Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gareth Owens: A New Note for Nat

"Being a hypersonic rock star is great... until you get too old."

Concatenation has posted a new short "Futures" story by linguist Gareth Owens: "A New Note for Nat" (pdf), which was originally published in the 30 August 2007 issue of the journal Nature. The story is the tale of a washed-up hypersonic rock star.

The secret to hypersonic rock is that human hearing deteriorates with age, with the loss of ability to hear the highest frequency sounds - about 16 kHz or higher - by age 18. That means there are a range of tones that only teenagers can hear. Perfect for music you don't want to share with your parents or other oldsters. And it's not completely science fiction; a song with a both "normal" and hypersonic tracks was released in 2006 (click the "Listen" button on the upper right side of the page to hear a clip).

And if you are in the under-18 audience for "hypersonic rock", you might be interested in the "Teen Buzz" Mosquito ringtone. I'm way too old for it to be useful on my cell phone . . .

Image: "Headphones" by flattop341 on flickr
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