March 6, 2009

What do the bass, the treble, and 104 gauss have in common?

The bass, the treble,
don't make a rebel –
having your life together does.
is an excerpt from Michael Franti's lyrics to "Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury," the title track of the 1992 debut album by the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. But one idiot (who wrote that "only a churl could get a kick out of ... rhymes as awful") got it wrong, reprinting the lyrics correctly but citing, erroneously, a different Disposable Heroes song, "Television, the Drug of the Nation." And then that mistake propagated onto the internet, where, for awhile, there were many web pages stating this error as fact.

The Tesla is a unit of magnetic field strength, as is the gauss. One Tesla is equal to ten thousand gauss. 10,000 is ten to the fourth power, or 10^4, or 104. Can you see where this is going? There are many pages on the web, today, which define a Tesla as 104 gauss. 

So, with apologies to Mr. Franti, may I rap out with:
The bass, the treble,
don't make a rebel –
and 104 gauss
don't make a Tesla –
but 10,000 do.

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