My project to use 24/7 outdoor music broadcast to repel urban hoodlums - don't let your memes stay dreams

Positron

Ready to explain photosynthesis to Bill Nye
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
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millais

The Yellow Rose of Victoria, Texas
kiwifarms.net
Thanks for all the music recommendations everyone. Although obviously not every recommendation will be added to the playlist, even the ones that don't make it sometimes gave me an idea for similar pieces that did end up on the playlist.

Also it is about time for an update.

I had to remount the louder broadcast unit because the original load-bearing system was mostly based on thick-width rubber bands, which became brittle and snapped due to almost a month of exposure to rain, strong western sunlight, freezing temperatures, and extreme 24 hr temperature fluctuations. One of the speakers was a bit damaged from falling to the concrete pavement when the load-bearing system failed, but I crudely mashed it back together and there doesn't seem to be any lasting damage to the loudness of the sound output. Now everything is properly secured with light gauge metal wire, which I should have used in the first place, even though it takes longer to set up than rubber bands.

I have noticed some interesting things about the acoustic aspect of music selection. Certain types of music travel farther and lose less intensity and fidelity over distance. Just for context, I think this louder broadcast unit is mounted in a very acoustically optimal location, as there are about 3 different flat walls facing the broadcast unit at a different angle and less than 40 ft away, so due to the reflection and refraction of the sound waves, there's about 225 degrees of sound coverage in the lateral/horizontal plane.

Most "classical" symphonic/orchestral music can travel about 20-30 feet before becoming inaudible, and it's pretty good at retaining the fidelity of the sound, but not very good at retaining the intensity/volume.

In comparison, military marches, waltzes, and other heavy instrumental music can travel about 40-50 feet before becoming completely inaudible. They are not very good at retaining fidelity of sound at long distance, as only the high pitched parts like fife and flute can travel that far, along with the percussion and drum parts. They are ok at retaining intensity and volume, though again only with the high octave instruments and the percussion.

Choral/vocal pieces have mixed results. If it has a lot of solo soprano and alto parts, it can go very far like 70-80 feet, without losing any fidelity and losing moderate intensity. Baritone and bass might seem very loud when standing close to the speaker, but it doesn't travel very far. Higher pitch vocal, higher frequency, more kinetic energy, I assume. So based on this I initially concluded that music with female soprano vocal lead was the most optimal musical choice for extending the maximum effective range of the broadcast. To that end, I heavily loaded the playlist with female vocalist pop music from the 1930s-1980s that I know is the antithesis of cool to the urban hip-hop youth crowd.

But then I made a very surprising discovery that I cannot fully explain. Whether by power of meme magic or a freak acoustical fluke, it turns out that Marty Robbins's "Big Iron" song can travel almost 120-150 feet without losing any fidelity and seemingly minimal loss to intensity. At the maximum range of 150 feet, the accompanying instrumentals are pretty much inaudible, but Marty Robbins's voice still comes through loud and clear. It's very strange, since I didn't notice that Marty Robbins's "Ain't I Right" song had any especially good acoustical characteristics.

I think I will have to add the entire Marty Robbins "Western/Gunslinger Ballads" album to the playlist to see if this exceptional acoustic performance is replicated across his entire discography or if it exclusive to "Big Iron" through the power of meme magic.
 

Wake me up

CωC Club founder
kiwifarms.net
Any chance high pitches are traveling farther because they aren't "competing" with background noise? I mean, if there is a lot of traffic in the area (low hums, etc) this might make sense for bass tones being lost in the ambient soundscape?

Also in your update you mentioned nothing about results and overall community reception. Still good, I'm assuming?
 

millais

The Yellow Rose of Victoria, Texas
kiwifarms.net
Any chance high pitches are traveling farther because they aren't "competing" with background noise? I mean, if there is a lot of traffic in the area (low hums, etc) this might make sense for bass tones being lost in the ambient soundscape?

