a quack’s echo

I watched a recent MythBusters episode about a duck’s quack not echoing but they failed to bust the myth to my satisfaction. The sound “expert” showed the audio graph of a quack in a normal room and of one in a room that echoed, but he couldn’t see the echo. They did some more experiments with echoes and he learned that the duck’s quack and an echo looked very similar. After looking at the graph some more he concluded, “Uh, it looks like there’s a faint echo around there.”

I remain unimpressed and although I don’t have any information to sway you either way, I sheepishly admit it’s on my trivia list. When it is officially resolved I will be happy to remove it.

Duck’s and echoing aside, I have found the answer to a myth that has concerned me for years. The song Puff, the Magic Dragon supposedly represents drug use. The myth was made even more widespread in the movie Meet the Parents, but it is false.

Peter Yarrow (who later formed Peter, Paul and Mary) wrote the music and Lenny Lipton, a nineteen-year-old college student at Cornell, wrote the lyrics. Lipton explains, “at Cornell in 1959, no one smoked grass. I find the fact that people interpret it as a drug song annoying.” Yarrow confirmed, “it’s a song about innocence lost. It’s easier to interpret The Star-Spangled Banner as a drug song than Puff, the Magic Dragon. Even the BBC’s top 5 drug songs agrees it wasn’t about drugs (read #5).

So there you have it, debunked at last. I for one will rest easier knowing that one of my most beloved childhood books was not about narcotics.