Living next to a construction site for over a year (beep beep beep beep)

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by LongRoadBob, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Cleared for Takeoff

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    Even though insanity doesn't run in my family, it may soon start to.
    I'm living in Norway, but this is universal except for London apparently.

    Over a year and a half ago, they began major renovations to a school right by where I live.
    It's actually several buildings, and it is a major buildup. We've managed to put up with a lot of inconvenience, parking, large trucks, Saturday work, lots of noise.

    But the ONE thing that is driving us insane is the backup warning beeps coming from trucks, earth movers, etc. at times we are hearing them, often several at a time, throughout an eight or nine hour day, more than not hearing them. It's almost, but not quite, constant.

    This was the "brilliant" idea that came out in the seventies. I can't see that any change has happened even though technology has moved on quite a bit, there are way better solutions, not just for the poor souls within a large radius that are forced (even in the house with windows closed) to hear every time a machine or truck backs up (which they apparently do more than they drive forward) but also for the supposed safety issue for workers on the site.

    Options other than the ear piercing, stress escalating beep beep beep beep might include, replace with backup camera, backup sensor (as many autos now have, that the DRIVER know if he is about to hit some one or thing), flashing yellow light (as many forklifts in warehouses have). At the very least a sensor to adjust the volume to the surrounding noise, as manufacturers all these years just set them at highest possible levels because they can't predict the ambient noise level.

    Apparently the only place on earth that has addressed the proble, is London. They have enacted some laws, after recognizing the bad effects of stress, sleep, on inhabitants and possibly also that on construction sites the beepers go off so often it is the "boy who cried wolf" syndrome and they ignore the noise as much as can be.

    These backup alarms are designed to be piercing, to get attention (it's an unnatural noise that doesn't decay as normal sounds do but sounds wrong to humans) at db levels above those that cause hearing loss, basically to cause alarm in humans, in a very large radius from anyone actually in danger of being run over. I've worked on construction sites in my youth, and I always kept an eye out for and stayed away from large machines that backup more often than they move forward and are unpredictable.

    Ok, enough ranting, but my god....what a stupid solution to a problem. Even more so nowadays when there are (inexpensive) alternate solutions that probably would work better.

    This doesn't seem to be on any city, state, or federal regulatory bodies radar. I wonder how many accidents result from folk being bombarded by this ugly noise pollution, after losing sleep, stressed, etc.

    Anyone else bugged by these? I think we have about six months more of this particular hell.
    From 7 a.m. usually until 7 p.m., weekdays and Saturdays. Sunday is the only day we are beep-free.

    To tie into aviation (even though it is hangar talk, so no need) living next to a small airport would be heaven compared to this. I mean, I'd like to anyway as I love the sound of small planes, and all, but even if I wasn't into flying, no contest...yet there are rules governing small airports and noise, but contruction (here it's up to five years or so...being called "temporary") site rules mandate use of these damned noisemakers from hell.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
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  2. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'm living in a construction site and a small airport. Of course, the construction is of my own doing. I figure I've got another 9 months until the house is finished.
     
  3. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I hate to say it, but if it keeps one person from getting flattened by a rock truck, I am ok with it.
     
  4. Cajun_Flyer

    Cajun_Flyer Pattern Altitude

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    Same. Construction site accidents are common, and whatever safety measures they need to put in place to keep injuries to a minimum is fine with me.
     
  5. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser!

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  6. Grum.Man

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    Yea I agree they are a great idea to have and are very effective. It's a universal sound that everyone associates with a vehicle backing up. All the solutions you provided are reactive and not proactive like a beeper. And yes, they do in fact backup more than they drive forward simply because they are usually hauling a load that prevents them from seeing out the front. The only solution I could think of is the reverse the working end of the equipment. Face the driver towards the "rear". That way the beeps are only when driving forward with the bucket which is usually when scooping something up and visibility is limited anyway.
     
  7. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach

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    I'm going to play devil's advocate and say the beeper needs to go. How many on the jobsite are deaf, hard of hearing or wearing ear plugs? Great protection device or perfect setup for crushing someone who can't hear it? Lots of alternatives out there and not just the ones found on Lexus & BMWs.
     
