Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Penny Wise and Sound Foolish

All week I've heard and read about ringtones that only the young can hear.

It's almost like teens discovered a new secret code to communicate with each other right in front of adults. I loathe the next developments. Imagine if teens expand this concept so devices can be controlled to vary amplitude/intensity and frequency.
  • multiple choice exams: I know this item isn't TV-related, but I'm concerned as an educator. Just imagine having some student in the back of the classroom type the number of the question on a cell phone keypad, followed by the '#' key. Then the student chooses the letter for the correct answer and hits the '#' key again. That student's phone 'announces' the correct answer so that only students can hear the announcement.
  • subaduliminal TV messages: Subliminal means below everybody's level of conscious awareness. Subaduliminal? That's just below the level of conscious awareness of adults. (That's the best word I can make up.) Imagine TV commercials that use these higher-pitched sounds to speak directly to your child without your knowledge or permission, even though you're sitting in the same room.
Possible? I don't know. I haven't looked for any scientific or medical literature to confirm or refute the hypothesis that speech can be synthesized so that young listeners can understand words while adult listeners cannot even hear the sounds.

Paranoid? You bet.

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