back to article Calls to ban hoodie-busting sonic weapon

Campaigners are calling for hoodie-busting sonic weapon the Mosquito to be banned, claiming it targets innocent young 'uns and is an "infringement of their human rights", the Telegraph reports. The Mosquito emits a high-pitched whine inaudible to the majority of adults over 30, while causing yoof ne'er-do-wells a level of …

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where

can I buy one of these? And does it also work on dog-owners whose pets have "taken a liking" to my driveway?

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Unhappy

Effing Mossies

I personally hate the mosquito noise. McDonalds in my city have had it for a while and it does my head in - they're positioned down the main street and I'm 22 so can still hear the stupid thing.

It would've put me off eating there if I wasn't so addicted to burgers, but it does give me a headache for about 20 mins every time I have to go past.

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Get real

Shami Chakrabarti said: "What type of society uses a low-level sonic weapon on its children?"

The question should be "What type of society allows its children to commit crime (including murder) due to lack of a deterrent"

Maybe she'd prefer it if we scrapped the Mosquito and allowed kids to go around stabbing and shooting one another instead

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Intentionally left blank

"People talk about infringing human rights but what about the human rights of the shopkeeper who is seeing his business collapse because groups of unruly teenagers are driving away his customers? The noise is only emitted over a 15 metre radius and no one is taking away the rights of teenagers to walk away."

So what he is saying is that the Police are unable (unwilling, lets face it) to stop groups of kids loitering an intimidating people (some people are too easily intimidated, but that's another matter), but that it is alright to counter this failure of law enforcement by taking the law into your own hands an preventing everyone else under 30ish from having their right to free association. The Police aren't going to prevent this from happening, because if they did, they would have to start moving on kids who are causing a nusance, far easier to get someone else to do their job for them.

This is, obviously, not mentioning the sudden lack of people under thirty shopping at the shops where these devices are installed, causing, err, a drop in customers...

Shami is bang on with this one - take something contraversial like this and replace 'the kids' with another minority group, if it sounds racist/sexist/homophobic/generally bigoted then it's not right to treat 'the kids' in that manner.

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Where can I get one??

"The use of measures such as these are simply demonising children and young people, creating a dangerous and widening divide between the young and the old"

Well maybe if the youth of today actually showed some decency and respect for other people we wouldn't need to resort to these kinds of things.

I'm not exactly old myself (I recently turned 27) but when I was a teenager a mere 10 years ago there just weren't the kind of problems you keep seeing today. If anything I think school's, parents and the law in general is still too soft on young people who think that because of their age they can get away with anything they like.

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I have

a ringtone on my phone which produces the same effect... great fun and a good way to stop my kids arguments...

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Why is it inaudible?

Is it because the noise we are living with degrades our ability to hear?

so won't universal use of mosquito cause children to not hear it much earlier?

And so is it meant to take "young adults" out of the picture (which will have reduced impact in the future) or children who have a lesser option of being a hoodie or unruly..?

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Stop

Irritating

I'm 34, and these things irritate me far more than most teenagers do; certainly if shops decide to use them I won't be spending my money there ! To me, it's almost as loud as a car alarm and just as bloody pointless.

I also have problems with the proliferation of cat scaring devices - thankfully people don't usually notice if you take the batteries out after dark... Lots of people my age have little children too - why should they be subjected to continual noise pollution ?

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Paris Hilton

Call me a weak liberal if you like, but...

These things should not be allowed, and probably are already illegal under some law or other given the state of oppression already present in this country. Public nuisance? I dunno, and don't really care.

But what I do care about is that they're indiscriminately targeting kids who, for the majority, are doing absolutely nothing wrong. Some kids will cause problems, but this really isn't the answer. Go back to the drawing board and think again how to target your "weapon".

I daresay this miserable sod of a shopkeeper will quite happily take the money off kids who make it into his shop with their parents (and their cash) for the weekly CBeebies magazine or any one of the dozens of bits of tat aimed at preschool kids. Or sweets, which I believe kids rather enjoy.

I can also imagine Iranian news authorities reporting with glee that we're using sonic weapons against our kids...

What would Paris say, eh?

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Joke

Alternatives

Instead of irresponsibly installing devices that could possibly damage the hearing of babies and small children, I think they should instead legalize tazer use on anyone between the ages of 13 and 21, for whatever reason. This is the age-group the tazer is ideal for - strong hearts, you see. Of course a few of the more crack-addled ones will die, but that's just clearing the gene pool of debris. Most will go on to lead full and active lives, secure in the knowledge that they'll continue to do so as long as they behave themselves in public.

