5 Neat and Quick Facts About the Vuvuzela

My Vuvuzela Is Bigger Than Yours T-Shirt by Chris Murphy - $14.95

The 2010 World Cup is almost over (the final match between the Netherlands and Spain this Sunday) and you know what this means: soon there will be no more vuvuzelas.

I know that some of you can't wait for the instrument from hell to go away, but because many of us just can't let go of our newly found fascination, let me present Neatorama's 5 Neat & Quick Facts about the Vuvuzela (we promise it's a whole lot more fun than listening to the farting horn):

1. Black Hole Music

Vuvuzelas has something in common with black holes: both emit a single continuous tone of B flat. In 2003, astronomers at NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory detected a peculiar sound that has been rippling through space for 2.5 billion years:

"We have observed the prodigious amounts of light and heat created by black holes," said Andrew Fabian of the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge, England, and leader of the study. "Now we have detected the sound."

"The Perseus sound waves are much more than just an interesting form of black hole acoustics," said Fabian's colleague Steve Allen. "These sound waves may be the key in figuring out how galaxy clusters grow." (Source)

It's interesting to note that although light cannot escape the incredibly massive black hole, the buzzing sound of vuvuzelas has absolutely no trouble whatsoever.

2. The Man Who Invented the Vuvuzela

Meet Freddie "Saddam" Maake, the inventor of the vuvuzela (and apparently, lover of funky hats and silly glasses):

[YouTube Clip]

He says the pictures may only show him with a vuvuzela as late as the 1970s, but Maake claims to have made his first horn in 1965. “I started with an old bicycle horn that used to have a black rubber. I removed the rubber and blew it with my mouth.” He pulls the old horn out of his bag to collaborate his story. (Source)

3. The World's Largest Weapon of Mass Annoyance

Hyundai devoted an entire engineering unit to create the world's largest weapon of mass annoyance, a 114-foot long vuvuzela in Cape Town, South Africa. From Chris Rawlinson blog:

Hyundai and Jupiter Drawing Room, Cape Town have come up with a fun way to get the upcoming 2010 FIFA World Cup matches underway. They have erected a huge 114-foot-long Vuvuzela on one of the unfinished flyover roads above Cape Town and attached several air horns to the mouth piece, when blown it makes one hell of a noise (see the test video below to see for yourself).

*apparently, "gees" means spirits.

4. Hate Vuvuzelas? Blame China

The vuvuzela may be a South African invention, but making them so annoying worldwide can only be done by China:

If you need another reminder of China's manufacturing omnipresence, just turn on your TV for any World Cup match. That incessant drone that sounds like a swarm of bees crossed with elephants? Made in China.

South Africans may have inspired the vuvuzela -- the horn that, when sounded by hundreds of thousands of soccer fans, has irritated people the world over -- but it's the Chinese who can make millions of them for about 30 cents apiece and have them shipped to your shores in weeks.

Industry officials said about 90% of the world's vuvuzelas are produced in two coastal provinces: Guangdong and Zhejiang.

5. Pimp My Vuvuzela

Talk about turning lemon into lemonade: Austrian goldsmith Klemens Pointner turned a cheap $3 plastic vuvuzela into $30,000 by covering it in white gold and encrusting it with diamonds. It was bought by - who else - a rich Russian businessman:

The goldsmith added: "My client is a Russian oligarch who I met at a trade fair in Moscow. He wanted something truly unique to hand over as a gift to a business partner ahead of the kick-off of the final."

Pointner – who refused to reveal his customer’s identity – said the white gold-clad Vuvuzela also features a one-carat diamond. (Source)

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The vuvuzela is not just BZZZZZ or Tooooot... As a musical instrument it is almost as versatile as the saxophone. It is not my fault that so many fools can't play it.

You can play real melodies and many different timbres on it. To learn more, read the Vuvuzela Music FAQ.

See: http://latexmindresearch.tripod.com/VuvuzelaMusicFAQ.htm
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I keep trying to figure out the horn's history, because there are some serious contradictions floating about.

But bottom line is: It doesn't matter where it came from or how storied its history is, because bugging the bejeezus out of the rest of the world seems like bad form if you're hosting something on the world stage. Can't there be some kind of compromise in using them?
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Guys and girls. I know you hate vuvuzela's but you have to understand that we South African's are all about bringing the "gees"(Spirit). And personally i think that Americans just have to claim everything for themselves. Quite vain actually.
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Mindy & Zook, you hit the nail on the head, these horns have been around forever here in the U.S., but called something different. I fondly remember hearing random "BWAAP"s during hockey games in the 70s from horns just like the ones everyone is in such an uproar about now.
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