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Re: Re: What's that noise?

by S_Shrum (Pilgrim)
on May 20, 2003 at 08:08 UTC ( #259401=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re: What's that noise?
in thread What's that noise?

Speaking purely scientifically, YES.

Regardless of the presence of any one (or thing), sound waves are produced (see below for logic); the ripping of plant cells, cracking of the timber, the rush of wind and russeling of leaves as the tree falls, the impact.

Sound is defined as waves within a specific frequency (I refer you to here for the denotative meaning). So as long as a frequency wave (or waves) within the appropriate human range are produced, a *sound* is made. Just my 2 cents.

======================
Sean Shrum
http://www.shrum.net


Comment on Re: Re: What's that noise?
Re: Re: Re: What's that noise?
by benn (Priest) on May 20, 2003 at 11:47 UTC
    Actually, speaking purely scientificationalisticly, the answer is *very very probably*.

    On a 'macro' level, there is a chance (albeit extremely small and *very* contrived) that the tree might be completely silent - if for instance, a *very small* tree had been sawn completely through earlier in the day, the ground had been prepared with sound-absorbing material and the leaves stripped off...to say nothing about the whole forest being covered with a big dome and the air being pumped out... :)

    On a quantum level, again there is a 1-in-a-VeryLargeNumberIndeed chance of complete phase cancellation - every single sound made by the individual movements of a molecule could be negated by its neighbour moving in the opposite direction.

    This is the point of the old saw...in order to answer a question like "does it make a sound" (and the associated 'is it in the appropriate human range - again, the tree could fall *very very quickly*, so only the local bats could hear it :) ) the thing has to be measured somehow - and the only question that can answered with 100% accuracy is *did* it make a sound, not *will* (or does) it.

    What I want to know though, is if the tree falls on the box, does the cat die? :) Ooh - I wonder if I can get an Arts Council Grant to find out? {g}

    Cheers,
    Ben.

      Well, if we're going to get all quantum about it, then what about the fact that making an observation changes the thing observed. So if a tree falls and nobody is around to hear it, then it makes a different sound than if someone was there.

      Of course, who's to say that the tree even fell at all. I say it is both fallen and standing until someone walks in the forest and checks :)

        Schroedinger's Tree? "Ex libris un peut de tout"

        Just thought I'd come back and rattle old bones...

        Bear in mind that the simple question is whether a sound is made...at all...regardless of the changes that may occur due to the presence of (or lack of) an observer.

        Beer is not my thing...but then again, not much is now that I think about it.

        ======================
        Sean Shrum
        http://www.shrum.net

      >> and the air being pumped out

      Ah, yes...the classic "In space, no one can hear you scream" tactic.

      In the abscense of air, then, NO, the tree would not make any noise...which begs the question...

      "What's a tree doing in a vaccum?"

      ======================
      Sean Shrum
      http://www.shrum.net

        It's enjoying the peace and quiet, mate. No hoards of philosophers standing around it waiting for it to fall...
        Socrates: Go on - give it a push. Wittgenstein: That'd be cheating - it's got to fall from Natural Force +s. Marx: Let's all push together... Aristotle: Sod this - let's go down the pub instead.
        All together now. "Aristotle Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle..."

        :) Ben.

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