Wonders of free content

Recently a geophysicist friend forwarded a link to a news item that he knew would interest me, because it advances knowledge about the origins of the mysterious, selective and maddening hum of the earth.

'Now, [Spahr Webb of Columbia University] has shown that two or more infragravity waves interact to create pressure waves that set the Earth humming at its natural mHz vibrational modes. Webb believes that these interactions occur over the continental shelves -- the shallow water surrounding land masses where infragravity waves are most common.'

My point is not about the hum (don't go there!) but about the marvellous accessibility of specialised information to everyone with internet access. In exchange for a few details about myself I can now receive weekly news items and articles on any aspect of physics that interest me. Free. And I trust the information because geophysicists use it. Fair trade!

Physics Web is just one of many such sites. In the Olden Days, I'd have to be a physicist myself, either pay a sub or visit a library, and personally search for articles of interest. Frequently.
Physics Web continues the traditional function of the pre-web internet: enabling university researchers to network and share information. But the web (and the generosity of sites like physicsweb.org) has made it possible for unqualified dilettantes like me to eavesdrop on academic conversations.

Ocean Waves Keep Earth Humming
Humming, the novel
Image from anomalies-research-hum-phenomena


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