The Art and Science and Evil of Sound (or, "If You Build It, They Will Hurl.")

Did you hear that?

Da-da's gonna have to release his regular Thursday post today, as he's chaperoning a haunted field trip tomorrow; he went on one yesterday, and of course something paranormal came out of it. Da-da doesn't search for these things, they just happen. More later. In the meantime, here's a true story of acoustic collegiate shananigans that, like parenting, involves guile and strategy and science and negative reinforcement. And yes, extreme sound.

The Art and Science of Sound (or, "If You Build It, They Will Hurl")

The Set-up

Ever have an obnoxious neighbor play crappy music so loud that your toilet rattles and your fillings fall out? You gently complain to them about it, and ask them to please keep it down and they pretty much ignore you and play their crappy music even LOUDER, anyway? If you answered, "YES," then this true story is for you. (If you answered, "NO," then move along. Nothing to see here.)

Da-da HATES loud noises. He has no idea why. A dangerous pacifist, Da-da once inadvertently punched some guy who came up behind him and shouted in his ear. Sorry, pal: just a reflex. Indeed, people blaring music always seemed to plague Da-da until he found a novel -- and natural -- solution while at university.

One fine snowy day at the University of Morvalia, Da-da walked into one of his friend's dorm rooms... and walked right back out. Their downstairs dorm neighbors, wanted in four counties for unrestrained sound pollution, had some truly heinous thrashcan headbanger "music" cranked up so loud that the floor vibrated. It was awful. Back in the corridor, Da-da saw an equally terrible stain on the wall and floor (tequila), which gave him an idea. Inspired, Da-da decided to put his third-person physics to good use and construct an experiment.

Here's one Da-da prepared earlier.

Experiment #1: If You Build It... [insert barfing noise]

Da-da began his first experiment by borrowing a DJ friend's sound set-up. This consisted of four huge Altec speakers, high-powered amps, the works. Da-da and his friends then hooked all this professional sound gear to a frequency generator Da-da already posssessed, tuning it to an ULTRA LOW frequency. We tipped all the speakers over so they faced the floor, and covered it all with sound deadening blankets. Then we waited.

Sure enough, the loud music started right after lunch, as always. We powered up the amps and frequency generator, cranked it up to ELEVEN, and went for coffee.

We returned not quite an hour later. The music below had stopped. We turned off the sound equipment, while one of the roommates went downstairs to casually reconnoiter, then came back up to report.

Seems both downstairs sound offenders had either come down with the flu, or were suffering from food poisoning, as they were hurling their guts out. Low frequency sound, you see, makes humans sick.

It didn't stop there.

Later that night, the sound offenders started feeling better and cranked their stereos back up again... and their mysterious acoustic flu returned, making them puke all over the place. This went on for about a week with lessening frequency (so to speak), until the sound offenders had had enough negative reinforcement.

C.P.E. Bach will love you long time.

Experiment #2: I'll Be Bach

The next week, Da-da and one of the upstairs roommate conspirators acted as moles and befriended the downstairs sound offenders in the school cafeteria. Feigning illness, Da-da asked if they too had been getting sick a lot. They of course affirmed this. Da-da suggested that it might not be the flu, but the TYPE of music that was the problem, as hadn't the sound offenders heard of the Swedish Graffenberg sound experiments, where obnoxious headbanger music had been found to not only decrease IQ levels but also make overexposed listeners horribly ill? It was all over the news. (It wasn't.)

The sound offenders had of course never heard of this, though it did sound familiar, they said (primarily because everyone at the time had heard of the Graffenberg's "g-spot" discovery in women, but not Graffenberg's OTHER, sinister acoustic experiments; the ones with vaginas are still classified).

The sound offenders (who were both marketing majors, go figure) were amazed by this, then counseled by Da-da to try listening to classical music, as the same rigorously scientific study showed that listening to classical music made you smarter AND better looking, and of course had other pronounced health benefits, especially in the nether regions if you catch Da-da's drift. The study also found that the music of C.P.E. Bach -- which Da-da just happened to have on him in CD form, huh -- was the most potent form of this.

Sure enough, later that night, C.P.E. Bach wafted up from below Da-da's friends' dorm room... but only for about 15 minutes. It must've been killing them, for soon, the headbanger music cranked up again, bringing with it its low frequency reprisal -- and of course more barfing.

This went on for two weeks. Some people are harder to train than others. Da-da kept a chart (which has alas been lost to the moving-truck sands of time): Headbanger music vs C.P.E. Bach, low frequency bath ON or OFF, respectively. Soon, Pavlov's marketing dogs were cured, listening to C.P.E. Bach almost exclusively, and at pleasant levels that all could enjoy. Strangely, they also began to get more dates than usual. Soon, the entire dorm was listening to C.P.E. Bach. Not sure how many children this spawned, but that's another experiment.

The Result

Da-da wrote up his little acousti-somatic experiment and submitted it to two of his classes -- a psych class and a physics class, AND a music class for extra credit (this was before the hideous fascism of Turnitin; the same report was valid for all classes, ahem), and Da-da got A's on all of them... though Da-da's physics teacher never looked at him the same way again. Maybe it was the Dr. Mengele mustache.

Anyway, the moral of Da-da's little tale is either, "Always be a good citizen and respect people's rights, because they might understand the world better than you, or "Watch Out for Da-da, the Living Menace and Closet Eugenicist." Like all those "soldiers" in the Ukraine, Da-da also wears a mask for a reason.


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