Also in your update you mentioned nothing about results and overall community reception. Still good, I'm assuming?
Maybe the sound of wind and traffic is lower pitch, but generally there's not much competing ambient noise when the wind is still.

The results against the loiterers and transients are still very good. Sometimes I can even visually estimate the maximum effective range of the different audio tracks based on how far away from the speakers the hoodrats will loiter. With a good audio track playing, they will not be able to tolerate being within 100 feet of the speakers. With a less effective audio track and competing noise like strong wind, idling vehicle motor or by using earbuds/boombox or standing in an acoustic "blind spot", they can get as close as 10-15 feet to the speaker.

But even in a worst case scenario with the weakest audio track and the worst combination of mitigating factors, they cannot stand loitering around in the 10 foot radius circle immediately beneath the broadcast units, which was all I had initially hoped for when first devising this project. And whereas I used to see them 9 out of every 10 times I walked past the most troublesome spots, now it is cut down to 1-2 out of every 10 times.

After the po-po was called on they ass for trying to destroy the sound system, the hoodrats try to pretend that they are not bothered by it anymore, loitering at the limit of the max effective range if at all, but the fact that I have completely booted them out of their favorite hangout spots and they are trying to pick new spots that are not in range of the sound system speaks for itself.

"Community reception" has been pretty good so far. Those people who were notified about the purpose of the broadcast system are very appreciative for its effect on cleaning up the area and reducing the perceived risk of violent/petty crime, and a couple people even mentioned that they liked the music selection or found some of it amusing.

The people who don't know the purpose of the broadcast system are plainly baffled or confused by it, though no one has complained.

Nobody has picked up on the meme music yet, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

I'm still waiting on people to donate more speakers and MP3 players. People have told me they have old sound equipment lying around, but so far I have had to provide most of the material. Maybe I will check Craigslist to see if anyone is giving away old speakers. I hate to spend more money than I have to as this is an entirely voluntary effort on my part with no compensation for cost of labor and supplies, but I did notice that it seems like speakers don't hold up as well over time as other electronics, so even if I get a lot of donated speakers, they might not work or not work very well. If I do end up having to buy new speakers, though, they will be guaranteed to be way louder than the secondhand old stuff I have in place right now.

I'm confident I can clear the entire block (~3.5 acres) if I only had enough equipment. I have a good system for installation, good criteria for music selection, and good results for the two completed units.
 

Wake me up

CωC Club founder
kiwifarms.net
o one has complained
In my experience if no one complains at first, no one will bother complaining later on. It's usually a sort of "shock" that leads people to become angry enough about something to take action and with time the shock value lessens and desensitization grows.

In that sense, you probably don't want to upgrade your system from what you have to full-acre-clearing stuff at once since that will produce another shock. Even if you get the top speakers, you may want to get there with a month-by-month intensity increase instead to "break it in".
 

millais

The Yellow Rose of Victoria, Texas
kiwifarms.net
Recent additions to the playlist, most notably including the full Marty Robbins' Gunslinger Ballads album and 45 minutes of Rina Ketty compilation. Those old 1930s, 1940s Francophone chanteurs and chanteuses are very good; the sound carries very far, and the source audio is just shitty enough due to the poor quality of the original records that it ends up sounding more cheesy than sentimental.
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millais

The Yellow Rose of Victoria, Texas
kiwifarms.net
They really don't like the music. In the past, the hoodrats would tag their gang signs with spray paint in places that are easy to overlook, but recently they spray painted a one meter wide gang sign on the front of the building that faces the main access road. Very brazen way to voice their displeasure.

They also dumped a couple of mattresses on the side of the property boundary where I have no legal right to interfere, and the junkies and hoodrats have been using the mattress pile as a sofa because it also happens to be at the far limit of the max effective range of the music. Earlier today, I soaked the mattresses with urine to discourage further use, but who knows maybe they won't even notice the smell because they are such filthy mongrels.

