Now hear this...or not

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Sound wave
To those who say that kids don't learn anything nowadays, I reply: well, you just have to know how to appeal to their interests. It's easy to motivate kids when it's in their own perceived self-interest.

Take this, for example. The New York Times reports that kids are using a high-pitched ringtone for their cellphones on the assumption that, since hearing deteriorates with age, it will be inaudible to adults. The ringtone, which registers at a frequency of 17KHz, was developed, ironically, from a device that was designed to disperse rowdy teenagers in front of shops by broadcasting a sound that would annoy them whilst leaving older customers unaffected, but some clever person turned the idea on its head.

Of course, while the tone is supposed to be inaudible to people over roughly the age of 30, it's not a hard and fast rule as several kids found out to their dismay. My 26 year old ears had no problem with the tone, which sounds to me like a TV that's on mute. I wonder if perhaps the difference is not merely age but also generation . The generation that's hitting thirty now could be more able to discern these types of sound, since they've grown up with more familiarity with electronics which might generate sounds of this kind. But that's a theory I just came up with right now, so who knows?

If you want to hear the sound for yourself, you can find a recording here.

[via Gearlog ]

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