Tuesday, December 18, 2012

More data

More data---such as paying attention to the eye colors of the people around when crossing the street---can make you miss the big truck.

Nissim Taleb, Antifragile.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Would you make your child inhale gasoline fumes?

Nobody would dream of sitting children down to expose them to gasoline fumes for two hours in an enclosed space. But people---even schools---think nothing of exposing children to dangerously high volumes of music. Today I attended a school outing as a volunteer child-self-destruction-preventer for my son's school at Friedrichstadtpalast in Berlin. Quite apart from the sheer mediocrity of the music and the show itself, which I can live with, I was literally blown away by the volume of the sound the children were inflicted with.

What is going on? Are there even any laws in Germany about how much noise children can be exposed to? I know that there are laws about how much space a child may occupy in a school; what about how much noise a child may endure without damaging their hearing?

The general level of insanity regarding music has steadily been rising since I arrived Germany in 2002. In trains, people play music so loudly through their earphones that I have to carry noise blocking headphones (these are used for gun practice in the US) to be able to work in silence. In gyms people listen to music on headphones (and the gym plays loud music over speakers on top of that!);  it's not possible to exercise in silence any more.

It's hard to care about grown up people; let them deafen themselves if they like. Buy why are children being forced into going deaf early? Surely they should be a given a chance to retain their hearing?

Today was the last time that my son has been dragged to a "show" by the school.  Never again.