“Hey Pop, can I have some money?” asked Dana. “The Electric Ear Splitters are giving a concert here in town next week, and I really want to hear it.” His father put down the television listings, turned off the TV, and firmly declined. “But that’s my favorite group!” protested Dana. “I want to buy tickets real fast so I can hear them perform as soon as possible.” “If that’s what’s most important to you,” replied the father, “then you won’t need any tickets”. Explain.
The father had noticed the planned live concert and noticed that it was also to be on television. Microphones would be a few feet from the performers and would capture the sound for television transmission. The audience potentially, including Dana, would be farther from the performers than their microphones would be. Sound travels at about 800 feet per second. Television waves and the electric currents that create and respond to them travel over a million times faster than sound. The father correctly figured that the television audience would hear the performers sooner than the live audience, for there would be less delay while sound waves travel a short distance on microphones and from TV speakers to viewers than while sound waves travel the full distance from performers to the live audience. The difference is only a fraction of a second, but the father was a sociopath.