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Date Posted: Sun 03 Mar 2013; 4:30pm
Author: RF
Subject: Re: audio decibels
In reply to: Malcolm Goodman 's message, "audio decibels" on Mon 18 Feb 2013; 4:07pm

Yes it looks clear on paper, looking at the sequence, but the point is :
10^2 is 10x10, which is easily understood, as is
10^3 is 10x10x10
and 10^1 is just 10 on its own.
But how do actually describe what's happening to 10^0 to the layman?

You could describe it as taking one off the power (call it x), and talk about 10 being multiplied by 10 again, x times.
So for 10^3, it's : 10 x (the original 10) 2 times.
In that case, 10^1 is 10 and nothing more, as there are 0 times required.
But 10^0 would be 10 and the multiplication -1 times!

I suppose it makes sense if negative multiplications involve a factor of a tenth rather than 10, but I can't imagine having an easy time explaining that to anyone. It would be "Why does it go from x10 to x0.1 all of a sudden?"

The best I could up with, would be "When it goes negative, you turn the 10/1 upside-down because it's inverted : to 1/10".

I can only imagine blank looks and mental switching off! :)

Thanks anyway!

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