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Sound As the New Illegal Narcotic? 561

ehrichweiss writes "The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is warning parents and teachers of a new threat to our children: sounds. Apparently kids are now discovering binaural beats and using them to get 'physiological effects.' The report goes on with everyone suggesting that such aural experiences will act as a gateway to drug usage and even has one student claiming there are 'demons' involved. Anyone who has used one of those light/sound machines knows all about the effects that these sounds will give and to state that they will lead kids to do drugs is nonsense at best. It seems the trend in scaring the citizens with a made-up problem has gone to the next level."

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Sound As the New Illegal Narcotic?

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  • Seriously? (Score:5, Funny)

    by dmgxmichael ( 1219692 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @12:48PM (#32915310) Homepage
    ... Whiskey Tango Foxtrot to the max ...
    • by bunratty ( 545641 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:16PM (#32915750)
      Everyone knows dihydrogen monoxide is the real gateway drug. It's a proven fact that all drug addicts consumed significant quantities of the substance before turning to the harder stuff!
    • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:16PM (#32915752) Homepage


      Listen, parents. Don't worry about drug use with your kids...altering consciousness is something that humans have taken part in for literally thousands of years.

      Drug use is no cause for concern, and in the case of some kids, it can open their minds and expand their horizons. No, what you need to be worried about is drug abuse.

      There is a very distinct difference.

      • by blai ( 1380673 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:22PM (#32915862)


        NO! I had been warned!

      • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by beanluc ( 780880 ) <beanluc up to> on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:26PM (#32915940) Journal

        altering consciousness is something that humans have taken part in for literally thousands of years.

        If Oklahoma is going to regulate activities which entrain brainwaves, they need to target the pushers purveying prayer and even training young kids and defenseless elders in its practice.

        That's right, Oklahoma, go after the churches.

    • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by iter8 ( 742854 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @02:13PM (#32916778)
      It used to be believed that drug use led to music. There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others. Harry J. Anslinger (1892-1975) Assistant Prohibition Commissioner in the Bureau of Prohibition.

      Now we know better, it's the other way around - aural experiences will act as a gateway to drug usage.
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday July 15, 2010 @12:49PM (#32915318) Journal
    Up until high school, I spent my entire life locked into an ideal Norman Rockwell painting. No cares, no worries and just high on life. Things took a turn for the worse one day when I picked up an 288 tuning fork and a 320 tuning fork. I struck them both against my leg and held one up near either ear.

    It was pure bliss. Like Jesus was just 32 hertz away from me. I wish I could describe the feeling. Like half of all the blades of grass in the universe were hummingbirds and the other half were bumble bees.

    Let's see--I was a freshman at that time. Yeah, things just went downhill from there. I had earrings made with a tuning fork hanging from each one. The left side was A440 and the right side was a custom 444. I could raise my fingers to either lobe and flick it for instant gratification. The other kids called it ear basing. I called it god. And he was just nineteen dollars and eighty cents on Amazon []. By my sophomore year I was already pretty hard into Fourier transforms. Everyone's tympanic membrane had a bifurcation sweet spot that could be exploited with the right theoretical frequencies. Yeah, we would rent middle of nowhere motel rooms to smelt hematite down into custom tuning forks and poor them into clay molds in the bathtub. We paid in cash and by the time the cleaning made hit the room it was slag burns in the carpet and clay all over the place. You probably remember the 20/20 investigations following all the reports.

    Shit got real heavy real quick and one day we found Scrye (nickname for the metallurgist) hemorrhaging blood out of his ears in a coma from strapping two subwoofers to either side of his head with duct tape. I knew I had to get out, but how?

    We gathered up all our text books on math, audio & music theory, physics, chemistry, electronics and metalworking and burned them in the parking lot of the hospital we brought Scrye to. I would never read about science again.

    Parents, heed the images of those children getting 'innocent' highs from sounds and make sure they don't make the same mistake I did. This is just a gateway to bigger and badder things. If you find literature on Fourier Analysis, Electronics or Calculus in your child's bedroom, please get your child to Oklahoma and get them help from the nearest minister. I don't care if you have to lock them up in the basement against their will. Just make sure you save them from the same fate as I ... COMPLETE EAR DESTRUCTION!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      That was just... that... I mean. Wow.

      I'm glad I was here for that.

    • If there was ever a time that Funny should affect your Karma, this is it. You made my day. /bow

    • Hello,

      There is one slight error in your very good writeup on how binaural beats works. What you described, playing two notes on two different sound producers (in this case tuning forks), causes an actual, physical, "beat". The sound waves interfere or combine with one another in physical space, and a new sound wave (or a composite of the two, same difference) is created and propogated through air, the medium of sound.

