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The Pentagon's Secret Scream- Sonic devices that can inflict pain
Defense-Aerospace.com ^ | March 7, 2004 | William B. Arkin

Posted on 03/09/2004 2:33:01 PM PST by DBrow

SOUTH POMFRET, Vt. - Marines arriving in Iraq this month as part of a massive troop rotation will bring with them a high-tech weapon never before used in combat - or in peacekeeping. The device is a powerful megaphone the size of a satellite dish that can deliver recorded warnings in Arabic and, on command, emit a piercing tone so excruciating to humans, its boosters say, that it causes crowds to disperse, clears buildings and repels intruders.

"[For] most people, even if they plug their ears, [the device] will produce the equivalent of an instant migraine," says Woody Norris, chairman of American Technology Corp., the San Diego firm that produces the weapon. "It will knock [some people] on their knees."

American Technology says its new product "is designed to determine intent, change behavior and support various rules of engagement." The company is careful in its public relations not to refer to the megaphone as a weapon, or to dwell on the debilitating pain American forces will be able to deliver with it. The military has been equally reticent on the subject.

And that's a problem. The new sound weapon might, in some scenarios, save lives. It might provide a good alternative to lethal force in riot situations, as its proponents assert. But the U.S. is making a huge mistake by trying to quietly deploy a new pain-inducing weapon without first airing all of the legal, policy and human rights issues associated with it.

This is a weapon unlike any other used by the military, and it is certain to provoke public outcry and the conspiracy theories that often greet new U.S. military technology. If the military feels that its new-style weaponry brings something important to the battlefield, and if testing has shown it to be safe, then why not make our reasoning – and research - transparent to the world?

Nonlethal weapons have been promoted by a small circle of boosters for nearly 15 years as something increasingly necessary for the U.S. military in its growing peacekeeping, urban-combat and force-protection missions. Some of the weaponry championed by the group, like rubber bullets, flash-bang grenades and, more recently, electromuscular disruptive devices, or Tasers, has already been deployed.

But the more exotic weapons - including acoustic, laser, and high-powered microwave devices - have not until now been fielded, held up by legal and ethical questions. Despite intense lobbying, over the years the Pentagon leadership has been skeptical of such "wonder weapons." In 1995, then-Secretary of Defense William Perry decided to ban Pentagon development of nonlethal laser weapons intended to permanently blind. His decision led to a subsequent international ban.

So shouldn't we have a similar discussion about high-intensity sound, which can cause permanent hearing loss or even cellular damage? The new megaphone being deployed to Iraq can operate at 145 decibels at 300 yards, according to American Technology, well above the normal threshold for pain. The company posits a scenario in which Al Qaeda terrorists would run screaming from caves after being subjected to a blast of high-decibel sound from the devices, their hands covering their ears. But in Baghdad or other Iraqi towns, where there are crowds and buildings, the sick and elderly, as well as children, are likely to be in the weapon's range.

Proponents of nonlethal weapons argue that pain and hearing loss, if they were to occur, are certainly preferable to death, which is always possible when lethal force is applied. But this argument ignores realities on the ground. Last week, as I watched televised images of angry Iraqis pelting U.S. soldiers with rocks when they arrived to assist those injured in suicide bombings at mosques, I couldn't help but wonder whether the presence of a sound weapon to disperse those crowds would just escalate hostilities.

Last month, the Council on Foreign Relations issued a task force report on nonlethal weapons, arguing that their widespread availability might have helped in the immediate post-combat period in Iraq to reduce looting and sabotage. The council threw its weight behind greater investment in these technologies partly based on a Joint Chiefs of Staff "mission needs statement" signed last December. "U.S. military forces lack the ability to engage targets located where the application of lethal [weapon fire] would be counterproductive to overall campaign objectives," the Joint Chiefs concluded.

The Council on Foreign Relations recognized that the effect of nonlethal weapons is mostly "psychological - persuading people that they would much rather be someplace else, or on our side rather than opposing U.S. military forces." It warned that "television coverage of encounters involving [nonlethal weapons] can still be repugnant, and it would be desirable to provide reliable information to minimize unwarranted criticism."

