Ruth Spencer sounds off on car horns

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - CONTENTS -

In South Korea, toot­ing is a prob­lem. It’s not all the kim­chi that’s to blame, but rather the use and abuse of car horns. In an at­tempt to lessen the din, Seoul re­searchers set out to dis­cover the per­fect honk, a sound to alert driv­ers with­out un­due of­fence to the ear. Af­ter try­ing 100 sounds on a group of vol­un­teers, which you’ll no­tice is the same rig­or­ous sci­en­tific method used to get the an­swers on Fam­ily Feud, they set­tled on the sound of a duck quack­ing. Which begs the ques­tion, what even is sci­ence? Here are five bet­ter sug­ges­tions for the klaxon — or quaxon — of the fu­ture.

Bo Peep

It’s ru­ral, its rus­tic and it feels like home. only is the bleat of a sheep a star­tling so in an ur­ban set­ting, but it car­ries with it lit­tle bit of in­sult. Er­rant cars do move li id­i­otic sheep, get­ting stuck in the mid­dle o in­ter­sec­tions or off in a woolly dream when the lights change. A re­sound­ing Baa would tell them to get the flock out of the way. We wouldn’t even have to get sheep to record the sounds. All sheep sound ex­actly like teenage boys pre­tend­ing to be sheep, so this is ideal work ex­pe­ri­ence for any Year 12s look­ing to get into govern­ment work.

Bag it up

The point of horn is to warn oth­ers of dan­ger but it’s also re­ally use­ful for telling peo­ple off, so it seems stupid to seek out a less an­noy­ing sound. Why not es­ca­late in­stead, with the most grat­ing sound on earth: the over-loud, smug voice of the Self Ser­vice check­out. “Un­ex­pected mo­ron in the turn­ing lane” or “Select your in­di­ca­tor, mate” or “Please wait for as­sis­tance from some­one who can drive.” Sat­is­fy­ing.

Our Lorde

Per­fect for in­ter­sec­tions, hav­ing mul­ti­ple Lordes yelling about the Green Light they’re wait­ing for might just get the mes­sage across. The other tracks from Melo­drama are equally use­ful; let them know they’re a Li­a­bil­ity, or won­der what they’ll do when they’re Sober, or threaten them with some Home­made

Dy­na­mite. If you’re caught mak­ing ob­scene hand ges­tures you can al­ways say you were danc­ing like Lorde while look­ing for Per­fect park­ing Places.

Siren Song

An of­fi­cial siren is the ideal car horn. How many times have you turned your ra­dio down and driven more care­fully be­cause you weren’t sure if the po­lice siren was in the song or be­hind you? RNZ Con­cert lis­ten­ers may be un­fa­mil­iar with this ex­pe­ri­ence, but it’s the price com­mer­cial ra­dio fans pay to hear those al­ways hi­lar­i­ous and ap­pro­pri­ate Break­fast Crews.

Ran­dom An­noy­ing Noises

Fa­mil­iar­ity breeds con­tempt. Keep driv­ers on their toes with a sur­prise se­lec­tion of ir­ri­tat­ing sounds like snor­ing or loud tea-slurp­ing. Un­for­tu­nately, the best an­noy­ing noise, fin­ger­nails down a black­board, is use­less these days be­cause if you want to use it on a mil­len­nial you’d first have to flag down their car and ex­plain what a black­board was. Per­haps the Seoul re­searchers are right, be­cause mil­len­ni­als would lis­ten to a duck — but only if it was Drake .

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