The truth about America’s quietest town


This loss of radio silence coincides with Inaudible quietIn 2000, the Director of the National Park Service passed an decree on “Soundscape Protection and Noise Management”, requiring parks to record and work hard to protect natural sounds. The directive expired in 2004. Three years later, when the iPhone debuted, science According to reports, man-made noise pollution is “ubiquitous” in protected areas in the United States. Acoustic ecologist Gordon Hampton believes that there are still more than a dozen places in the United States where a person cannot hear man-made sounds for 15 minutes. Even more annoying is that this noise has been shown to increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes and even cancer. At the same time, the increased radio noise has also had a fatal impact. Massive use of smartphones is associated with depression, anxiety, lack of sleep, teenage suicide, and unexpected motor vehicle accidents.

If you can’t drive and send text messages at the same time, won’t it reduce the number of accidents and deaths? If we live in a place with no continuous connection, would all of us sleep better? If we are not always online, will our lives be richer, and will our communities be stronger? If all these benefits of a less digitized life are real, aren’t green banks and the surrounding quiet areas a kind of utopia?

These questions led me into the Appalachian Mountains, over the snowy mountain trails, along steep bends, into the rugged and remote areas of Daniel Boone and Stonewall Jackson, to the center of the National Broadcasting Quiet Zone, looking for a replacement for us. Obsession with technology, phone-addiction, attention hijacking, Scroll of Doom society. When I first arrived in 2017, the observatory received about 30 media visitors each year and regularly published articles about the so-called quietest town in the United States. In busy days, three camera crews huddled on the Robert C. Bird Greenbank telescope, all vying for shots of the most endangered thing: quiet.

In my initial Visited the Green Bank with Jenna. In the next three years, I came back about a dozen times and had a series of long stays. The frequent appearances caused people to ask me if I had moved there permanently. I joined a book club, helped build a house, looked for ramps, and went on target shooting with a 7-year-old kid. I often go to a small country church where the “register of attendance and dedication” on the wall has never been updated; it always says that there are 11 attendees and a tithe of $79, which helps people feel that time stands still , Was sucked into a quieter dimension.

This is also a contradiction.Soon after I patrolled with Chuck Niday, CNN’s medical reporter Sanjay Gupta drove into Green Bank to watch an episode vital signs“National Radio Quiet Zone,” Gupta said to the camera, “This means no cell phone service, no Wi-Fi, no radio. It’s just really quiet.” Followed by Katie Couric (Katie Couric) visited the National Geographic series. “Green Bank is a town where technology is almost completely banned,” she said in a bright voice-over when the series was broadcast, and later thought, “People here seem to be happy to abide by land laws.”

Even the highest-ranking officials in the state participated in this silent hype. Senator Joe Manchin wrote in a 2018 column: “No one within a 20-mile radius of the facility can have any equipment that emits significant amounts of electromagnetic radiation.” “This includes WiFi routers, mobile phones, Even microwave ovens. However, these faithful West Virginians sacrificed all these luxuries for the advancement of science.”

Teresa Mullen rolled her eyes at the language. Residents of Green Bank and high school teachers have a microwave oven. She has a smart phone. She has wireless network. She knows where to get a cell phone signal. “It’s not like we live a bohemian lifestyle,” she told me. This is not a secret. A house across the street from the observatory has Wi-Fi, and the network name is “Screw you NRAO”, which is an unambiguous middle finger for the observatory’s request for quietness. Green Bank’s health clinic has Wi-Fi. The same is true for senior centers. “We shouldn’t do this,” said John Simmons, the county’s senior project director and former county commissioner, “but I think everything about noise levels is fabricated.”

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