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Alien

Meh!

Wasn't it proved more effective that playing Cliff Richard and classical music works better anyway?

Of course then you strain the human rights of everyone with working ears and not just chav muppets hanging around your local off licence bothering you to get them some cheap "cider".

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Flame

Parents

Perhaps if parents spent more time raising their children correctly, there would be no need for devices such as this. The police should be lifting anyone under the age of 16 found on the streets after about 2000 and charging the parents with neglect. If any minor is found guilty of a crime, the parent should be punished with a separate sentence of 50% of whatever their child got. Until parents in the UK are made to realise that THEIR children are THEIR responsibility at ALL time and it is THEIR duty to ensure THEIR children are raised correctly, the UK will continue to go to the dogs.

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There was a great story on Radio 4 this morning

Enterprising young wags are downloading the sound onto their mobile phones and playing it during lessons, much to the distress of other pupils and incomprehension of teachers.

The spirit of Jeremy Beadle is indeed alive and well.

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Happy

Here's an idea...

I think the government is missing a trick here (as usual).

I can understand why they want ban hunting of foxes; but why not just redirect the Hunt members at the Chavs... and when they're done with them, they can go after all the bleeding heart Liberty liberals...

FFS!

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Anonymous Coward

@ Mark Ashworth

Where might one find this teenager-bothering ringtone?

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Court case....

If people want these and set them so they are only audiable on their own premises then fine - though I would expect fair warning in writing before entering.

However I'm 26 and quite sensitive to high pitch noise - it frequently causes me migranes.

The first time I encouter one of these from a public footpath I will be calling my lawyer- its tantamount to assault.

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Do they make a portable version?

I would definitely buy one of those! If not, what frequency does it use - I will make my own one...

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Anonymous Coward

The sad fact is...

... That as someone over thirty I can still hear the sound. So it does not infringe on the rights of teens only... it infringes on my rights too.

I wear hoodies, because they are comfortable. I wear trainers for the same reason. I don't misbehave, but I'm automatically lumped in with the yobs because of the way I dress, and because of the fact that my hearing is still better than 50% of my age class.

So yeah, use it where it's really needed (like fire engines when they are being pelted by bottles and stones), but NOT where it causes an indiscriminate section of society discomfort.

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my hearing

i swear, if it wasnt for the fact my degree is in audio engineering, id say that my serious degradation in hearing is down to these things, i think they should be banned, im amazed we as a society feel the need to ostracize children and teens in this way, one day these kids will be in charge, and we will be old, and they will remember the way we have treated them.

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Re: Stuart Luscombe

I'm 26 so I should have the same experience as you in terms of violence. When I was a teenager, I was a pretty good teenager, part of this is that I went to a private school (I'm not saying this is a positive benefit necessarily, just that at my school violence was better dealt with). Someone in my year was hit on the head by a bottle flying through a bus window, a party we had was broken up by police after someone threw a roof tile on the next door neighbour's car, I managed to avoid fights, but there were plenty of fights in the town centre (Glasgow), there have always been plenty of stabbings in Glasgow. My mother told me when I was younger of the razor gangs in Glasgow, she spent her early years in the middle of a war (growing up in Clydebank near Singers) for God's sake.

You can complain that society is more violent than it was 100 years ago, but it's not really, and you can peel on about criminals having too many rights. There's places where the criminal doesn't have as many rights, and where the police are feared by kids. Places like China, or Hitler's Germany, or Mussolini's Italy, or Stalin's USSR or the DDR.

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Pirate

@ Jon Brindley

I too can hear the device.

There is one installed at a bowling alley just down the road from me, I hear it every day on the way to work, as I have to walk down that street.

Whats even more annoying, is that (dont flame please), I smoke, and when ever I go bowling, I obviously have to go outside for a smoke, but the only place there is an ashtray outside, is right next to the sound emmiter!

Im only 23, and the sound really gets to me. To be honest, with the last 6 years of me being a DJ, and playing loud music on headphones, im very supprised I can still hear this moquito.

My 20 year old sis, has had a baby, and she wont go near the bowling alley, because shes affraid of either the noise hurting the baby, or even, waking him up if hes asleep on the way in.

Anyway, Rant over, but I still think these devices need to be abolished.

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Pirate

You fisrt have to ask the 'kids' to turn off their Ipods so they can hear it.

However, even in my late 30's I can hear the damn things, no problem.

But on a more serious note, I worry about the introduction of this category of 'deterrent' into society by private parties. Is there no privacy/health and safety/environmental legislation restricting their deployment?