Yet after paying lip service to the very psychological and political fallout that could result from the employment of novel technologies like acoustic weapons or high-powered microwaves, the council task force urged that prototype nonlethal weapons - that is, weapons just like American Technology's new sound weapon - "be placed with our operating forces" to test their efficacy and create greater demand among combat commanders.

Is actual combat in a foreign country the appropriate place to test a new weapon? Apparently, we are about to find out.

-ends-


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: iraq; lessthanlethal; nonlethalweapons; sublethal
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Whiny article complaining about deployment of a less-than-lethal weapon that can be used to deliver important info, as well as high sound levels to disperse crowds.

While bound to be controversial just because the USA is using it, a sonic weapon probably does less damage than truncheons or rubber bullets, or even tear gas.

1 posted on 03/09/2004 2:33:02 PM PST by DBrow
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To: DBrow
Sonic devices that can inflict pain

Kinda like Hillary at the podium, eh?

2 posted on 03/09/2004 2:34:58 PM PST by SGCOS
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To: DBrow
Its called an amplifier
3 posted on 03/09/2004 2:37:07 PM PST by mylife
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To: SGCOS
Sonic devices that can inflict pain

I was thinking of Rosie "I'M the husband, SHE'S the wife" O'Donnell

4 posted on 03/09/2004 2:38:08 PM PST by nobody_knows (<a href="http://http://www.michaelmoore.com/" target="_blank">moral coward)
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To: SGCOS
I once worked near some sort of grinding machine that put out 118 db- this sonic gadget would sound 32 times louder.

Even Ms. Clinton could not top that!

Fer sure anyone within range would scoot, if they could.

I noticed that the author assumed that the troops would crank it all the way up- I suspect that in use, louder and louder sounds would be output.
5 posted on 03/09/2004 2:40:18 PM PST by DBrow
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To: mylife
A feedback-proof amp with a focused dish speaker, yup. Hardly a boombox.
6 posted on 03/09/2004 2:41:19 PM PST by DBrow
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To: Vic3O3; cavtrooper21
My 2 year old has already perfected the "SONIC BLAST" as a weapon. She can hit a volume and a pitch that will clear rooms.

Semper Fi
7 posted on 03/09/2004 2:45:32 PM PST by dd5339 (Happiness is a full VM-II and a DEAD AND BURIED AWB!)
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To: DBrow
I wish they'd give these to the riot squads that are forced to show up at the so-called "peace protests!"
8 posted on 03/09/2004 2:45:53 PM PST by rocky88 (Kerry for President......OF FRANCE!)
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To: DBrow
The Pentagon's Secret Scream- Sonic devices that can inflict pain

SOUTH POMFRET, Vt.

So Howard "The Scream" Dean finally has found honest work in Vermont
9 posted on 03/09/2004 2:46:14 PM PST by COUNTrecount
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To: DBrow
Marines arriving in Iraq this month as part of a massive troop rotation will bring with them a high-tech weapon never before used in combat - or in peacekeeping. The device is a powerful megaphone the size of a satellite dish that can deliver recorded warnings in Arabic and, on command, emit a piercing tone so excruciating to humans, its boosters say, that it causes crowds to disperse, clears buildings and repels intruders.

Sort of an electronic Hillary Clinton.

10 posted on 03/09/2004 2:48:43 PM PST by teletech (Friends don't let friends vote DemocRAT!)
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To: DBrow
Will a tinfoil hat (double wrapped) thwart the weapon.
11 posted on 03/09/2004 2:49:49 PM PST by per loin (Ultra Secret News: ADL to pay $12M for defaming Colorado couple.)
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To: DBrow
"Say Hello to the Scream Extractor"
12 posted on 03/09/2004 2:50:06 PM PST by Dead Dog
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To: DBrow
I can just hear the RATS whining about cruel punishment.
13 posted on 03/09/2004 2:51:18 PM PST by beckysueb (Lady Liberty is in danger! Bush/Cheney 04.)
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To: COUNTrecount
I wonder if they could tune it to the resonant frequency of a human stomach. Nothing like involuntary mass projectile vomiting to demotivate a rampaging mob.

