On a Falling Tree

Everyone knows this riddle: If a tree falls in a forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Here is the good news – I will answer the question. – However, the bigger question is will you agree?

The key is in the definition of two key words: sound and sound waves. The question is whether one considers these two terms as the same or different.

Sounds waves are sequence of a repeating pattern of high and low pressure waves passing through a solid, liquid, gas, or plasma. Waves can be of different frequencies, the number of repeated waves over a period of time (usually seconds). Think of different musical notes having different frequencies.

Sound is the interpretation of sound waves. From an organism’s point of view, in order for sound to occur, the organism needs a mechanism that converts sound waves into nerve impulses that are another mechanism translates them into a sound.

Does a dog whistle make sound waves? Unquestionably yes. Does it make sound? To a dog, yes – but to humans, no.

Does the symphony make sound waves? Yes. Does a totally deaf person in attendance hear the sound? No – not to them; but to one with healthy hearing, yes.

Therefore, the falling tree unquestionably produces sound waves – but if nothing is there that is capable of translating sound waves, there is no sound.

On Tunak Monday

Cincinnati weather was all over the place this weekend. Nonetheless, we had a good weekend. Surprisingly, handbells and ballroom highlighted our weekend. How was your weekend?

One the ballroom side, we danced Friday night, but on Saturday night we were in the audience supporting our friends performing at our studio’s showcase event – kind of an adult recital for those who want to participate. Sorry – we dance for fun, not performance.

On the handbell side, we rang two pieces from last weekend’s bell fest at our Saturday service. Woo hoo! We hit that crazy one again!  We only have one more ring left before breaking for the summer. Oh – there is the possibility of a video of us performing.

A video with babies is a great way to start the week. It’s a bit repetitive at the beginning, but changes later. Nonetheless, it cracked me up! Have a good week!

On Top Cat

The Series

  • Hanna-Barbera creation
  • Series run: September 27, 1961 to April 18, 1962 on ABC
  • 30 episodes
  • The second cartoon series to occupy a weekday, prime-time time slot
  • Inspired from the situation-comedy show You’ll Never Get Rich (later the Phil Silvers Show)

Top Cat

  • T.C. to his close friends
  • A definite smooth-talking scam artist
  • Spends most of his money to get out of trouble
  • Leader of the Manhattan Alley Cats
  • Lives in Hoagie’s Alley

The Gang

  • Fancy-Fancy (brown fur—white scarf), laid-back personality, popular with the ladies
  • Spook (green fur—black tie) the mellow one, beatnik type, plays pool
  • Benny the Ball (blue fur—white sport coat) short and chubby, devoted friend and TC’s top assistant
  • Brain (orange fur—purple shirt), doopy-eyed and not smart, unable to keep a secret, stutters
  • Choo-Choo (pink fur—white turtleneck shirt), also called Chooch, enthusiastic, a fire-house cat, lacks courage to talk to girls

Other Characters

  • Officer Dibble (NYPD), first name Charles, Hoagie’s Alley on his beat, reports to Sergeant Murphy, TC has access to his phone line and commonly refers to him by variations of Dibble as Dabble, Drubble, Dripple and so on.
  • Griswald, bulldog, cat antagonizer, but is gullible

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 137

On Politics
Finally, Mitt Romney is going to be the nominee. Finally, Mitt Romney will move toward the center and seemingly forget past comments. Let the Etch-a-Sketch begin.

Did anyone notice that Mr. Romney hasn’t been using “conservative” in recent speeches?

Mr. Romney is correct at making the economy the central theme of his campaign.

“They (the American people) have lost faith in sporting institutions in this country because of many different scandals. They’ve lost faith in the government. They’ve lost faith in both political parties… They’ve lost faith in corporate institutions. They’ve lost faith in the media.” Well said Mathew Dowd, political analyst.

On Headlines from The Onion
Nation’s Employment Outlook Drastically Improves after Fifth Beer
Vatican Tightening Nocturnal Emissions Standards
Red Meat Takes Years off Cow’s Life
Anthropologist Reports Human Feet Originally Used for Walking
First-Time Flasher is going to Make Sure He’s Erect Next Time
New TV Show: Ice Road Hookers
Nation’s Toddler Reports new iPad Taste about the Same

Interesting Reads
Big Companies Getting to Keep Employee’s Tax Withholdings
Tale of Two Recoveries
Teaching Science in Tennessee
Cells Phone Seeing through Walls
Grappling with the Garbage Glut
Brain Gigbytes
The Buffet Rule is Worth Debating

On Potpourri
I have often said that with their view of creation, religious conservatives give God too little credit. Here’s an interesting perspective.

Google’s recent zipper interface was awesome! Here’s an explanation of how a zipper works.

On the Thursday morning news I heard “social Darwinism” – interestingly, I posted about it earlier this week.

Blog spam amuses me. I just had one telling how pre-natal message therapy is linked to my post about Popeye the Sailor!

