The Sound So Loud That It Circled the Earth Four Times.
I can’t remember how I got onto this link (might’ve been off the back of something related to that awful explosion in Beirut this week) but it’s one that I also stumbled on a few months ago via The World’s loudest sound and promptly forgot about. All about how utterly inconceivable and loud the 1883 Krakatoa eruption was.

Krakatoa, pre - massive explosion

A barometer at the Batavia gasworks (100 miles away from Krakatoa) registered the ensuing spike in pressure at over 2.5 inches of mercury1,2. That converts to over 172 decibels of sound pressure, an unimaginably loud noise. To put that in context, if you were operating a jackhammer you’d be subject to about 100 decibels. The human threshold for pain is near 130 decibels, and if you had the misfortune of standing next to a jet engine, you’d experience a 150 decibel sound. (A 10 decibel increase is perceived by people as sounding roughly twice as loud.) The Krakatoa explosion registered 172 decibels at 100 miles from the source. This is so astonishingly loud, that it’s inching up against the limits of what we mean by “sound.”

and then

…you would be unable to breathe or likely see at all from the sound pressure, glass would shatter, fog would be generated as the water in the air dropped out of suspension in the pressure waves, your house at this distance would have a roughly 50% chance of being torn apart from sound pressure alone. Military stun grenades reach this volume for a split second… if they are placed up to your face. Survival chance from sound alone, minimal, you would certainly experience permanent deafness but probably also organ damage.

Nature huh(?) Wowsers. You hear (lol) about the potential of weaponising sound occasionally, and obviously it’s possible – but this is a level of sound that melts concrete. Makes the Brown Note pale in comparison.

Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…: A 25th Anniversary Retrospective.
Aug 1st 1995 was the release date of this undeniable classic from Raekwon. It’s a masterpiece; an album that has influenced wave after wave of artists in the quarter of decade since it dropped. It gets a decent mention in my Wu-Tang talk but in case you haven’t caught that and you’re still not sure about why this album is so revered, this is a decent overview.

RZA churned out banger after banger like a mad scientist in his basement laboratory. And after several months of grinding and a collaborative effort between RZA, Raekwon, and Ghostface, they’d created a masterpiece with contributions from every Wu-Tang Clan member…

I’d recommend giving it a read and then listening to the album on repeat a few times. Or listening to it first and then reading. Either way, you should listen to the album. There are some songs on there that I literally listen to at least once a week (and have done for the last 20+ years) but this anniversary is the perfect excuse to sit back and give the whole thing a play.

Listening to

Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. As mentioned above. A lot.

99% Invisible 393: Map Quests: Political, Physical and Digital.
This is an ideal episode for me: a few little stories about maps. Exclaves and enclaves, pokemon affecting the real world, and triangulation stations. I’ve been aware of trig points for a while – it’s quite fun spotting them when out and about 🤓 – but I had no idea about the history behind them.

They were first built in the 1800’s, before being re-done between 1930s-60s, and there are thousands of them in the UK.

In low-lying or flat areas some trig points are only a few metres above sea level and one is even at −1 m. When all the trig points were in place, it was possible in clear weather to see at least two other trig points from any one trig point … Careful measurements of the angles between the lines-of-sight of the other trig points then allowed the construction of a system of triangles which could then be referenced back to a single baseline to construct a highly accurate measurement system that covered the entire country. Wikipedia

People who go out specifically to find them are called ‘trig-baggers’ and despite that name, I want to be one. I’ve started using to find local ones (there are some hidden ones near my house I had no idea about) and honestly, I’ll be all over that site next time I venture outside.