23 July 2006

Huangyangtan - Swimming pool noise pollution

It's still pretty hot here in Germany. That is evidenced by the fact that the family who lives next to our apartment building is setting up a huge temporary swimming pool in their backyard. Good news for them, bad news for us. Why? The balconies of this building are on the side that faces that house. And that family has been nicknamed The Noisy Family. The volume of their normal speaking voices of the two young children is stuck on "loud", the mode they're in after they get up in the morning. When the boy and his sister brawl (which is their primary activity after their mother moves them into the backyard) it moves up to "deafening to everyone nearby". The next sequence in events is that one of them gets hurt (or maybe not) and starts crying "Owwww-wah!" repeatedly. At that point the mother comes out and yells at the offender (or the Doberman, whom we now know by name), "How often have I told you not to do that?!". Neither the children nor the dog ever respond to this question, because they know that the parents will never actually do anything to break the routine.

This drama in parenting skills has gone on for two years without us actually seeing any of it; tall trees block the view between the two properties. When the family moved in we estimated, by their speech, that the children were 3 years old. Their way of communicating has not developed during that time. As adults they will probably shout all day without anyone paying attention to them until they cry "Owwww-wah!".

Back to the swimming pool. It is a known fact that swimming pools cause a physiological change in the vocal chords of children such that their voice becomes twice as loud, and reprograms the speech center to shout out only "Look, Mommy, Mommy, look!". It happened to me, it happens to my daughter. Even before today the residents of our apartment complex had taken to closing their windows on this side of the building during the PBT (Primary Brawl Time, 8:30 - 19:00 h seven days a week) and have foregone use of their balconies. My desk is on this side. The swimming pool can only make things worse.

Oh, yeah, thank you for reminding me. This blog is about watching what is happening with the news of my find in China. It's quiet today. Perhaps the whole thing is winding down. Roughly 1 person per minute is reading the forum post, led to it probably from one of 124 blogs somewhere. I'm guessing that the big peak on Friday came after Der Spiegel ran a short piece on the find. The Register ran a follow-up piece on clever ideas sent to them by their readers:


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