A shorter version of this article is cross-posted at the Huffington Post.
When Michael Jackson died unexpectedly in June of 2009, then-26-year-old choreographer Wade Robson – who has recently made headlines for accusing the pop star of…
Today in one of our production course lectures, the topic was sound and sound in film. The lecturer presented the well-known conundrum: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
To the average person, the obvious answer would be a positive one. I’m familiar with the indecision concerning this topic thanks to a great show called QI. According to the scientific definition of sound, the ‘sound’ has to have a source and a receiver. If no one in the forest is around to hear it, there is no receiver – on the assumption that there are no animals in the forest – and thus no sound. Johnny Vegas on QI, astutely joked that if a tree in a forest fell and no one was around to see it, it should effectively still be standing upright.
This doesn’t sit well with me, though. I’m not pretending to be an expert on the matter; I’m effectually a layman. I also understand that science has many types or sections, ranging from chemistry to quantum physics, and what may be true for one sector may not be true for the other. Or two opposing ideas may be true at the same time. Consider the wave/particle nature of light.
With my basic (i.e. high school) knowledge of physics, I know that everything has energy, and the law of conservation of energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed but only transferred from one form into another. So if a tree at the instant after starting to fall has potential energy, which changes to kinetic energy as the tree falls (which is why it falls faster), once the tree hits the ground, it will have lost all that kinetic energy. That kinetic energy has to be transferred into another type of energy. The options are heat, light and sound energy. I highly doubt that a falling tree is able to cause light and some of the energy will definitely be lost as heat due to friction, but it will be a negligible amount. The only option left is sound energy (which is effectually kinetic energy in the air particles).
I considered that perhaps when a tree falls with nothing to hear it, it does not make a sound, but a noise. That notion was short-lived when I saw the word ‘noise’ is fundamentally described as a sound.
I think the root of the problem is the difference between natural and unnatural. A tree is a naturally occurring object. Gravity is a naturally occurring phenomenon. Language is – for the sake of this post, although it can be argued otherwise – unnatural. Yes, communication is natural, but how we use words is man-made. Scientific laws and principals are stated using man-made words, but are based on naturally occurring processes and phenomena. We cannot change gravity, but we can change how we define it, should the existing definition prove to be inapt.
Again, I do not profess to be anything more than a layman. Perhaps the current definition of sound affects other aspects of science. But, I think, the solution to this conundrum would be to change the definition of sound. Perhaps the definition of sound could read: “vibrations caused by a source, which travel through the air and are able to be received”.
With that new definition, if ever I get asked the question “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” I’ll be able to give a resounding “yes!”
“Racism is WAY better than astrology. I want to see a racist on TV making predictions: ‘This is going to be a great week…for the Jews.’” —Dara O’briain
|—||Dara O’Briain on magicians (via fragilebroken)|
Before you start typing a strongly-worded reply to my apparent fascist views, let me explain that I’ve just watched Dara O’Briain’s standup comedy DVD, Craic Dealer, and he did a bit on astrology and what a load of nonsense it is. He made the point that astrologers are basically separating the entire human population into 12 distinct groups and then dictating to them what is going to happen in their lives, what they’re going to do, what type of person they etc. as well as telling them that they are the same as other people whom neither the astrologer nor the subject have ever met. He said that if such a system were to be put in place, racism would be way better than astrology (hence the title). Brian Logan – who wrote a review of the show in the Guardian – explained the comparison more succinctly than I have, saying “O’Briain uses neatly twisting logic to argue that ‘racism is way better than astrology’ – both being arbitrary ways to subdivide and classify humanity.”
Perhaps this is a form of reductio ad absurdum, but his point had been effectively made. Another thing he pointed out that enlightened me was that the notion of a year is man-made and is thus only relative to the Earth. There is no other planet that circumnavigates the sun in a year, any multiple of a year or any convenient fraction of a year. The planets would therefore be in a different position than they had been exactly a year before. Thus it is ridiculous to believe that two people born around the same time of year would have the same destiny.
