From A daily miscellany of information
By Michael Kesterton, Globe and Mail
No. 1 war injury
"War is noisy. It's supposed to be," George Michelsen Foy blogs for Psychologytoday.com. "U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq harass the enemy by using excessive amounts of noise. It's a tactic as old as the battle cry. ... But that same noise is injuring our troops. Tinnitus—ringing in the ears usually caused by hearing damage—is the chief complaint of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. And hearing damage is by leaps and bounds the number one diagnosis of all personnel injured in those theatres of combat."
Learning to hate Mozart
"Britain might not make steel any more, or cars, or pop music worth listening to, but, boy, are we world beaters when it comes to tyranny," Brendan O'Neill writes for Reason magazine. "And now classical music, which was once taught to young people as a way of elevating their minds and tingling their souls, is being mined for its potential as a deterrent against bad behaviour.
In January, it was revealed that West Park School, in Derby in the Midlands of England, was 'subjecting' (its word) badly behaved children to Mozart and others. In 'special detentions,' the children are forced to endure two hours of classical music both as a relaxant (the headmaster claims it calms them down) and as a deterrent against future bad behaviour. (Apparently the number of disruptive pupils has fallen by 60 per cent since the detentions were introduced.) One news report says some of the children who have endured this Mozart authoritarianism now find classical music unbearable."
"Are children's toys getting louder?" Landon Hall writes for McClatchy/Tribune News. "Parents who stroll through any large chain store might swear it's true: Computer games, designed for ever younger kids, emit an assortment of beeps, blips, peals and shrieks. ... An ear specialist at the University of California Irvine says toys aren't necessarily increasing in volume, but an increasing number of them produce noise that can damage a child's hearing if sustained for long periods."
Dr. Hamid Djalilian and two other researchers tested 18 popular toys for decibel levels produced up close and from 30 centimetres away. Despite the toys' noise, he said they aren't inherently unsafe: "As long as it's held at arm's length, and not listened to for eight hours a day, most of these toys will be safe."
Tiny ear, tiny sounds
"A micro ear could soon help scientists eavesdrop on tiny events just like microscopes make them visible," BBC News reports. "Initially, researchers will use it to snoop on cells as they go about their daily business. It may allow researchers to listen to how a drug disrupts micro organisms, in the same way as a mechanic might listen to a car's engine to find a fault." A team from the universities of Glasgow and Oxford, and the National Institute of Medical Research, is building the device, which they hope will become standard lab equipment.”
Thought du jour
"A painter paints his pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence. We provide the music, and you provide the silence."
—Leopold Stokowski, English born U.S. conductor, reprimanding a talkative audience, May 1967