29 March 2010

Is Slayer louder on Mars?

Spending 9,5 hours per day in a cubicle under the steady glare of LCD monitors tends to make you ponder the deeper meaning of life. You start asking seriously deep questions, such as:

Is Slayer louder on Mars?


Mars red planet
Mars, slightly redder than Uranus.

Factors that contribute to loudness


Loudness is a subjective measure that indicates the intensity of a sound that a person experiences. For the greater glory of Slayer, it is more apt to use less subjective standards of measure such as decibels. The decibel is the unit of sound pressure, so regardless of how loud the tree in the forest is when it falls, you can still measure the sound pressure even if you can't necessarily hear it. The decibel is a logarithmic unit of measurement that expresses the magnitude of a physical quantity relative to a reference level.

What would be our reference level?


For our reference, we may choose the theoretical maximum pressure of sound on planet earth at standard atmospheric pressure level. This is 101 325 Pa, which is the equivalent of 194,094 db, which is kak loud. The threshold of pain for audio lies at 134 db, so Slayer this loud could cause your ears to bleed. Only recommended for true fans.

How do we determine the theoretical maximum pressure of sound on Mars?


This is a little more tricky because Mars isn't 30 seconds away just yet. However, with some creative accounting we might get there. Sound pressure depends on the medium that carries the sound. Our reference level is already measured at standard atmospheric pressure, so all we need is the standard atmospheric pressure on Mars. This is about 0,7 % of the average surface pressure at sea level on Earth, meaning we have (0,7 x 101 325) / 100 which is 709,275 Pa. This is the equivalent of 150,996 db, which is considerably softer (I used this handy sound level calculator).

What would Slayer sound like on Mars?


Carbon dioxide is the main component of Mars's atmosphere so you ecological fascists should really be taxing Martians instead of your terrestrial slaves. Carbon dioxide comprises of 95 % of Mars's atmosphere. The main components of the Earth's atmosphere are Nitrogen (78 %) and Oxygen (21 %).

The molar mass of Carbon Dioxide is greater than that of Nitrogen and Oxygen combined. Even though the molar mass of Mars's atmosphere is greater than that of the Earth, the area of Mars's atmosphere is much larger. Pressure depends on force per pressure area. More molar mass means greater force, but a greater pressure area means less resulting pressure, despite a greater molar mass.

Thus, on Mars, Slayer would sound softer, but also lower. If you like it loud, be thankful that we evolved on Earth and not on Mars, otherwise it might sound like Brad Roberts is singing for Slayer! There are a few samples of what sound would theoretically sound like on Mars on the Mars Microphone page.

22 March 2010

Blogs 4 Free Press


Apparently the ANCYL (whose members are all rather old to be in the YOUTH league) are trying to censor the press. It is thanks to the press, you see, that we know about their dodgy dealings with mining conglomerates and all the grey cats that Jacob Zuma likes to tickle in the dark. The obvious solution here is not to fix the problems, but to prevent us from knowing about the problems. Well, there's just one thorn in the side of this solution:

The Bill of Rights


The section on freedom of speech:

Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes
  1. freedom of the press and other media;

  2. freedom to receive or impart information or ideas;

  3. freedom of artistic creativity; and

  4. academic freedom and freedom of scientific research.


That's all there is to it, really. So please join me in saying fuck the ANCYL while we are still allowed to say it.

For more information, see Chris Roper's blog.
Also see Sipho Hlongwane's blog.

Note that I put the image on the far left. That's just a coincidence, honest.

21 March 2010

10 Nerd or geek bands: Fanfare for the uncommon man, part 1

This is an ode to ten of the geekiest, nerdiest bands on the planet. If you like more than three of these, chances are your idea of a walk on the wild side includes a batch of energy drinks and retro video games on a Friday night. And you don't think that is sad.

  1. Nerd bands, part 1.

  2. Nerd bands, part 2.



Rush


Rush fans have been described as the Trekkies of rock, for a few very good reasons. Their lyrics centre around libertarianism and the novels of Ayn Rand, with a healthy dose of science fiction on the side.

starman logo Rush

Rush's Starman logo.

Rush follows the power trio format, with three rather accomplished virtuosos making a racket. Drummer Neil Peart has also been described as rock's worst lyricist. Coming from music journalists, who are people who can't write writing for people who can't read, I'm not sure if that's an insult or a compliment.

Stovokor


Speaking of Trekkies, Stovokor features Klingons in semi-earthling garb who also sing a few songs in their native Klingon. As is expected, the songs are war cries from their home planet and they play just long enough to consume vast quantities of our best mead before the mother ship takes them away.

Stovokor's music is the most savage of savage, namely thrash metal. Named after the Klingon afterlife, with songs about warriors and the bravery of dying in battle, Stovokor appeals to nerds everywhere.

Za Frûmi


Sticking to the constructed language theme, Za Frûmi from Sweden sings in the Black Speech. Black Speech is the language of the Orcs that Tolkien invented for his boring rip-off of the Nibelungenlied.

Za Frûmi's music is dark ambient. Less nerdy folk would initially associate it with Dead Can Dance.

Burzum


A word meaning darkness in the Black Speech, so that's like the blackest black times infinity. Burzum is the side-project of one Varg Vikernes, who is famous for burning churches and stabbing record company executives. Not a bad CV.

Varg claims that he started Burzum to reflect the more Völkisch roots of Norse paganism, but I suspect it's just because they wouldn't allow him guitars in prison.

Corvus Corax


Corvus Corax is a band of minstrels who play authentic medieval music on medieval instruments. They often dress in tattoos and animal skins.

Corvux Corax tattoos animal skins bagpipes volkisch medieval music

Their most famous work thus far is Cantus Buranus, which is based on the original Carmina Burana. If you like ravens and bagpipes, this one is for you.

Private property is theft, personal property is fine

That awkward moment when reality meets your ideology. Some anarcho-communist is having a fanny wobble because informal settlers got evicted ...