The Speed Of Sound

I got to thinking about the speed of sound this morning and wondered just how they were able to accurately determine what this was, especially without the latest technology that we have today.

This all came about when I went in the bathroom to shower and shave before I went to work, and having shaved I wondered how my razor got it’s name, the Gillette “Mach 3″.

Now I can see that the 3 relates to the number of blades, but I can’t see that this has any effect on the speed of shaving, so why Mach 3 which is 3 times the speed of sound?

Well I quickly gave up on that thought, and while I was in the shower my thoughts around this went deeper, and I wondered just how they were able to determine the speed at which sound travels.

I know that without looking this up that this is somewhere around 700 miles per hour, which is pretty fast in the scheme of things, but just how do you measure it?

I conjured up an image of 2 people standing a mile apart on hill tops, each with a stop watch and one with a gun.  The first fires the gun and at the same time clicks stop on his watch. The second meantime listens for the gun being fired and clicks his watch when he hears it.

Well this is all well and good, except that you can’t rely on either person clicking their watches at exactly the right time, plus of course the speed of light comes into play, because the sight of the first person firing the gun might make the second person click his watch before he actually hears the shot being fired..

Assuming that some way could be found to click the watches at exactly the right time, I guess you could measure the speed of sound, however you would have to adjust the result to allow for the speed of light.

The problem is now that you would have to know the speed of light in order to determine the speed of sound, so a means of actually doing this ends up beyond my realitively unscientific brain, plus of course by the time my thoughts reached this point I had finished showering and so my thoughts then focused on breakfast and what to wear to work.

My best experience of the difference between the speed of sound and the speed of light was when I watched one of the Space Shuttles launch at Cape Canaveral in Florida.

We watched the launch from Titusville, which is about 12 miles from the launch pad, and as the shuttle launched I was in total awe, not realising that you couldn’t hear anything.

I’m not sure how long it took before you could hear the noise, and feel the vibration too, but it seemed like half a minute at the time, and then there was a tremendous roar and a shockwave coming across the Indian River, which in itself was quite amazing.

Do you ever have deep thoughts about things where the answer is beyond you?  If so, please leave a comment and share.

Did We Really Listen To This?

I was browsing YouTube over the weekend, searching for videos of music from my university days, and it made me ponder Did we REALLY listen to this?

My browsing old songs from YouTube was triggered when someone purchased a CD from one of my Amazon links the other day.  Since I didn’t recognise either the CD name or the artist, I thought I would look it up on Amazon, and the best description I can give is “Morris Dancing music where every track sounds the same”.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Morris Dancing, it’s a British form of street dancing that dates back hundreds of years.  You can find some examples on YouTube.

Anyhow, back to the plot, which involves my browsing through videos of songs from bands that were cult hits back in the 1970′s when I was at university, and it made me really wonder why we liked them.  My wife took one listen (barely 5 seconds is all it took) and proclaimed “What the heck are you listening to?”.

Well here are a couple of examples for you…

The first is The Galloping Gaucho from Stackridge. It’s a track from the album The Man In The Bowler Hat which I still have on vinyl (LP). If you feel the need to search for and listen to more Stackridge, you can find them on and

The second track I have for you is The Hedgehog’s Song by The Incredible String Band and it’s off their 1967 album The 5000 Spirits or the Layers Of An Onion.  Their songs evolved a lot over the years, and if you want to hear more, you can also find them on and

Do you have any music styles or artists that you used to listen to years ago and where you now wonder what endeared you to them? If so, please leave a comment and let us know.

A Nice Carvery At The Master Builder

The Master Builder, Southampton
This photo of Master Builder is courtesy of TripAdvisor

We had a nice carvery yesterday at The Master Builder which is only a couple of miles up the road from where we live.

The pub changed management a few months ago, and so we thought it was time to see what the food was like there, as we felt like going out for a bite to eat, but with the weather being horribly wet and windy we didn’t want to venture too far from home.

The last time that we went to The Master Builder we left very disappointed, as the vegetables were simpley terrible, being undercooked and in the case of the carrots quite obviously re-heated from the previous day.  Yesterday, however, we fared rather better.

There was a choice of ham, beef and pork, all nicely cooked, with what I can only class as “exceptional quality” Yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes for a carvery.

There was a good choice of vegetables, and other than the peas and sweetcorn, there was swede and carrots, red cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and stuffing and gravy.

The place was pretty busy, and as usual we sat in the conservatory area looking out onto the patio/garden at the back of the pub, which was being lashed by strong gusts of wind and rain.

The carvery is a bit pricier than in some other local pubs, but as long as the quality is good and there is a good choice of vegetables you don’t mind paying a bit more for a meal that you know you are going to enjoy.

It was definitely nice to get out of the house, as the weather this weekend has just been more of the usual wind and rain, and we will be going back to The Master Builder in a few months no doubt.

If you are still not quite sure what a carvery is, here is a good article about carveries.

Sunshine And Heavy Rain

It’s quite easy to get fed up with life in the UK at this time of year, especially if the weather consists of sunshine and heavy rain.

Granted it’s unseasonably mild for the time of year, with temperatures during the day around 10C (50F) but it still just wants to rain, and everywhere is just sodden.

We did get a brief sunny interval this morning, and again just now (early afternoon), but in between it’s been more heavy showers and torrential rain.  It just gets a bit hard to take at times, very frustrating.

Still, I guess I shouldn’t complain, because the alternative would be freezing cold with snow and ice. Given a choice I prefer grey skies and rain I guess.

January Is A Brain Dead Month

After all the fuss about Christmas and New Years, I very often find that January is a brain dead month for me, and 2014 is proving to be no exception.

I made myself a New Year’s Resolution to write more, especially here on what was created as a special site for Debbie and I, but halfway through the month I am having trouble finding things to write about, and that shouldn’t be happening, as there are always plenty of things I can write about.

I think the problem might be partly that many of the topics I want to write about require research and they aren’t going to develop into quick articles.

I don’t have a lot of time right now to pursue those, and therefore I am looking for those more spontanious topics to write about, like news items or things that come into my head while driving to work for example. Unfortunately I can’t think of anything, which is frustrating.

Do you find the same thing happening to you when you try to write at this time of the year?