Science has been messing with light like a middle-school bully since forever: shoving it all together to make a laser beam, bending it to make invisibility cloaks, giving it wedgies until it stops altogether. Maybe it's time to pick on something else. Might we suggest sound? It doesn't seem as sexy as light, but by noogie-ing sound into submission, you can make it do some pretty amazing stuff. Like...
5 Collapse Your Lungs
Immediately after every discovery in existence, someone has asked that all-important question: "can we kill people with this?" As much as we wish they'd kick that guy out of the science club, he's usually right, and sound is no different. Science has discovered that there is a certain volume that can cause injury, and not just to your eardrums. Specifically, volumes over 200 decibels can rupture your lungs. That's a difficult thing to achieve -- standing right in front of a jet engine at takeoff only exposes you to a paltry 150 decibels -- but there are a few extreme situations that can get you there ... like going to a metal concert.
Yep, there have indeed been documented instances of the most metal thing ever -- blowing out the lungs of your audiences with a bitchin' solo. It's called pneumothorax (which, incidentally, is a hell of a name for a metal band), and it's a fancy sounding term for having your lungs bassed so hard that they explode. It really only happens when oblivious or masochistic fans stand directly in front of the speakers. But of course we couldn't leave it as mere accidental injury. Science is looking at ways to tame and weaponize this effect. What they've come up with is called a "sound bullet."
Sound bullets are still mostly the realm of science fiction, but scientists have developed a small-scale device inspired by Newton's cradle - that row of hanging ball bearings on your professor's desk that no living being can resist flicking. The developers of the sound gun scaled up their incessant clacking by lining 21 of these things up together and focusing the resulting racket through an acoustic "lens."
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"EMPTY THE REGISTER OR I'LL FUCKING WASTE YOU!"
It's thought that the technology could be intensified to a point where it could punch holes in bunkers or sink submarines. Or, on a more benevolent note, they could be used to kill tumors -- although technically that's a side effect of killing a whole person anyway.
4 Repel Teenagers
Nobody wants to be around teenagers except for old perverts, marketing departments, and other teenagers. If you wish there was a way to get unruly teens off your lawn without brandishing a shotgun, a company called Moving Sound Tech has the answer: Play an annoying sound that only teenagers can hear.
Your parents' mattress squeaking?
The Mosquito is a device named for the ultrasonic sound it emits -- a high-pitched, piercing, God-make-it-stop buzzing. The kicker is that it can be adjusted to be age-specific. See, human hearing starts to degrade in our 20s, before most of us have even reached our sexual base camp, much less our sexual peak. So there are sounds that nobody but teenagers can hear, beyond "clean your room" or "be nice to Grandma." Because the Mosquito is basically a reverse dog whistle for young people, it's popularly marketed to convenience stores and businesses throughout Britain and the U.S. as a means of deterring loiterers and vandals.
But, like all good weapons, the Mosquito was eventually reverse-engineered by the enemy. The concept is now being used in cell phones to emit ringtones that adults can't hear in order to hide incoming calls. Dang teenagers. Back in our day, we had sounds weaponized against us all the time and we liked it.
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It was called "hair metal."