Smart phonies

The BBC have a great article today about a new craze in Japan: “therapeutic” ring tones.
And what, pray, is a therapeutic ring tone?
Well, for starters, there’s the ring tone that relieves hay fever caused by the famous cherry blossoms, which are currently in season:

“For relief, sufferers need only wait for a call on their mobile phone. The sound is supposed to dislodge pollen if the user holds the handset up to their nose.”

I would pay good money to see someone holding their phone up to their nose during a sneezing fit.
What else is on the menu?
Well, there’s a ring tone for people trying to lose weight, and also:

“a range specially tailored for the needs of people with different star signs, such as one for Taurus, the bull1, complete with mooing.”

Remind me, are any of the star signs represented by a duck? Because that sound would probably be more appropriate.

“Index, the mobile phone content provider which markets the therapeutic ring tones, admits the technology behind them is perhaps a little unproven but insists the number of downloads suggests they may be working.”

Well, something’s working, alright. But I doubt it’s the ring tones.
There’s obviously a market here though, and I am therefore using this blog post to market my new service. For a nominal fee (just $50!!!), I will record a personalised ring tone that you can install on your phone:

  • Want to lose weight? I can record myself saying “don’t eat that, you chubster! Go for a run and then have an apple!”
  • If you have hay fever, you can request a ring tone of me saying “Bless you! Now go inside until the trees aren’t pink any more, dumbass!”
  • Want to hear your horoscope? I can make up any old crap. Flattering crap will cost you extra, though.

This time next year, we’ll be millionaires!

1 Bull sounds about right.

About Cath@VWXYNot?

"one of the sillier science bloggers [...] I thought I should give a warning to the more staid members of the community." - Bob O'Hara, December 2010
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12 Responses to Smart phonies

  1. Anthony Fejes says:

    Oddly enough, the first one I heard about was a ring tone that was designed to increase a woman’s breast sizes. Apparently, they figured out a particular frequency found in a young child’s cry that triggers the release of hormones in women, and they hid it in a ring tone. I don’t know if links work in comments, but this is the Youtube video where I saw it first…
    I had no idea that there was a serious industry here, though…

  2. Cath Ennis says:

    HAHA! That’s hilarious!
    I can borrow a friend’s baby if anyone wants a similar ring tone…

  3. Bob O'Hara says:

    Hey, these are serious scientists – the Bow-lingual won them a prestigious international award.

  4. Stephen Curry says:

    Fantastic Cath – How much exactly for the flattering crap?

  5. Brian Clegg says:

    Actually any ringtone will cure hayfever if you push the phone far enough up your nose. (Don’t try this at home, children.) You don’t get many dead people with hayfever.

  6. Kristi Vogel says:

    The ringtones would be better combined with other therapies:

    phone injects acupuncture needles around the face and external ear
    phone delivers reiki treatment to cervical plexus
    phone dispenses herbal medicines

    phone vibrates, thus massaging neck muscles and realigning cervical vertebrae

    The possibilities are endless!

  7. Cath Ennis says:

    Bob, how ironic that the makers of cell phone ring tones won a prize for peace.
    Stephen, it depends on your sign. You have to be very careful with astrology – it’s powerful stuff, as you know. I have a very complicated and scientific algorithm worked out; email me for a detailed quote.
    Cheap at twice the price though mate, I can guarantee you that much.
    Excellent point, Brian! It’ll also put a stop to any respiratory problems you may have.
    Kristi, very nice ideas for brand diversification. Call me; I sense a start-up company in our future!

  8. Ken Doyle says:

    I’m developing a whole series of homeopathic ring tones right now. You have to turn the volume down so low that you can’t actually hear it, but this potentizes the ring tone and makes it work 1000x better.

  9. Austin Elliott says:

    Calling Lou et al:
    Can we PLEASE fix the feature that sends any comment with >2 URLs in it straight to the spam bin? It is incredibly irritating, esp., since blog-owners have to dig around in MT4’s innards to find the “spam comments” list and de-spam real ones. Perhaps we could “default trust” commenters (which might allow >2 URLs) rather than “default not trust”…?
    PS It doesn’t make any difference not embedding the URLs as they “auto-convert” to hotlinks.
    De-linked comment follows:

    “Actually any ringtone will cure hayfever if you push the phone far enough up your nose.”

    Especially if it emits red light, Brian – see e.g. here.
    I see another Kristi-style combination therapy in the making…
    PS One of my bad science buddies had a look at the red light devices for hay fever and the claims for their effectiveness – it wasn’t very impressive. Funny, that.
    PPS If you think that the idea of a “homeopathic ringtone” is far-fetched, you’ve obviously never come across noted homeopathic ueber-loon thinker Peter Chappell and his “healing downloads” (Google “” – homeopathic “vibrations” encoded into an MP3 file, basically). Read it and weep…

  10. Cath Ennis says:

    Interesting, Ken. Do you have to shake (oh, sorry, I mean succuss) the phone manually, or will setting it to “vibrate plus ring” do the trick?
    Austin, your buddy’s report is hilarious! A trial where some people’s noses get lit up like Rudolph’s, whereas other people’s noses do not, is considered double blind? Nice!

  11. Kausik Datta says:

    Non non non! Merci! You got the therapeutic ringtone all wrong! This is all a vast and undeclared (Japanese) government conspiracy! You buy a therapeutic ring tone and BAM!! – you are tagged as one with the need for some serious therapy targeted towards delusions. There would be an alternative offered, of course – a therapeutic straitjacket. Your choice.
    And FYI, the homeopathic ringtone is designed to be far-fetched, hello! It is not a bug, it’s a feature! The farther the phone is, the more effective the ringtone! Simple!

  12. Cath Ennis says:

    GAAH! Rumbled!
    Move along folks, nothing to see here…

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