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  8. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Reminds me of a joke. Father is in a line with his young son. Ahead of them is a very large lady. The kid says "wow dad, she's huge." Dad nudges the kid a says, be quiet, that's not polite. The lady is wearing a pager. Pager goes off. "Watch out dad, she's backing up."
     
  9. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yeah, but does it? I think it has been inconclusive, but of course, we don't measure how many non accidents there are. But studies have shown that as I pointed out, that workers in that environment often don't react, that the noise becomes background. Then you also have, it's not the best directional frequency for a noise. There are often cases where two different vehicles in an area are backing up...and it's not readily apparent which one is a danger to you.

    Also, and I'm not saying this is the case, but what if the stress and lack of sleep of these beepers causes a bus driver on his job to run off the road? Saved one life, lost several? Of course, we can't base policy on that, since it is impossible to quantify, but still. There are better ways to do the job and not stress out and bother people in a four block radius. Also as pointed out, damage to hearing , etc.
     
  10. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

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    Another question is whether the workers become acclimated to it? I'm thinking I'd get run over because I got used to the vehicle beeping next to me the past hour so I don't notice the new vehicle that just drove into the area I'm working. I rarely work in such an area (fork lifts in a warehouse) which is different from a construction zone.
     
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  11. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Cleared for Takeoff

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    They most definitely are not only reactive.

    A flashing bright light (a light is what we use on 98% of vehicles out there right?) is to vision as a blaring horn is to hearing. Exactly the same, as are backup noises that adapt to the ambient noise. If the same truck is out on a quiet street, why is it blaring at the level it would need on a site where there is 90+ db ambient? You can argue that someone not facing the flashing light won't know but actually light shines all over so you woud see it. Maybe not as effective. The white noise alarms mentioned in the video posted by Mr. Thorpe seems to be an much better option for all involved. It seems London decided it could and should be done better.

    But even with these, you don't turn your back on an earth mover when right next to it and it is working?

    To extrapolate, then you would be for maybe that all automobiles also made that disturbing noise anytime they back up? If not, why not? Busy city street, car backing up, with only the little backup light, noisy street...it might hit someone that doesn't see it backing up? Do we not care about people not in the contruction industry?

    I'm surprised so many are for a very bad solution, can only conclude you have never had to live near a construction site for any great length of time.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  12. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Cleared for Takeoff

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    Excellent! Thanks for that!

    Not to torpedo my own cause but...I have tinnitus and mine is a white noise type, wonder if I would hear that froth trucks as well as a person without, or enough?
     
  13. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Cleared for Takeoff

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    How many of them are from vehicles hitting them when backing up? Did you see the white noise video posted here? Doesn't it seem a much better solution that also would seem to be safer for the workers on site since it helps them determine direction of the danger?

    Construction sites are often dangerous because of other conditions, often cost cutting. You generally don't turn your back on large vehicles close enough to hit you even if they do have the alarms, right?

    What is the cost to hundreds to thousands of people subjected to this constant noise, that db level, arounds contruction sites for over a year? Health costs, effectivity costs, loss of sleep and stress?
    If it were the one way, sure...good idea, but it isn't.
     
  14. Grum.Man

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    There is no data that says it's a bad solution. It's a bad solution to you because it is in convenient to your life. Part of your argument is that people have become desensitized to the beeping sound thus making it less effective. The same could be said for a flashing light especially with all the new LED running lights, headlights, turn signals...etc. No I do not live near a construction zone, I chose to live in the country where distractions like that are less likely. I do however work in a factory and very much appreciate the fact that a forklift beeps when the operator puts it in reverse. When you work in an environment that is saturated with heavy equipment you don't have the luxury of avoiding or not turning your back to the equipment. The beeper draws your attention to at least look around you to see if you are in a path that could get you hurt.

    As for the sound level, have you not seen how many people walk around with ear bud or phones to their ears?
     
  15. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf En-Route

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    Are they Volvos?
     
  16. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Cleared for Takeoff

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    Is there data to suggest it is a good solution? Or the best?

    If there are two solutions, and there are more than that but let's stick to two, the white noise backup and the audible beeper solution, it isn't hard to come to the right conclusion.

    You trivialize the actual torment, this is not "inconvenient" it is to the point of intolerable to people living near these sites. It gets to where each time it comes, all day, every day, you react in your gut to it. It can't be tuned out, you can't ignore it, and it is a danger signal that is being sent to you, who are decidedly not in danger.
    I'm not using hyperbole, it is hell after over a year of this constant bombardment.

