Noise in Sight, Sound, and Thought

This page holds some miscellaneous items about noise and silence in sight, sound, and thought. For inspiration, learning, and fun.


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The Mosquito Device and Silent Ringtones

Can anything useful come from hearing loss? Welsh inventor Howard Stapleton found a way. In 2005, he came up with a device that emits a sound that most adults can't hear, but that most teenagers can hear clearly. The invention is based on the observation that as we age, we gradually lose part of our hearing, beginning at the higher frequencies. Stapleton chose the frequency of the sound to be so high that most adults have already lost their hearing in that range, yet not so high that teenagers have yet grown deaf to it.

The purpose of the invention, called the Mosquito Device, was to ward off teenagers from loitering around places where some of them would cause trouble. The sound was designed to be highly annoying — to those who could hear it.

Even more interesting, teenagers quickly found a way to make use of the same phenomenon and turn it to their own advantage! They created high-frequency ringtones for their cell phones that they could hear but adults could not.

Read more:
The story of the Mosquito Tone
Can you hear a teenager's "silent" ringtone?


Collection of Quotes about Noise

Collection of Quotes about Silence

Words that Imitate Sounds: Examples of Onomatopoeia

"Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence...." These words, familiar to many, are the beginning of the inspirational poem "Desiderata," written by Max Ehrmann in 1927. ("Desiderata" is Latin for "things desired.")
"Desiderata" (full text)

Less peaceable but equally heartfelt is the essay "On Noise," by German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. From his candid rant, written in 1851, we can see that noise is by no means a new problem.
"On Noise" (full text in English)

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