While I wait for more audio equipment to be donated, I am discouraging additional loitering by building a barricade out of overturned shopping carts to block off the areas where the hoodrats like to park their vehicles and motorbikes and try to drown out the music with their vehicle sound system. I think I'm legally ok, since the Walmart is supposed to send their employees to scour the neighborhood and retrieve abandoned shopping carts, and I'm leaving them in an easier place to retrieve than where the hoodrats try to hide them. And I think it's better to leave the shopping carts lying overturned and stationary rather than upright where they might roll into someone's vehicle. The hoodrats used to simply disassemble the shopping cart barricade in order to park their vehicles in the blocked off areas, but I added some bulky items and some nasty shards of broken mirrors and glass to the mix, so they have not touched it recently.

I am also looking into the feasibility of making some 4 foot tall bollards out of 3" or 4" square steel tube to sink into the concrete and act as a permanent parking deterrent. Last time I had some homemade steel bollards like that, they were bowled over under the force of a ~20-25 mph car collision (the asshole had like a 200 ft running start), but those weak bollards were just maybe 1-2" square and sunk only 1" or less into the concrete, and this time I'm thinking of doing it much deeper.

And the junkies have discovered that if they go into the trash dumpster enclosure and close the gate behind them, it is sufficiently acoustically insulated enough to reduce the music volume so they can shoot up or defecate or fornicate relatively undisturbed. So I am going to submit a proposal for the installation of razor wire at knee level inside the enclosure so nobody can hide in there. That will actually require some adequate warning signage to be installed on the enclosure gate, but it will be more convenient than having to install a lock on the gate. If my razor wire proposal is rejected, then my backup plan is to reconfigure the enclosure gate so that it cannot be opened from inside, so the next junkie that tries to hide there will be stuck inside until his or her shouting can attract the attention of the other junkies.
 

Wake me up

CωC Club founder
kiwifarms.net
I added some bulky items and some nasty shards of broken mirrors
reconfigure the enclosure gate so that it cannot be opened from inside
Think carefully about this as it may come back to bite you. Even if you put a big warning sign "caution: broken glass", it may legally be interpreted as an admission of guilt rather than a deterrent, in case someone loses a finger or stays locked-in for long.

Also, think about the potential backslash. They don't play by the same rules you do and they're already upset by the music. If they feel you've lowered the bar, they may feel they might have to as well. Stay safe, the last thing you want is to lose the game.

You've shown you're able to come up with much more elegant solutions than this so I'd advise you to consider alternatives.
 

millais

The Yellow Rose of Victoria, Texas
kiwifarms.net
Several updates;

Not really related to the music broadcast, but I have fixed the trash dumpster enclosure problem by simply resizing the fence dimensions so there is no space for anything but the dumpster now and so the junkies can't shoot up in there anymore.

The parking bollard thing is on hold for now while I try to find how to do it with the least amount of scrap steel as possible. I'm not so sure I want to clear out absolutely all of the crackheads and hoodrats any more, because the music broadcast doesn't work at all on the total basket-case schizos, who are only kept in check by the hoodrats and crackheads. On the other hand, the schizos aren't a security/crime/vandalism risk, just a very annoying visual blight and walking biohazard.

No changes to the sound system itself in a few weeks now (still waiting on equipment donations), but interestingly an arts and culture magazine chief editor/reporter was in the area to do an unrelated story and she was fascinated by the sound system's potential for urban pacification/gentrification. Apparently she had never heard of this type of setup before and thought this was some kind of brand new innovation that she could publish some breakout piece on. I don't know how this kind of thing has slipped under so many people's radar; more inner city municipal governments and landlords/business owners in shitty areas need to embrace this idea.