    So there is that. On top of that, the beeper frequency is proven to be hard to localize to a direction. With just one such vehicle it is not optimal that it is not immidiately apparent where the vehicle is, just that it is backing up. I mean for workers on site.
    Again, with more than one earth mover for example, it gets worse. Workers hearing this all day, every day get immune to it, and of say two of them are beeping, which is the danger and where is it from?

    Watch the video about white noise...it is more easily decoded in the brain both as immidiate danger, and it has more directional information in it so human beings can more easily determine where the danger is.
    And on top of that, it isn't blaring out, making a nuisance for people that have no neede of that "information"

    IF those things are true, even if it was only equal between whit noise and beeping, the fact that one disturbs many many people and the other doesn't, how can you back up claiming the old way is best?
     
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  17. overdrive148

    overdrive148 En-Route

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    I work on a ramp with business jets and turboprops all day. Always APUs running and unfortunately for me almost everything to be serviced is on the back half of most aircraft where the noise comes from. Lav service on G3 through G6? Big screaming APU directly overhead (unless they want a front lav). Walk the wrong way and you can get your headset blown off! Disconnecting GPUs can be a world shattering experience too depending on type.

    That being said I dont become numb or unaware of aircraft on the ramp (APU and engine noises are pretty close). My hearing protection takes it down to the point where I can still hear but not at the ear-destroying level around me. I always look at sources of noise and monitor chocks/cones/doors/lights on aircraft to know who is going where and when. Just my two cents. Haven't been hit by a plane yet!
     
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  18. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's pretty cool. Might never catch on here tho. Requiring them to be used here would be one of those pesky regulations we need to do something about
     
  19. Grum.Man

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    I never claimed it was best but I do think it is a good solution that has proven effective at least for now. Unfortunately change comes slowly especially when it can impact worker safety. To say one is better than the other when it comes to white noise versus a beep I can't say as I have not heard the vehicles with white noise. I can say that the first time someone gets injured from a reversing vehicle in the states with no beeper there is going to be a massive lawsuit. My first reaction upon hearing the white noise would be confusion not danger as I am not conditioned to the sound like I am a loud beeper. Same goes for emergency vehicles, we hear a siren we look around and become alert no matter how often we hear it. It would be interesting to see cops flying around blaring white noise though haha.

    I still don't buy the immune argument as I am one of those workers and it grabs my attention every time. If there are two forklifts in the vicinity I will move out of the way of the one that most poses a threat or both if able.
     
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  20. paflyer

    paflyer Final Approach

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    Or always use a spotter.
     
  21. colojo

    colojo Line Up and Wait

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    I agree with the OP 100%. Over the last 4 years several homes were built in my neighborhood and the noise from the backup beepers was incessant and ridiculously annoying. Most of it came from lone earth movers digging out the basements with no other people or vehicles on site.

    My new drone has technology that prevents it from hitting stuff; certainly they can incorporate such technology into construction equipment.
     
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  22. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    The man who invented the back up "beeper" was an aviation enthusiast. He kept his King Air 200 at Western Aircraft in Boise.

    So stop the whining!
     
  23. Cooter

    Cooter Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I'm not trying to be argumentative, but that's a bit of a silly position to take. You could argue for almost any position by that reasoning.
     
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  24. RudyP

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    Im with you LongRoadBob. Those things cause way more aggravation than in justified. I 100% do not believe that it's OK to make millions of people miserable on the chance that maybe it saves just one life. And careful with that kind of thinking guys, that's exactly how millions of people would like to ban GA flying... 'if it can only spare the life of one innocent on the ground'...

    Sometimes **** happens and we need to get used to that. The solutions that LongRoadBob proposes would be 1000X less annoying and probably same ballpark in effectiveness (if not better!)

    And btw- I do not live near a construction zone, but the same thing has bugged me as well as a poorly thought out ROI solution.
     
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  25. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Of the things that can go wrong on construction sites, accidents caused by backing vehicles are rare and when they happen a beeper wouldn't have helped anyway. I'm far more paranoid of slung loads and swinging buckets.
     