How far removed is this one-sided (commercial) introduction from say, a private taser? They are, after all, guaranteed non-lethal by the manufacturer. Oh, wait, that is now modified to 'less-than-lethal'.

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Quite right --- although nothing can't be turned around

I think the Childrens Commissioner and Shami are spot on on this one.

I've never seen anyone claim it stops murders, Jon G, that's ridiculous! You should know by now that that's what all the CCTV is for...

It's meant to stop groups of kids (many of whom probably have sod all else in terms of places to go) from hanging around shopping centres. This is primarily justified on the basis that groups of teenagers are, by definition, evil and scary. (No-one seems to consider that if kids these days *are* such thugs, then maybe those kids who want to hang out with their friends without getting stabbed, etc. would choose to do so in a public place like, say, a town centre or a shopping area!)

That said, the "never use a weapon that could be turned back against you" logic also applies. A friend of mine told me recently that the kids in her son's school had sampled this noise and use it as a ring tone on their mobiles. This means they can text each other during class and they hear the phone go off, but the teacher doesn't! Who said the youth of today have no initiative?

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@ Jon G

Hmm, deliberate noise pollution in a form bordering on physical assault... must be legal. And yeah, let's just allow those kids to stab & shoot each other, solves two problems in one go. I don't quite see why not having a noise pollution device pointed at them would instantly drive them to acts of violence, but I am sure you'll work out a way. I'm sure the problem is not within police not doing their duty, shop-owners lacking some balls and authority, or parents failing to educate some decency into their sproglings ("Gee, Maaa, I popped a hoodie!"), so curing the symptoms will most likely help getting to the root of the problem.

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Human Rights

While I do think these Mosquito things are pointless, I have to wonder. Is it not a violation of my Human Rights that I cant walk down to the corner shop without getting yelled at, spat at and/or beaten up by the local teenage mob?

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Joke

@Mike Crawshaw

"...does it also work on dog-owners whose pets have "taken a liking" to my driveway?"

Get yourself an air rifle Mike. Cheaper than a Mosquito and *loads* more fun.

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Re:The sad fact is...

Just about fire engines......Instead of cameras and "deterrent devices" being added, why don't they just squirt the disruptive little shits with their high-powered hose? It'd knock em off their feet and leave them soaking wet and freezing cold.

As for these "sonic weapons", they've only come about because of the bleeding heart liberals in the first place, who decided that you can't give a twatty teenager a good kick in the balls to "deter" them from causing any more trouble. Society (and the law) favours the criminal teenagers rather than the actual victims, even though the majority of members of said society would agree with them getting a good kicking.

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Jobs Horns

Tear Gas instead?

Seeing as though water cannons are out of the equation (re: fireman being attacked) it seems the best alternative...

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Boffin

Illegal

The Garda in Ireland decided that it's illegal under existing law. They seize them.

In theory true in UK too. It's assault. No different to shouting at or slapping every young person that comes in.

I'm sure it's 30 years + since I could hear one. I imagine it is 13KHz to 18KHz band. Adults can rarely hear much above 10KHz to 12KHz and no-one can hear 20kHz. An old TV LOPT or scan coil whistles at 15.625KHz, but not very loudly. Only can be heard by people below 17 to 25 approx. Ones with "loose bits" very irritating when I was a Teenager. I remember wedging on with a piece of plasic (I repaired TVs & radios at the time when I should have been doing homework for school).

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Black Helicopters

Easier solution

is a shotgun blast to the head - only targets the trouble causing chav, downside is the mess left behind after.

I am for anything which keeps the louts under control. Would be better if it was the parents taking responsibility but as they (the parents) don't seem to think it is their responsibility then someone has to take action.

The chopper - cos they should arm them and disperse the gangs with a quick burst of cannon fire.

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Joke

upgrades?

can I have one that electrocutes the little scr0tes as well when they're vandalising my car, and makes them pick up all the litter that they keep dumping in front of my house, and turns them into productive members of society instead of evil lazy sponging little t0ssers?

Although I'm generally against the use of tazers, their indiscriminate use on the UK's feral teeenagers would have my wholehearted support, even if they are only *non-lethal* :)

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Anonymous Coward

reprisal

You hate-filled old people can expect reprisals from the young, a noise which is inaudiable to us, but annoying to angry wrinkled coffin-dogers: Yes, bring on the top-of-the-bus mobile-phone DJs,

flee you giffers!

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@Fraser

***"Shami is bang on with this one - take something contraversial like this and replace 'the kids' with another minority group, if it sounds racist/sexist/homophobic/generally bigoted then it's not right to treat 'the kids' in that manner."***

Bullshit.