      The binaural beats mentioned here work a little differently, in that a recording is pla

      • by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:58PM (#32916514) Homepage

        ... tuning a guitar is pretty neat to me too.

        Now if we could only get more guitarists to do it...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by severoon ( 536737 )

      So full of win.

      BTW, I just spent the last 5 minutes getting high off of the wikipedia article on binaural beats, which includes audio of two examples. I am naturally skeptical of anything that claims to alter human consciousness. While I did not experience an awakening to the presence of the spirit plane or anything like that, I admit that I feel a weird emptiness behind my eyeballs, and it feels like the bridge of my nose is stuffed with cotton.

      Something definitely happened in my brain.

    • by QRDeNameland ( 873957 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @02:51PM (#32917366)

      Things took a turn for the worse one day when I picked up an 288 tuning fork and a 320 tuning fork. I struck them both against my leg and held one up near either ear. It was pure bliss. Like Jesus was just 32 hertz away from me.

      That's only the beginning. I tried it with a 398 tuning fork and a 440 tuning fork and discovered the Ultimate Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything.

  • Level Upper (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Megane ( 129182 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @12:51PM (#32915336) Homepage
    So now they're going to be carrying around level_upper.mp3 [] on their iZunes?
  • Do it! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gandhi_2 ( 1108023 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @12:51PM (#32915342) Homepage

    I sing because I live with Satan.

  • Jenkem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DIplomatic ( 1759914 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @12:52PM (#32915350) Journal
    This reminds me of that story from a couple years ago where news media reported that kids were getting high on human feces. Jenkem []
  • OMG Stereo! (Score:3, Funny)

    by rrohbeck ( 944847 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @12:53PM (#32915380)

    Kids these days getting high on new beats! The sky is falling!
    Back in my day it was only Techno and we walked to school, uphill both ways. Now get off my lawn.

  • Ummm.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by al0ha ( 1262684 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @12:54PM (#32915394) Journal
    "It seems the trend in scaring the citizens with a made-up problem has gone to the next level."

    Yeah no kidding, and you know why? People on Madison Ave. make huge money figuring out ways to sell more useless products to the populace. It has been proven that fear and uncertainty can significantly drive sales. Don't believe me? Google "fear drives sales"
  • by dougmc ( 70836 )

    Does that mean /usr/bin/sox and xmms would be the new drug paraphernalia?

  • by killdashnine ( 651759 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @12:55PM (#32915406) Homepage
    This kind of insanity is just plain stupid. Binaural beats have a documented psycho-dynamic effect ... programs like Hemi-Sync are intriguing. I don't think people are going to get "high" off of them though. But what if they do? If binaural beats are made illegal and deemed "narcotic", then the "drug war" is more about denying people access to their own minds.
    • by Jaysyn ( 203771 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:05PM (#32915558) Homepage Journal

      If binaural beats are made illegal and deemed "narcotic", then the "drug war" is more about denying people access to their own minds.

      This is what the drug war has *always* been about. The rest of you are just now starting to figure it out.

      "It's not a war on drugs, it's a war on personal freedom. Keep that in mind at all times." - Bill Hicks

      • but if you say something like caffeine should be legally equal to something like methamphetamine, such a world has downsides even worse than the war on drugs

        • by X86Daddy ( 446356 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @02:07PM (#32916662) Journal

          I'll tell you, as a non-drug user (besides caffeine and rare alcohol), that the War on Drugs itself is at fault for such misconceptions. You see, I've known people who habitually and recreationally use various banned substances. As a result, I knew that most of the government messages regarding drugs were complete fabrications. Not familiar or interested in the specifics, I treated all of this information as suspect. Only after talking to an experienced drug user did I discover that "yeah, meth is really bad, dangerous, addictive, and horrible." When the government message and the War on Drugs treats things like marijuana as something significantly scary, evil, dangerous, etc... compared to tobacco and alcohol, they do a disservice to everyone. When someone obtaining a recreational substance less dangerous than alcohol also has the opportunity to buy much more dangerous things, and has the same "information" about them, that's where the whole "gateway drug" problem comes in.

          My take: put all of it on store shelves and provide real actual data about the stuff being sold. Those who want to kill themselves on meth are people who will cause problems anyway... at least under that situation they won't burn down an apartment complex manufacturing it, or rob houses to pay for a habit no more costly than Night Train.

          Make them legally equal, but informationally distinguished, as opposed to the current, more dangerous reversed situation. And this just applies to one benefit...eliminating a ton of violent crime, property crime, and wasted tax dollars would be mere side effects.