Now the thing is that I perfectly understand the logic behind this argument. However, I cannot refute the fact that I read a character description of my star sign and I felt it applied to me almost perfectly. I also have a few friends (some of whom are the same age as me) who share the same star sign and I have and feel the same way as I do. I don’t pay attention to horoscopes but the character descriptions are en point.
So now I’m at a mental impasse. And the ironic thing is that I’m an atheist. I don’t believe in God, yet I believe that my personality is determined by the position of these celestial bodies of mass? It’s hypocritical, I know. But unlike most hypocrites, I’m very conscious of my hypocrisy.
No, I don’t really believe that my destiny is decided by planets. But I am a Scorpio and I have most of the traits that astrologists say that Scorpios have. I cannot refute that fact, even if it may be coincidence.
The important thing, I suppose, is that I don’t let it dictate my life. So what if I fit the description of a Scorpio? That doesn’t mean I should live my life accordingly. I’m not going to avoid someone just because they’re a Virgo or befriend someone just because they’re a Pisces. It gives me at least some consolation to think that I read these character descriptions and think “yes, I am quite confident” rather than “oh, as a Scorpio, I’m supposed to be confident” and then go out and make a conscious effort to do so.
No, I act as I am, not as whom I’m ‘meant’ to be. As far as I’m concerned, whether astrology is true or not is irrelevant.
Within 7 minutes of watching The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I learnt 3 interesting facts: Charles Dickens was the inventor of the paperback book, he ended the third chapter of one of his books with a man hanging from a cliff (the origin of the term ‘cliffhanger’) and the monies collected from patrons of a performance of a Shakespeare play would be put in a box and locked in an office (hence the term ‘box office’).
Being an individual who enjoys such trivia, this movie certainly captured my attention. The Perks of Being a Wallflower depicts an introversive high school freshman, Charlie (played by Logan Lerman), and his new-found friendship with two seniors, Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller), and their clique.
One of my first thoughts was: how could Logan Lerman, 18, play a 14 year old? His voice is lower that Justin Bieber’s pants. And Emma Watson’s American accent was faulty despite me having heard her put one on in YouTube videos. Perhaps she struggles with it for extended periods of time. Eventually she said the line: “I finally feel like I’m doing good.” This helped her characterize herself as American in my eyes. Bad grammar; irritating, yet effective. After a while, though, I suspended my disbelief and thought little of it.
This, unlike my post on The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, is not a review. I’m not going to comment on the story line or the acting. The above comments were simply a result of my habitual criticalness. It’s in my nature. No, I’m writing because this film ‘spoke’ to me. I felt a kind of connection. I could relate to it in a way. I realise that I’ve just said the same thing three times but I feel it needed to be said, because what I’m feeling right now is almost beyond the descriptive power of words thus I need to repeat the notion emphatically.
I’m going to do something that I very seldom, if ever, do: talk about my feelings. I’m a very reserved person. My friends might not believe me when I say this, because I’m very loud and talkative and social. But I’m a Scorpio. I know that there are those who don’t believe in astrology. I don’t do the whole horoscope thing; I think that’s unhelpful information. But I read the character description for Scorpio and I fit the bill. So whether or not the date of my birth determined by personality – it obviously cannot be the sole factor – or not, all I know is that my personality fits the description of a Scorpio. The reason I’ve brought this up is that Scorpios are very reserved; they keep themselves to themselves. I sometimes think that I subconsciously use my talkativeness and my sense of humour to detract from the fact that I’m an insecure mess. So yes, while I talk a lot, it’s never about how I’m feeling or my insecurities or that sort of sentimental hogwash. I’m sure you’ve picked up my view on it by the language I’m using.
So while I wouldn’t really fit the description of a wallflower, I can relate to certain aspects like standing uncomfortably alone in the corner at a party. As to the film, I can relate to having a secret crush (can’t we all?) and doing nothing about it, wanting to be there for a friend when they don’t want pity, loneliness, longing for intimacy, insecurity to the point of confusion and the list goes on. Because I felt for him, I was rooting for this character, which I suppose is what the film makers wanted. I didn’t expect such a strong reaction, though. I felt that this boy should get what he wants out of his social life even if I couldn’t.
