Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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a measure of the annoyingness of a sound
  [vote for,

The decibel is a measure of the intensity of a sound. Its use is to measure the effect of a sound on the human auditory system. Decibel levels of 130 or higher have been found to cause damage to the ear. Most laws concerning excessive noise are based on decibel level.

The VEXIBEL is a measure of the annoyingness of a sound. The Vexibel unit recognizes that even non-deafening sounds can cause physical and mental damage, such as increased stress, higher blood pressure, inability to concentrate, and general anger. All of these effects are bad for society.

The number of vexibels does depend on the number of decibels, but also on the repetitivity, anticipation, shrillness, and necessity of the sound.

Repetitivity. Even a low-intensity sound, such as a car alarm in the distance, can be aggravating, since it repeats over and over again. Snoring is another example. Ever hear a bird in your backyard singing the same song over and over again for hours? I *love* birds, but I realize that that can drive you crazy!

Anticipation. Part of why car alarms are so aggravating is that you *know* all of the 8 different sounds that they are going to perform, but you still have to wait until they get through with all of them. Similarly, with snoring, you keep waiting until the next snore, and you know it is coming.

Shrillness. High-pitched sounds are often the hardest to ignore.

Necessity. Ambulance sirens are very distracting, but annoyance is tempered by the fact that they are necessary to save lives and help people. Necessity lowers the annoyance of a sound.

The vexibel scale will be developed through the use of surveys of a large cross section of people. The people will be subjected to different noises for hours (poor volunteers; at least they will be highly compensated), and asked to describe how annoying the sound is, and what exactly made it annoying.

After initial surveying, a vexibel meter will be constructed. Similar to a decibel meter, but it will also notice repetitivity and other characteristics of a sound, besides loudness.

Vexibels will be scaled so as to work on the same scale as decibels. That is, 30 is the threshhold of annoyingness, 130 will be the "threshhold of anger", and so on.

Thank you.

phundug, May 21 2003

Eeeeeeaaaaiiiiieeeeeee http://www.jackgrac...zes/jaws/1quint.jpg
The chills are alive with the sound of chalkboard [thumbwax, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Whee Shocks http://members.shaw...ages/wheeshocks.htm
Rated at about 127 vB after two applications. [Cedar Park, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

vexibles. http://www.ecogreec...etables-2526646.jpg
[Amos Kito, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Victor Auxetophone http://members.aol....quephono/auxeto.htm
Cut a 78 RPM record of the most annoying sounds and play it on this. [Amishman35, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]


       Excellent. +
sambwiches, May 21 2003

       Too subjective to be useful, I think.
waugsqueke, May 21 2003

       Croissant from me, but it misses an important aspect I think. I find that one of the most annoying things about an annoying sound is not necessarily the sound itself but the attitude of the person creating it, if applicable. For instance, someone eating with their mouth open and making lots of noise - I don't find the noise itself that annoying, but I just think "Why, why, FUCKING WHY!! do you have to eat that way you fucking gibbon? Sometimes I'd just like to...". Ahem.
sild, May 21 2003

       my quiet "tutting" used to drive my ex. to distraction.
po, May 21 2003

       Although nails on the chalkboard never bothered me (I am one of those jerks), a few other object combinations do raise the vexibel level pretty high for me. Particularly, fingernails scratching across a vinyl record (for you young-folk, they look like CD's, but have little grooves running in a sprial on both sides). Another one is the sound of Velcro(r) being torn apart.
latka, May 21 2003

       People who incessantly pop bubble gum. High on the vexibels, that...
saker, May 21 2003

       ... or small children who have just learn't a word for the first time. (Except if a naughty uncle teaches them rude words, then its just funny.) So maybe the vexible index has some sort of correlation to the number of times a sound is repeated.
JellyHead, May 21 2003

FloridaManatee, May 21 2003

       The vexibility of sounds can shift as one grows accustomed to them. I was at the ocean shore on vacation. The first night, the waves kept me awake. After that, no problem.
When I got home, I couldn't sleep due to the complete lack of sound. It was a high Vexibel silence.
Amos Kito, May 21 2003

       Everyone could list off their vexing sounds. But that's my point. Sounds that annoy me might not annoy someone else, and vice versa. (Like Amos, I find lack of sound at night can make it hard to sleep.)   

       So there's no way you could come up with any kind of useful scale that will work with most people.
waugsqueke, May 21 2003

       After measuring how annoying it is then you find out where it's coming from and shut it up.
sartep, May 21 2003

       Of course no sound would be agreed on by *everyone*, but just as with any issue in America, the majority would get their way, and even some significant minorities would be accommodated by the resulting legislation.
phundug, May 21 2003


       You know how people have these little habits That get you down. Like Bernie. Bernie liked to chew gum. No, not chew. POP.   

       Well, I came home this one day And I am really irritated, and looking for a little sympathy and there'e Bernie layin' on the couch, drinkin' a beer and chewin'. No, not chewin'. Poppin'. So, I said to him, I said, "Bernie, you pop that gum one more time..."   

       and he did.   

       So I took the shotgun off the wall and I fired two warning shots...   

       ...into his head.   

ato_de, May 22 2003

       brilliant......... +1 the us military have a non-lethal immobilising weapon. basicly they created the perfect psychologically numbing sound based on a babies scream. aparently the brain is so wired to the sound of a baby if played loud enough it can make a person loose balance and even vision.
venomx, May 22 2003


       Bond....................... James Bond.   


       how annoying is that?   

       the fact phundug thought of anticipation as a major factor in a vexibel calculation leads me to endorse this particular measurement.   

       waiting for a sound you know is going to happen is the most annoying thing.   

ashsimmonds, May 22 2003

       All them dots seem to have chuffed the page. Try a line break or less dots please.
MikeOliver, May 22 2003




Please break up the dots.

       High-vexibel space.

Oh shoot. It was unnecessary.
galukalock, May 24 2003

       That's more like a homocidal rage.
Detly, Mar 16 2004

       Absolutely superb - I hereby add my croissant
blindingphil, Mar 16 2004

       Croissant just for the name :D
squigbobble, Sep 01 2005


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