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Most annoying noise in Geneva

#1 · Posted: 21 May 2007 20:04
After Marlinspike and Borduria, an ultrasound device was tested stealthily in Geneva, over fifty years after Calculus visit.
Dead link removed
#2 · Posted: 22 May 2007 14:13
They’ve used these things in the UK too, to stop young people congregating in shopping centres, but I don’t know how effective they’ve been; it is especially confusing when there were stories last year about schools trying to ban high-frequency ring tones for mobile ’phones from the class-room, because pupils were using them because the teachers couldn’t hear them. One of my colleagues put one on his ’phone, and it was excruciating to most adults in our office, so I think many more than children would vacate the streets if these were played all the time.

Strictly speaking if the weapon in Calculus Affair was like its real-life counterpart, it wouldn’t have been ultra-sonic at all; Dr. Wallauscheck’s parabolic weapon prototype was an attempt to use targeted pressure waves, generated by methane/ oxygen explosions; although practical tests were not actually carried out (thankfully!), Leslie E. Simon’s book states that it was estimated that at 60m the weapon would kill a man in 30 to 40 seconds (an immediate disadvantage for a weapon, if the subject can simply adopt the old tactic of running away: “Oi! You there! Stand still for a bit while I kill you!”), and cause physiological problems at greater distances. However the project got nowhere thanks to its limited range; he says nothing of it being able to demolish buildings or cities, however, but it may have been able to empty a shopping centre or two!
#3 · Posted: 22 May 2007 15:45
I believe they are called Mosquito devices here in the UK and have become quite effective as this company blurb shows...
Teenage control products... straight to the point with the name!

#4 · Posted: 22 May 2007 16:20
What is it with these people who hate and fear teenagers so much? If people are doing something illegal, by all means arrest them, but why is simply gathering seen as a threat? I remember the Conservative town council where I grew up removing park benches from a riverside area on the grounds that - shock horror - young people were sitting on them. Now the same sort of paranoid youth-hating authority figures seem to have found a more hi-tech solution. I've heard of similar high-frequency noise devices being sold to deter mice from homes and businesses, and to hear of the same technology being used against humans seems disturbing. Once you start regarding groups of humans in the same way you regard vermin... well, we all know where that leads.

I'm glad that media exposure and public pressure has forced the Geneva authorities to remove the devices. Such control measures sound quite out of character with the laid-back tolerant city I recall from visits there.

I'm sure Calculus would never have approved of his technology being put to such intolerant purposes, and nor would Tintin. But Tintin himself would probably be banned from most UK shopping centres, on the grounds that he's an unsupervised teenager with a record of fist-fighting, car-twocking and gun-possession who hangs around with an alcohol-abusing friend.
#5 · Posted: 22 May 2007 17:36
I agree, Balthazar. However, I grew up in a small town in the seventies. There was one place to go if you were a teen, the local youth centre. The problem with this place is that it was simply not the "cool" place to be. It had a broken pool table and a dartboard with the wire numbers around the edge missing! Simply not good enough for a Friday or Saturday night. We had a shopping mall where we used to congregate. It was, quite simply, the easiest place where you could see your friends outside of school. Now, back in those days the worst we got up to was give cheek to the security guard, pull a face at someone, etc. (It all sounds so naive now doesn't it?) If an adult told us to clear off, we would have done so. There would have been the odd muttering under the breath, but we moved. I have no problem with gatherings of teens at all. You've got to gather somewhere, right? But I think the perception these days has changed. I wouldn't have dreamed of backchatting or swearing at an adult when I was a teen. Times have changed and sadly so has the attitude of a lot of teens. Look at the attitude of some of our youngsters from tough inner city suburbs in some of our largest cities. I live in a reasonably quiet village in Hampshire. My local mini-market regularly has groups of teens hanging about outside the shop. (Smoking, texting and trying to buy beer)The owner constantly tells them not to hang about, they constantly tell him to eff off...
(Of course this is not a generalisation. We have some model citizens on this forum. :-)

I can't see the point of removing park benches, however.

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