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EC exhibited its full endorsement of the CIRDI mission by rebudgeting travel money that was going unused in 2020 to underwrite initial CIRDI projects. Moreover, the CIRDI is applying to the AIP for a grant from their 2020– 2021 Diversity Action Fund. While specific projects are currently under development, the CIRDI intends to move rapidly so that the projects are implemented over the next year. These will be discussed in future essays from the CIRDI in Acoustics Today.
On behalf of the ASA, I thank Tyrone Power for his courageous leadership in establishing the ASA CIRDI.
Acoustical Society of America Policy on Acoustic Hailing Devices
Since June, people around the country, indeed around the world, have participated in gatherings to support movements related to Black Lives Matter. Unfortunately, it was once again reported that some law enforcement agencies employed very loud acoustic devices for crowd control. Generally, such devices are in the category of acoustic hailing devices (AHD) that were originally developed for the military to project sound across long distances. They are engineered to produce high-intensity sound levels that may have dangerous effects on hearing at short distances. Edward J. Walsh, chair of the ASA Panel on Public Policy (PoPP) contacted me and others in the ASA leadership in early June about the possibility of writing a policy statement for the ASA to share the idea that AHD systems were not appropriate for civilian crowd control.
An ASA policy statement is written for the general public to express our collective knowledge on important issues related to acoustics. Therefore, the EC votes to approve a draft policy based on background information, thorough discussion, and scrutiny of the language in drafts. Following this procedure, on July 10, 2020, the EC approved the Policy on Acoustic Hailing Devices ( The final recommendation is:
“Recognizing the need to employ emerging technologies responsibly, the ASA recommends suspension of AHD use by law enforcement agencies for crowd-control purposes pending installation of safeguards to ensure the safety of the public.”
How can the ASA make a positive difference to the public? Moving quickly, Walsh brought the AHD policy to the
AIP lobbyists. ASA is a member society in the AIP whose government relations staff brings science policies to Congress and other agencies. Walsh and Victor Sparrow, who chairs the ASA ad hoc Committee on Government Advocacy, met with the AIP staff. I attended that August 8, 2020, meeting where several next steps for publicizing the policy to other societies and organizations were planned. Surprisingly, the AIP noted a current opportunity to incorporate additional language into existing bills in Congress intended to reduce use of AHD systems at civilian gatherings. These several steps, including to pursue bills in Congress, were proposed as a motion to the EC on August 10, 2020, and approved. The ASA, through its committees and EC, is striving to apply acoustic knowledge to benefit the general public.
“Reflections” Series Launched in The Journal of the Acoustical Society
of America
KudostoASAEditorinChiefJamesLynchforlaunchingyet anotherinnovativefeatureofJASA,the“Reflections”series (see The objectives of “Reflections” are to highlight older JASA articles that have had worldwide impact, to showcase the diversity of acoustics, and to focus on articles published before 2000.
This concept was jointly created by Lynch and me in 2018 when I worked for ASA Publications to update their digital presence. In one project, I led a committee to determine a new logo and branding design for JASA. In addition, in discussing that JASA began with the founding of the ASA in 1929, we envisioned a new JASA feature to present historically significant articles, and this became “Reflections.”
“Reflections” then needed a proof-of-concept example. In my enthusiasm, I drafted a version that would exemplify our objective of worldwide impact. The choice of Dennis Klatt’s 1980 article to describe a new digital synthesizer was obvious to me (see article at Not only was it the foundation for how to make speech synthesis more intelligible, but it enabled development of voices with individual differences. Klatt patterned one voice after his own. “Perfect Paul” was subsequently used by Stephan Hawking to substitute for his own voice for over three decades (hear Perfect Paul at The full story and many examples of Klatt’s synthesizer are found in the first “Reflections” feature published July 2020 (page 1 is shown in Figure 2).
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