Sunday, September 23, 2007

The oil from the head of a whale is a very fine, light oil that burns with a bright white flame, so for years, whale oil was the fuel of choice for lamps and lanterns. Whale oil was expensive and was replaced by petroleum oils when techniques were developed to refine Pennsylvania crude, a black smelly gunk that had been lying around in lakes and could be obtained in bulk by drilling relatively shallow wells.

Many naturally occurring materials, like cotton for instance, have not yet been completely replaced. Kevlar is a lot stronger, and parachutists probably prefer Kevlar over cotton parachute cord today, for obvious reasons. I'm sure you can think of your own examples. Cotton feels nice though, so cotton is used to make most clothing.

Aluminum is an important and relatively expensive material that is being used more in automobiles and motorcycles, aircraft, beach chairs and anywhere a lightweight and strong metal is needed. Mountain bikes are usually made with aluminum frames too. But aluminum is not often used to make springs. The elasticity of aluminum is nowhere as high as steel and other alloys, and not even a fraction of more exotic alloys such as Nitinol. Aluminum road bike frames are light but have a certain stiffness that can be unpleasant, so there are still plenty of steel alloy frames being made.

Aluminum has been the choice for making ribbon microphone elements since day one. For small excursion, low intensity sound applications, aluminum worked out fairly well, albeit with some shortcomings in the longevity department. Better alloys and mic designs nearly doubled the effective durability of ribbon mics. The Crowley and Tripp Naked Eye Standard is one such example of a higher strength aluminum ribbon that has been successful.

Now we are about to introduce a new material we call Roswellite as an improved replacement for the aluminum ribbon. Roswellite has many times the tensile strength and elasticity of aluminum, yet is lightweight and even lower in mass than what it replaces. It costs much more to make though. This leads to the important question: How good is good enough? Are present aluminum ribbons good enough? Apparently not, at least not for those who still shy away from ribbon mics. It seems that "the stigma of ribbon mic" stems from the ribbon material, mainly. And it ends with an even more important question: If Roswellite is superior to aluminum, but costs much more, is it worth putting in all ribbon mics of the future, or just the ones with the highest performance requirements? If Roswellite eliminates, once and for all, any doubts about what one can use a ribbon mic for (for instance, on the road, outdoors, etc.) then why should anyone continue to make aluminum ribbon mics anymore, unless cost was the primary factor?

The head of a whale or a porpoise has a domed shape, yet the skull of these animals is pointed, even beak-like, with a broad flat area over the front of the brain, which is large. That's where the dome is. That dome is filled with oil. Whale and porpoise oil has a different acoustic refractive index, or velocity, than water, and in that shape it forms a sound lens that focuses soundwaves onto the front of the brain. These soundwaves carry shape information, so the whale or porpoise can discern shapes very accurately and surely with it. It is just like a large eye at the center of their head. Experiments in pools have shown that porpoises can make out shapes, circles, textures, and even the faces of individual porpoises using only their sound lens, and clicks.

The third eye of consciousness is in our literature and history. Music evokes the third eye and the scenic, panoramic and visual response to music is only limited by our ability to listen, and see.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Went out whale watching last weekend. It is interesting that the most obese people like to watch whales. You could not believe how big some of these folks are are! Maybe they just want to see critters bigger than them but I digress. The naturlist on board the boat told of being in the water with whales, at some distance of course, and said that she could feel the sound imaging of the whales and it was really strange. We thought that we were hearing some of the whales sounds even when they were submerged. N1IPP

Bob Crowley said...

The whales were checking her out!

Anonymous said...

The Japanese are still killing whales.