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Bang your head

A US defence contractor, Sierra Nevada Corporation, is claiming to have developed a technology that allows sounds to be beamed directly into people's heads. According to the New Scientist, the kit, dubbed MEDUSA (Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio), uses microwave pulses to heat tissue inside people’s skulls, causing a less than charming audible effect. The pulses can be manipulated to transmit particular sounds, potentially voices and eventually Eurovision song contest runner-ups. The technology is designed for crowd control and psychological warfare, making it appealing to the police, military and nutjobs.

Imagine a situation at the next G8 Summit, whereby a phalanx of police wielding MEDUSA ray guns, fire a volley of Cliff Richard’s greatest hits at an unsuspecting group of protesters. Because the sounds don’t travel through the eardrum, they can’t be blocked out and are also not constrained by normal audible limits. The victims would be forced to hear Sir Cliff singing ‘Summer Holiday’ at an inhuman volume. However, police and military forces that use such technology should be prepared for inevitable escalation as it would only be a matter of time before activists got their hands on the technology too, opening up the possibility for retaliatory attacks of KRS One’s ‘Sound of da Police’ or Rage Against the Machine and NWA’s various heartfelt tributes to the police services.

KRS One: www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VRZq3J0uz4
RATM: www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWxAnjNVBt8
Sir Cliff: www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdJCtqegd8A

New Internationalist issue 416 magazine cover This article is from the October 2008 issue of New Internationalist.
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