  • Band? (Score:4, Funny)

    by dtmos ( 447842 ) * on Thursday July 15, 2010 @12:56PM (#32915418)

    As this beating phenomenon is used by musicians the world over to tune their instruments, I now predict a great increase in high school band participation.

  • April Fools? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by arbiterveritas ( 1617099 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @12:56PM (#32915422)
    I can't stop laughing. This is hysterically stupid and, well, I had to check the calendar to make sure I wasn't three months ahead...

    Nope! Not April 1st... Okay, that makes them taking this seriously a little more scary...
  • It gets worse (Score:2, Interesting)

    by luckyXIII ( 698285 )
    I bet they're sitting around drinking beverages heavily laced with dihydrogen monoxide, too.
  • ... there were people saying Dungeons & Dragons would lead to devil worship. That used natas to crack me up!!!!

  • Cooll Edit anyone? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jjoelc ( 1589361 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:00PM (#32915478)

    Anyone else ever mess with the "Brainwave Syncronizer" [] In Cool Edit?

    I suffer from occasional severe insomnia, and burning a full CD that gradually slowed the binaural beats down into the deep sleep stage was the ONLY non-narcotic solution to ever work.

    Sad to realize all these years later, the only reason it worked is because it was my gateway to ambien...~

  • by easterberry ( 1826250 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:02PM (#32915500)
    "Binaural Beats" actually do produce pysiological effects by stimulating certain parts of the brain, but they're pretty weak in my experience, slight lethargy or increased heart rate at best. I know some people who are highly susceptible to them and get strong effects but even they find them to be too much trouble for the effect and only used them a few times as a novelty.

    that said, the idea that they could work as a gateway to drugs isn't TECHNICALLY without merit. Trying these could lead to wanting to see what the real drug they're supposed to be emulating is like. But you're just as, if not more, likely to want to try drugs after watching Dazed and Confused than listening to binaural
  • I don't even know where to start. The whole news item is full of holes. Basically a load of bollocks. The whole concept is ridiculous, it's like that H20 hydrogen dioxide website. The language is so slanted ' luring kids' etc. oh dear. I seriously beleive If I lived in the states I could not watch american TV. It's just so absurd, and sensationalist, along with outright propaganda and annoying pronunciation of words. GRRRRRR Agh it makes me angry. How can people be so fucking thick.
  • ...they want their banana peels back.


  • The real problem is those damn placebos. Let children get started on them, and before you know it, they'll be stealing televisions to pay for their next fix of sugar pills.
  • Well surely if music can make you high then the myth of the brown note cant really be a myth. Seriously if they believe that someone should just come up with one that plays backwards and tell the concerned parents that it will sober their kids up.

    Cant wait to see mythbusters get ahold of this one.

  • by Beardydog ( 716221 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:04PM (#32915546)
    My friend and I used to sit on opposite sides of another friend and sing a falsetto "oooooo" at slightly different frequencies. Her annoyance was entertaining at the time, but now I can't help but worry what kind of life we got her into. She's probably dead in a gutter somewhere, in a pair of studio headphones.
  • This one time, at band camp, I took a flute and Suzy took a flute, and we blew two notes where the difference was 15Hz and we got high.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Be honest. I've been to band camp, and those weren't flutes you and Suzy were blowing.

  • "Hello?"
    "Yeah it's me ... I wanna give you some good frequencies .. 1710, 2.6, 2245...'
    "... 3032, 400 .. "
    "Four hundred?"
    "I'm coming right over!"
    "Do that."

  • Troll (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pyster ( 670298 )
    I'm certain that the ppl at slashdot understand that is complete bullshit and have just posted it to see what kinda responses they would get.
    • Re:Troll (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:11PM (#32915664)

      I know it's bullshit. You know it's bullshit. Probably the vast majority of people on Slashdot know it's bullshit. But I'm not completely convinced that the people in charge of regulating drugs know that it's bullshit; and that's a bit scary (and incidentally the point of posting it here).

  • I think it's funny that at 0:46 in the video they get the message "Please upgrade to a modern browser".
  • by TheDarkener ( 198348 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:08PM (#32915598) Homepage

    I made this video a while back - [] - I've done a lot of research on binaural beats. They are used to calm the mind and promote a lower brain operating frequency that is akin to relaxation or meditation. Some people say it's a placebo effect, others use it to promote a state of calm in their minds as they try to rid themselves of the daily thought process (many, many thoughts coming in and out of your head very quickly, which is associated with high brain frequencies). Trying to demonize BBs would be like trying to demonize meditation...which I'm sure isn't too far off.