14 posted on 03/09/2004 2:51:19 PM PST by alnitak ("That kid's about as sharp as a pound of wet liver" - Foghorn Leghorn)
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To: per loin
Will a tinfoil hat (double wrapped) thwart the weapon.

Only if you use that new "non-stick" kind of aluminum foil.

15 posted on 03/09/2004 2:51:40 PM PST by AreaMan
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To: nobody_knows
Did Rosie really say that??
16 posted on 03/09/2004 2:52:51 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals. --- Kahlil Gibran)
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To: DBrow
...on command, emit a piercing tone so excruciating to humans, its boosters say, that it causes crowds to disperse, clears buildings and repels intruders...

I thought that was the job of hip-hop/rap music.

17 posted on 03/09/2004 2:53:07 PM PST by AreaMan
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To: per loin
I assume you jest, but I'll yield a serious answer anyhow- no!

The millimeter wave heat ray can be thwarted, I think, with metal foil. But this is sound.

Your average shooting range muffs cut sound 30 db, so even with muffs on you'd hear at least 110 db, and bone conduction would go right around the muffs.

18 posted on 03/09/2004 2:53:12 PM PST by DBrow
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
Yup!
19 posted on 03/09/2004 2:53:40 PM PST by nobody_knows (<a href="http://http://www.michaelmoore.com/" target="_blank">moral coward)
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To: dd5339
I've played in LOUD bands including one where we jammed in a 10x10 concrete bomb shelter w/a full drum set and 2 50watt guitar amps...i've heard loud.

NOTHING has ever made my eardrums 'flutter' like my 4 month old!
20 posted on 03/09/2004 2:54:04 PM PST by Jn316
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To: DBrow
I have to admit, I'm concerned about these types of weapons - not so much in military applications abroad, but here at home.

Let's face it - crowd dispersal is just a stone's throw from losing your right to protest.

These weapons will shut you up & send you home in a hurry. And, since there are no casualties, there will be no headlines. Instant stifling of dissent.

In the past, a government had a couple of choices in dealing with legitimate protests. They could let the protest happen, or break out the thugs with bats & guns. The latter choice carried with it a stigma. Less-than-lethal weaponry does not carry the same stigma, and in my opinion this makes it MUCH more likely to be used.

Anyone wanna bet whether President Hillary Clinton would like to have a few of these to deal with pesky Freepers?

21 posted on 03/09/2004 2:54:36 PM PST by sbelew
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To: DBrow
Experiment IV, Kate Bush.



We were working secretly
For the military.
Our experiment in sound,
Was nearly ready to begin.
We only know in theory
What we are doing:
Music made for pleasure,
Music made to thrill.
It was music we were making here until


They told us
All they wanted
Was a sound that could kill someone
From a distance.
So we go ahead,
And the meters are over in the red.
It's a mistake in the making.


From the painful cry of mothers,
To the terrifying scream,
We recorded it and put it into our machine.


Then they told us
All they wanted
Was a sound that could kill someone
From a distance.
So we go ahead,
And the meters are over in the red.
It's a mistake in the making.


It could feel like falling in love.
It could feel so bad.
But it could feel so good.
It could sing you to sleep

?"I'll bet my mum's gonna give me a little toy instrument!"?

But that dream is your enemy.


We won't be there to be blamed.
We won't be there to snitch.
I just pray that someone there
Can hit the switch.


But they told us
All they wanted
Was a sound that could kill someone
From a distance.
So we go ahead,
And the meters are over in the red.
It's a mistake we've made.


Hmm hmm hmm, hmm hmm hmm.
And the public are warned to stay off.
22 posted on 03/09/2004 2:55:13 PM PST by alnitak ("That kid's about as sharp as a pound of wet liver" - Foghorn Leghorn)
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To: nobody_knows
(shuddering) Sorry I asked.
23 posted on 03/09/2004 2:55:44 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals. --- Kahlil Gibran)
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To: DBrow
laser ... devices - have not until now been fielded, held up by legal and ethical questions.

