Monday, June 12, 2006

That hertz my ears.

Chronicling kids' ongoing attempts to put one over on adults, the NY Times reports on a cell phone ring tone that only kids can hear. This is not a joke. Apparently, as they get older, most adults' ability to hear higher-pitched sounds decreases--a condition called presbycusis. Some chap in England has applied this fact to cell phone ring tones, and now kids are sitting in class with their phones ringing while their teachers teach on obliviously. Here's the thing though, the sound is supposed to be notably unpleasant. The ring tone was adapted from an invention called The Mosquito, essentially a speaker that emits high-pitched sounds that shopkeepers in England use to drive away loitering teens while the paying adult customers go about their business unbothered. On the one hand, I get that this little invention lets the kids pull the wool over the old people's eyes, and that they get to do it publicly, so all their friends can see (well, hear). So I guess it signals that I've truly transitioned to adulthood when I wonder why they don't just set their phones to vibrate, get their text messages undetected, and avoid the popped ear drums.


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