alas, it's getting harder to tell the signal from the noise these days.
in acoustics, there's this thing called sound masking.
basically, speakers linked to a digital noise machine pump broadband noise into spaces like offices to mask other, often unwanted sounds, similar to how perfumes are used to mask odious smells.
a psychoacoustic effect tricks our brain into thinking these spaces are more quiet, even though there is sound all around us.
when the sound masking is turned off, the effect is very jarring. Our ears pay attention to every intruding noise, which causes us to feel rather agitated.
sound masking blurs the barrier between quietude and silence, sound and noise.
the internet sound masking has been turned off, and in our nostalgia, we long for the scrambled vastness of an ersatz quietude.