I've always wondered why it's considered ethical to blow a hole in a man the size of a coffee cup, but it's not ethical to simply blind him with a laser so he can't fight anymore. I know which fate I'd pick if I had a choice.

24 posted on 03/09/2004 2:56:56 PM PST by antiRepublicrat
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To: DBrow
"The Pentagon's Secret Scream- Sonic devices that can inflict pain"
___________________________________________________
My wife and I have one of these.

He's two years old and we call him "Jack".
We've got a newer model due June 1st.

They're great and we wouldn't trade them for the world and everything in it.



25 posted on 03/09/2004 3:00:27 PM PST by Ribeye (Protective head wear courtesy of Reynolds Aluminum Products)
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To: DBrow
What if I have "Quiet Zone" imprinted on my tin foil hat?
26 posted on 03/09/2004 3:00:51 PM PST by per loin (Ultra Secret News: ADL to pay $12M for defaming Colorado couple.)
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To: DBrow
Whiny article complaining about deployment of a less-than-lethal weapon that can be used to deliver important info, as well as high sound levels to disperse crowds.

It sounds like a great idea. The article makes a valid point that any kind of new weapon sill be scrutinized very closely. If it is that good, we should release the data that verifies this.

While bound to be controversial just because the USA is using it, a sonic weapon probably does less damage than truncheons or rubber bullets, or even tear gas.

You're probably right. That's why we should make this information public.
27 posted on 03/09/2004 3:01:41 PM PST by Stone Mountain
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To: DBrow
the article is whinning because it was origianlly written for the LA Times.
28 posted on 03/09/2004 3:01:52 PM PST by q_an_a
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To: DBrow
IF it works even if you plug your ears, how do you deploy and use it without harming your own personnel.

Draft deaf people?
29 posted on 03/09/2004 3:06:53 PM PST by wildbill
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To: DBrow
Anyone remember Douglas Adams' band, Disaster Area ?

Their sound system was said to contravene most planets' strategic defense initiatives.
30 posted on 03/09/2004 3:10:06 PM PST by clyde asbury (Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God. Jefferson)
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To: sbelew
Anyone wanna bet whether President Hillary Clinton would like to have a few of these to deal with pesky Freepers?

No, but you wanna bet I'dd like one for the next time the roof of my car starts vibrating from some punk with the 1000 Watt sub-sonic stereo in his car!
Traffic annoyances will avenged!

31 posted on 03/09/2004 3:18:32 PM PST by m18436572
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To: sbelew
I agree with your point- using these things for general use is iffy.

But in the USA, I don't see them being used- we have a free press and free internet et al, and "The People" just would not put up with it.

Breaking up a demonstration in downtown NY with one of these would create huge protests that would not go away. England tried "firewater" and soon stopped due to public outcry- this was a chemical agent in firehose water that caused a burning sensation on skin when wet with the stuff.

Properly used, though, I think they can save US military lives. A Marine or National Guardsman should not be in the business of crowd control. So disperse the crowd quickly. Better than the alternatives.
32 posted on 03/09/2004 3:19:35 PM PST by DBrow
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To: Stone Mountain
Good Idea! Let's see what info is out there. I suspect that some details will be classified (initial data on almost anything tactical is), but there must be other stuff.

I wonder where the proto was tested? Someplace with lots of room and no neighbors.

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

AMERICAN TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION AWARDED $1.088 MILLION CONTRACT TO DELIVER LONG RANGE ACOUSTIC DEVICES (LRAD™) TO U.S. MARINE CORPS UNITS


LRADs Deployed in Iraq for Force Protection

http://www.atcsd.com/PressReleases/02_26_04.html


SAN DIEGO, California, February 26, 2004 - American Technology Corporation (NASDAQ: ATCO) announced today that it has been awarded a $1.088 million contract by the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC). The contract calls for ATC to deliver LRADs to augment the Force Protection Kits of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (Camp Pendleton, CA) and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, CA) deploying to Iraq. Deliveries under the contract have begun with completion expected by early April.

