Why YouTube Was Invented

By James Fallows

Ah, the Internet. Yesterday morning I made a throw-away comment about wondering whether hammers or explosives would work better for a preventive strike on leafblowers. A few hour later, a reader had put together a thoroughgoing strategic analysis about the ethics and practicality of such a move.

Now, via Tim Heffernan, evidence that, as always, YouTube is ahead of us. I love the go-to-the-source panache, plus the commitment to experimental science, displayed by this guy. If you see nothing else, skip to time 0:50 and start there.

If you prefer a less kinetic approach to the problem, I offer this not-all-that-useful guidance from Consumer Reports:

And here is a debunking of a "quiet" gas-powered blower:

The guy linked but not embedded here is in an (understandably) surly but NSFW mood. Thus no embedding. (I love the detail that he is cussing out the leafblower menace in front of his little toddler.) And if you would like a Zen-tranquility-style soft-sell approach to what I consider (and will argue some other time*) is the most pointless externalized nuisance American society now routinely tolerates, check out this little tone-poem:

*Again, the full thesis is for another time, but consider: Dogs have more social utility than leafblowers, but dog owners aren't allowed to leave their pets' droppings everywhere. Even cigars have a finer human history than leafblowers, but you can't smoke them where their odor might reach anyone else. Because of the nuisance to neighbors, I can't open up a liquor store, build a bonfire, run a chicken coop, burn tires, etc in my backyard. Airplanes and airports are noisy, but in almost all cases the airport was there before the neighbors moved in -- and each generation of planes and engines is quieter than its predecessor. Then there is the notable exception of the leafblower: a tool meant for agricultural/industrial use that made its noxious way into neighborhoods. I'll leave it on that sunny note for right now.

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