  26. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Problem is, I have been to construction sites where many vehicles are working, all beeping so much that they are basically rendering themselves useless. One or two vehicles backing and I pay attention. 20 or more and it is just a lot of noise that if I had to pay attention to each and every beeping vehicle then nothing would get done.
     
  27. Jeff Oslick

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    As someone who spends quite a bit of time working on construction sites, yes, the backup alarms work. It works even when you're wearing hearing protection, which is sometimes needed when working with other loud construction equipment (drill rigs, concrete saws, etc).

    It isn't just about the one guy standing behind the truck backing up hearing it, it is about everyone around them hearing it and looking to see the guy standing next to the rig backing up not moving out of the way and signalling the operator to stop. These rigs have big blind spots, and even camera systems wouldn't be a perfect solution. Proximity alarms for the driver also wouldn't work, because they often have to maneuver very close to other obstacles in the normal course of work and drivers would become desensitized to proximity alarms.

    The other way you know they work is that you (the OP) are still annoyed by them after a long duration of exposure.

    The other option is to have dedicated spotter for each rig, and that just isn't practical most of the time.
     
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  28. NoBShere

    NoBShere Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The data to show the beeping improves safety may be tough to find. Since getting hit by one of these trucks (forklift, dump, etc) would be a significant injury, you could probably dig through BLS data and get something. I like how the comments say that the workers will get acclimated to the noise so it must be ineffective yet the OP claims he has been living next to it for over a year and hasn't been acclimated? They don't make millions of people miserable.

    As someone who works around this stuff daily, never been acclimated to it. Doesn't matter how many trucks are moving and making noise, if you know the truck(s) are there and their direction of travel then you don't really notice. Its when you aren't aware of the trucks and their direction that it helps. Its pretty cool how we use our senses together. They have to be loud enough to be heard through ear plugs/muffs. I'll get carpal tunnel explaining why the noise isn't harmful to your hearing.

    As for the "better safe than sorry" view, I don't like that one as there is always a way to eliminate risk. Why don't we wear helmets when we drive our cars, better safe than sorry, right? For instance, instead of large trucks why not use wheel barrows and large work crews? I know, extreme examples but, you get my point. The other options that have been listed have some flaws. For instance, lights are best at night with minimal effect during the day and just don't have the same effect as an intermittent noise. Back up sensors, there is the initial cost that might be over come with time and mass implementation. The other issues with sensors is how do you know when they fail? Yes, there are ways but again money. As for backup cameras, there is an argument that one can only watch so many things. btw, who is willing to take up the collection to pay for these solutions?

    Yes, back up beepers are old school technology (ok, technology might be wrong word). You should see the planes I fly. Prop wash is annoying and potentially harmful but, the FAA doesn't require rearview mirrors or cameras. If the FAA starts requiring all the best bells and whistles versus the already expensive tried and true, I will never be able to afford a plane. slightly related, have you heard (pun intended) some of the noise complaints against airports? I am all for improvements on construction equipment and planes, just please consider my wallet, i have a flying addiction to pay for.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  29. NoBShere

    NoBShere Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Wait, I've got it! Construction sites staffed by a fully robotic workforce with human supervisors watching via satellite from a the local bar! Done and dusted! Once we get the AI perfected, the supervisors can be rif'd. This thread can be closed now, nothing more to add.
     
  30. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf En-Route

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    That already exists, at least for site prep. You can operate a CAT D11 from your home.
     
  31. NoBShere

    NoBShere Pre-takeoff checklist

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    with AI, no remote needed. get with the times already!
     
  32. weilke

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    You are taking a special case (several vehicles backing at the same time) and generalize it to an overall lack of merit of the tool.

    Your problem is a local permitting process that allows a non-emergency construction site to work extended hours. As for the indirect effects of lack of sleep you are postulating, do YOU have any studies or data to back that up ?
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  33. weilke

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    I believe there are many challenges to the use of backup sensors in a construction environment. First you would have dirt, but also the presence of non-human structures that could cause many nuisance alarms. Reversing cameras are great, the only problem is that they create 'head-down' time when the operator should be heads-up looking out of his windows. I have seen this so many times with SUV-idiots who back out of parking spaces glued to their screen but fail to see pedestrians walking down the row of cars. A driver that turns around or uses mirrors still has the benefits of peripheral vision.

