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Un-asked questions remain unanswered!

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Posted by Gary Pressley on June 15, 2010

Several years ago, I was a guest at a hotel in Japan.  In my room, I read the multi-language Warning Label on the built-in hair dryer:  “Do not use for the other purpose.”  This still makes me chuckle to this day -- something went amiss in the translation.  The wording is close enough that we can infer what the writer meant: The hair dryer is only to be used for drying hair.  The humor results from an unspoken (and unanswered) question:  What exactly is “the other purpose” for a hair dryer?  Restless minds want to know!

Many aspects of our daily lives could be questioned, but are so routine and universal that it doesn’t seem necessary or practical to ask.  Why is the sky blue?  Where does wind come from? How do they decide the price of gasoline?  While these childlike questions have real answers (okay – I’m still stumped by the last one), we don’t usually have an accurate answer, even for a toddler’s basic life questions.

This is very much the experience that most people have with Sound in our world.  We don’t need to understand acoustics in order to experience sound every moment of our lives.  We don’t question how sound “works.”  Acoustic questions only arise when we discover a need to control sound, or perhaps after we have made an attempt at “fixing” a noise problem”, and are puzzled (or downright frustrated) by the results.  Many have discovered that guesswork in acoustics doesn’t produce Solutions.

There is a wealth of information about acoustics today.  Unfortunately, there is also no shortage of speculation, misinformation, and even Urban Legend about how sound is transmitted, how it can be shaped, absorbed, re-directed or contained.  Much of the behavior of sound is not intuitive, and requires the advice and experience of folks that have been curious and crazed enough to really figure this stuff out.  It’s important to ask someone in-the-know.

Please stop back here on the Sound Acoustic Solutions website regularly. New information, tools, illustrations, and products will be added often.  Anyone with a healthy curiosity can better understand, and learn to address sound issues.  It all starts with asking good questions . . . and making sure to only accept good answers!

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