Thunder Megaphone – A Glacial Valley Can Focus and Amplify Thunder Into a Most Extraordinary Sound

We’ve all heard thunder, and we all know what causes it. Many of us have heard two distinct kinds of thunder, but perhaps we never really noticed or thought about it. Recently, I heard a third kind of thunder.

“Ordinary” thunder – a thoroughly extraordinary sound, but the kind of thunder we hear most often – happens when lightning occurs at some distance from the observer. The initial sound of the lightning bolt echoes off surrounding objects and air masses. Because it is echoed so many times, the thunder stretches out into many, many seconds, even though the initial sound might have lasted a second or two at most. Moreover, because the initial sound echoes off soft things with indistinct surfaces – clouds, thermoclines, and weather fronts – and because many echoes reach the ears of the observer at different times, the original sound is greatly distorted. Almost all high frequency components are filtered out, and the observer hears mostly a low-pitched rumble.

When lightning strikes very close to the observer, within a few hundred feet, the sound is entirely different. The observer might not hear echoes of the thunder at all, but only the pure initial sound. It is a single, sharp, intense “POW!” It may be followed by a much quieter, but still loud, whistling or hissing sound.

But what about that third kind of lightning?

I was camping alone in Crawford Notch State Park in northern New Hampshire, when thunderstorms began rolling into the valley just after dinner. I tidied up my campsite just before the rain started, then retreated to my tent. One thunderstorm passed without much incident.

Darkness had fallen by the time the second thunderstorm rolled up from the south. I occupied myself by counting the time interval between lightning and thunder to track the movements of the storms. Fifteen seconds before the thunder rolled up from somewhere west of Mount Bemis, and I knew the storm was just under three miles southwest of me. Seven seconds between the flash and the rumble beyond Frankenstein Cliff, and I knew the storm was passing nearly a mile and a half to my west.

And then it happened!

A flash. I counted eleven seconds. And I heard a sound unlike any thunder I had ever heard before.

The cacophony included at least half a dozen rapid repetitions of the “POW!” of a nearby lightning strike. But at the same time, there was the rumbling and roaring of “ordinary” thunder, but much, much louder than usual.

Before I could figure out what that sound was, there was another flash somewhere to the north. Again I counted eleven seconds, and again I heard that utterly incredible crackling and powing and rumbling and roaring.

This time, I figured it out.

It was a lightning strike right within the upper reaches of Crawford Notch just a couple of miles north of me. It was right within a gigantic stone megaphone formed by Webster Cliff on the east, Mount Field and Mount Willey on the west, and the old glacial cirque of Mount Willard for a backstop on the north.

And this 1,500 foot deep, three-mile-long granite megaphone was pointed right at Dry River Campground.

Yes, the beautiful U-shaped glacial valley of Crawford Notch is a nearly perfect megaphone, albeit open on top. The bare stone faces of Mount Willard and Webster Cliff echoed the initial “POW!” of the thunder almost undistorted. The western slope of the notch is a bit more heavily wooded, but there’s enough bare ledge and rockslide there to provide a pretty good echo. The open top of the notch was covered by the underbelly of the thunderstorm itself, which provided enough of a soft echoic surface to create the usual rumbling of thunder in addition to the clean “POW!” echoes off the rock faces.

But all of this sound was extraordinarily loud because of the megaphone that focused it all right on me and my campsite.

After I got this all figured out, there was a third lightning flash in the north. Yes, eleven second later, there was that glorious, unearthly sound again.

I wondered why I had never heard this kind of thunder before. I have probably experienced thunderstorms in Crawford Notch at least a dozen times over the years, but never heard the Thunder Megaphone.

My best guess is that I probably have heard it before, but never noticed it. Most of the times I’ve camped there, it was with a crowd of friends and family. Much goes on when a thunderstorm rolls in. Ponchos have to be broken out and put on, while at the same time, various disorderly what-nots need to get stashed into cars and tents before they get soaked. There is a bit of yelling and shouting to be done, and paradoxically among the mayhem, kids and dogs need to have their fears calmed. Meanwhile, tarps over the tents and picnic tables are flapping in the gales, making a poor imitation of thunder themselves.

In all my 25 years camping in Crawford Notch, this may have been the first time I experienced a thunderstorm while I was camping there alone. There was no tarp over the tent, and I had anticipated the thunderstorm well enough to get everything into the car long before the rain started.

So, when the lightning and thunder came, I had nothing to do but observe.

What a treat!

I half hope we get a thunderstorm the next time we go camping in the mouth of the Thunder Megaphone.

Wedding First Dance – The First Dance at Your Wedding With a Great Wedding Band

Most couples have a song that is special to them and it is traditional for the bride and groom to start the wedding evening’s party by dancing to their chosen song (although this is not set in stone!).  Although this is not compulsory, it is a nice way to start the evening as all the wedding guests (including those who have just arrived for the evening) get to see the embarrassed couple gaze lovingly into each others eyes as they smooch around the dance floor to the flash of cameras.  In actual fact it’s not that embarrassing; a good wedding band will let the couple dance alone and then after a minute or so will invite everyone else up to join the bride and groom.  With the dance floor full of smooching couples it is then easy to go straight into a party or dance song and so the evening’s entertainment begins.   

Whether or not the first song if played live by the band or from the original CD will depend on a number of things; does the band already have the song in their set-list?  If not, are they prepared to learn it (assuming they have time)? If they are willing to learn it will they do it justice (a three-piece band that does pubs every weekend may be able to do a version of your special song, but will you be happy with their interpretation as your first dance)?

