Reub's journey

21 May 2009

Can you hear this?

"The Mosquito"

A couple of months ago a middle school student asked me if I had heard about the new ringtone that only people under thirty can hear, thereby making it useful (she thought) to have on her phone, in school. The logic gets a little fuzzy here, because after all, even if I might be sort of deaf, I am not yet blind, and I would presumably notice when a student answered a phone and began to chat in class. She then suggested, with a little smile, that I go to a website and listen to the sound. So today, inspired by a news item out of Japan, I did take the sound test. Guess what kids? I could hear it.

Meanwhile, what was that news item from Japan? Well, some city officials wanted to keep teenagers from loitering in a park, so they have installed a "Mosquito" device, supposedly audible only to teens, that has the high-pitched, annoying whine of a mosquito. This little contraption works as a repellent, meant to break up crowds of teens. I was entertained by the manufacturer's alternative versions, devised for people who don't like the idea of blasting high-frequency sounds at youngster's heads. They offer a "mini mosquito" which only works up to 10 meters, suggesting it for "domestic use" (maybe for when you don't want the kids in the kitchen? Or something?) They also offer the "CSS Music Player" that broadcasts, not annoying mosquito sounds, but classical music! They hasten to say that it is only "royalty-free" classical music; would that be the cheapest, most irritating kind of classical music? And while such a device might repel many young folks, wouldn't it also attract a certain number? The weirdest teenagers of all, the kind who never sleep, standing around with little volumes of Sylvia Plath tucked under their arms? Creepy. Or worse yet, wouldn't it attract a crowd of 60-year-old loiterers, irritating everybody in sight by humming along with the music? Very creepy.

Train Horns

Can you hear like a teenager link.


  1. aack! I heard it, and I hated it! Incidentally, Ben and I have been assaulted by various sounds in the Japanese parks, usually either cartoon/nintendo game songs to attract children, or grandiose battle-like songs which accompany troupes of elderly croquet-players. Both scare away those between the ages of 13 and 65.

  2. Well Chrystal, Debbie and I (especially me) were pretty happy that we heard it, but then you are not yet in the age group that might start to worry about these things! You must be one of those people they would like to scare away from the parks, I guess!

  3. Oh no, I could near a thing!

    Darn, I'm not a teenager any longer.

  4. Barry, you aren't missing out on much here; it's definitely not a beautiful masterpiece. And to be honest, the sound disappears for me when I turn the volume down on the computer.


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