Feedback from new people in the area is good; it's immediately obvious to many what the purpose of the system is, and it's a tangible safety assurance to the people who work late or alone and are scared of crackheads and hoodrats. The only recent disappointment is the discovery that the music broadcast is ineffective against the severely mentally ill schizos, but that is not the end of the world. Also the ambient noise of some daytime machinery operation will have a dampening effect on the max effective range of the music as the weather warms up and people start working outside, but no one operates loud machinery at night, which is arguably the more critical period for safety and crime prevention.

And also now I'm glad I did not put the Fashwave remix version of Grun ist Unser Fallschirm into the playlist. The original version is SFW enough, but I'm not 100% sure about the remix anymore.
 

Recon

Tactical Autism Response Division
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
The killer app when it comes to sonic repellents is dissonance and baby sounds played in reverse. Dissonant experimental John Cage type shit ought to be randomly interspersed with the other songs. The dissonant noises in that trash really play havoc with people's thought flow.
The No. 1 sound that people hate, according to the Navy's non lethal weapons program? A crying baby, timestretched, pitched up and played in reverse. It causes physiological discomfort and gets used on somali pirates.

EDIT - when sounds flow in a consistent or predictable way, we tune em out. Throw in a nasty dissonant screech periodically and you'll deny people the ability to tune out.
 

An Sionnach Seang

Russell Greer audiobook in profile
kiwifarms.net
if you want classical, you could do worse than Louis Andriessen

also, if you can get a copy of this album it'd be just the ticket - it's jaunty, marching-band type jazz that doesn't take itself at all seriously
it may be available on file-sharing servers, not that I'd know about that kind of thing

ed: oh! how could I forget about the one and only James Last and his Hammond organ albums
 

millais

The Yellow Rose of Victoria, Texas
kiwifarms.net
Oh and last week I got the first complaint about the music selection. An old lady who up until that point was very grateful for the music broadcast complained about the "German marching music" and asked if I could replace it with Mozart or something like that. The next day, the sound system was taken offline for a few hours due to a loose audio jack connection, and that same lady was begging for it to be fixed ASAP because the hoodrats were taking full advantage of their temporary acoustic reprieve.
 

millais

The Yellow Rose of Victoria, Texas
kiwifarms.net
Nignogs be messing with my sound system. I believe they have been asking a drugdealer friend of theirs with a pickup truck and possibly a 7 or 9 foot ladder to disable the louder broadcast unit sometime between sunrise and sunset every night for the past week. At first I thought they might be parkouring up there somehow, but I covered every climbable surface with a slick coating of motor oil, and that has not stopped them. I have rigged up two outdoor security cameras with somewhat passable low-light capture mode, so I can review the nighttime footage and determine how they are climbing up there if they try it again over the weekend. I have also remounted the speakers so they are higher up (maybe looking at 12'-14' now) and I completely covered the speaker controls in duct tape so they cannot be easily disabled in the dark.

In retaliation for their tampering, I have extended the reach of the sound system by installing a new broadcast unit in what was previously an acoustic deadzone and popular drugdealing/loitering spot. This new unit is about as loud as the one the nignogs have been tampering with (which is pretty good), but it consists of only one speaker: a Bose Bluetooth speaker, with an old half-broken smartphone as the media player. I have mounted this unit about 14'-15' off the ground in a very tricky area to access with even a 9' ladder. I had to use a 12' ladder to put it up, and I doubt the drugdealer with the pickup truck can fit a 12' ladder in his pickup bed, because it looks like one of those shitty 5' pickup beds. I have attached the Bluetooth speaker to the wall with indestructible E6000 glue (there is a backup hook-and-hanger in the unlikely event the glue detaches) and I secured the entire setup with a protective metal cage (made from an old steel wire inbox/outbox) that will be pretty difficult to rip off while standing on the top rung of a ladder.

