February 22, 2008

Noise pollution and the academic environment

What I think of the recently refurbished Raffles cafe in the Arts Faculty.
I like cafes. I like working in cafes. The Arts Faculty has what could be a great cafe, Raffles. In the past I would spend half an hour in there with a laptop, just giving e-learning advice and networking with other members of the faculty.

The recent refurbishment of Raffles is quite good. However, one feature renders it quite unuseable: a wide screen TV that cannot be turned off. I asked the staff if they could switch it off, or at least turn down the volume. They responded by saying that they aren’t allowed to. And so we have to put up with the constant drone of News 24 interrupting all other conversations and activities.

As I write this, there are 8 people in the cafe. One is reading and writing notes. One person seems to be writing an essay on a laptop. One person is reading a journal. Three people are discussing their research. Each of them seems to be occasionally disturbed by the TV.

And now thanks to the marvel that is the blog audio recorder, you too can experience what is considered to be an audio environment suitable for a world-class academic institution. Also note the constant hum of a very loud refrigerator.

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