Tuesday, July 19, 2016

tanks for the memory

Here's one for the "coincidence?? OR IS IT??!?!!!? yes; yes it is" files - last night while I was cooking dinner I caught the second half of what turned out to be a repeat showing of an episode of Underground Britain on Channel 5. Quite interesting as it included presenter Rob Bell visiting the old Inchindown fuel storage facility near the Cromarty Firth, one of those things that's big enough to be measured in football pitches, as part of the ascending London bus/football pitch/Wales alternative chummy slightly patronising man-in-the-street SI scale of size comparison units.

One of the things that people inevitably do in large enclosed spaces is a bit of the old shouting, just to test out the echo and reverberation properties of the space. In an attempt to apply a bit of a sciencey gloss to this the programme wheeled in Trevor Cox, a physicist specialising in acoustics, who, it turned out, had made use of the space in early 2014 to set a world record for the longest-lasting reverberation. This Herald Scotland article gives a bit more detail, although strangely it does refer to him as "Steven Cox" throughout.

So then this morning I was listening to Radio 4 on the way to work, as I usually do, and Jim al-Khalili's The Life Scientific came on. Jim's guest? None other than Trevor Ruddy Cox, acoustic physics guy and possessor of the world record for longest reverberation. It fair makes you think: maybe there really is a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will. Oh all right, no it doesn't.

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