    I guess the fear surrounding what people don't understand will never go away. I suggest a split in civilization - let the smarties burrow deep into the soil and the dummies can fry up at the surface.

    Sorry for the strange comment, I'm high on binaural beats. :p

  • Means to an end (Score:2, Interesting)

    by U8MyData ( 1281010 )
    Sounds like a ploy to get rid of Cell phones, mp3 players, etc. from campus to me. There is a motivation here other than what is being delivered as with most things today. Redirection and NAT are being employed to shuttle popular opinion to a place where it does not need to be. Just my 2c...
  • by stubob ( 204064 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:10PM (#32915640) Homepage

    Yes, but what happens if you listen to it backwards?

  • The RIAA is the source of all evil because they keep promoting *gasp* MUSIC!!!
  • No wonder people still believe the brown note myth. If there are enough suckers to believe this someone should really market these "beats" played backwards as a way to sober up their musically high children...

  • I knew you could get high on music! It's those damn Beatles and Rolling Stones again isn't it! In my day we were happy with the waltz and ragtime, now kids are listening to John Lennon and Mick Jagger.

    ....hey are you listening to me?! ..... fine, then get off my lawn!
  • ... although Swaggart can go fsck himself.

    "What is the truth about rock music? Music is a powerful and perhaps the most powerful medium in the world. Music. Plato says when the music of a society changes, the whole society will change. Aristotle, a contemporary of Plato's, says when music changes there should be laws to govern the nature and the character of that music. Lenin says that the best and the quickest way to undermine any society is through its music...Music, ladies and gentleman, is the gift of

  • by boristdog ( 133725 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:14PM (#32915716)

    Those dudes that attacked Dan Rather must've just thought he was a dealer!

    But now we KNOW the frequency, Kenneth!

  • "This is Edison Carter, live and direct at a secret Big Fun Network testing facility where the city's children have been used as guinea pigs for the next generation of . . ."

  • There has been some discussion regarding the music and chants in church having a psychological effect upon the parishioners. If you ever spent any time listening to Gregorian chants you can feel that there is "something" going on. Irrespective of your particular faith or lack of one.

  • by blue_teeth ( 83171 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:19PM (#32915802)

    I am a user of binaural beats (not of the illicit/druggie type) but for more sober stuff. I use this for meditation "Hemi-Sync.Gateway Experience" and to enhance focus and concentration "Hemi Sync Metamusic". If you can get hold of Hemi-Sync Metamusic "Einstein's Dream", you will know what I am talking about. [] []

  • Many high school kids are looking for thrills. THey concoct all kinds of things to get high. Some are not dangerous like smoking banana peels. Others can be tragic like downing multiple bottle of cough medicine.
  • Way back in the day, I had a clock that told time this way.

    Two low frequencies, which at midnight were very close together, so they would beat once per second, at noon were further apart, beating several times per second.

    Likewise for two high frequencies that did the same thing but was on an hourly cycle.

  • OK, so this is useless panic making. Seems like the media has no war or tragedy to work on.

    But the question is: can you really get anything out of these sounds? High? Relaxation? Weight loss, meditation?

    Thinking of how a DJ (psy trance, goa) or a band (any kind, style) can move a crowd through moods, well, music and sounds can change your moods. But do binaural sounds do anything?

    Well, to my wife's dislike, I loaded some up, and I found them relaxing, some of them actually scary (they relax you, then shock

  • by Tsu Dho Nimh ( 663417 ) <> on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:29PM (#32916000)
    With a bit of training, you can do it without the headphones or music or drugs It's done in monasteries all the time. Some religious groups do it with repeated chanting. na-mu-my-h-ren-ge-ky y'all.
  • by AC-x ( 735297 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:33PM (#32916090)

    FRACTALS, are your children being exposed to visual ACID []?

  • Shamanism (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:46PM (#32916324) Homepage Journal

    I've been studying Shamanistic meditation, Kundalini and sexual Tantra, looking for something to quiet my mind and help me deal with my ADD more effectively. I got off the drugs about ten years ago and slowly my mind's becoming more organized; I'm not learning to cope with the voices and hyper-awareness, I'm actually getting better. The hyper-awareness is different, still present but completely reformed, and a powerful tool. I'm at a point where I'd like to polish up what's left, put some structure on myself enough to better organize myself; it used to be impossible to learn to play instruments, now it's difficult and I can't retain progress but it does come. A little work, and maybe I can actually accomplish something in my life.

