NPF: OH, THE PLACES YOU'LL GO

Posted in No Politics Friday on May 24th, 2013 by Ed

I'm in a severely foul (hockey-related) mood as the Blackhawks continue to make a middling Red Wings team look like the 1977 Montreal Canadiens. Fortunately today was scheduled for Link Salad composed of a couple of strange places and something interesting to gawk at.

1. Do you enjoy peace and quiet? Then you'll love the quietest place on Earth, the anechoic chamber at Orfield Labs in Minneapolis. It wrested the title from the AT&T-Bell Labs "Quiet Room" in New Jersey, which was the site of many interesting tests and developments over the years. The Orfield room eliminates more than 99% of external sound, somehow producing a negative decibel rating (which I didn't know was possible) compared to the average "quiet room" with about 30 dB of background noise.

Surely this sounds pretty good to you lovers of peace and quiet. Well, it's unpleasant; the longest anyone has been able to tolerate sitting in it is 45 minutes. It is so quiet that it causes people to hallucinate. Although obviously the effect of being in the room cannot be conveyed in a video, this short clip about Orfield is interesting nonetheless.

2. Have you ever wondered what is the worst restaurant in the world? Well why not? Surely the quest to find it would be at least as interesting, if not as pleasant, as finding the best one. Vice has a nominee for this award, and it's in Los Angeles. Yes, I know. Vice is written by dicks, for dicks. No, the writer is not exactly sensitive to the plight of the homeless. But you have to admit, even if you find the author smug and condescending, that you won't be dining here anytime soon.

3. Here's an interesting little project by an artist depicting historical figures in various paintings in modern dress. Shakespeare looks pretty intimidating in most of the surviving depictions; it's interesting to think that if he was alive today he would probably look like an English graduate student. That is, like a hobo.