Saturday, 30 August 2008

Of Trees and Forests

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?


31 comments:

Shubby Doo said...

Yes...noise does not need an audience...but it usually creates one sha!

Shubby Doo said...

The devil's advocate & engineer in me say no... sounds waves need a receiver 2 convert the energy 2 noise...

Afrobabe said...

2nd............getting closer!!!

Afrobabe said...

Me thinks it will act same as always..


hmmmmm or do u think it only makes noise to scare us away??

thats creepy, now I am wondering if the objects in my room talk and move around when I am not there...no wonder I ca never find my comb!!!

simeoneomobaba said...

where are you goin with this ?..if i may ask...well if there's nobody to hear it as you said, then it does make a sound, theres just nobody to hear d sound..

Naapali said...

According to Wikipedia: Sound is vibration transmitted through a solid, liquid, or gas;

So the answer to your question is: It depends on the forest, depends on what it lands on. If it falls into very soft grass or thick gel, there might not be enough disruption to cause sound energy to be propagated.

If it 'fell' in a vacuum such as space, there are no displaced particles to propagate sound energy.

The argument about transducers though interesting is somewhat mute (eh eh) since the question is not whether it would register (i.e. be heard)but whether waves would be propagated.

naijalines said...

Why can't I stop laughing...LOL
I was going to leave a sensible comment then I saw:

" It depends on the forest...very soft grass or thick gel,..."

And my sensible comment disappeared!

I never liked the sciences anyway. More arty, me.

30+ said...

Yes now but I would not know what type of sounf.

mizchif said...

Only Afro's overimaginative mind will relate this to her missing combs.

Jaycee said...

There has to be someone around with "available ears" (not mute) to hear the tree fall. Since there's no such person around, then it does not MAKE a sound! Kapish!!! Lol.

Jaycee said...

Kai...Dr. Naaps don break am down!

NigerianDramaQueen said...

God hears! And the insects too, I think...

La Reine said...

You don't need to hear something before it makes a sound.

Deaf people make sounds all the time, don't they? ;)

-I ran into an article Nigerians should read, check it out: http://chxta.blogspot.com/2008/08/just-letter.html

Miss Definitely Maybe said...

Strange that when I read your post the most immediate thought I had, had nothing to do with trees or forests, it was more to do with pain and feelings. When someone is hurting and the world doesnt notice, do those feelings still count? Does emotional pain only count if someone acknowledges its there? I know this is off topic but that was my first thought when I read your post........

Naapali said...

@ Ms. DM
- that is very deep.

naijaleta said...

Yes it does and I dont care what engineer shubby-Doo says. Sound waves ko, receiver ni.

UndaCovaSista said...

@shubby doo - I agree with your second point. The tree doesnt create sound, but sound WAVES.

@afrobabe - The objects do move around and talk. Haven't you seen Toy Story?

@simeonomobaba - Sound WAVES are picked up by the human ear and converted to impulses which are sent to the brain. The brain recognises the impulses as sound, so if there's nobody around, no sound is perceived

@naapali - A well thought out comment. However, the tree will displace the around it as it falls, thereby causing vibrations, so it doesnt matter what it falls on.
Which one is transducers now?

@Naijalines - Lol @ soft grass or thick gel..
But you could answer it from your arty view point. No wrong or right answers

@30+ - Hence no sound has been produced...

@Jaycee - I agree with that...

@Nigeriandramaqueen - Hmmmm...

@La reine - The hearing process (as i've attempted to describe previously) does require a person, and ear and a brain. In the absence of that, all you have are unconverted sound waves.

Re: deaf people, if another hearing person is around tohear the sound then yes, a sound has been produced, if not then none has...

@Miss definitely maybe - Good thinking outside the box! You raise some interesting points there.
'Can something exist without being perceived' is the billion dollar question
*********

PS - There are no wrong or right answers to the question. All my responses are based on my point of view (clearly)

Shubby Doo said...

@UCS i sent it again...did you get it this time?

Free-flowing Florida said...

yes o. they definitely do. so long as there's air, yup. sound waves carry 2 places sometimes not even close enof 2 d actual place d event happened.

