Water Sounds, and an MRI Experience

:: I discovered a fascinating web site last night, or more specifically, an online ad. But what intrigues me more is how I got there. In the February 8, 2004, issue of the New York Times Magazine was an article by Clive Thompson, called “The Virus Underground.” The article is about an elite group of computer virus writers, some of whom are members of the Ready Rangers Liberation Front. The virus code, or “malware”, which they create is freely available for downloading from their site(s), but almost always, the viruses do not do permanent harm. The codes offered do not (necessarily) harm machines like Sobig.F, Slammer, Blaster, or the recent MyDoom.A, which were designed to do permanent and serious damage, and whose creators have yet to be found.

I checked the rRlf site, and while there, looked at the links page. I noticed on the list a website called Collision Detection, and the name next to it was “Clive Thompson”, who wrote the article I was reading. Thompson’s site is a blog, which “collects weird research I’m running into, and musings thereon.” Scanning through Thompson’s entries, I noticed one titled, “The coolest ad I’ve ever seen“, which caught my attention.

There is a GE commercial running on TV these days which features a string quartet playing music on a stage. The bodies of the musicians, however, are made of water. The online ad opens in a smaller window, and features one “water-bodied” violinist playing a few notes. The ad morphs into a heading about water technologies, and 16 drops of water in a row are left on screen, each representing a different note in a major scale. Moving the cursor over top of a drop from below plays the note. Move your cursor fast enough, and you can play a tune! I was able to do the five-note run from CE3K without much effort. Try it yourself.

What’s of further interest is how Thompson found the ad: he was trying to read an article in Salon, but without a subscription, he had to click on an ad to view it, which was this ad.

:: I had an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) on Friday night at 8:45 pm, in the region around my left elbow, where I have lateral epicondylitis, aka tennis elbow. At the hospital, I had to remove everything I was carrying and leave it in a locker, and wear a hospital gown and a robe over top of that. I was asked if I ever had an eye injury which left metal lodged in my eyes. I was placed on the bed of the imager, and a camera was wrapped around my left arm, and the arm was held in place with straps. I needed to lie slightly to the right of the bed, which was uncomfortable, because as the bed moved into the imager, my right arm was jammed up against the inside wall a bit too tight for my liking.

I was also given headphones to wear, because of the constant loud banging sounds made by the magnetic field gradients. An example of the sound can be heard here. I was in the imager for about 25 minutes, trying not to breathe too deeply or move at all, while doing my best to reduce the pressure against my right elbow. “Your MRI Exam” provides an accurate description of my experience that night.

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