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This Math Genius Wants to Map the Noise Levels in Your 'Hood

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In a move sure to please grandmothers everywhere, applied mathematician and inspired cartographer Brendan Farrell has launched a Kickstarter campaign with an ambitious goal: to map the noise levels of the entire United States and Canada. Farrell, a former Caltech instructor, and his company, HowLoud, are looking for $38,000 to fund their continental noise map, which will use 3-D models to generate sound profiles for each and every site, based on factors like vehicle flow, flight patterns, garbage routes, and popular attractions. Farrell's computer model will then "use physics to propagate the noise through the environment" to determine how loud that particular coordinate really is.

After all, noise determines so much about quality of life, yet its transitory nature makes it hard to, say, aurally scope out an address before you move in. "Noise studies today are commissioned by local government agencies and ... stuck in reports in file cabinets and never reach the people who could use them," Farrell writes on his Kickstarter page. "Imagine if the weather report were kept at a county office and available only on request!" Residents of Los Angeles and Orange County can already take HowLoud out for a (very quiet) spin, by the way.

· Sound Map of North America [Kickstarter]
· HowLoud [Official Site]
· Mapping the Loudness in Every Home and 'Hood in Los Angeles [Curbed LA]