Do you ever wonder if you’re part of the human race? Yes, you can naturally assume you are a human being…but are you part of the species? Do you ask questions like the following?
How does music travel through a wire into headphones? Lets say you’re watching Pulp Fiction. One character is reading a Bible passage while another searches through cabinets. Add the sound effect of a fan spinning overhead in the scene. Now how do those separate sounds all float into your ears at the exact same time to create the atmosphere? How does it all travel at the precisely intended moment through a simple wire? You can’t see sound, so you can’t follow where it goes and how fast each individual sound is traveling. Does the cabinet sound move faster than the twirling fan but eventually arrive at the proper time? Or are all these sounds consistently even? Now try unplugging the headphones and just watch a movie. After a minute plug it back in. Sure enough, the timing is perfect. The words match the mouths of the characters, the “bang” sound arrives just when the pistol is fired, and the “screech” fits just when the car is coming to a sudden halt. At this point it’s safe to conclude that the picture of a film is a separate entity from the sound. Whether you can see the picture or not, the sound will always be proper when you plug in headphones.
So now I wonder… what REGULATES the picture and sound, two different entities, to coexist harmoniously? Now imagine an entire film, filled with millions of such harmony, and having it recorded on a single disc. Nevermind the lighting, brightness, acting, etc…just picture the complexity of sound and image being translated to a disc. One disc. And yet there are billions of such discs across the globe. And for a mere $25 you can buy a good quality DVD. And when you do, you won’t think for a second about how this deceptively complicated device works. You’ll pop it into a DVD player, make some popcorn, grab a pack of twizzlers etc, watch the movie, then go to bed. And what will you discuss with your friends/family?: plot details, character behaviors, acting abilities, and the overall entertainment of the movie. But never once will you think to discuss the science behind the sound and picture, the perfect harmony of both, and how such a thing could be put on a small disc in a plastic case for $25.
Does this all sound trivial? To most humans it is, and to those people I give you my pity. You can only see the overall image without the detail. Like Magic Eye for example. Most people bring the image to their nose, pull it away, and see a 3-D picture. I do this too. But what most people don’t do is look at the design of Magic Eye. Forget the image, look at the detail…filled with intricate repeating patterns. And if you find the patterns you notice that there are little breaks in the patterns. These are what form the images. But you didn’t notice this because you were far too busy holding a book to your face. And why? Because the book said to.
I have no idea how DVD’s work…how sound/images can match up so perfectly over and over again. Or how sound can move through a wire in the form of electricity. But I think about it nonetheless. And all these thoughts stem from DVD’s. Now imagine thinking this way about everything on Earth. Now do so, and become more than a piece of the human race. Become your own puzzle, and figure yourself and your world out.
Let me know how you do.