traffic (5, Interesting)

lovebyte (81275) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659180)

BIKES? I guess you do not mean motorbikes. Because of the increase in congestion in and around Paris, there are more and more people that use motorbikes/scooters. The result is a big increase in noise levels, no reduction in polution (bikes produce more polution than most cars, surprisingly) and a large increase in fatal accidents.

Re:Alternative Traffic (1)

Patik (584959) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659387)

Because of the increase in congestion in and around Paris, there are more and more people that use motorbikes/scooters. The result is ... a large increase in fatal accidents.
I'm not surprised. When I visited a couple years ago the motorcycles seemed to be completely unrestricted, weaving in and around cars, butting to the front of the line at traffic lights, and completely disregarding lane lines and general traffic ettiquette.

Re:Alternative Traffic (1)

FesterDaFelcher (651853) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659422)

bikes produce more polution than most cars, surprisingly

Per gallon of gas they prodcue more pollution, but a typical small motorbike gets 75-110 mpg. They produce WAY less pollution per gallon than a car that gets 30 mpg.

Noise in America (5, Interesting)

Nadsat (652200) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659073)

I don't think America worried about this as much, as there was always more land, more space, more suburban sprawl. In European areas where land has turned more of a scarcity, then we see this interesting phenonom as a solution. Perhaps the same principals will be applied to more congested American cities too. It seems a good, bottom-up approach: re-routing traffic light signals and road development based upon environmental feedback.

Re:Noise in America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659101)

Easier to do what Japan did: build large walls around the highways to keep the sound of traffic down. No muss, no fuss, no fucked up stop lights.

Re:Noise in America (3, Interesting)

flewp (458359) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659118)

We have walls here in the US in some areas that partially block off the sound coming from the freeways. They're somewhat of an eyesore, but they do seem to help a bit. I always thought they should put a lot of vegetation around the walls to make them a little bit more aesthetically(sp) pleasing, but I don't know how the plants would do.

Re:Noise in America (5, Interesting)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659172)

I live about a five minute walk from a fairly large nature trail [for where I live it's amazing cuz ARTLI factory cut houses are being put down like a five year old with lego!]. Even if you're say one km into the woods [and they're fairly thick] you can hear the dull sound of car tires [the somewhat high pitch noise they make when driving].

Anyways yeah, trees are better for other uses though, e.g. shade, slow down the wind, give us that nice oh I dunno breathable air. Where I live people will cut down trees that look at them wrong. It's very sad [at least at my house we have two f'ing huge maples! :-)]

Tom

Space in USA is not an issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659255)

Every family in the entire world could be given a 3 bedroom house on a 1/4 acre plot of land and that would not even begin to take up the entire state of Texas.

In Paris, (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659082)

Shouldn't they worry about the stench first?

Armpit hair (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659104)

No, the noise problem is actually lessened by the large pads of armpit hair. It has something to do with acoustics.

But what about the micro-noise climate (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659092)

Does this model take into account the guy two floors down in our apartment block who practices his drumming skills on Saturday and Sunday afternoons?

So.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659097)

The inside of the earth is simply a big Lava(tm) lamp?

1 decibel what? (2, Informative)

Eponymous, Showered (73818) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659107)

1 decibel what? A decibel is not a unit. It's a ratio. A power ratio to be exact. 1 dB SPL?

Re:1 decibel what? (1)

makapuf (412290) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659169)

Well, it's nice for me to define an error margin with a ratio.

1dB = (10^0.1)*100 % error margin, (if i'm not mistaken) : exactly same meaning, sounds alright.

Re:1 decibel what? (1)

McWilde (643703) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659197)

I guess they devided the measured power by the power predicted by their computer model and thus arrived at a ratio. They then decided to present this ratio in dBs.
They might also have presented the measured and predicted powers in dBs SPL, but then again, they might not have.

What next? (-1, Flamebait)

denisdekat (577738) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659139)

Will they measure the odors? I wonder if they could come up with any interesting smell data. Say they put electro-noses everywhere smeeling the cities of the world, would they discover anything worthwhile? Perhaps they can rfind some interesting connections between smells and neighborhoods and smells an income or even smells and crime. I once read that the piss in soccer stadium often inspired men to fight subconciously. I wish I could remember more about that as it would surely add some color to this post.

Re:What next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659178)

Has been done already. The city of Rotterdam uses a team of human sniffers to measure smell and air polution.

Re:What next? (-1)

SMOC (703423) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659250)

I feel an incredible urge to look up your home address from whois, and beat you into a bloody pulp, but unfortunatly, I don't know where San Frnacisco is.

What can I say, I hate cats.

Re:What next? (1)

HawkinsD (267367) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659289)

Smell-data? That's a really, really good idea. Gathering data about noise is a good idea, I suppose, but it's really hard to actually DO sommething about it.

"Hey! It's really noisy here next to the freeway!"

Well, no duh, genius. And so what? Are you going to move the freeway?

But stench... I bet there are a lot of complicating factors, like wind direction and speed, air temperature, and the number of hogs per minute passing through the abbatoir down the block, that contribute to how bad it smells at a particlar place and time.

Now, THAT would be worth mapping, over time, because there might be simple things that could be done to alleviate bad smells for lots of people, which might not be apparent without a lot of data points.

Good idea!

Re:What next? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659319)

I find it really funny that the American Slashdot users always pop up at the first mention of Europe and start posting "funny" comments like yours, yet the vast majority of you have never even left your home state, let alone gone to another country. Apparently ignorance is now something to be proud of these days, which is really very funny until you find yourself listed in the Darwin awards with a genuinely funny story about how you managed to kill yourself through an act of your your own stupidity.

If any of the words I used in this post were too big for you, just ask and I'll do my best not to answer any questions you might have.

