Can Techies Muzzle the Vuvuzela?

Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/islandchic/4703275213/">Island Chic</a>

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When vuvuzelas, those slender, ubiquitous, South African plastic trumpets took over the airwaves last week with the kickoff of the World Cup they quite literally began to annoy an entire planet. Luckily we humans are an industrious lot: When the world complains, entrepreneurs listen. Now broadcasters can buy, for example, buzz-cancelling technology from Tennessee, “a combination of dynamic broadband noise suppression and notch filtering are utilized to create the Vuvuzela noise reduction processing chain,” for $2,900. This type of filtering basically works to remove the low frequency drone, (they buzz in B-flat, apparently) from the broadcast. And, for the fans, there’s the “anti-vuvuzela filter” for roundabout $5 per half of play. The filter is the brainchild of 29-year-old Clemence Schlieweis, a German engineer with time and sound-mixing apparati on his hands. Using a different method, the filter creates an “inverse” sound wave with the same amplitude as the vuvuzela sound, but with the peaks and troughs of the wave reversed. Take a mountain, add a valley, create a level pitch.

In theory these techy methods work, so long as the vuvuzelas are uniform in sound and pitch, but with hundreds of thousands blaring at once the cacophony might be hard to match in real time. A professor of acoustics tells the UK Telegraph: “My advice is to football fans is to be Zen about it; accept vuvuzelas as part of the World Cup soundscape and pour another beer.”

Still, if you want to try a free app and you have a Mac check out VuvuX, and you can follow the latest in filtering apps at vuvuzelafiltering.com.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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