# Catastrophically loudApril 6, 2017 10:23 AM   Subscribe

Presumably this would occur at 4 am.
posted by AFABulous at 10:31 AM on April 6, 2017 [27 favorites]

Now how loud would it be if they were on a conveyor belt?
posted by bondcliff at 10:40 AM on April 6, 2017 [4 favorites]

I think that's just my cat. Sorry. He does that every morning, 5:45 on the dot.
posted by Artw at 10:48 AM on April 6, 2017 [5 favorites]

Don't worry, everyone, because even if the cats learn about this we can rely on their goodwill and compassion to OH JESUS LORD WHAT'S THAT SOUND???
posted by Huck500 at 11:08 AM on April 6, 2017 [6 favorites]

Wait, if I have two sources of sound at 65 dB, that doesn't make the sound 130 dB.

I mean do you have to turn down the volume to your surround sound every time you add a speaker?

Also where's the calculation for distance? How close are you to the kitties of the world? I would bet the inverse square law puts the actual sound below 65dB.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:10 AM on April 6, 2017 [5 favorites]

There are billions of people. How many of us are talking at once, globally? Hundreds of millions? Still pretty quiet where I'm sitting.

Certainly doesn't sound like even a single jet taking off.
posted by chasing at 11:26 AM on April 6, 2017

Wait, if I have two sources of sound at 65 dB, that doesn't make the sound 130 dB.

No, but it probably is louder than one source at 65 dB. Consider: a crowd of people all talking is a lot louder than one person talking.

This blog post linked from the end of the Reddit thread addresses the question more rigorously; not catastrophically loud, it seems.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:27 AM on April 6, 2017

(Although he's assuming cats spaced 1 meter apart, which seems much too closely packed to me?)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:29 AM on April 6, 2017

Didn't this come up in ask recently? I can't find it, but a cat sphere of kitty compartments open towards the center was proposed. If the cats were maximally packed, the sphere would be taller by a bit than the Burj Khalifa.

The cats at the top of the sphere, presumably held in by some wire mesh, might have some trouble projecting their max volume towards the center (downwards).

A big problem would be feeding & watering the cats & disposing of their waste. A bigger problem would be assembling them. Early arrivals could be dead of old age by the time the last ones showed up. The biggest problem is returning them to their homes.
posted by ASCII Costanza head at 11:40 AM on April 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

Wait, if I have two sources of sound at 65 dB, that doesn't make the sound 130 dB ... Also where's the calculation for distance?

That's the whole point of the rest of the reddit thread. One thing they don't seem to address though is the fact that sound waves have the potential to partially cancel when they're out of phase, which could decrease the total sound even more.
posted by svenx at 11:42 AM on April 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

A Buddhist koan for the 21st century.
posted by Quindar Beep at 11:43 AM on April 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Well I mean, given how volume falls off, you could probably get a pretty good approximation of the loudest meowing possible by somehow convincing a bunch of cats to all feed at a large, circular bowl, then stick your head down in between them such that they all meow into your ears at once.
posted by Zalzidrax at 11:43 AM on April 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

Though, admittedly, that may not be significantly more practical than assembling all of the worlds cats together in one place.
posted by Zalzidrax at 11:48 AM on April 6, 2017

A Buddhist koan for the 21st century.

Mu.
posted by radwolf76 at 11:54 AM on April 6, 2017 [6 favorites]

as long as every cat in the world does not jump on my bladder at 5 am I'm ok
posted by supermedusa at 12:16 PM on April 6, 2017 [6 favorites]

Mu.

You may want to have a vet check out your cat.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:18 PM on April 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

If the cats were maximally packed, the sphere would be taller by a bit than the Burj Khalifa.

Assume a spherical cat in a vacuum...
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:18 PM on April 6, 2017

That's the whole point of the rest of the reddit thread. One thing they don't seem to address though is the fact that sound waves have the potential to partially cancel when they're out of phase, which could decrease the total sound even more.

IIRC the effect of this is that the total amplitude of two sounds A and B is (on average) sqrt(A^2+B^2) assuming linear units. I don't have brain right now to do this in logarithmic units, sorry...
posted by Jpfed at 12:22 PM on April 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

The correct answer is: "SHUT UP KITTY I'LL FEED YOU IN A MINUTE"
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 12:44 PM on April 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

68 dB is twice as loud, in terms of absolute power, as 65 dB, but only if the two sounds are identical and in-phase (at your ears). It doesn't sound twice as loud, however, due to our logarithmic ears.

Randomly out-of-phase sounds will add in an RMS (root-mean-square) fashion, as Jpfed pointed out, although I believe the proper formula is sqrt ((A^2+B^2)/2).

Sound also drops off by 6 dB every time you double the distance between the source and the listener, so that will be the biggest factor.
posted by rocket88 at 12:44 PM on April 6, 2017

Assume a spherical cat in a vacuum...

... and the problem becomes trivially easy as there's no sound in a vacuum.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:56 PM on April 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Double?
posted by Bruce H. at 1:00 PM on April 6, 2017

they have been, since before the dawn of humanity, and the truth is that we cannot unhear their concordant meow.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 1:38 PM on April 6, 2017

Of course, the real question of interest is "...and if you opened the door afterwards, would they come in or just sit on the threshold waiting to be picked up?"
posted by rongorongo at 3:02 PM on April 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

Consider: a crowd of people all talking is a lot louder than one person talking.

The more people there are talking, the more loudly everyone is talking to be heard.

Witness how loudly you will say something that is out of context and embarrassing when everyone else happens to quickly become quiet at the same time.
posted by flaterik at 5:02 PM on April 6, 2017

Citing from the discussion: First, dB is a logarithmic scale, not a linear one. Doubling the sound doesn't mean doubling the dB level, so the linear extrapolation is a flaw...

Not sure that cats kn[e]ow this...
posted by Namlit at 8:22 AM on April 8, 2017

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