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Re: What's that noise?

by zemote (Scribe)
on May 20, 2003 at 06:42 UTC ( #259381=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to What's that noise?

Interesting question? It's actually raining here tonight,
so the noise is the rain outside and me typing on my
IBM Model M "clickety" keyboard. So if a tree falls in
the forest does it make noise? Now that is a long
philisophical question we could debate hours over.


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Re: Re: What's that noise?
by S_Shrum (Pilgrim) on May 20, 2003 at 08:08 UTC

    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

      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 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 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}


        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 :)

        >> 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

The Real Question Is...
by Elgon (Curate) on May 21, 2003 at 15:35 UTC

    If a man says something in the forest and there's no woman to hear he still wrong?

    Please, if this node offends you, re-read it. Think for a bit. I am almost certainly not trying to offend you. Rememer - Please never take anything I do or say seriously.

Re: Re: What's that noise?
by nimdokk (Vicar) on May 20, 2003 at 14:05 UTC
    No. Because in order for sound to be registered, there must be a listener. Thus if no one is there to hear it, it does not make a sound. Philosophically speaking of course. :-)

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