“Sound is mechanical,” writer Maggie Koerth-Baker notes, in response to a child’s query about the loudest sound in the world. “A sound is a shove — just a little one, a tap on the tightly stretched membrane of your ear drum. The louder the sound, the heavier the knock.”
The little girl, Kara Jo, wanted to hear the loudest sound in the world — but Koerth-Baker gave a pretty good example as to why not.
Sound, it turns out, can be very destructive at high decibels. It can even kill you.
In 1883, ranchers in Australia, heard what sounded to them like two rifle shots. What they actually heard came from 2,233 miles away. It was the sound of the Indonesian island of Krakatoa blowing up in a volcanic eruption. It may be the loudest sound on human record. Recorded spikes in atmospheric pressure indicate that waves from the sound circled the globe three times.
“Snap your fingers and you jostle the particles right next to you,” Koerth-Baker explains. “As they wiggle, they bump into the particles next to them, which, in turn, nudge the particles next to them. These wiggles are what the world’s barometers were measuring in the wake of the Krakatoa eruption.”
Sound, she pointed out is particle movement, which is why you can’t hear anything in a vacuum, like space.
The loudest animal is a sperm whale, which uses echolocation to navigate. The “clicks” made by sperm whales to detect what’s around them with echoes are 200 decibels. By comparison, the loudest sound recorded by NASA was the first stage of the Saturn V rocket — at 204 decibels. Both sounds are loud enough to rupture your eardrums.
Watch observers react to a sound wave from the Tavurvur volcano in Papua New Guinea in 2014. Note: Keep your volume low.
3 out of 9 companies in one state have filed for bankruptcy since Trump promised to ‘bring back coal’
President Donald Trump's promises to coal miners have fallen along with his other broken campaign promises. Another state is facing the harsh reality that Trump is not riding in on a white horse to save them.
According to Axios, three out of the nine coal companies in the Powder River Basin in northeastern Wyoming have filed for bankruptcy and another two companies are consolidating. Kentucky coal miners have been protesting Blackjewl, which filed for bankruptcy in July, withdrawing payroll dollars from miners' accounts. Little has been heard about the Wyoming workers as those companies crumble, however.
‘Possible war in the Middle East’: Editor explains why Trump’s visa attack on Iran is ‘lame’ response to oil field bombing
As the United States is searching for ways to draw down on decades-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, serious conflicts might be afoot, one Daily Beast reporter told MSNBC Sunday.
World News editor Christopher Dickey told host Kendis Gibson he doesn't understand the point of barring Iranian diplomats from being able to come to the United Nations General Assembly meeting this fall. During a "Meet the Press" interview Sunday morning, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) said that the U.S. should deny the visas. The statement prompted Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to call her out for "warmongering," and said she was out of touch with Americans who don't want to get into another costly Middle East war.
Why you should sell your house now — and not wait for the climate to change
Cities across the United States are already seeing the impacts of climate change. Sea levels are on the rise in Miami, Florida, where ocean waters creep into the streets, even when it isn't raining. Massive wildfires have taken out whole neighborhoods in California and in Alaska, about 2.5 million acres have burned since July 3. Wildfires there are getting worse, according to experts.
The problem of climate change has reached a dangerous level for some homeowners in areas that are no longer insurable. In Miami, for example, the "street-level" is now considered the basement and insurers are dropping coverage for basements. According to the Daily Beast, at least 340,000 California homeowners lost their property insurance coverage between 2015 and 2018 because the wildfires are getting worse and companies don't want to pay out when homes are destroyed.