''American troops are to be armed with a stun gun that uses a baby's high-pitched scream," reports the Daily Mail. Even if people plug their ears, "it will produce the equivalent of an instant migraine", according to Woody Norris, chairman of American Technology Corporation, which has produced the weapon.
A baby screaming? Is that really the worst din we can devise? Here are 30 suggestions for really unacceptably discordant noises that would have even Osama Bin Laden stumbling out of his cave with his hands in the air:
1. Ann Widdecombe addressing Tory activists in the Home Counties.
2. The theme tune to Neighbours.
3. A recording of Alastair Campbell at the foreign affairs select committee last summer (when he kept jabbing his finger and attacking the BBC).
4. Dawn under Heathrow's flight path.
5. Patricia Hewitt addressing Labour Party conference delegates.
6. Just about every rap song.
7. The Hooray Henries in the Pimm's tent at the Royal Regatta, Henley.
8. Last year's British entry for the Euro-vision Song Contest.
9. Charles Kennedy clearing his throat in the morning.
10. Tony Blair trying to sound matey by dropping his aitches and glottal-stopping.
11. Margaret Beckett singing her party piece (if you've never heard it, I should keep it that way).
12. One of Prince Charles's mobile telephone conversations with Camilla.
13. Vanessa Feltz.
14. Henry Kissinger crooning "O For the Wings of a Dove".
15. Geoff Boycott explaining why the England cricket XI are not as good as they were in 'is day.
16. The quiet man's "turning up the volume" speech in Blackpool, 2003.
17. Michael Winner's esure adverts - the ones that say: "Calm down, dear, it's only a commercial."
18. David Mellor introducing his Clas-sic FM show on a Sunday morning.
19. Gerry Adams doing his "I'm a states-man" turn.
20. The Nokia ringtone.
21. Michael Howard attacking another group of defenceless vowels.
22. John Prescott's gastric juices shortly before lunchtime.
23. Janet Street-Porter at the Ivy.
24. The screams from an NHS hospital when John Reid turns up for an offi- cial visit.
25. Sue Lawley's simper.
26. Clare Short on her high horse.
27. US-style emergency-service sirens.
28. Jilly Goolden describing a Beaujolais Nouveau.
29. An ice-cream van's jingle.
30. A Lionel Blue Thought for the Day.