Saturday, November 07, 2009

Oh Crap - or - What Is The Color Of Nonsurprise

I just found out that I am going to be laid off from the Greenhouse after the Christmas rush is over. That means that I have to stop spending money, because I'm effectively going to stop making money in a month and a half. The Greenhouse is not my main source of income, running weddings for rich people is my main source of income, but rich people don't want to get married in the middle of winter in Chicago. If rich people want to get married in the middle of winter, they go to where it isn't winter, you know, the other side of the world, and get married in flip flops and bikinis. You can't wear flip flops in February in Chicago.

On a totally different note, the event I ran tonight was a black tie dance party for... yep, you guessed it. Rich people. As we were setting up, the manager of the facility said to us, "There is a noise ordinance here and you have to keep the volume below one thousand decibels." My assistant and I did the coffee spit take. I'll explain why for those of you who are not audiophiles, gear-heads, or sound techs like me (read basement dwelling losers whose only lines of communication are with fellow sound techies utilizing vernacular strictly referring to catalog numbers of high end discontinued microphones, preamps, and audio rack gear). A decibel is a logarithmic scale of loudness. A difference of 1 decibel is the minimum perceptible change in volume; a change of 10 decibels is a doubling of the volume. The average face melting rock concert is about 120 db. The human threshold for pain is at 130 db. 1000 db is 870 times louder than that threshold. My assistant turned to me and said, "That is louder than the sun."

Louder than the sun.

It sparked a big debate betwixt us over whether the sun generates sound. Here are the two camps.

My assistant said yes. The sun is made up of gases, mostly hydrogen and helium, which in their unexcited state (not on fire) both allow for rapid compressions and expansions of the gas particles, or sound waves, to transmit "audio" from one location to the next. The sound of hydrogen being turned into helium within the sun has a similar sound to millions and millions of Nuclear warheads going off inside your next door neighbors studio apartment with paper thin walls. Therefor, the sun is loud. Damn loud.

I said no. Any hydrogen within the sun that is being transformed into helium does so at millions of degrees Fahrenheit, and no material known within the universe can withstand that heat. In order for sound to exist, a surface must sympathetically vibrate with the compressions and expansions of the gas particles. There is no substance that can tolerate the conditions within the sun long enough to sympathetically respond to the sound waves being emitted by the separation of the electrons from their respective particles of a hydrogen. Further more, if the perceiving object, or the "sun ear" to coin a term, is not withing the flaming gas cloud that is the sun, then it is in the vacuum of space, which is totally silent due to the lace of medium for sound waves. Therefor, the sun is silent. Totally silent.

My assistant then asked, "So if a tree falls in the woods and there is no one to hear it, does it make a sound?"

I reply with, "Yes it does. But if a tree falls into the sun and someone IS there to hear it, I hope that that someone is you and your are instantly turned to sun-chared-assistant-sound-man dust. Then I hope that the dust-you will be pissed because you started this whole stupid argument."

"Whatever, I still think that being louder than the sun is bad ass."

"Agreed, let's start a band and name it that."

"Fuck yeah."

So, does anyone want to sublet my apartment in Jan and Feb? I can tell my neighbor with the H-bombs to keep it down.


  1. Sounds like the inevitable just rose up to whoop your ass. Good riddance, focus on the bigger things!

  2. First of all... damn you Squatch, I go online to get away from physics. And yes, I can pretty much solve your problem. Psst, camp 1 is "more right". Both of you have ignored transverse waves in media (speed of sound through solid objects). You have annoyed me with the usage of the word "sympathetically vibrate", but on account of your ridiculous awesomeness, I can't hold that against you. You have ignored plasma. You've ignored quasars and pulsars, supernova explosions,etc (all hot "shit" that can technically permit sound). Fuck, quark-gluon plasma can permit ripples through it I believe, and thus one could hear it... hypothetically speaking. As long as waves ripple through something, I can for the moment plop a certain amount of air around it and place a "listener" there to hear it. The wave could, and in this case, will be shit fast .. and yes, the listener will be incinerated very quickly... but such matters are not important. If the question is hypothetically, could something be heard... the answer is yes. The reason is just simply the propagation of energy in the form of waves through the surface. It's that simple. One could get more into the details, and I don't mind if that's what you or your friend wants. Since I've got an exam in 7 hours, I cannot write that now in any case. Later then, when time and bowels permit me to give a shit.
    Have a happy November Squatchkin.