The Science of Silencing Hate



A while back we reported (Sept.-Oct. 2018) on a clever device to stop the serial incineration of a gay flag in a Warsaw square—a “water rainbow” that couldn’t be ignited. Now an artist has devised an ingenious way to deal with a group of anti-LGBT protesters who show up every year at the Atlanta Pride parade in October, stand outside Piedmont Park, and use megaphones to shout slurs at the marchers. The latter have tried to drown them out, but at 120 decibels their volume rivals that of a rock concert. Artist Matthew Terrell’s invention, which he calls “the Hate Shield,” is a series of mobile soundproof panels that reflect and absorb most of the sound. Each 4×8-foot sound-dampening panel is attached to extendable poles controlled by two people who can block the megaphones at any angle. Another feature is a mirrored back panel to reflect not only the demonstrators’ noise but also their own images, which turns them into the objects of their invective.