Chakrabarti, and the rest of the bleeding heart 'PC' liberals are the *reason* the Mosquito device exists in the first place.

These people have taken away every sanction that reasonable society had against unruly and 'feral' kids. The only people left with any means of control over kids are the kids' own parents and, more often than not, *they* couldn't give a toss what their dirtbag offspring get up to.

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I would have more sympathy

except the number of times you are subjected to the buzzing noise from kids iPod headphones on trains etc. the thumps from the kids bass speakers in their cars, the footballs slamming into fences (causing damage) when trying to work etc.

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Tim
Paris Hilton

Re: Re:The sad fact is...

"Just about fire engines......Instead of cameras and "deterrent devices" being added, why don't they just squirt the disruptive little shits with their high-powered hose? It'd knock em off their feet and leave them soaking wet and freezing cold."

Sadly that would also be in breach of their human rights.

As for the sonic stuff, if it means I can go to the shop without being shouted at, hassled, having to dodge drunken fights, and asked to buy them beer'n'fags, then stuff their rights I say.

If the cotton wool society would get off their backsides and actually discipline the little scrotes then there wouldn't be any need for this anyway.

As for the "innocent", well they don't hang around outside shops. They go inside, or walk by. Simple. If it puts people off going in, well it's no worse than the effect teens have, and at least a sonic device isn't going to mug you at the cashpoint.

Paris? It would be interesting to see just what affect it has on her!

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Surely these are illegal under existing noise-abatement laws?

If you can hear on of these, and it bothers you, then surely it's illegal anyhow? If you walk past a shop and they're blaring out a radio so loud it causes distress, you can report it to the council, can't you do this about a mosquito device?

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@Simon Day

"However I'm 26 and quite sensitive to high pitch noise - it frequently causes me migranes.

The first time I encouter one of these from a public footpath I will be calling my lawyer- its tantamount to assault."

So it works on Chavs *AND* twats? Bonus.

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@ Mike Crawshaw

***"can I buy one of these? And does it also work on dog-owners whose pets have "taken a liking" to my driveway?"***

Do what I did, Mike. Invest in a pair of Marigolds

Assuming the pooch is reasonably friendly, you collect the little gifts Rover leaves behind then, when he next pays you a visit, you call him over and return his little gifts by liberally smearing them down his back.

When he returns home and redistributes his cargo over his owner's soft furnishings you can be assured that they have paid in full for allowing their mutt out on its own.

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Anonymous Coward

re Parents, re dogs, re law enforcement

"The police should be lifting anyone under the age of 16 found on the streets after about 2000"

Seems reasonable to me, or would if there were ever any police visible where most folks live in the UK, or if they ever responded to 999 calls for "low level crime". However, when I suggested to the (respectable, I thought) parents of one local 15 year old that they might want to know who their daughter was with at 9pm, and where, and if they did know they might want to talk to the daughter as the current boyfriend wasn't in the nicest of taste, it was initially suggested I might not want to get my legs broken. Nice people...

The real "war on terror" in the UK ought to be a war against the tiny minority of young folks who are consistently terrorising other law-abiding folks, with no visible consequences on the terrorisers. Of course, Blair has set the perfect precedent that illegal irresponsible antisocial acts don't have consequences, e.g. by being allowed to conduct an illegal irresponsible antisocial war and not being held accountable, in fact being rewarded by his mates in high places instead. Tricky.

There should also be a serious review of the enforcement of existing alcohol laws. No new laws are needed, whatever HomeSec may say, just effective enforcement of the ones that do exist. If that means neighbourhood camera teams or fixed CCTV outside the independent offlicences, so be it (sensible supermarkets already have a "no alcohol to under 21s" policy, time the independents followed suit), and f*** the relevant Data Protection laws.

Wrt Mosquito, wrt dogs: search for "bark free". This is an ultrasonic emitter triggered by loud noises; if the neighbourhood is quiet, it doesn't do anything, the neighbourhood yobs start making a racket, they get whistled at. Don't know if it works, but at £60 or so it's surely worth a try.

It's time to reclaim the streets, brothers and sistas.

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Anonymous Coward

the sad fact

Is that kids aren't any more violent than they used to be, the change has been in adults. When i was young, if i'd harrassed an adult, i'd have gotten a serious belt from them. Or if not them then from my parents if they found out.

