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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Turn Up the Volume: The Loudness Wars

Christopher Clark graphed the peak levels of and RMS levels of three hit songs a year over the past three decades. This image links to a PDF of his full poster, "A Visual History Of Loudness."

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, but in this case A You Tube Video illustrates it best...that today music producers amatures and consumers seem to demand your value loud over quality, fidelity and emotional meaning of the music you listen to.

Your music is getting louder, as songs compete to be noticed or heard, and ear drums become increasingly deaf, or at least sensativity to quality decreases. This is the result of several studies, that show the children and grand children of the Baby Boomers continued the process of audio self destruction.

In the process, using audio engineering measurements, the fidelity and quality of the music is decreasing, particurally with Mpeg reproduction.

This weekend National Public Radio talkes  a look at "The Loudness Wars: Why Music Sounds Worse."

This is not new. It began with the terrible, by today's standards, fidelity of AM Radio and how music had to be pumped up to attract an audience. 45's were also at fault (explained in the link). But as FM took over, and sound studios went digital, many if not most of those tunes were remastered for CD and the optimum FM fidelity, so most of us remember the music as sounding better than it did.

Today, even FM is at fault, with optimizers designed to crush and amplify sound for maximum braodcast area penetration, in distance and to overcome localized distortions or sound. Add that their listeners demand loud and pounding bass and exagerated experiences.

The sound on dance floors is many times louder, and much harder driven, than a decade ago, much less thirty or fourty years ago as the Babyboomers remember it. Most clubs are not built for acoustic fidelity, they are built for volume.

Doctors will easily confirm that volume, hard driving bass and distortion all contribute to overall hearing loss, as well as other potential conditions.

So, do you like your music loud?

Do you care about the music itself?

Do you see anything wrong with pushing ear drums to the maximum?

What can we do, as a society, to bring back some sanity?

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-Art Lynch

Counting Blessings

Winston is our part wolf hound. He was Laura's mothers dog up until she passed away. On day Laura' sister shows up at our rented townhome and said, "here he is." This resulted in us moving to a house with a small yard in Boulder City. he is still with us but the carpet has been replaced with wood,

Winston had been with other dogs his whole life, so while on a visit to the pet store he picked out Mimi. She is an Australian Cattle Dog, and yes her eyes are different colors. An adoption agency out of Pahrump was looking for homes. She was a runner and an escape artists. One day Boulder City Animal Control called us and told us "your dogs are over by the Church on Adams past the schools, do you want to pick them up or sould I?" Winston never trusted her again and stayed close to home. While both are up there in age they still live with us in our little 1932 Dam house in BC.

My wife Laura is a social worker. She works with groups on mental health, aids those with daycare disabilities and is on call for the Emergency Room at Boulder City hospital. She has worked at the Lied Discovery Children's Museum, for local advertising agencies and at the Clark Country Jail. In every job she helps others selflessly. I am very proud of her and very blessed to have her in my life.

I have two step daughers, Beth and Ann, and six grandchildren. I know, too young, but at the holidays that does not seem to matter.

-Art Lynch

Topic Ideas from 2009 Year in Review Lists

Look back at 2009 and you will be able to build a long list of potential topics to use in COM 101 or any other college course. To help you out, a totally random list of year end links follows. There are many others (google, BING or simply dig out old magazines or newspapers to find your own sources of lists). If you have trouble thinking of what to write or talk about, let these be a springboard.

And what is on your own persona 2009 year in review list?

The Huffington Post has a two part lists of things Ariana would like to forget about 2009 including Myley Cyrus, poll dancer, and the infamous beer summit. Bob Frankin has his own take on the year in that on-line liberal leaning publication as well.

On the comedy side, one of the best, traditionally printed in the Review Journal before ink got so expensive, is Miami Harold and internationally syndicated columist Dave Barry's look back at the year (there was a TV show with a fictious Barry as its center a few years back).

Laughing Squid has its take.

Political Cartoonist have several year in review sites.

Gay and Lesbian sites have theirs.

YouTube has many different 2009 Year in Review features.

Skateboarding, golf, universal sports, video games,

Yahoo has a full graphic section looking back at 2009.

Apple has its own, on sevearal sites. 

The public relations and publicity industries have theirs.

A cool web site from Ohio State (why can't CSN do this?).


Politico, FeePress, Just News, JZ Net, StuntDouble, social web sites, virtual events, for the deal,

NASA, Scientists, Convenience Store Owners (Oh, thank heaver for 7-11, hot to go!), Beer Makers, mobile phone companies, psychologist and mental health profesisonals,

Cities have theirs including Chicago, Buffalo, Ft Wayne,

Other geographies and points of view from states, with California leading the list. Washington DC comes a close second, followed by New York, because the news media is focused in those three areas.

So, what tops your list of events for 2009?

What are your top ten events in your life?

How did 2009 impact you?

After 65 years of growth, Nevada is shrinking/ Las Vegas is not in recovery

Justin M. Bowen

For the first time since WWII, Nevada is seeing a decline in population. That's 65 years of growth, often in fast spirts. Reno and Sparks up north, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson in the south, experienced multiple massive growth spurts over the last six and a half decades. Now, for at least for the next two to ten years, that trend seems to have reversed itself.

A report issued Tuesday shows Las Vegas’ real estate market continues to be among the weakest in the country.

Edited from Las Vegas Su. Full story at:

Las Vegas-area home prices continued to fall through October and among big U.S. cities, Las Vegas "remains the one market that has not seen a glimmer of hope so far this year."

That's according to the closely-followed Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, which were issued today and found that nationwide, the annual rate of decline in home prices improved compared to the September report.

But with Las Vegas prices as measured by S&P/Case-Shiller declining for 38 consecutive months, they are down 55.4 percent from their peak in August 2006 and up just 5 percent from January 2000, S&P said.

Las Vegas prices in October were down 26.6 percent from October 2008 vs. an average decline of 7.3 percent in the 20 cities in the S&P/Case-Shiller indices.