Footnote 16

"A musical note like the buzzing of a titanic bumblebee which sped through space," was one account of the sounds that radio amateurs were receiving along the east American seaboard in 1914, a year after the "Rite of Spring" riot. No one knew what these sounds were until one experimenter recorded them on a hand-cranked Edison cylinder phonograph. When he accidentally played the recording back with the machine undercranked, he heard the slowing turning cylinder resolve the high-pitched whistles into the dots and dashes of Morse code.

Further investigation revealed that an American radio station was broadcasting these signals to German U-boats off the coast. A war happened to be going on at the time. The U.S. Navy seized the station, and a lid of secrecy was clamped on the recordings until recent times, when the Freedom of Information Act allowed the National Archives to make them available.

The Freedom of Information Act has made the titanic bumblebee available, but Alvin the Chipmunk, a character created by means of a specific tape recorder technique--double speed playback of the human voice--continues to retain exclusive rights.

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