"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

electric cars and noise

silhoutte of airballoons

Tidying our High Street for the final spruce up before our In Bloom judging day, I am appalled, stressed even, by the continual noise of the traffic rumbling by, not to mention the fumes belched out by the lorries, buses and cars as they pass, particularly by the lorries, spewing nasties out of their exhaust pipes at a level to hit the face of a baby in a push chair, or our volunteers on their knees weeding the pavement.

But no one else seemed bothered.

I was at the dentist yesterday. Reading a National Geographic magazine in a somewhat desultory fashion waiting for my turn I was stressed by the cacophany of chatter behind the open plan receptionists' desk; making appointments on the phone, declaring lots of personal, albeit anonymous, information on patients to the room at large, or idly chatting about everything under the sun to do with their personal lives. Incessant clatter. Shouldn't we be spared such noise in a professional reception of any kind?

But no one else seemed bothered.

Travelling on a train the other day half the carriage seemed to be on their phones, arranging business deals, fixing lifts, just chatting as friends. And next to me I could hear the continual jangle of music from the badly fitting earphones of my neighbour.

But no one else seemed bothered. Too busy making their own noise, no doubt!

My father in law was a lovely man. I miss him very much, we had some wonderful holidays together after his wife died. We were well matched then, him grieving his loss, me recuperating after illness, both savouring a quiet time away to read, walk, swim and generally enjoy silence together. On his 70th birthday we had given him a ride in a hot air balloon. His first comment on landing was how beautifully silent the air was up there above us.

I just love the sound of silence.

So imagine my dismay when I heard that plans are well afoot to put some noise into the design of the otherwise fairly silent electric car.

Now I know that we rely very much nowadays on the noise of our petrol cars - especially if we are pedestrians trying to cross roads or horse riders and cyclists being warned of traffic coming up behind us. And the boy racers love revving their sports cars for the sheer hell of it. But for most of us what has happened to good old fashioned powers of observation. Are we forgetting to use our eyes as well as our ears?

But to have artificially noisy electric cars? Suggestions have been pouring in for the type of noise to employ. People have suggested using the noise of horses hooves (confusing?), typewriter keys (obsolete?), bird song (nice but confusing again, to the birds themselves no doubt), Mahler Symphonies, and many more ideas - but guess what - someone even suggested mobile phone ring tones!!

Electric cars are here to stay. That is good. But the noise?

And I think I must be the only one bothered by all this!

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