Blowin’ in the Wind

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The Leaf-Blower Man and America's contempt for public spaces

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE O n Sundays, I get up early to hear the word. On Saturdays, I get up early to hear the leaf blower.

Traffic noise or that of a vacuum cleaner typically runs around 70 decibels. A loud alarm clock is about 80 decibels. A leaf blower, by way of comparison, punishes those nearby with about 115 decibels, midway between the noise of a car horn (110 decibels) and a jetliner taking off (120 decibels). I do not usually sleep very late, but I do not get up as early as Hortulanus americanus. The Leaf-Blower Man and his colleagues work from dawn to


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