Funny how an odd bit of information taken out of context, and juxtaposed with other bits, also taken out of context, can seem laden with mystical import. How mistaken we are to grant significance to these reactionary and emotional responses, when the observable science offers a much more thrilling and humbling understanding of the complexity of the universe we inhabit.

As an example, take the observation regarding the earth’s frequency, above.

The Earth does, indeed, “ring like a bell”, as do all generally spherical bodies that consist of a more dense shell surrounding a less dense interior. A shock delivered to a point on the shell will reverberate through and around the sphere in auditory patterns we call “ringing”...though, for the Earth, the ringing is at such a low frequency, that we humans don’t hear it. According to the book “Earth”, by F. Press and R. Siever, the lowest ring tone is E flat in the 20th octave below middle C. Seismologists can use this ringing to study the structure of the earth, including the flow of the molten core within. New data is gathered every time there is a major earthquake, which sets the earth ringing for days. The book “Theoretical Global Seismology”, by F. A. Dalen, is a (highly technical) resource. Another interesting source is the web site for the Royal Observatory of Belgium. They are doing work on a core model for the earth, which includes trying to understand how earth’s interior features modulate the ringing.

The sun rings also. The Global Oscillation Network Group, GONG, (guess no one told them about the Gong Show), has just completed a $20 million dollar project to erect listening stations around the world to record the oscillations of our sun. The eruptions of sunspots and other violent storms on the sun’s surface set off reverberations which last for weeks or even months (the sun being a much larger bell than the earth). Helioseismologists will be using the data to learn more about the internal structure of the sun.

Before we complain about any important scientific information being kept secret from us, we should strive to understand the mountains of data that are readily available to us.