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."
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.