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DECEMBER 7, 2011
What drives you nuts?

Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us

AnnoyingJoe Palca & Flora Lichtman, contributors to NPR’s Science Friday radio show, explore “the science of what bugs us” in their book, Annoying. The authors delve into common annoyances such the cell phone yell and fingernails on the chalkboard, along with annoying odors (think skunks!), sounds (think sirens), and more. What is it about a skunk smell that annoys us? What is it about sirens that catch our attention? There are metropolitan areas where people no longer hear an approaching siren: cars are more soundproofed, pedestrians are using headphones. This unsafe situation has led to the development of even more annoying – and harder to ignore – sirens. What makes certain sounds more annoying than others? What makes certain odors more annoying? The authors explore this fascinating area that crosses multiple disciplines, including physics, biology, psychology, and art. A captivating read!

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posted by Polly, Columbine Library


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