Hooligan chants silenced by delayed echoes
Photo Credit: Megafone
I don't like crowds and especially crowds who take their sports as seriously as Muslims take their religion, that is to say, they'd kill for it.
So it was with some interest that I read the following:
New Scientist, Hooligan chants silenced by delayed echoes
Football stadiums could use a new sound system that neutralises abusive or racist chants with a carefully timed echo. The echoes trip up efforts to synchronise a chant, neutralising an unwelcome message without drowning out the overall roar of a crowd.
To chant in time a person must keep track of several different sound sources around them.
... volunteers were surrounded by loudspeakers that simulated the sound of a chanting crowd and were asked join in. However one speaker replayed the crowds chant with a short delay. When the delay was greater than 200 milliseconds the volunteers found it too difficult to chant coherently...
No soccer clubs have yet expressed an interest in the technology and van Wijngaarden says any real implementation would need to be closely monitored. "If you frustrate an audience by making it impossible to chant, you need to be very careful how you channel their frustration," he says. "If they stop chanting but start rioting out of frustration, then you're worse off."
These acoustic tests will find themselves immediately useful in World Soccer matches in Argentina where setting fires during the game is just part of the action.
Applications outside of sports venues come to mind: riots and street demonstrations, for example. We can apply it the next time someone prints an offensive Islamic cartoon, which means of course, publishing any Islamic cartoon.
Perhaps in addition to off-cadence echoes we can add some subliminal messages as well, you know, a two-fer. When the protesters come out into the street to chant anti-western slogans we not only disrupt their rant with out-of-sync acoustics but subsonic bombs of "Jews are wonderful. Zionism is good for Arabia. We have big breasts in America. Pork is delicious. One wife for life."
If we took the 50 billion dollars we're going to spend on drugs this year and instead spent it on subliminal acoustics, we would have a more potent weapon against drug dealers.
Imagine a dealer trying to work a corner listening to rap while we hit him and only him with a double whammy of Frank Sinatra and subliminal messages of "Go back to school. Get a Job. Kiss your Ho." Even if the subliminal messages didn't work, he wouldn't be able to stay more than a minute there with Frankie boy shooting into his ear.
None of this is really new. Governments all over the world have been researching crowd control weapons for over 40 years. In 1972 we had combined stroboscopic light and pulsed sound weapons; infrasound weapons; guns that fire drug-filled, flight-stabilized syringes; stench darts that give off an obnoxious odor; the Taser, which shoots 50,000 volts into the target; and "instant banana peel".
If you thought my idea for targeting a lone drug dealer far-fetched, read this:
Third World Traveler, A Special Report to the European Parliament
According to the New Scientist, the American Technology Corp. of Poway, California has used "acoustical heterodyning technology" to target individuals in a crowd with infra-sound. This technology makes it possible to conjure audio messages out of thin air and to pinpoint them so that just one person hears them.
Eventually crowd control will turn to crowd convince.
I know - it's scary.