Seeking the sounds of silence

Sometimes, you see a news item and hope that it’s something that heralds a trend. I certainly hope that happens after reading about the latest National Academy of Engineering report: Technology for a Quieter America.
This report, like many of its ilk, probably won’t make a huge difference in the real world. But reducing noise pollution is a noble goal. I’ve got a printer that clunks so much before it starts working that I wonder if Rube Goldberg designed it. I’ve also got a basic radio that makes noise even when it’s turned off. It has a fan that never stops.
NAE hopes that its efforts will help remove some of the silos surrounding noise reduction, making it easier for electronic engineers to work with others in order to make quieter products. Though much of noise reduction involves mechanical technologies, electronic designers can play a significant role.
For example, they might put a power-hungry CPU into a sleep mode when a radio is turned off. Then there’s no need to run the fan nonstop. Another benefit that could come from this study: my associates would be happy not to hear me make noise about loud products.

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