LRAD is a breakthrough long-range hailing and warning, directed acoustic device that is designed to determine intent, change behavior, and support various rules of engagement. With LRAD, a sentry can issue a focused verbal challenge with instructions in excess of 300 hundred yards, and follow up with a warning tone to cause behavior change. Recorded messages can be selected and delivered over LRAD in multiple languages.

Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) approached the Department of the Navy supporting the immediate procurement of LRAD for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force as part of a $335 million allocation of the $87 billion Congressionally-approved wartime supplement earmarked for immediate force protection technology insertion. Senator Snowe added, "I believe that our nation has an obligation to provide our men and women in uniform with the best resources possible. LRAD is a new and dynamic non-lethal capability that directly supports our military as they tackle the difficult challenges in Iraq and elsewhere."

Lt. Col. Susan Noel, force protection officer for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force said, "LRAD is a significant addition to the Force Protection Kits being deployed into the Iraqi theater. These devices provide a critical new tool to place distance between the Marine and the threat, giving him/her more time to sort out a measured and appropriate response."

Peter Dotto, Colonel, USMC (retired) and Program Director at M2 Technologies, Inc. commented, "LRAD addresses the capability gap that exists for key mission tasks including crowd control, area denial of personnel including check point operations, and clearing buildings." M2 Technologies, Inc. is the systems integrator for the USMC Systems Command that is evaluating non-lethal weapons.

ATC also announced an additional contract for LRADs totaling $99,750 from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Camp Lejeune, North Carolina).

ATC further announced that the Rapid Equipping Force (REF) of the U.S. Army previously purchased and deployed LRADs in Iraq to develop a concept of operations for vehicle mounted use. The REF is a major conduit for new technology into the war fighting forces.

Carl Gruenler, ATC vice president for military and government operations remarked, "These contracts validate the application of LRAD to address a variety of force protection challenges, whether maritime or land based. Determining intent at distances which extend the decision time to classify and deal with potential threats is increasingly critical in government, military, and industry efforts to protect lives and assets. Providing an effective less-than-lethal tool to communicate, affect behavior, and support lethal rules of engagement better equips our service men and women for new and dangerous missions. We believe LRAD can save lives on both sides of the device, and provide a much needed defense-in-depth capability to protect critical assets and infrastructure."

33 posted on 03/09/2004 3:25:22 PM PST by DBrow
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To: Stone Mountain
The General Dynamics specs are quite a bit quieter, and the device is smaller than described in the linked article. The emphasis is on long-distance commo, with the avoidance effects a secondary feature.

These sound pressure levels are more in line with indiustrial, airport, and rock band noise levels, when distance is factored in. 120 db at 60 meters is still darned loud, though.
.......................

General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products (GDATP) is the system integrator for the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), a highly directional long distance hailer. LRAD emits an audible acoustic signal that can be used at safe stand-off ranges to communicate commands and deter approach of personnel into security zones. LRAD's coherent acoustic beam delivers clear communications even in the presence of high ambient noise levels. GDATP is partnered with Ameri-can Technology Corporation for the production and development of the system.

Acoustic Output

LRAD can generate voice and tone peak levels of 135 decibels (dB) at 4 meters and the system is capable of providing 120 dB of audio at 60 meters and intelligible announcements out to 1,000 meters. The acoustic beam is directional with a 14-degree beam pattern at the 3 dB points with side lobe reductions of 30 (+) dB and minimal back lobe.

Effects

LRAD is primarily designed as a long-range communications device. LRAD operates within OSHA guidelines to deliver communications beyond 500 meters. Additional effects to deter approach by subjects depend on range, power output, frequency, tonal patterns and exposure time. LRAD offers immediate target response time and continuous effect while the target is in the beam coverage area.



Current System Dimensional Specifications

LRAD Weight44 Pounds
LRAD Diameter 33 Inches

Controls
Weight 4 Pounds

Features•
Sound-source input via an integrated MP3 player, CB-style microphone or any standard line-level audio source

• Reduced side and rear sound levels
• Easy to use and support
• Variable power output control for selectable level of affect

Applications

• Long-distance hailing
• Command and Control
• Key asset protection
• Deterrence communication

• Clearing areas / facilitiesPotential

Platforms
• Ground, air and sea platforms

• Fixed installations
• Public spaces
• High-ambient-noise
34 posted on 03/09/2004 3:36:23 PM PST by DBrow
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To: sbelew
...These weapons will shut you up & send you home in a hurry..."

