Wednesday, October 25, 2006

20 points to the person who knows the answer.

Something very strange has just occurred and I am in need of explanations...

I was making myself a cup of tea this evening 'cause it's cold and rainy out, and tea is just the beverage for such a night. As I added the milk, my mug began to whistle at me. A very strange, high-pitched, whiny whistle. I feared for the safety of my mug (was the tea too hot? Was my mug about to crack? Even though I first tempered it with hot tap water?) so I quickly transferred the whistling drink to another mug. As I was pouring the tea into the new mug, the whistling increased in pitch steadily, until it ceased altogether. Hm.

Upon examination of the whistling mug, I found no cracks of any kind... nothing out of the ordinary at all... nothing different from the last time I drank tea (quiet tea) from it. So, as an experiment, I transferred the tea back to the whistling mug, where it promptly began to serenade me again. Puzzled and cold, I transferred the tea back to the quiet mug, and went about my business.

But it's still bugging me...

Does anyone have any ideas as to the source of the whistling? Help put a sorely anal retentive mind at ease. Please.



At 11:41 PM, Blogger Grumball said...

This is truly truly truly bizarre. Can you describe the construction of the mug? Can you describe the whistling? Does it sound like a whistling tea pot, or is it more like a high pitched vibration? Was God trying to speak to you from the boiling liquid? So many questions. Try to reproduce the conditions tomorrow, with some scientific rigor (i.e. exact same location, time of day, timing of events of tea-making etc). Then report back. This must be solved!

At 11:43 PM, Blogger Grumball said...

Also, you're supposed to make tea in this order: teabag in mug, milk on teabag, hot water on milk+teabag. That way you don't scald the tea leaves in the bag with the boiling water, the milk buffers it a bit.

Remember, British parents.

At 11:45 PM, Blogger Grumball said...

But don't make it in that order tomorrow. If it happened when you added the milk that may well be important.

At 8:03 AM, Blogger jenn said...

Grum: first of all, don't give me that colonialist crap- there's more than one way to brew a cup o' tea.
Second- I will do my utmost to re-create the exact specifications of the event and will report back with my findings.
Third- the mug is bulbous around the bottom two-thirds, then it narrows, and opens up again at the top.
Fourth- It was more like a high-pitched vibration... but the mug was not vibrating (at least not enough to be perceptible to the touch).

At 12:01 PM, Blogger Thérèse said...

I postulate that there exists a new, oddly-shaped crack at the bottom of your mug.

You've heard of the expression "wet my whistle"? They actually used to do this on purpose. Build in a whistle into a mug. You'd toot (hee) when you'd finish.

Not like your self-tooting mug though.

At 2:37 PM, Blogger jenn said...


Therese- upon close examination of the whistling mug, no oddly-shaped cracks could detected. Mug appears to be whole and in good working order.

Grum- the reconstruction was performed with as close to the same conditions as could be accomplished. No whistling could be heard.

Hmph. The mystery remains unsolved.

At 5:52 PM, Blogger Mycaelus said...

Your tea was haunted.

At 9:26 PM, Blogger Grumball said...

did it continue whistling/vibrating when picked up, or was it only when on the counter?

At 4:01 AM, Blogger jenn said...

No, it continued when picked up, as well as when otherwise insulated from any potential outside vibrations.

You know, I think Mycaelus is on to something... Maybe my tea IS haunted...

Hmmmmmm... I wonder what it was trying to tell me?

At 7:49 PM, Anonymous Hoaph said...

I have two serparate theories:

1) The insanity plea:

There is a medical condition known as Tinnitus (basically hearing sounds caused by impulses sent to the brain without an external sound source) that could explain it--this is the one you get from going to too many rock concerts. It sounds like you could locate the source of the sound quite well though, so I doubt that this is the explanation.

2) A physicists perspective:

Were you, or anyone else, using any kind of ultrasonic devices in the vicinity of the mug? Anything from a toothbrush, to a humidifyer, or even a TV can generate ultrasonic sound waves. When the mug was filled with tea, it could have had set up the pefect physical conditions necessary to turn your mug into a harmonic resonace cavity, generating a harmonic frequency in the audible range (roughly 20 Hz - 20 000 Hz).

Hope that helps!
And btw, grum's right, there is only one right way to make tea.

At 12:57 AM, Blogger Jay said...

While I would normally say it was just a bit of trapped air coming from a small hole, this time I am inclined to wonder if someone was doing the whistling....October always has me seeing ghosts.

At 6:53 AM, Blogger jenn said...

Hoaph- yadda yadda yadda.
Oh, and it couldn't have been tinnitus, because the ringing doesn't go away... you're stuck with it.
The harmonic resonance cavity theory sounds plausible though... the de-humidifier may have been on...

Jay- Barring my mug turning into a harmonic resonance cavity, I'm beginning to think that my house IS haunted... then again, I have been watching a fair number of horror movies lately, so that may be influencing my judgement ;)


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