Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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'4M' Chip

Instant alerts for all
  (+6, -8)
(+6, -8)
  [vote for,

The '4M' Chip, or 4-minute-warning chip to give it its full name, would be embedded in all radios, televions, mobile phones - basically anything with a screen or a speaker - and would consist of a radio receiver and an override circuit connected to its mother machine.

When the government or national news service comes up with a hyper-important story, it could send out a radio signal across the country to activate all the 4M chips, and so reach basically everybody.

This could be used in such events as deaths of important figures (i.e. royalty, president etc.), and also in the event of nuclear war. Hence the name.

A government initiative would be needed first, though, to get 4M chips embedded in all new and old appliances. This could create a whole new industry of 4M centres.

NickTheGreat, Jul 01 2002

NOAA Weather Radio
[waugsqueke, Jul 01 2002]


       Wasn't this baked back in the 1950's "Duck & Cover" cold war days, with a nuclear war alert on radios?
pfperry, Jul 01 2002

       Not if the radio was switched off, which, I assume, is the niche filled by this idea.
angel, Jul 01 2002

       You have captured the eseence of the idea exactly.   

       [pfperry] - I know it can be slow, but you only need to click 'OK' once.
NickTheGreat, Jul 01 2002

       We would have to prevent the centers from becoming new targets for pranksters and terrorists. Imagine: "The Martians have landed in London! The Martians have landed in London!" 30 minutes later... "Ha... fooled you!"
RayfordSteele, Jul 01 2002

       NOAA Weather radios do this (in the US). Even if turned off, they will switch on if the warning is for your immediate area. Tom Ridge (the new US Homeland Security dude) wants to use the system for warnings other than weather related, and he might get his wish.
waugsqueke, Jul 01 2002

       Not a bad little idea.
XSarenkaX, Jul 01 2002

       Who's gonna pay for this? And I don't want anyone fiddling with my electrical appliances. Surely it would be cheaper and more efficient to mount speakers/sirens in the street every 100 metres. Or yodellers every 5 miles.   

       I particularly see no need to broadcast a nationwide alert if some politician has died. I can see some public system might be useful in areas prone to earthquakes or hurricanes (although the former has little or no warning, while the latter could be warned by conventional means), but otherwise, I can't think of any reason why you'd need such a huge all-present instantaneous alert.
pottedstu, Jul 01 2002

       'stu, NOAA Weather Radio's primary function is to rouse you out of bed and get you into the storm shelter before the tornado hits.
waugsqueke, Jul 02 2002

       pottedstu: "Warning ! Warning ! The United States Air Force is undertaking precision bombing withing 2000 miles of your current location ! All Allied personnel take cover NOW NOW NOW ! This is not a drill ! Warning ! Warning ! Etc .........   

       Sorry guys, just having a Major Cynicsm Moment there ...   

       Waugsqueke: pretty much the same thing then.
8th of 7, Jul 02 2002

       sounds to me like your baking communisim. No one likes a commie. Imagin if terrorists somehow got control of the 4m transmitter, i think they could redefine terror for the world
pingus, Jul 02 2002

       The 4M transmitter wouldn't just be in some seedy electrical store in a back alley in Basingstoke: it would be stored in a secure location like 10 Downing Street, the Pentagon, or 'Area 51'.
NickTheGreat, Jul 03 2002

       Anybody with access to a handful of 4M receivers, an oscilloscope, and some RF training could reverse engineer the protocol, determine the right frequency, and then build a crude but functional 4M transmitter.   

       The 4M system would need lots of small-ish transmitters, not just one big one. Otherwise there would be too many areas shadowed by mountains, hills, and buildings. Also, regular testing of the system would be a must. Perhaps the system should broadcast an all-clear message once every five minutes, just so that mobile receivers can alert owners to bad reception conditions.
BigBrother, Jul 03 2002

       anyone ever wonder about the 50+ other 'areas'? is it just numerical reference to states?
chud, Jul 03 2002

       Nick, is it available in Iraq?
Parvenu, Mar 04 2003

       I used to think this was real when I was really young - that TV's and radios could somehow turn themselves on if something really important were happening.
snarfyguy, Mar 04 2003

       Who cares if "somebody important" dies? Seriously... And how long until somebody hijacked the system to send SPAM? We have the Emrrgency Broadcast System and that's plenty.
belg4mit, Mar 04 2003


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