Unfortunately, the current generation of kids have grown up in a society where kids must be protected from everything. They know that there's absolutely nothing that adults are legally allowed to do to them. Their parents aren't allowed to smack them. I mean, teachers aren't even allowed to tell them they aren't doing well anymore in case it hurts their feelings.

10-15 years ago, a kid might have chucked a brick through a shop window for a laugh, but they'd have legged it afterwards afraid of being caught. But now they even hang around afterwards taunting the owner, trying to get them to do something.

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Alien

Where might one find this teenager-bothering ringtone?

Here

..............

http://www.freemosquitoringtone.org/

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My local take-away

My local take-away used to have a problem with ne'er do wells hanging around, mainly for the fruit machines, but also starting trouble. Answer, the shop owner simply swapped the fruit machines for those quiz machines that pay out if your general knowledge is up to scratch. Instant fix! Hardly anyone hangs around now, they turn up, buy the food and leave quietly. Now I don't want to make too many comments on the level of general knowledge of the average 16 year old, but it certainly worked for this shop owner and with very little effort or additional expense.

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Anonymous Coward

Reg readers surprisingly illiberal

As a regular reader of Reg comments its surprising to find such large numbers of people who seem happy to treat all youngsters as mindless morons bent only on harming others. How many young people you *actually know* who fit this description ?

The argument that it's ok to damage young people's freedom because our freedom to walk the town centre without getting beaten up/murdered is just silly. The last time I checked, violence and murder were still a crime - it's just a shame the police don't seem to regard tackling this issue as important. That's where the real problem lies - the police would much rather just buy some gadgets (CCTV, mosquito etc) than do what they're paid to do.

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@Stuart Luscombe

"when I was a teenager a mere 10 years ago there just weren't the kind of problems you keep seeing today. If anything I think school's, parents and the law in general is still too soft on young people who think that because of their age they can get away with anything they like."

I left school in the late 70's with 7 'O' levels and a broken nose. Stuff just didn't get reported then. If anything things are better now because schools at least *try* to deal with bullying, even if they sometimes fail.

My wife is a Guide leader, and I also used do a lot of work helping her and friends who run scouts. Most youngsters are decent, hard working folk just like their parents. They dislike the chav scallywags as much as you obviously do, we're talking about maybe 5% of the population here, but they get the headlines because it suits our lords and masters to demonise them and frighten the rest of us.

Stuff gets into the Daily Mail because it doesn't happen very often - if it were happening all the time then it wouldn't be news, d'oh?

Get a grip.

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Install them on every street corner

Anything to keep the little chavvy blighters off the streets. Kudos to the inventor.

Teenagers frequently make life hell for those of unfortunate enough to share the planet with them, so revenge in this case definitely is sweet.

And if you're over the age of 20 and the noise bothers you - fear not, soon enough you'll be a coffin dodger like me.

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Coat

Discrimination

Wouldn't it be interesting if this could be pursued under the Disability Discrimination Act as this exclusively affects those who aren't disabled..?

I'm 30-something and can hear the damn things perfectly well.

Mine's the one saying something offensive in red text on a green background.

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High frequencies

It’s easy for the teenagers to avoid hearing this noise. They just need to go down the disco every night (preferably the one with the worst sound system) and stick their heads in the speakers. 6 Months later they wont have any high frequency hearing left!

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Coat

@ Anonymous Coward

the file is a MP3 called atc_teenbuzz.

It works wonders.

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Gates Horns

If the kids

Why not use the same £1 low tech to generate a version audible to everyone at a slightly lower Hz. This would be very hard to find direcitonaly and run on batteries so could placed anywhere near the mosiquto noise.

Complaints should soon rise. I once wandered around for hours trying to find the source of a similar noise, cycled into work still hearing it, entering a room filled with 20 people, nobody could locate the source even aproximately, so we carried on as normal, then later I noticed my pocket had a dictaphone which was responsible for the constant wail (meaning the tape had ended while still recording)

There are evil devices slightly larger than a 9volt battery, they randomly beep or wail loudly every X minutes/hour and are impossible to locate in time, the battery lasts for years at this rate. They can be hidden anywhere even chucked into drop ceilings or light fittings.

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Oh, and while we're at it

do not forget what produced chavs in the first place: A society based on greed, outsourcing every possible low qualification job to wherever cheaper for the sake of shareholder revenue, producing hordes of unemployed, undirected blunt knives with too much time to kill, while at the same time advocating power and materialism as the only valid values in life, thereby adding insult to injury, provoking latent aggression, and simultaneously – as so many say – willingly removing all effective measures on symptom-curing for fear of appearing too fascist-police-state on the surface. I think that's pretty funny.

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