I think about sound a lot.

After all, it’s what makes up this show.

Some sounds are pleasing, others not so much.

And a few can actually be destructive.

That’s the subject of an interesting piece by ZME Science which tries to answer the question: what is the loudest sound humans have ever heard?

We measure sounds in decibels.

The background ambience in a typical household is around 40 dB, and a conversation is around 60.

Crank up your speakers and you’ll be around 80 or 85 decibels, which is about the level when you can start to hurt your ears.

Exposure to 140 decibels or higher for any length of time may lead to permanent hearing loss.

NASA’s Saturn V rocket, the one used by the Apollo program, reached 204 decibels.

That’s so strong that it’s actually not quite a sound anymore.

Sounds are vibrations that travel through air, and after about 194 decibels the vibrations are so strong they push the air out of the way rather than moving through it.

But the article finds that the loudest sound humans might have ever experienced was even louder: the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa.

Not only did that enormous explosion release so much material into the air that it actually dampened temperatures around the world, it created a shockwave that scientists believe reached 310 decibels.

Here’s how loud that is: thousands of miles away people heard the explosion and wondered who was firing guns nearby.

That’s almost as loud as that amplifier that goes up to eleven in the movie “This Is Spinal Tap.”

And how about a round of loud applause for Rudy the octopus.

The YouTube channel Octolab TV just gave Rudy a challenge: an escape room for an octopus.

Four of them, in fact, each one harder than the last one.

Was Rudy up to the challenge? You’ll have to see for yourself, but yes, he was.

The loudest sound in mankind’s history (ZME Science)

Octopus Escape Room Challenge (Octolab TV via YouTube)

Cool Weird Awesome’s Patreon backers make beautiful sounds, every day 

Image by Parker & Coward, via Wikicommons