10 things about the vuvuzela

police academyWhen we found this short article we were so excited, having hunted for over a year for this, discovering it on this blog was an thrilling day for yours truly.

The Vuvuzela has become the unofficial symbol of the 2010 World Cup – and seems to be loved and hated in equal measure.
Here are 10 things you might not know about the tuneless horn.
So what exactly is a vuvuzela? It is plastic horn, brightly coloured, and seen in abundance at sporting events in South Africa. The first vuvuzelas seen at sporting events in the early 90s were made from a sheet of metal. A standard vuvuzela is 65cm long but some can be up to a metre long.

Where do they originate? No-one really knows. The most commonly-held belief is that it is related to the kudu horn that was blown to summon African villagers to meetings.
However, earlier this year, the Nazareth Baptist Church claimed the vuvuzela as its own – used by its members on pilgrimages – and threatened legal action to stop them being used at the World Cup.
What does “vuvuzela” mean? Again, it appears to be a matter of debate. Some think it comes from the Zulu word for “making noise”. Others say it is township slang for “shower” because it “showers people with music”. Many believe it means “pump up”.

How did it end up as a fixture of the football stadium? The Nazarath Baptist Church says it “lost” the vuvuzela back in the 1990s when a supporter of South Africa’s biggest football team visited the church. Unable to take the long metal trumpet inside the football grounds, he re-modelled it in plastic.

Vuvuzela-makers say they began to mass-produce the instrument in plastic when the original tin version began to make appearances at games during the 1990s.

So describe the sound? The typical pitch of a vuvuzela is said to be B flat below middle C.
On its own, it has been compared unflatteringly to an elephant passing wind. When there is a football terrace full of the instruments, the sound has been likened to a swarm of angry wasps.
Annoying possibly, but harmful? Recent tests found noise levels from a vuvuzela, at full volume and when pressed against your ear, equates to 127 decibels.

This is louder than a drum at 122 decibels, a chainsaw at 100 decibels and a referee’s whistle at 121.8 decibels.
The Hear the World Foundation – set up by Swiss hearing products group Phonax to raise awareness about hearing loss – has warned that extended exposure to such noise risks permanent hearing loss.
They have been urging fans to use protection, such as ear plugs and ear muffs.
Some South African shopkeepers say they have run out of ear plugs called Vuvu-Stops.

Neil van Schalkwyk of Masincedane Sport – a vuvuzela-maker – says his firm has now produced an instrument that is 20 decibels lower than the older version.
Any other health issues? Well, a London doctor is warning that the vuvuzela could also spread colds and flu germs.
Dr Ruth McNerney, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told The Associated Press that the instrument has the potential to infect those seated near a person blowing a vuvuzela because a “lot of breath goes through” it.

She said a recent study found that aerosols, tiny droplets which can carry flu and cold germs, were formed at the bottom of a vuvuzela after people had blown into them.
Those particles are small enough to stay suspended in the air for hours, and can enter into the airways of a person’s lungs, Dr McNerney said.
So what are people saying about the vuvuzela? Several players complained about the vuvuzela when they were first heard during the Confederations Cup last year, a World Cup dress rehearsal.

Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk has banned them from his team’s training sessions, and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo admitted this week: “It is difficult for anyone on the pitch to concentrate.”
Even some fans watching matches on their television have reported having to put the sound on mute to escape the cacophany.
Surely some people other than South Africans must like them? Yes. They’ve had a ringing endorsement from Fifa President Sepp Blatter who says they will not be banned.

He said on Twitter that “Africa has a different rhythm, a different sound” and it is an important tradition among South African fans that should be celebrated.
England player Jamie Carragher says he will be taking some vuvuzelas home with him. “My kids have been on the phone and they want two. I’ve got two in my bag already”.
Has the controversy affected sales? On the contrary. Neil van Schalkwyk says his firm has sold 1.5m vuvuzelas in Europe since October and expects sales of up to 20 million rand ($2.6m; £1.7m) over the course of the tournament.

Brandon Bernardo of the vuvuzela.co.za website told Reuters news agency they could churn out at least 10,000 instruments a day. “We’re completely sold out,” he said.
Furthermore, a Dutch designer firm has released a Vuvuzela 2010 app. According to its website, they have had 750,000 downloads of the application.
Even without the World Cup, South Africa’s vuvuzela industry is said to be worth around 50 million rand ($6.45m; £4.4m).


Building Relationships: How Radios Make Construction Work Easier

headset vs surround soundWith a huge amount of information around the web about earpiece’s it’s hard to discover the top and most honest articles. here’s an article from a good website that i believe as factual, do not quote me on it but please read and enjoy

Instant communication is of vital importance to construction workers the world over. Radios are part of the lifeblood of the construction industry. It is not an understatement to call the use of two-way radio systems vital to the wellbeing of the industry, not only in the interests of communication and efficiency, but also for safety.

Busy construction sites are actually one of the more challenging areas for radio networks to navigate. Building sites present numerous challenges for two-way radio networks, such as background noise, signal coverage, ground to crane communications, security issues and subcontractors requiring access to the system.

In addition, the hardware itself needs to be solid and durable. A construction-site radio should able to endure harsh weather, heavy impacts (such as being dropped) and possible exposure to water, paint, adhesives and sawdust, without adversely affecting performance. That’s quite a tall order, but the radios are up to it.

David Ashfield is an experienced British I.T consultant who has worked on numerous sites throughout the country as a subcontractor. He very kindly spoke to us about his experiences with construction site radio systems.

“When I was on site, I usually had two walkie-talkies at any given time” he said, “the company I was working for had its own set and the site contractors had theirs. We used our own set to communicate with our own team, mainly to clear the traffic on the main network. However, our team needed access to the main network as well. While I was working on software, for example, I needed to stay in constant contact with the electricians.”

Mr. Ashfield said that, during his most recent site job, 5 different teams of subcontractors shared the same network. A main office switchboard connected the teams. Trained professionals operated the switchboard, filling yet another pivotal role in any major construction job.

Safety was of paramount importance at all times, he said. The secure channel was used for emergencies only. It was mainly employed to inform the teams of impending safety tests and fire drills.

Construction sites are put up swiftly and efficiently and, over time, buildings are born from them. These impressive efforts are achieved by the talented teams of engineers, architects, electricians, builders and, of course, people like Mr. Ashfield, who go in every day and work together to create new and interesting spaces.

However, these achievements would be far more difficult if it wasn’t for the two-way radios they constantly employ.