Friday, May 29, 2009

Speed of Sleep

The following regarding the Speed of Sound is taken from a NASA website:

Air is a gas, and a very important property of any gas is the speed of sound through the gas. Why are we interested in the speed of sound? The speed of "sound" is actually the speed of transmission of a small disturbance through a medium. Sound itself is a sensation created in the human brain in response to sensory inputs from the inner ear.

Disturbances are transmitted through a gas as a result of
collisions between the randomly moving molecules in the gas. The transmission of a small disturbance through a gas is an isentropic process. The conditions in the gas are the same before and after the disturbance passes through. Because the speed of transmission depends on molecular collisions, the speed of sound depends on the state of the gas. The speed of sound is a constant within a given gas and the value of the constant depends on the type of gas (air, pure oxygen, carbon dioxide, etc.) and the temperature of the gas. An analysis based on conservation of mass and momentum shows that the speed of sound a is equal to the square root of the ratio of specific heats g times the gas constant R times the temperature T.

a = sqrt [g * R * T]

Notice that the temperature must be specified on an absolute scale (Kelvin or Rankine). The dependence on the type of gas is included in the gas constant R. which equals the universal gas constant divided by the molecular weight of the gas, and the ratio of specific heats.

I bring this up because last night the couple (and their female friend because I heard a male and two female voices) in the apartment complex directly across from my building decided to test the "Speed of Sound Through Air" by having a loud argument with all the windows open from about 11:30pm to nearly 12:30am!

I don’t know how many times I heard one chick say, “Don’t tell me my feelings are not valid!” but I know how QUICKLY I heard it.

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