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A Study of Noise

Date: 08-17-06
Host: George Noory
Guests: Bart Kosko, Major Ed Dames

Prof. of Electrical Engineering at USC, Bart Kosko, discussed the complex relationship humans have to noise, which he explores in his new book. His interest in this subject evolved out of his work with Fuzzy Logic, and he found that noise overlapped scientific, mathematical and social boundaries. For example, in the social arena, in a noisy restaurant, sound tends to get louder because patrons must increase their volume in order to hear each other over the din.

Hearing loss is a growing problem, with 15% of teens showing some type of loss. This stems from high volume listening on devices such as the iPod, Kosko reported. While noise has its detrimental qualities, it can also make people smarter, he shared. In some circumstances, it can cause more neurons to fire, heightening brain function. He cited a situation where he was taking the Bar Exam and the sound of hundreds of people typing on their laptop keyboards created a "delicious ocean of noise" that stimulated his thought process.

The military and law enforcement are experimenting with noise guns that fire "sonic bullets." While such weapons are classified as "non-lethal" they could inflict significant collateral damage to bystanders, said Kosko. He offered tips for reducing general noise from coming into one's home: using heavy rugs, caulking windows, and running a fan while sleeping to create a "white noise" that masks other sounds. He also recommended the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse as a resource.

Dames Update

First half-hour guest, remote viewing teacher Maj. Ed Dames checked in to discuss his previous remote viewing of the JonBenet Ramsey case done back in the 1990s. He had viewed the killer as a man in his 30s who was an amateur photographer. The man had a more athletic build than the current suspect, John Karr, Dames noted. He also repeated his concern that North Korea will first test a nuclear weapon, and then use it out of anger.

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Bumper music from Thursday August 17, 2006

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