Finally, an anti-pollution project for Bush (5, Funny)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659158)

As placing microphones on every building in London or Paris to measure noise was not practical

The Bush administration today announced strong support for the reduction of noise pollution in America. Environmental organizations, keenly aware of the administration's poor record on pollution, expressed shock at this surprise move.

Making the announcement for the administration were Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and (retired) Admiral John Poindexter. Attorney General Ashcroft explained that the Justice Department would generously fund a pilot project to monitor noise pollution in major urban areas known to harbor dissidents and Democrats. Ashcroft proclaimed that "Everyone, and especially the less-loyal elements in America, have a right to be free of the noise pollution caused by anti-war and anti-World Bank protestors, non-Christians, and really, anyone else who questions authority."

Re:Finally, an anti-pollution project for Bush (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659268)

See, the thing about humor is that it's got to have an element of truth about it, or it's just lameness instead. This would be a pretty good definition of lame.

This just shows that you don't bother to think for yourself - you let people like Michael Moore and Tim Robbins tell you what to think.

That wasn't humor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659306)

Yes, that wasn't humor, since there was no truth about it. Expecially the part about Ashcroft/etc bias against non-Christians (no evidence of that).

Yes, John Ashcroft, the anti-abortion extremist, they call him. Yet, it was on his watch that they caught abortion-clinic bomber Eric Rudolph.

It also forgets the fact that many of the protesters are very pro-authority. They do not question authority. In fact, they want the authorities to have more power, which is why they oppose free-and-fair-trade, in which individuals make trade decisions instead of governments.

Paris Noise (4, Informative)

lovebyte (81275) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659159)

For those living in Paris or wanting to move there, there is a noise map available here [paris.fr].
I live in the noisiest part! Time to move to the country.

seasonal noise differences (2, Insightful)

Savatte (111615) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659198)

I hope they take into account the noise levels from different seasons. For instance, around where I live, summer and fall are much louder, simply because of the massive amounts of non-stop construction. And I can personally attest that you can hear a jackhammer from farther away than you can hear a police siren.

Nothing good can come of this. (0)

mikesab (652105) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659219)

The E.U. is fishing for ways to limit and regulate its citizens. Next up: freedom pollution.

Wallet Pollution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659241)

"The E.U. is fishing for ways to limit and regulate its citizens. Next up: freedom pollution"

The European governments already are solving the problem of "Wallet pollution", which is when citizens have filthy lucre in their possession. With ridiculously high taxation rates, the governments are seeing to it that wallets are not polluted with money.

Data gathering techniques (2, Insightful)

The Ape With No Name (213531) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659263)

As placing microphones on every building in London or Paris to measure noise was not practical, data on the amount of traffic carried by roads and the noise levels was fed into computers to generate a model of noise levels across the city

And an introductory remote sensing/GIS class would tell you that unless you have a Big Laser In Space(tm) you just take sample in accessible places that reflect both the landscape in general and prominent landscape features after that it is all overlay functions, baby. I am kriging as we speak!

Warning - Bad Joke. (2, Funny)

twitter (104583) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659292)

As placing microphones on every building in London or Paris to measure noise was not practical, data on the amount of traffic carried by roads and the noise levels was fed into computers to generate a model of noise levels across the city.

Translation: Echelon did not co-operate so they had to get background noise from people's cell phones from their own telcos which incedently gave them great traffic data.

a specific example (5, Interesting)

selderrr (523988) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659313)

of how complex these issues are, is the national airport in Brussels-Belgium : being such a densely populated country, there's no practical way to have airplanes land & take off without flying over housing areas. And with both traffic and houses increasing, the problem has now reached proportions where people are starting lawsuits against the govt for noise terrorism. Some have dozens of planes flying over at low altitude per night. That's a plane every 10 minutes. You try to sleep with that. Even tripple-isolated glass & roofs can't stop the sound of a cargo airplane. Especially old, russian planes (who have now been ruled illegal for flight)

Allthough, personally i would find the noise the least of my worries : my mother in law lives near another airport (Oostende) After those huge, bulky cargo planes took off, there's a very intense kerosene odor that hangs in the streets for 15-30 minutes, depending on the weather. Yikes !

I don't understand how peeps in Singapore survive this (well.. i gues they don't...)

Re:a specific example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7659409)

People are making a lot of noise over this non-issue. Most of them went to live on cheap land right underneath the approach and departure paths AFTER the airport was built. And now they are bickering about it.

I live also under an approach path. Planes fly at 2000-3000ft. It doesn't bother me at all. I do hear nothing at all inside thanks to my superisolated windows and a well thought-out construction. If anything I *like* watching the planes come over, especially at night.

My cousin-in-law (or something like that) lives close by, but he complains all the time, saying he's not able to sleep. If it's that bad, why the fuck doesn't he install double-paned glass ?

Re:a specific example (1)

selderrr (523988) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659436)

well, in belgium things are a bit different due to the rapid growth of the airport (extending landing strips) and the ever increasing price of property. Near airport is one of the few affordable places

Another Big Brother (-1, Redundant)

fbg111 (529550) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659323)

What a clever way to get Europeans to accept the idea of microphones everywhere - "we're mapping noise pollution". So when the noise pollution is taken care of, will the mics go away, or will they be combined with public security video cameras so Big Brother will know not only where you are, but what you're saying?

Air Conditioning? (1)

javelinco (652113) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659324)

I mean, not that I wouldn't be interested in such an investment myself, but should France get some air conditioning [cnn.com] for their elderly first? Who sets the priorities for expenditures in the E.U. anyway?

Microphones? (3, Interesting)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 10 years ago | (#7659458)

Why microphones? Why not a decibel meter? Surely that's the proper tool. Ubiquitous microphones sounds like the seed of yet another Orwellian nightmare.
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