I have a classic cartoon post planned for tomorrow.

Because the week started with Cincinnati’s dancing morning traffic reporter, we might as well as end the week in similar fashion. Here’s a recent Dance Party Friday dedicated to an upcoming Barry Manilow performance.

Have a good weekend everyone. In the words of Garrison Keillor; Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Grocery Store Incidents

A grocery store is a wonderful place to witness a wide range of human behavior. Maybe that is a reason I used the marketplace in past posts. My recent trips brought these situations to my attention.

I cannot believe the idea came to me too late. A lady, who was buying a regular size bag of potato chips, was in front of me in the self-checkout aisle. I got the impression that she just put some money on a gift card, which had made its way through the cybermaze. The clerk got involved and directed the lady to the service counter. Then it hit me – I should have purchased the chips for her.

Some things make me feel guilty. For instance, one time I went back to the bank after discovering the clerk gave me 12 cents too much. Recently, I couldn’t pass on the calling from the Cadbury Egg display. Once I got to the car, I noticed I did not run egg through the scanner because it was still in the cart – not a bag. Heck yes I ate it, but several days later when I returned to the store, I paid for the egg with one from the display, and then returned the egg to the display

On the way out of the store, someone left a cart in the middle of a parking space, which was a space-and-a-half from the cart corral. To top it off, it was in the middle of a handicap parking spot. I pushed the cart into the stall, but I admit mumbling unkind thoughts. Later I wondered if the guilty party was physically capable of pushing the cart to its rightful spot. I will never know, and will not venture to guess – but I do wonder.

Past Grocery Store Posts

On Something Nice

The dominos of life are interesting when one event leads to another. Not all that long ago Nia, a photographer and genuinely nice person from Istanbul, Turkey, granted me the Angelika Award. Interesting it had no ties to it as many other awards do.

It so happens that receiving that award came not too long after the March 10th post where I listed links to many blogs I had discovered since the fall and encouraged readers to visit them. Did you visit any? Did you find new places you regularly visit? Did receive any new visitors? Have any become regular visitors?

If any of the answers above is yes, this award is for you – and without strings attached. In my own way, passing along goodness and thanks seems to be the appropriate way to celebrate my 900th post.

On Evolutionism

One should not confuse evolution and evolutionism because they are different. Whereas evolution is about nature (previously explained), evolutionism attempts to use evolution to express progress and value of society. Some even link biological and cultural progress back to God because humans are worth more to God as a result of this progress.

We can trace the concept of evolutionism back to Aristotle’s hierarchical Great Chain of Being. Numerous societal shifts during the 1800s as agricultural to industrial and rural to urban marked the growth in evolutionism. With these shifts in mind and the thought that the church was not addressing society’s latest needs, evolutionism became an ideology challenging the religious trends at the time of literalism, fire, and brimstone.

Hebert Spencer (1820-1903), a Darwin contemporary, used psychology, sociology, philosophy, and biology to embrace human struggles and evolutionism to justify social policies. Spencer coined the phrase “survival of the fittest” (yes, Hebert Spencer, not Charles Darwin) because he saw evolution as a mechanism to explain social development. Because he influenced so many sociologists, some say that Hebert Spencer’s work has been more influential than Charles Darwin.

Thomas Huxley (1825-1895), another Darwin contemporary and Darwin confidant and supporter, also used Darwin’s theory to promote a social agenda in his challenge to the Church of England – deeming it as an obstructionist to human and culture progress.

It is the work of Spencer, Huxley, Francis Galton, Ernest Haeckel, and others morphed into “social Darwinism”, which some use to embrace selective breeding for humans. Interestingly, Galton (1822-1911), Charles Darwin’s cousin known as the founding father of eugenics – a socio-biological movement advocating methods for improving the human population through genetics.

Haeckel (1834-1919), a German biologist and philosopher, embraced Spencer and evolution, but not Darwin’s natural selection. Adolph Hitler mistakenly used Hackael’s “politics is applied biology” as one reason for justifying Arian dominance. It is this on this point that anti-evolutionists today inaccurately point to Charles Darwin’s evolution leading to a life of homosexuality, promiscuity, abortion, dysfunctional families, and other societal issues.

Today, evolutionism referred to as Social Darwinism, lies in the social sciences than in the natural sciences. One should not confuse this field with sociobiology, which studies social behaviors by animals. (Many recognize E.O Wilson for his work in this area.)

Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection is not about culture and values or a vehicle for exposing desired values – nor does it attempt to answer questions as why are we here, what is the role of humans, what is the role of God, or what would Jesus do. Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection is not tied to Nazism, Fascism, communism, and socialism. Darwinism is about genetics, adaptation, diversity, and the natural world.

Science is supposed to yield objective knowledge that is free from cultural values. Social Darwinism/evolutionism was not good science in the time of Hebert Spencer nor is it good science today because good science involves observation, measurement, experimentation, predictions, and conclusions that are free from societal norms and philosophy.