Those of you that have been faithfully following along (and shame on you if you haven’t!) know that my family is building a home in Southern Mississippi, out of junk, rubbish, flotsam, jetsam, and even some old garbage. Yes, we are!
At least, that’s what the neighbors are saying…
The reality is that my family is one of those that got caught between the “fine lines of insurance litigation,” and we have to find our own way through the “we don’t have a house anymore” maze, seemingly without any real assistance, after Hurricane Katrina ate our old house!
So, we’re building an “alternative” home. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s an “extra” one, or that there will be punk rock music screaming out of it at all hours while Ronin and scantily clad girls gyrate on the front lawn…
Well, you got me! Okay, maybe some times, if I have anything to say about it!… Now I’m not advocating “contributing to the delinquency of a Minor” or anything…” We’ll check ID’s carefully! LOL!
We’re building a home out of shipping containers and recycled steel that we reclaimed from old aircraft hangars.
Part of our “quest” is to find bold new ways to power this solid steel beast, so that we can kick the utilities guys off the property, never to be seen again. Why? Because we don’t like getting “held for ransom” every month by rapidly rising power costs, that’s why.
Because of this, we’re looking at ways to generate electricity in a manner that will allow us to live normal (well… maybe not “normal”) lives, without worrying about whether we remembered to pay the power bill.
For instance, we’re going to install photovoltaic panels, and then use an inverter and a battery bank to move the power around. Hey! The technology is “off-the-shelf” now, and it’s easy to understand, and deploy, even by a nitwit like moi!
And, we’re even thinking about building a small-scale wind turbine to generate power on windy days (mostly, my wife claims, when I’m out in the yard yelling at the damned neighbors to get their pooping dogs off my lawn… LOL!) to help charge the batteries up. But I’ll admit it’s a little bit harder to figure out how it works! So, I had to sharpen my crayons, after I wrestled them away from Joshua!
In fact, I’m not even sure what a death ray would look like.
Oh yeah… It’d look just like that… But it’s not like I’m actually planning, or anything! I’m way past that stage… LOL!
But, there is trouble among us, folks.
There are opponents to wind power out there who claim that wind turbines will drive you crazy! I’m not kidding!
At least, that’s what some people are claiming! Believe it or not, there are some opponents to “wind power” who are actually making the claim that the low-resonance hum (“infrasound”) produced by wind turbines is capable of making you physically ill.
Now, I have heard everything! What a bunch of rubes!
This goes way beyond “I don’t want to look at your stupid wind turbine in my neighborhood!” It’s pandering to the implied threat that wind turbines can harm you. I guess they figured that just not wanting “your damned wind turbine eyesore” to affect their property values, they’re trying to validate the opposition to it, for “the good of public health!”
Now, none of the “offered findings” were supported by evidence, nor explanation given to substantiate any of their wild claims. I’d speculate they extrapolated a scenario where a person purchased and installed a personal windmill in a location around their house, and then the poor bastard started getting headaches. Probably from the nagging of his busybody neighbors…. I suspect…
Using that same logic, I could declare that Wind Power Generation doesn’t even work because I installed my wind turbine in a place where there was very little wind – and failed to generate any power. After all, that’s a “version of the truth” too, isn’t it?
So, let’s take them off at the knees, shall we? Hmmm?
Okay, first off… “Infrasound” is sound with a frequency too low to be heard by the human ear – in general it is bass waves with a frequency below 20 Hz to 22 kHz. I’m not even sure that dogs can hear it!
If you’re a vet (and I’m not talking “War Vet” here) drop me a note and clue me in as to whether or not a dog’s hearing range includes that frequency wavelength, okay?
Folks, “infrasound” is literally all around us, already. We live in an environment of naturally occurring infrasound — everything from waves, wind, earthquakes, surf, waterfalls, hurricanes, thunderstorms creates “infrasound,” and this includes ANYTHING that produces a naturally occurring slow oscillation of the air. So naturally, we get exposed to infrasound all the time.
But I have yet to see anybody falling down “crazy” because of it. I figure anyone who found themselves in this predicament was pretty much “crazy” to begin with!
And let’s not forget that there is a whole lot of human generated infrasound – from slow speed fans to engines, cars, buses, trains, airplanes, explosions, machinery, and my personal favorite, Harleys!
What? It’s “GREEN.” It IS too! And blue. I love blue…
Now, these “whining people of questionable intelligence” claim that wind power generated “infrasound” is actually a health problem for people living near modern wind turbines. They also claim that it will “unseat a normal person, and make them crazy, with enough exposure to it.”
All I can say is that I’d love to see the evidence! From what I can tell (and I have searched like “a deranged diner looking for more Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie!“) this is not supported by any facts I can find.
If, for no other reason than these stupid statements (offered up into the public record by people lacking any kind of credentials) discouraging people to purchase and install windmills, I’d say small personal windmills are simply a serious threat to the energy companies monopolistic hold on your reproductive anatomy… um… er… wallet.
From the studies I’ve seen (and I’ve about Google’d myself to death over this one) , there is general agreement among (learned and degree’d) Acousticians that infrasound from wind turbines isn’t even a problem.