    The options for assistance to relax and open the mind include mexican magic mushrooms, LSD, marijuana, and even alcohol; but although I drink, it's not really to get drunk (and drunkenness is painful and destabilizing for me, it's effectively like having the flu). I'd rather not play with any of that other junk; so I need either much patience and concentration, or a substitute.

    What I found in my studies was that the old places were made to do things with sound... beating drums, chants, hums, anything... they were tuned to amplify the certain sounds that put your mind into a particular state. I did some deeper digging, sideways research, and found the details of binaural beats; a quick experiment with this gave me some interesting answers. I expected nothing, or at most a gentle feeling of calm; when I kicked it on and had it pull the beating from 20Hz down to 7Hz in 3 seconds, I nearly blacked out. I yanked the headphones off but felt pretty fucking groggy for a few seconds, before I managed to shake it off.

    This is it, this is what I need. Something subtle... music, designed with soft instruments, different wave patterns such that the beat is lost between them, like a flute and a gentle saxophone or a piano... but enough that the effect occurs, gently. Something to ease my mind in an unnatural way, without a drug. My refusal to use substance-based aids for this has lead me to this strikingly effective, pleasant, and constructive solution: rather than encourage drug use, we can encourage a new art form, an exploration into a new method of music creation, new tools transcending just instruments and effects and paradigms.

    The most striking thing of all is that these considerations mimic Timothy Leary's thoughts on LSD: this has the potential to expand minds, to drive us as a people towards a period of inner reflection and a search for something beyond the mundane life trying to scratch out a few dollars while being watched over by people in power. Leary thought the drug would do that, would expand peoples' minds, make them start a search for something more, a search for something beyond the bland existence we follow.

    I don't support the use of dangerous substances-- LSD may not be so toxic, but it can remain in the system and randomly re-assert itself at any time, even at very bad times; mushrooms are toxic and can cause severe damage. I also believe that people are idiots, and the use of such substances recreationally is pure idiocy; encouraging any general use will swiftly lead to 99.999% of use being an expression of this idiocy, and destruction of society (remember, long ago, mushrooms were considered sacred and not seen as a recreational toy by the masses; this world no longer allows that manner of thinking).

    I do, however, strongly encourage introspection to discover one's motives in life, as well as a general examination of the world to attempt to understand and even improve upon the machine we live in. The use of such auditory methods is not inherently addictive; there is no tainted chemistry taking place, and it substitutes as sleep (meaning you sleep less, 6 hours instead of 8 hours). It is not toxic, because it's not a chemical. It's not dangerous, because it's not a physical, life-depriving act such as auto-asphyxiation. This could be a powerful and benign tool for those who wish to walk a path without walking too close to a certain less desirable parallel path.

  • by Jonny_eh ( 765306 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:55PM (#32916460)
    Brian Dunning of the podcast Skeptoid debunked this ages ago: []
  • by Linux_ho ( 205887 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:59PM (#32916534) Homepage
    Maybe even to the dark side of the moon.
  • by Creosote ( 33182 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @02:59PM (#32917516) Homepage

    Nothing new under the sun. This dates me, but when I was in high school the local branch of the John Birch Society advertised an upcoming presentation called "Pot, Rock, and Revolution" that was going to expose how the jungle beat of rock & roll stimulates primitive brain responses and was part of a Communist plot to turn the youth of America into zombies. They seriously cited the Beatles' "Back in the USSR" as propaganda piece, clueless to its status as a parody of "Back in the USA", etc. So a group of long-haired kids went to the meeting, attracting nervous stares but surprisingly little outright hostility, and amazed the crowd by noting that several of us had straight-A grades despite a life-long diet of rock music.

  • by Conchobair ( 1648793 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @03:02PM (#32917574)
    I used to use this quite a bit and create my own experiences. What is does is force your brain waves into different states of consciousness (usually theta, associated with sleep). It takes a while to learn and get your brain used to making changes while conscious. After a while though it is possible to do without the listening to the "beats".

    It's not really music, but it’s like these two tones, one in each ear that produces the beat, which only exists in your head. So you sit there and listen to two tones, then you start to hear a beat, but is more sounds like ocean waves. Then it becomes almost like you feel like dreaming and if you close your eyes you might start to.

    With enough training one can begin to lucid dream and it's hard to explain but in some of the sessions I experienced what could only be explained as a non-sexual full body orgasm of pure bliss. It also reduces the amount of sleep one would require in order to feel properly rested. It is really good stuff and even better when you learn to shift your brain waves without the beats while conscious.
  • by bigsexyjoe ( 581721 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @05:01PM (#32919420)
    I played the above youtube video and found myself laughing hysterically. Is that the same effect?

Some people have a great ambition: to build something that will last, at least until they've finished building it.