As I said before I don’t really talk about my feelings. I keep myself to myself. But sometimes it just gets too much. I consider myself a logical thinker. And while the one part of my brain works out the logical possibilities or explanations for events, another part of my brain is independently determining my emotions. That’s how I see it, anyway. So no matter how good a (potential) reason someone had had for doing something, I might still find myself angry or upset or jealous. Conversely, I sometimes over think an action and misinterpret it leading to feelings of hope and elation but end up as disappointment.
Loneliness is not necessarily the same as being alone. I have several friends, with many of whom I am close. Perhaps, though, it is my fatal flaw that I have so many. Maybe I’m so socially nomadic that I don’t develop deeper relationships with any one group of people. Sometimes – although not recently, by which I mean the last year and a half – I feel lonely because all my friends seem to have closer friends. Sometimes I would get the feeling that I’m not my best friend’s best friend. The thing is that I don’t confide in my friends often, which on a side note means that they wouldn’t know about my feelings expressed in the previous sentence. I’m usually the adviser or the mediator. That’s where my logical and analytical mind is useful. But combined with my own emotions, such a mind is about as useful as an inflatable dartboard. I think it’s also that I don’t want it to be awkward. After I confide in them, every time I look at them I’ll know that they know what my problems are and I’ll wonder if they’re linking it to my actions. (Another thing about Scorpios: they’re hypocritical. While they don’t like being analyzed, they enjoy analyzing others.) I’d much rather confide in someone who is also a friend, but is detached from the situation; someone whom I don’t see very often. For example, let’s say I had a crush that went to my high school. I might speak to a friend who a) doesn’t go to that school and b) is in an entirely different group of my friends so that the news is less likely to become gossip.
This is a big step for me; baring my soul like this. And to think that this is only the tip of the iceberg; there are some things I’d still like to keep to myself.
Despite the pangs of these feelings, I’m not unhappy with my life. I’m quite enjoying it actually. And I wonder what insecurities people whom I consider to be well-adjusted have. Watching this film brought my attention to these aspects of my psyche. It’s healthy to reflect once in a while. This blog has given me the gift of being able to share such information in a way that I feel comfortable. I can feel that I’ve shared, and this gotten over this particular insecurity, even though it might end up that no one reads it. It’s like an internet placebo. Perhaps this faux feeling of sharing will encourage me to share personally and create stronger bonds with my friends. Perhaps.
I can’t do that now, though. It’s almost 4 am. It’s rude to call someone at this time of night.
|—||Neil Shicoff, Metropolitan Opera tenor on Michael Jackson (via themichaeljacksonarchives)|
Same bed but it feels just a little bit bigger now
Our song on the radio but it don’t sound the same
When our friends talk about you, all it does is just tear me down
Cause my heart breaks a little when I hear your name
It all just sounds like oooooh…
Mmm, too young, too dumb to realize,…
Hmmmm, I’ve never heard the Bruno Mars song included in here. When I have tie, I’ll listen to it and see if I can recreate this mash-up.
Every good report or speech needs a short, snappy title. Since I’ve failed in that regard, I’m at least going to define what I mean by “non-sympathetic things”. When I use that phrase, I do not mean rude or nasty comments, I simply mean comments that are not sympathetic and could this be neutral in nature. Consider the way that just because something is not safe, doesn’t mean it’s automatically dangerous. It’s simply unsafe. Some might argue that they are synonyms of each other. But the definition of “synonym” is a word of a similar meaning.
The reason I pose the titular question is because a friend of mine had passed away recently. I use the word “friend” very loosely. Not because I disliked him. Not at all. But we hadn’t made any kind of contact with each other for almost (if not) two years. We weren’t even Facebook friends (by his action, not mine. I only found out once he had passed). So by the time the breath left his body, I wasn’t at all close to him. His death was a tragic accident that had even made local news. On Facebook, there was an outpouring of love, sorrow and sympathy for this young man in the form of tributes and anecdotes, a practice in which I participated, partially because it is the social convention.
However, I am a twisted individual,
This is how i respond to threat messages from butt-hurt people who can’t stand my cynicism about their ermagerd-oh-so-purrfect english…