The progress of research on the Worldwide Hum is agonizingly slow, yet we have made significant inroads into serious media with our efforts to normalize the phenomenon and increase awareness. I am greatly dismayed to see yet another article, this time in Newsweek, claiming the “Earth’s Hum” has been solved. You can read the article here: http://www.newsweek.com/earth-hum-sound-record-742075
This is interesting research, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the Worldwide Hum. The reporter, who has a Masters degree from Oxford in Medical Anthropology, should know better. But because of lazy reporting, we now have another hundred thousand or so people out there who have lost interest in the topic and will relegate groups like ours even further to the fringes. “It’s been solved, by actual scientists”, will become the automated response. What’s irritating about this coverage is that writers – perhaps for lack of a more accurate term – are using the word “hum” to describe the phenomenon investigated by the French scientists. The frequencies in question are far, far beyond the range of human hearing, and using the word “hum” conflates two phenomena that are unrelated. The writer, to her credit, made no references to “mystery sounds” and so on, but she is from England, and surely she knows that superficial (non-scientific) readers might get the wrong idea. Several members of my own family in other parts of Canada hurriedly sent me links to the Newsweek story when they saw it. They are bright and well-educated people, but they are neither scientists nor science teachers and they didn’t have the time or background to dig into the details.
And there are other, more subtle distractions. For example, the article states that scientists have been trying to record the Earth’s “hum” since 1959. This is yet another conflation with the Worldwide Hum, which was first reported in a widespread and reliable way around the same era, and which to my knowledge has never been demonstrably recorded.
I’m quite sure the reason our project has penetrated serious media to the extent it has, is because I’ve roundly rejected ridiculous conspiracies and pseudoscientific hogwash. We have slowly and steadily collected and published data, and participated in serious dialogues with scientists, physicians, and other scientifically literate people. It’s easy to let ennui set in when measurable progress is so infrequent, and when setbacks like the above article muddle the issue and change the subject. But if we stop every once in a while and look back and the distance we’ve traveled, it can motivate us to push forward.