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I've always the tree in the forest question rather anthropocentric.
There may not be a human there to hear the tree fall but surely the squirrels and the birds are going to know about it. Trees are very important to them and they probably pay more attention to these matters than we do.
As long ago as WW II they had microphones that did not work with air but were placed on the pilots throat to pick up vibrations. This was needed because their voices were not audible due to the engine noise.
So why shouldn't this transfer via contact not work in space ?
Sure it would work. But is it a sound? What does it take to make it a sound? if the speaker cone vibrates without anyone touching them, is that a sound? If you disconnect the speakers and touch the cable end with your tounge, feeling the vibrating electrical potential, does your tounge then feel a sound?
If a sound requires a mechanical vibration (but any mechanical vibration satisfies), how do you then label the sensation created by the sound? Your brain, your conciousness, does not vibrate. The mechanical vibration is converted to something else (electrical signals) long before they reach your conciousness. So your conciousness cannot hear a sound. What can it "hear"?
... but limited to those cultures / languages that use any sort of "chain-like" idiom to represent a reference to a document.
In Norwegian, you never use "kjetting", chain, as a link idiom. We use "link", in the sense of a radio link, through open air with no physical connection - a term never used for anything physical. Frequently when we encounter icons of English-language origin, we have to go through the different English words that can describe the icon, hoping that one of them matches some relvant concept - such as a chain, a link, ... aha! "Link" is a known English term in the web domain! Then that must be it! (In this example, we happen to use the same term ("link") in English and Norwegian. Often, you end up at a completely different Norwegian word.)
Icons easily end up as just a graphical pattern that carries no inherent meaning. Like this parent who were bemoaning that kids of today know nothing about computing history - they see this floppy-disk icon, but have never seen a real-world floppy. So this mother pointing to the floppy icon to her teenage son: "I bet you have no idea what that is", and the boy protests: "Of course I do! That's a save button!"
Icons are sensitive to cultural variations, and to ages.
"Word icons" are similar: Lots of Europeans wouldn't know that GUI "radio buttons" have anything to do with a radio. Even though European radios might have physical preset buttons, we are not accustomed to mechanics where the active button changes its face color. I have been with kids seeing that "American style" radio buttons for the first time, exclaiming: "Gee! That is just like on the PC! Great!"