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listen to the grass grow on the other side of the park, and people talking about it
  (+16, -1)(+16, -1)
(+16, -1)
  [vote for,

Earascope works like one of those coin activated telescope/binocular devices, except this one features a high-powered directional microphone. (sometimes referred to as a shotgun microphone)

Once your coin drops, the machine turns on for a fixed duration and you can point its microphone to listen to someone's conversation at a considerable range.

You must of course plug your own headphones into the standard mini-jack connection, but that's about it.

Earascope not responsible for any unfortunate outcomes that may occur as a consequence of unwarranted eavesdropping on private conversations, or accidental pointing at passing aircraft.

xenzag, Jun 18 2010

What's a PhD good for http://www.iep.utm....fallacy/#Post%20Hoc
[mouseposture, Jun 19 2010]


       It has to be shaped like a large ear trumpet though.   

       //someone's conversation// ahhhh..... I was imagining more along the lines of listening to birds and stuff... [ ]; bun apart from that.
FlyingToaster, Jun 18 2010

       This is a piece of inspired thinking, and would make a fortune. [+]
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 18 2010

       //would make a fortune// that would depend largely on whose conversations you were listening to.
FlyingToaster, Jun 18 2010

       No it wouldn't.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 18 2010

       Max, how are you so sure? This could easily flop on grounds that people really just don't care about what strangers are saying. People pay to watch, not listen. I suspect listening actually takes more energy. I like the idea, but not as much as you I guess. Anyways, we don't differentiate between degrees of goodness here. Zero and ones and so forth. Here's a One, Xen. [+]
daseva, Jun 18 2010

       //Max, how are you so sure?//   

       Several things. First, you pay the money before you get to listen. Second, it doesn't matter what you hear - it's the fact of being able to hear something private. Third, I have a piece of paper somewhere that says I'm always right.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 18 2010

       PhDs are good for only two things: getting laid and their nice, slow paper burn.
daseva, Jun 18 2010

       //PhDs are good for ... getting laid// Wait, what?
mouseposture, Jun 18 2010

       Smart is the new sexy, man where have you been?!
daseva, Jun 19 2010

       Xenzag, this is a great idea. [+] It would make a great piece of playground equipment even without the coin-op feature. Put two of them on opposite ends of a playground, aimed at each other, and kids would definitely have fun being able to whisper to each other despite the distance. I've seen this in a kids museum and it was popular.   

       EDIT: On second read -- my initial speed-read didn't pick up that this was an electrified listening device, hence the above incongruence. Simple parabolic dishes aimed at each other was my erroneous vision...   

       I have a PhD and subsequently got laid, and I even have the resulting kid to prove it. And, :) just found out another kid is on the way.
swimswim, Jun 19 2010

       See, mouse!?... Oh, CONGRATS, [swimswim]! Gonna make 'bakers out of them??
daseva, Jun 19 2010

       //Gonna make 'bakers out of them??//   

       I think it is somehow inevitable.
swimswim, Jun 19 2010

       Mazel tov, [swimswim] <link>
mouseposture, Jun 19 2010

       'ts good.
Congrats swimswim.

       //Deluded is the new smart// Obamaed is the new dumb
xenzag, Jun 19 2010

       Can we add a regular eyeoscope to the device as well? That way, we get the benefit of both senses.   

       On the privacy issue - is it any more of an intrusion to listen in on someone than it is to watch them from a distance? Cumulatively of course, it is more of an invasion if you do both - fair enough - but which is worse, watching or hearing? And does it matter if the people you are surveilling are outside, in public? Is it more a case of what their expectations of privacy might be? And if invasion of privacy is based on the subjective view of the person who's privacy is being invaded, how can we measure their subjective expectation? So instead, perhaps we can publish and standardise what people might be able to expect.   

       And what about the other senses? Would it be a privacy issue to smell someone from a distance, or to feel them?
zen_tom, Jun 19 2010

       Ah yes... remote haptics. Now that would require something like a pressure sensitive park bench, where you could feel someone's bum from a remote location.
xenzag, Jun 19 2010

       I guess extending your senses beyond their normal range will always unsettle people, especially when that attention is direct at them.   

       The idea of ranged touch, often mulled over by my humble self when writing for superhuman role-playing games, is a rather pithy ethical question. A key issue with this is would such a means include feedback?
Aristotle, Jun 19 2010

       // On the privacy issue - is it any more of an intrusion to listen in on someone than it is to watch them from a distance?   

       In a word, yes. It's all about expectations. We expect to be seen while in public, even by people we're not aware of; we don't expect to be heard, unless we shout. So, for example, covertly taking pictures of someone in a public location is generally legal, but covertly recording them isn't. (Details vary with location and use of the recordings.)   

       So, I'm pretty sure this would be illegal, unless prominent warnings are posted at the destination of the eavesdropping. But I'd still like this a lot!
jutta, Jun 19 2010

       //, covertly taking pictures of someone in a public location is generally legal, but covertly recording them isn't.//   

       Bugger. You're sure it's that way round?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 19 2010

       I think recording conversations might be illegal, but listening using an enhancing device would be hard to frame in law. I mean a rolled up newspaper can focus and amplify sound.
xenzag, Jun 19 2010

       What about lip-reading through a telescope?
marklar, Jun 19 2010

       What about sonar through this device?
pocmloc, Jun 19 2010

       But you could film their lips moving through a telescopic lens, that would stand up in court surely?
pocmloc, Jun 20 2010

       It would be open to interpretation, so it would not stand.
xenzag, Jun 20 2010

       Lip reading evidence is not actually inadmissible, in either the US or the UK, but "The decision is likely to be highly fact sensitive ... A judge may well rule on the voir dire that any lip-reading evidence proffered should not be admitted before the jury." (Keane, 2008)   

       So, would Hal have a conspiracy case against Bowman and Poole?
mouseposture, Jun 20 2010


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