Not if you shoot out the speakers from 300-400 yards.
After all, isn't that why God made rifle-scopes?

35 posted on 03/09/2004 3:39:09 PM PST by Condor51 ("Diplomacy without arms is like music without instruments." -- Frederick the Great)
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To: DBrow
Someone used this device on Capt. Kirk once. Or twice. Or three times.
36 posted on 03/09/2004 3:44:24 PM PST by Skooz (My Biography: Psalm 40:1-3)
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To: DBrow
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy notes that Disaster Area .. are generally held to be not only the loudest rock band in the Galaxy, but the loudest noise of any kind at all. Regular concert goers judge that the best sound balance is usually to be heard from within large concrete bunkers some thirty-seven miles from the actual stage, while the musicians themselves play their instruments by remote control from within a heavily insulated spaceship which stays in orbit around the planet - or more frequently around a completely different planet.
..
Many worlds have now banned their act altogether .. mostly because the band's public address system contravenes local strategic arms limitations treaties.
Douglas Adams
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
37 posted on 03/09/2004 3:44:46 PM PST by clyde asbury (Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God. Jefferson)
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To: DBrow
I need one of those for my car the next time a rapper punk pulls up next to me with his boom-box blaring.
38 posted on 03/09/2004 3:46:00 PM PST by moonman
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To: DBrow; hchutch
Sonic devices that can inflict pain

Klipsch Heresy and Bose 901 speakers?

39 posted on 03/09/2004 3:48:28 PM PST by Poohbah ("Would you mind not shooting at the thermonuclear weapons?" -- Maj. Vic Deakins, USAF)
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To: DBrow
These devices are appropriate for situations in which martial law prevails. Where habeas corpus prevails, they should be banned.

And liberals should never be allowed to have them.
40 posted on 03/09/2004 3:53:52 PM PST by GulliverSwift (Keep the <a href="http://www.johnkerry.com/">gigolo</a> out of the White House!)
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Comment #41 Removed by Moderator

Comment #42 Removed by Moderator

To: sbelew
Mister Video, now available live via cell phone will assure TV coverage.
43 posted on 03/09/2004 4:16:10 PM PST by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon liberty, it is essential to examine principles - -)
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To: wildbill
Directional antenna, 'member?
44 posted on 03/09/2004 4:18:16 PM PST by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon liberty, it is essential to examine principles - -)
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To: DBrow
Hmm...I wonder if they'd sell me one? Purely for research purposes, of course!!
45 posted on 03/09/2004 4:22:13 PM PST by neutrino (Oderint dum metuant: Let them hate us, so long as they fear us.)
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To: DBrow
Recordings of Barry Manillow on accordion no doubt.
46 posted on 03/09/2004 4:25:13 PM PST by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: DBrow; SAMWolf; snippy_about_it; Professional Engineer
I want one of these, too!
47 posted on 03/09/2004 4:25:26 PM PST by Samwise (I am going to need to be sedated before this election is over.)
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To: DBrow
Last week, as I watched televised images of angry Iraqis pelting U.S. soldiers with rocks when they arrived to assist those injured in suicide bombings at mosques, I couldn't help but wonder whether the presence of a sound weapon to disperse those crowds would just escalate hostilities.

Unbelievable.

48 posted on 03/09/2004 4:28:35 PM PST by Samwise (I am going to need to be sedated before this election is over.)
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To: Samwise
The Pentagon's Secret Scream- Sonic devices that can inflict pain

Big secret, I have 3 teenagers they're been using this for years. :-)

49 posted on 03/09/2004 4:36:33 PM PST by SAMWolf (Why experiment on animals with so many liberals out there?)
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To: SAMWolf
LOL
50 posted on 03/09/2004 4:37:41 PM PST by Samwise (I am going to need to be sedated before this election is over.)
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