    The white-noise for the backup alarm sounds interesting. Is there any data that it requires lower SPLs to create a warning effect rather than the beep ? Is there data that it doesn't carry as far beyond the confines of the construction site ? Warning lights have the same limitation as multiple beepers. If everything blinks orange, you get habituated to it. Maybe a laser projector that puts a red/green criss-cross pattern into the danger-area behind the machine could grab attention of those whose attention needs grabbing.

    I agree, there are probably ways to make the beeper system less obnoxious by
    A. varying the sound output based on ambient noise and
    B. use of more directed speakers to concentrate the sound on the area immediately behind the vehicle.
     
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  34. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    So much want !!
     
  35. LongRoadBob

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    Umm...you can't possibly be doubting that stress and lack of sleep contribute to accidents, so I must be misunderstanding. There are reports all over about that fact, I don't feel the need to look up to find out something that is accepted in health and elsewhere. Hell, it's even part of ground school.

    So I guess you mean that the noise produces stress, and contributes to sleeplessness?
    Would it suffice to point out that if (and we know it happens) you are woken early in the morning with the noise it has interrupted sleep,mand that there are studies that noises such as this produce stress?

    For folks making the case that if it bugs me, it is proof that workers don't get used to it, you miss the point that it can still stress folk out, but that doesn't mean it is wing noticed as a warning.

    I'm amazed though at the number of people entrenched in its use. Maybe one ought to watch and learn from Londons experiment?

    Just rematches the video and this time caught that he says it has been in use for TEN YEARS now (presumably in England or even just London) and it is the norm. It must be working as well, but they claim it works better. What is stopping us?
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  36. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If your construction noise was limited to reasonable daytime hours , 0730-1700 on weekdays only, there shouldn't be any issue with interrupted sleep. Again, your city allowing the companies to work extended hours with noise emitting equipment seems to be your main problem.


    Say, did you write the wikipedia entry for backup beepers ?
     
  37. LongRoadBob

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    Yeah...I thought too that backup sensors might not work because of what you mention.
    On the other hand, in some cases, you don't want the vehicle to run into stacks of material, etc,
    And beeping sure doesn't help with that.

    I think the white noise sounds interesting. I will ease up on posting so much here, but I just am experiencing real hell here and no end in sight. Makes me get a little ****ed off when folks out in he country decide this is just plain a ok. I know there has to be a better way that is better for people both worker safety but also folk outside of sites that have to be plagued by it.
     
  38. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Cleared for Takeoff

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    Heh...nope, just learned of some ideas there.

    Stress doesn't stop like a switch as soon as you remove the source. If that were the case you'd only have job stress while at work and no remnants or symptoms when home. Not how it works.
    Sleep, it's the extended hours, as you say, but wouldn't be a problem if it were just construction noises, other than the beeps. Waking up to it,meads or not, adds to the experience.

    The CIA or army in Afghanistan used to pipe in heavy metal as torture into containers holding detainees. Because their superiors decided beep beep beep backup noises would be cruel and unusual.

    Ok, I made the last part up. But they did pipe in metal music (and I think some pat Boone or something) but if they really wanted to get to them, backup noises, random (once a pattern is established one can somewhat ignore, the true genius of contruction site torture is it stops now and then...so you think "whew it's over" THEN starts again...over and over.
     
  39. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2016
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    1,373
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway

    Display name:
    Jacker
    He probably stole the idea from the stall warning horn. Bastard!!

    Or did he invent that too?

    Maybe that is part of my reaction to the thing, it sounds like a stall warning ALL the time!!

    I'm thinking of inventing a huge boxing glove on an extendable arm (think three stooges) that just punches anyone directly in back of the vehicle out of the way. For one thing, would work better, for another be a lot more fun watching them work, every time they back up huge boxing glove shooting out, back, out, back....

    Now can you guys see the effect this is having on me?
     
  40. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    14,674

    Display name:
    weilke
    I used to live in a ground-floor apartment in NYC, next door to a chinese restaurant. Each day, 4am there would be 'beep beep beep' of the garbage truck backing onto the sidewalk to collect the buffet the restaurant had left out for the rats that night.

    Now I live out in the boonies and the only noise at night is the owl on a neighboring parcel. There are some choices we can make in life.
     
    Grum.Man likes this.