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1940 __ Sound feedbacks - World War II
Comment : How difficult it was for British intelligence to counter stereophonic remote control is told by its chief technical officer, Professor Reginald Jones. Because the Luftwaffe's radio beam transmitters operated in frequency ranges even beyond VHF, which in 1940 the Secret Service was incapable of receiving and of which it had no conception, help could only come from a profane illumination. An incident occurred on the Farnborough airfield while testing a loudspeaker system attached to a fuselage, which, just like in today's Pentagon project, was designed to blast rebellious natives in North-West India with divine voices. When the officer standing in front of the microphone heard his voice coming from the distant loudspeaker two seconds later, he laughed about this acoustic delay. His laughter, in turn, was returned as another echo until the feedback affected all the participants and Farnborough resounded with a noise similar to that heard when rock musicians lean their guitars against the speakers. "[A] system that laughed by itself," Jones called it. But instead of laughing along, he chose to understand: feedback, the principle of all oscillators, can also generate centimetric wave frequencies, something the experts refused to believe. Jones ordered the construction of synchronized receivers which, in turn, located the Luftwaffe's radio beam transmitters and their targets. The Battle of Britain was won. (Even if the warlord Churchill, not wanting to reveal to the enemy that his secrets had been revealed, disallowed the evacuation of Coventry which had already been identified as a target city.). (Friedrich Kittler)
Source : Kittler, Friedrich A. (1986), “Grammophon Film Typewriter”, Berlin: Brinkmann & Bose; and also, “Gramophone, Film, Typewriter”, translated by Geoff Winthrop-Young and Michael Wutz, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999.
Urls : http://www.stanford.edu/class/history34q/readings/Kittler/GramFilmTypwriter/Kittler_Gramophone.html (last visited )

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