Sunday, December 17, 2006


In the area of chip design, the word noise takes an entirely different meaning. In communication technology, they try to extract whatever feeble signal they can out of noise. The technology has so much advanced that they can enhance the real signal which can be orders of magnitude weaker than the useless noise with which it has got mixed.

As I started off, noise in chip design world is entirely different matter. It is called cross-talk noise. If two wires are running parallel for a very long distance (read: a few tens of micrometers) at a very close distance (read: a fraction of a micrometer) then the voltage on one line can influence that on its neighbour. In most of the cases this neighbourly affection may become the cause of malfuncion of the underlying circuit. Of course, there are various ways of solving the problem (each one of these need to be handled separately and fixed).

But the point of this particular post is not to teach the reader some esoteric concepts in the area of chip design, but to mention the following paragraph from RK Narayan's exceptional non-fiction work (that appeared in the Hindu as a regular column long time ago)

It goes like this:
This age will probably be known as the noisiest in human history. We create a lot of noise not only to show that we are happy, festive mood, to canvass votes, to advertise a commodity or a point of view, but also for its own sake. Noise is the greatest bane of modern life. Every moment of our existence we are being distracted by it, necessary noise, unnecessary noise, purposeful noise, and the purposeless, enough to fray our nerves and madden us. If the average Indian's life it only twenty-six, we have only ourselves to blame for it. The noise in and around us is wearing us out at a terrific pace.


I sometimes feel that God, who constructed the human body with so much forethought and solicitude, seems to have become weary when he came to the ears, and left them as the most vulnerable portion of a human being. The result is that we spend all our hours hankering after something that we cannot attain, namely Silence.

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