Leopards and Ringtones
News from Ahmedabad, India tells of a innovative use for cell phones. Ringtones with distress sounds of cows, goats and roosters are being used to lure leopards into traps. Once safely ensnared, they are transported back to the wilds, probably a good distance away from the harassed villagers and their cell phones, and then released.
This is superior to the prior method that involved tying up real animals and using the sounds of their escalating panic to lure hungry leopards into a pit. Of course, smarter and more agile leopards did the long jump over the pit and ran away with a free dinner and a new appreciation for the effectiveness of advertisement.
One advantage of this innovation is that ringtones can be used over and over again, whereas some of the goats and cows that were previously employed were not available for recycling as bait.
So far, five leopards have learned that curiosity does not always kill the cat and have been transported to poorer villages-ones that do not yet have cell phones.
What are Ringtones?
For the uninitiated, a ringtone is a customized ring sound for a cell phone. They are often downloaded directly to the phone and are an expression of the interests (and maybe values) of the cell phone owner. For example, you might want to be alerted to a special call by hearing “The Real Slim Shady” by Eminem or “Wake Me Up” by Green Day. Or you can, with specialized software, create your own ringtones and download them to your phone. These are pretty harmless uses of ringtones (no leopard was hurt in the use of this ringtone) but younger and more devious minds have devised other applications-read on.
Fool the Adult Ringtones
Another innovative application of ringtones is to use high frequency tones that only people 20 and under can hear. In other words kids, download these ringtones and your parents and teachers will never know when you receive a call on your cell. They can’t hear it! As the web site listed below states, “Fool your teachers! Fool your parents!!”
Want to find out if you can hear these high frequency ringtones? Click on the “Ultrasonic” link at the end of this article to test your hearing from 8KHz to 22.4 KHz. I couldn’t hear any of them. The Army may not have anticipated this one when they gave me little ear plugs and said, “Fire that 105mm Howitzer day in and day out-you’ll be okay.” So if you are chronologically (and therefore, aurally) challenged, you may wish to keep a good dog around to alert you to what is really going on.
Suggestions for New Applications
So, I wondered if there were more urban or localized applications for this leopard approach to using ringtones and I think I’ve come up with a few:
1. Ringtone: the sound of a new Geico ad being plastered up on a billboard. Intended trapees-cavemen.
2. Ringtone: the sound of something valuable being stored in a fragile, glass cabinet. Target-a toddler.
3. Ringtone: the words, “Plasma TVs on Sale” said repeatedly. Prey-any man.
You get the idea. And now that I’ve stimulated your thinking about how to use ringtones to bait a trap, I’m sure you’ll come up with many more applications than I have. Turn each of your ideas into a short MP3 audio clip and I’ll download them to my phone. I’m looking forward to see what comes running.