I mentioned over the weekend that I hate noisy leaf blowers but love noisy float planes. I offered my own rationale for the double standard, but I am heartened by confirming testimony from someone who lives under a major float plane flight pattern. Ron Russell, of the Seattle area, writes:

Our house overlooks Kenmore Air Harbor at the north tip of Lake Washington. We keep a sailboat in the marina right next to them, and we're out rowing single sculls several mornings a week as they take off and land around us.

I probably hear as many floatplanes as anyone who doesn't fly them for a living. And no, they don't bother me. The sound of Beavers and Otters taking off in the bright mornings kind of defines summer here. Compared to motorcycles, trucks, loud parties, or other semi-urban annoyances, it's music.

While I'm at it, and still in the "devices that make noise and fly"* category, via reader TC, a Twitter-picture feed from astronaut Douglas Wheelock, who is at this moment in space. The pictures are here, and the mission web site is here. Below, a picture of the Aurora as seen from space.

Aurora.JPG

Bonus: After the jump, the sad truth about limiting leaf blowers, from an urban planning professor. (*And, yes, I realize that spacecraft make noise when they're taking off, not while they're in orbit.)

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From an urban planning professor at a major university, on the anti-leafblower struggle:

When you are King you should ban leaf blowers. You will need the monarchy to enforce the ban, however, as many cities already restrict or outlaw their use. (See this post from the LA Times for an example. )

Also in Los Angeles, the city attempted to require catalytic converters on the machines in the early 2000s. But as with hybrid taxis in NYC, there are problems with cities enacting anti-pollution legislation. One of the problems was the opposition of US Senator Kit Bond of Missouri, who happens to represent the state where Briggs & Stratton Corp. makes (or at least made) the little, obnoxious and awful two-stroke engines that power the blowers. Details of his opposition here.