UndaCovaSista said...

@naijaleta - I'm with shubby doo on this one...

@shubby doo - yeah, got it this time.

@Florida - So if the sound waves carry far enough for someone to hear them, that means the person was 'around' to hear it, right?

poeticallytinted said...

this reminded me of a joke I heard a while back:

One early Sunday morning a pastor was really bored with going to church every Sunday and preaching sermons so he decided to play hookie. He called in sick and delegated the sunday sermon to his Assistant. He then picked up his golf bag and took off to the local golf club. He found himself alone and was quite pleased with the clean and serene atmosphere. He swung his club and to his immense shock got the hole in one!!!!!!!!! Meanwhile up in heaven, Jesus said to GOD, "I can't believe you are going to let him get away with that!?!! and God replied: "But I haven't, think about it, who can he ever tell of this?"

So of course the Pastor can never tell anyone therefore it might as well not have happened. Get my looooooong drift?

Shubby Doo said...

@DM - can something exist without being perceived?

Lovely analogy… simply beautiful.

I came to the sad realisation that many people have disappeared for that very reason

@doc naaps - I know I should just keep quiet…cos UCS agrees with me but arghhh…the engineer mode in me is kicking in again…

You started off on the right road…then veered off into a ditch with the bit about soft grass and thick gel…that bit was a load of cobblers…

Also you tried to change the parameters with the intro of space…not needed… so I’m going to stick with the forest…

You correctly pointed out that it is about the definition of the word “sound”…is it a cause or is it an effect?

As a cause… it is an organized movement of molecules caused by a vibrating body in some medium – air, water, gas or solid…

As an effect…it is a variation of pressure that propagates through matter as a wave…

But remember that I may be able to see a tunning fork vibrate but at certain frequencies I cannot hear it anymore

So I reason that whatever the case it must be perceived… e.g. by the listener… so my argument about the transducer is indeed not mute (he he) if sound is not heard…

@UCS - a transducer is a device that converts energy from one form to another e.g. a microphone or someone’s ear drum

p.s
pls update b4 Naapali comes back at me

Miss Definitely Maybe said...
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Miss Definitely Maybe said...
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Miss Definitely Maybe said...

If a tree fell into the marsh (literally)
is it not more likely to make a splash than a sound?
or is the splash the sound?

Im with Shubby though on this one (not from an engineers point of view but from a blonde girl with dark black hair's viewpoint)
If there is no one to 'hear' or see it happen how then do we know that the said tree actually fell in the marsh? What if it had always been in the marsh? For there to be a debate about the tree making a sound., there needs to be proof that it did actuallt fall in the first instance but how can we prove that if there werent no witnesses?

oh and another moot point for shubby. if something is most likely to have made a sound but that sound is drowned out by something else making an even bigger sound, can the first sound be legitimately recognised? An example would be If I screamed but a plane flying overhead drowns out the sound completely can I still claim to have 'screamed?'. Is a scream a scream becoz you screamed or is it a scream because someone heard you scream? Sorry for my long blonde ramblings.........

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

absolutely!!!

How now?

30+ said...

...there was definitely sound made only that I did not hear it because I was not in close vicinity.

Esmeralda said...

it definitely would.

ur last post? u could have been describing me UC, i stare at people (not rudely, i'm a babe now...lol), then i proceed to wonder what their stories are. i listen to their conversations,then try to piece them together from those.

people intrigue me.

Esmeralda said...

Dr. NAAPS, i dont quite agree with u. even if it falls on the softes of grasses, there'll be a gentle "thud" which still qualifies as a sound.

so, it always will make a sound, no matter how "quiet" the sound is.

aworan said...

Hey you... :-)

Sorry for not being on your blog.. my bad. To answer your question, anything made in this earth will make noise, or some semblence to noise. (Unless your on the moon!)

**does any of that make sense? I'm swamped with paper at work!"**

Red Sapphire said...

Kai..i no know oh....its too complicated...but i think it will make a sound whether i dey or i no dey....
its my first, i like...and i think i will most definately learn..