Unfortunately, the old smartphone I am using as the media player has a really bloated version of Android for the OS, so the internal storage was only something like 1.75 GB available after deleting every conceivable non-critical file. So I could not use the full playlist I had posted earlier in this thread; I had to truncate it rather severely. Still a lot of Afrikaans folk songs, classic French chanteuses, and some memey Balkans/IRA/fascist music, but I had to cut out a lot of the Confederate, French, and German marching songs and the movie soundtracks. This might be good though, as I think that the current playlist is very heavy on songs with vocal solos, and that kind of singular loud human voice is very difficult to talk over in the middle of a drugdeal or when the nigs be trying to converse with each other.

I still have one more old smartphone and Walmart-brand Bluetooth speaker to build another broadcast unit out of, though I think I may use this one to replace the old broadcast unit that was fashioned out of a pair of not-very-loud computer speakers.

Also, no one in my area donated any of these old smartphones and Bluetooth speakers. I had the bluetooth speakers lying around, but I thought they were unusable because my personal Chinese smartphone could not pair with them, but it turns out I just have a shitty phone with OS or drivers that don't like any modern Bluetooth devices, and there are a lot of old half-working smartphones around here that have no problem connecting with the Bluetooth speakers.
 

Wake me up

CωC Club founder
kiwifarms.net
You should probably consider coming up with an official name for your project at this point... Maybe Project BTFO or Air Raid? A name for the broadcasting untis would be dope as well, tell me "BTFO Units" don't sound cool as all fuck!

But of course I'm only even saying this because I'm autistic :)
 

millais

The Yellow Rose of Victoria, Texas
kiwifarms.net
You should probably consider coming up with an official name for your project at this point... Maybe Project BTFO or Air Raid? A name for the broadcasting untis would be dope as well, tell me "BTFO Units" don't sound cool as all fuck!

But of course I'm only even saying this because I'm autistic :)
I'll probably have to give it a gay-ass progressive sounding name because the only people who will ask about this IRL are the local City Commissioners, local press, and municipal authorities who have a somewhat vested interest in improving the area. They are all Democrats and Jews and would probably not appreciate the meme music.

I think a name like "[Street Name] Ambient Audio: Urban Renewal" would make them happy in the pants.
 

LiveFromNS

JIMI
kiwifarms.net
I don't know what to say about this thread. It invokes so many mental images and questions. Literally astonished at the situation that requires you go to such length and effort. I don't know if it is like a Walking Dead or a MacGyver episode, but its hilarious to read your posts describing it all @millais. I thought I read everything in the first couple of posts from you, then caught these wonderful nuggets that had me laughing hard:
Earlier today, I soaked the mattresses with urine to discourage further use, but who knows maybe they won't even notice the smell because they are such filthy mongrels.
The hoodrats used to simply disassemble the shopping cart barricade in order to park their vehicles in the blocked off areas, but I added some bulky items and some nasty shards of broken mirrors and glass to the mix, so they have not touched it recently.
At first I thought they might be parkouring up there somehow, but I covered every climbable surface with a slick coating of motor oil, and that has not stopped them.
Like what the fuck seriously? Man I hear ya and give ya huge semper fi for what you are doing, but don't these guys see you when you are installing or repairing and know who you are? I see you are armed, so not worried about you, but damn man, I'd hate to see you have to kill one of these fuckers and deal with the crap that you will have to go through, even if it will be only briefly until they conclude you acted in self-defense.

But I can't get over that you have to go to such extremes man. So many questions, feel free to answer any you wish!
  1. So this is in a business setting it sounds like, does the music not bother anyone else as I assume its not a deserted area?
  2. Does the music play 24 hours a day, or only at night?
  3. About how many of these scumbags hung around this area before you came up with the sonic blasting?
  4. Were/are they there every night, or just weekends?
  5. Is this a small town, rural area or larger city?
Fucking crazy man. Nothing like that kind of scene in my city. It is hard to envision it, that's why I said it was like a MacGyver or WD episode. But your descriptions. Too much. That's why I gave you a :drink: for everyone of your posts. For the effort and great detailed information and mental imagery!
 
  • DRINK!
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