Jul 27, 2023Liked by Chris Worsham

As someone who grew up in the Midwest and has been around cicadas my entire life, I can't help but wonder if it's not the decibel level that causes sleep interruption but the cadence, rhythm of the sound? Unlike the intermittent beep of a smoke detector with a dead battery, the sound of the cicada has more of a gradual pulse sound?

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Yes it's definitely a different sound, which unlike a smoke detector, is not specifically designed to get our attention. I agree there's going to be a different response to someone like you who might be accustomed to the sound. I grew up in the DC area and remember when Brood X emerged and it felt biblical--just akin to nothing I had ever experienced before--but I can't remember if it woke me up. We might have been able to get a better sense if we had the data to really localize the most dramatic of emergences (e.g. specific areas with the trees they prefer) but we couldn't get that granular.

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Thank you for this fascinating write up. The non-result is often just as interesting as the affirmative finding. Well done.

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I can also imagine that if it's a sound someone grew up with, it's less likely to disturb them. I, for one, having grown up in the subtropics (Hong Kong), can sleep through any decibel of monotonous nature/traffic sounds. It could be interesting to look at a subpopulation that moved recently?

Tangentially, what about looking at people based on how high they live in their apartment, in urban areas? Higher off the floor= less sounds, despite living in the same area, right?

Income/economic status is a confounder that jumps out to me, as higher apartments seem to be more expensive for that precise reason, but it could be interesting to put that together with the seasonality of cicadas?

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"We all miss out on sleep that we know we should be getting"


Being retired, I don't have that issue. I sleep whenever I want! And it definitely feels good to be able to do so.

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