Monday, April 27, 2009

your cellphone sounds like a mosquito to me

Canadian teens-9 are betting on teachers' and parents' aging ears to allow them to send and receive text messages and phone calls by using high-frequency tones that are inaudible to most people over thirty. Called 'mosquito' tones, these were originally marketed in South Wales to deter teenagers from loitering around stores.
The high-pitched buzzing grows uncomfortable to young people after ten minutes or so. Most people over thirty aren't aware of it at all. We all have old people disease, you see. Even those of us that don't feel particularly old.

Presbycusis - general gradual age-related hearing loss.

As you age, your ability to hear higher pitched sounds deteriorates. Soon tones you could hear well at twenty are but a memory. (Hmm...could this be why the music from the 80's doesn't sound as good as I remember it being? Naaaahhh.....) The older you get - going through your thirties, forties, etc - the less of the high tones you can distinguish.

Demonstration of mosquito tones here - how high can you hear?

The company that originally marketed the anti-loitering machine, Compound Security Systems, was taken aback when teenagers began using the irritating tones as cell phone ringtones, but soon figured out that since parents and teachers couldn't hear the ringing phones,  students were using them to text in class. The company has since come out with their own ringtone.

I had my young daughter in a waiting room the other day. The chairs were packed and she was playing on the floor with coloring paper and crayons. A young girl was sitting a few chairs down, and Rosey kept staring at her. Every once in awhile she would get up and approach her, only to frown and go sit back down. The girl finally flipped out a cell phone and answered it, saying something to her mother about how many calls she was missing. I had assumed that R was hearing the buzzing of the cellphone set on vibrate, but as we left she was complaining about a strange sound....
I really try not to sound like a grumpy old broken-eared person, but remember back when there weren't cell-phones and invisible tones and teenager repellent?
Eh, maybe this is just the presbycusis talking. It's inaudible to younger people, you know. Only us old timers can hear it.

photo by samantha celera

This is an original Canada Moms Blog post. Jessica blogs elsewhere too.

Friday, April 10, 2009

off she goes: Commander Josee Kurtz

-6My husband and I are trying to raise my young daughter to believe that she can do anything. To be fearless - to go after whatever she wants. This, of course, leads to much teasing from her older brother.
'Girls can't be cowboys, Rosey.'
Girls can't be policemen, Rosey.'
In 1989, the Canadian navy opened its doors to women on a 'trial basis' after a discrimination complaint led the Human Rights Commission to order the Forces to integrate females in all occupations. Josee Kurtz saw that landmark decision as a way to accomplish something she'd always dreamed about - a military career.  Walking into the recruitment office in her hometown of Joliette, Que, took some soul-searching and a lot of courage, but the former sea cadet toughed it out and shut her mind to any and all nay-sayers.
"There were indeed some stereotypes. There was some reluctance when we first joined," she said.

She knew that she was entering a profession dominated by men: "Let’s face it . . . a very small group of women in a crew of 225 people? You are looked at and you are tested. You are scrutinized to a certain extent. Over the years, when they realized you could do the job just as well, that scrutiny went away. Now, the navy has evolved into an organization that accommodates anyone regardless of race or gender."
This Monday, twenty years later, Commander J. Kurtz became the first female commanding officer of a major Canadian warship.

"This is probably one of the best days of my life," she beamed. "I can’t wait to take this ship to sea today. I think I was very lucky.The Navy ended up being an environment that suited my need for adventure, my need for challenge and set the stage for what has been a very rewarding career and personal experience over the past 20 years."
Kurtz hopes her promotion to commander of the HMCS Halifax would pave the way for the twenty-four female crew members and women thinking about joining the forces. ``I see myself as no different,'' she said. ``I do realize, however, that because of who I am and because of my place in time, my position is significant to many women, and they look up to what I have done.''
Commander Kurtz married an officer in the navy. After he retired, she began lobbying to go to sea - while he stays at home with their seven year old daughter. Juggling a family and navy career is an issue not just for women but for men as well, she said. "One thing that definitely was not going to work for us was to have two naval officers going to sea at different intervals with a youngster at home." 
"One of the messages I send to my sailors and my fellow officers is that perhaps they can make it work. That’s going to be their choice. It’s going to be for them to decide how they make that work."
So after the news tonight Rosey jumped up and smacked her brother on the shoulder.
'Girls CAN TOO be co-man-ders, see!!'  And then she stuck her tongue out.
Bravo Zulu, Commander Kurtz. Well done.
This is an original Canada Moms Blog Post. Jessica can be found at daysgoby.

Photo by: MCpl Robert Bottrill, Canadian Forces Combat Camera