(There is a turbine noise issue to which we do need to pay attention, but inaudible noise making your body parts vibrate is NOT it. Turbines vibrate, and that vibration transmits through anything attached to it, like the tower, for instance. Thus, turbines make “noise.” That’s why we put them way up in the air, away from our ears. Plus, it puts the windmill in the most efficient “airflow” zone. Duh!)
Yet these miscreants continue to exploit the blurry connection between wind turbine infrasound and the risk to our seemingly fragile human health. Their argument is based on the concept that these alleged high levels of low frequency (sounds like an oxymoron, huh?) noise excite the body to vibrate (most notably in the chest) and that profoundly deaf humans perceive noise through vibrations in their bodies.
One study I read put it this way: “But the thinking is circular to claim that wind turbines generate inaudible infrasound that can be felt but not heard and that this infrasound vibrates the chest with dire health risks.”
To begin with (unless you’re a dog, possibly), the noise frequency levels that produce these body vibrations are well above the hearing threshold. You would hear the explosion on TV, the car crash across the street, or the bar noise and band speakers cranked to maximum loudness (as well as feel them) unless you were already deaf. So the idea that unperceived wind turbine infrasound is pounding your body and making you sick – is just another one of those “we don’t want wind turbines” myths.
It’s just more “boo-hoo, you’re trying to deflate my stock value” or “not in my backyard, because I’m an ignorant, nosy bastard!” psycho-babble.
On the other hand, like I said, there is a “problem noise” that come from wind turbines. It’s the fluctuating swishing sound of the blades passing the tower. Compounding that is the “gear noise” created by the shaft drives that actually transmit the movement of the blades into power, as it passes along the turbine motor.
And, this noise DOES irritate some people who are highly sensitive to fluctuating sound. Audio Engineers call this sound LWP – “Long Wave Propagation,” and it’s a tone that is a resonance frequency undetectable by the human ear. The sound is only apparent when the harmonics of the 14 rpm rotation of the turbines comes into contact with buildings farther then 1/4 mile from each turbine. And within a mile, LWP dissipates to nothing. Zero.
So, there is a noise that is heard at a distance from each Wind Turbine that is inaudible standing beside the large machines. I, Ronin (seer of all, and all powerful swami of swampgas) predict that as Wind Generation gains popularity, it means that some engineer is going to make a bundle of cash devising and deploying some kind of Noise Canceling technology, to mitigate the sub-audio hum.
I can see it now… Noise Canceling headphones big enough to fit “Lilliput invaders,” clamped firmly to the wind turbine bodies! LOL! Paying attention, BOSE?
But, unless you live next door to a wind generation farm, I seriously doubt you’ll be able to hear it, coming from a single wind turbine mounted up in the air, charging your battery packs.
I’ve been around a LOT of wind turbines, and part of the maintenance includes making sure that they are adjusted and aligned to work the most efficiently, and that includes making doubly sure that the revolving blade mechanism is well lubricated. The blades will “cut” through the air (but again, they’re way up there and you’re standing on the ground, unless decapitation is your idea of a fun way to spend your weekend).
If you really want to entertain this discussion competently, the actual problem is that wind energy nay-sayers use acoustic terms like “infrasound” without knowing what they actually mean. It’s a condition that is typical of whiny bastards. They’ll tell any idiot that would listen to them that “infrasound is a health problem for all people living anywhere near an operating wind turbine.” And those “poor people” are going to be portrayed as “helpless victims, unable to actually hear the infrasound,” but you can rest assured that “they can all feel it and that puts their families collective health at risk.”
“These insensitive “Wind Turbine Bastards” must be stopped at all costs, before they kill us all!
Oh… Come on, now. Get a grip. Start with one on REALITY…
The way I see it, what needs to be clearly defined is the difference between Personal, and Commercial Wind Power Generation. Personal wind generation turbines make a very slight impact on the surroundings. One of the reasons for that, is the nature of their installation…
The people installing these “personal” wind generators usually have a decent amount of property, and thus, impact, both visual and audible, is kept to a bare minimum.
While it’s possible that in some bizarre set of circumstances the turbine swish noise might be problematic for some people, I’d wait until those “victims” actually appear to pay attention to this “twisting of the facts to serve stockholders.”
If people in an area where wind turbines are being used start claiming that the blade swish sound is affecting them negatively – be skeptical. I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that it’s gonna turn out to be people looking for “free money” by litigating against a big corporation, in the hopes that they’ll cave and settle out of court.
I can only presume noise varies with the wind turbine type and location. I lived next to a CA windfarm…
And I mean directly next to, as I lived in a tent during “combat training” exercises (on and off again for years) and I experienced less “wind turbine” noise than produced by the grazing cows, horses, goats, and sheep. In fact, the wind whistling through the canyons made more noise than the turbines overhead. I hope no-one’s saying ‘all wind farms are noisy’, because my personal experience proves otherwise.
Intermittent sound fluctuation really only affects some very, very sensitive people – certainly not “everyone.” How many of these “sensitive people” are there lurking about, waiting to scuttle your plans to harness the wind to get power? Studies put the number at 1 in 500,000. So, while it is a real problem – it’s just not a really pervasive one.
Wind Power is GOOD.
Whiny, lie spouting, “the sky is falling” Bastards are NOT good.
Why? Because Ronin says so, that’s why.
Now, I know that after reading all this, you think old Ronin is a genius, but I tell you it ain’t true. I don’t even live in a lamp… LOL!