Ultimately the answer to this question is to talk to the band.  If you can arrange to see them play live you will get a good idea of their abilities based on how they cover the songs they already do.  Good bands always try to learn a couple’s first song if it is not already in their set-list, especially if it is a song that we can be used again. Good bands will also, however, have no hesitation in recommending that the original CD version be played if they thought that they could not learn it in time or not do it justice!  Beware of copyright issues though; bands will have this covered for live performances but if you want to play a CD, speak to the venue first to see if they are covered. You are unlikely to experience a problem with the publisher, but you never know!

 

I can’t think of a worse way to start someone’s special wedding evening than a band playing a very lame version of a song that should have special meaning to the bride and groom.  If you want to do that crazy killer-dance that is so often seen on YouTube, you’ll need a good quality dance band. Please note; the sooner you let the band know what you want then the more chance you have of getting it – don’t be disappointed if you ask the band 2 days before your wedding to learn a specific song only to be told that it is not going to happen! So plan ahead, think about what song both you and your partner would like that first dance to be, then find a good band and speak to them; they will generally have great advice for you.

 

Most of all? Just relax on the night, stare into your partners eyes and get everyone in the room gushing and weeping at the lovely romantic sight of you both dancing for the first time as husband and wife.

Learn to Speak Spanish Through Online Programs

The Spanish language is becoming increasingly more important to speak and understand. More than 420 million people speak Spanish, including those who speak it as a second or third language. Approximately 17 million of those are in the United States, making speaking Spanish more than just a passing fad. Fortunately, there are many online resources geared towards helping people learn how to speak Spanish.

Learn Conversational Spanish

The website, studyspanish.com, provides people with the opportunity to learn conversational Spanish. Although this program will not help you achieve fluency, by reading the lessons and repeating sounds and phrases with the audio attachments, you can be well on your way to carrying on a conversation. Sample beginning lessons are available online, and students can add to their knowledge with the purchase of CDs.

Courses, Tutors and Games in Spanish

Websites like 123teachme.com provide grammar, vocabulary, verb conjugations and sounds, like the other websites, but they also incorporated games and quizzes. These games and quizzes use vocabulary and phrases to test students knowledge and memory. People using this site can also work with Spanish tutors, people who know the language fluently, to get one-on-one help and accelerate the learning process.

Use Videos on Google and YouTube

Videos are available on YouTube and Google, and allow Spanish students to hear how the words are said, including accents and emphasis, but also see how they're said. Some of these videos use visual aids, displaying words and their pronunciation, like a book and audio tape would do, while others use people. The videos are for the beginning and advanced learners, depending upon the individuals needs and desires.

Learn Practical Spanish

Websites like e-spanol.hu/en outline the basics of Spanish, including grammar, vocabulary and expressions. This website provides games, quizzes, tests, word practices, audio videos and transcripts for students to test their knowledge and maximize they're Spanish skills.

Master Words and Phrases

For the beginning and advanced Spanish speakers, or students who simply want a larger vocabulary, websites like learn-spanish.co.il/ are ideal. This website lectures specific words and phrases that can make your Spanish more descriptive and detailed, including words relating to travel, color, shapes, sports, animals, food and clothing. However, this website does not include an audio, but only a simple visual of the words.

Entertainment on the Internet – There Is Something for Everyone!

The Internet is an exciting place for entertainment. We can play Online games, Chat with friends and family, Can browse live news and interesting articles, Watch online movies, Do online shopping, Hear FM Radio's and Podcasts, Watch Live Televisions, Get new friends through social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace , Orkut, Twitter, Friendster etc. And in general, Internet provides a great range of entertainment.

Video sharing sites provide much more fun and entertainment. These sites such as Google video, YouTube, Metacafe includes lots of funny, interesting and useful videos. Funny pranks and Comedy videos in those video sharing website will be used a good stress relieving tools.

Watching online movies is another great entertainment in Internet. There are numerous websites providing online movies, some of them are free too and some charge a tiny payment. Online movies include all genres such as action, romance, drama etc.

Online games such as Yahoo Games, Pogo, iWin, Shockwave, and New grounds are all great pages containing thousands of free online games for users of all ages. These games are often Flash, Shockwave, or Java and can be easily played through your browser without having to download and install the game. There are stress relieving games to overcome everyday stress in business and personal life's. Websites such as Bored.com, Funisland.com, and gamefunonline.com have lots of free online games, computer games and flash games. Not only that but we have tons of fun filled games.

Social networking site's posses lot of fun and they are equipped with options like chatting, video and photo sharing, tagging, writing comments, updating status and lot more. Messenger services and VoIP service provide chatting and group conversation, which enables enhanced communication.

Listening to music is yet another great way of stress relieving and entertainment we can get on the internet. Lots of sites provide online music, covering almost all the languages ‚Äč‚Äčavailable on the internet. Free internet radio stations, Live FM radios, Music libraries are the sources of music on Internet. We will also hear music from online live concerts, video uploads, etc.

We will get more tips on stress management in websites regarding health benefits. There is a lot of websites provide guidance on meditation, yoga and tai-chi. These sites provide video tutorial on those Yoga, Meditation etc.

In general Internet is a great source of fun, entertainment provider. Internet is resourceful tool providing lot of entertainment. Internet acts as a great communication application.