Friday 12 April 2013

Science - Cool!

Another Friday, another wildly exciting science story breaks on a startled world - and it's all about brains and MRI scanners again (is there any other kind of science story these days?).
Picture the scene when this amazing breakthrough was made...

Interior. Laboratory. Night.
Two scientists - Scientist A and Scientist B - seated. Both are tired and bedraggled from a hard night of data-crunching and scan-reading. They stare silently into space. They seem troubled.
One speaks.
Scientists A: 'We're just going to have to face it... The data doesn't lie. We've checked and double checked. There's nothing wrong.'
Scientists B: 'I know' [he groans and takes a swig of coffee] ' and it's the same with the scans.'
A: 'Yes, all the evidence points one way, and one way only...'
B: 'You mean?'
A: [firmly] 'Yes, we must face it. Incredible as it may seem, these subjects actually enjoy...'
He falters and falls silent. Pulls himself together, resumes.
A: 'They enjoy hearing more of the kind of music they like.'
A stunned silence falls.
The scientists look at each other with a wild surmise.
Nothing will ever be the same again.


  1. Or, you could skip the MRI Scanner and give your nucleus accumbens a decoke on Lazy Sunday this week-end. Have I no shame? No.

  2. These findings are remarkable. I like nearly all Vaughan Williams and recently, thanks to Mahlerman, I discovered RVW’s Suite for Viola and Small Orchestra, and I really like it. (Truth is I love it).

  3. I shall ready my Nucleus Accumbens - and seek out the viola suite.
    Aah music - I've been listening to Orlando Gibbons and loving it - any thoughts MM?

  4. "As they were listening to the 30-second-long tracks" anyone who has had the full monty in an MRI scanner will tell you two things, the last thing you see before entering the tunnel is the name "Siemens" in blue and once in the belly of the contraption the throbbing pulsating din that lasts for 30 minutes. 'You can bring a favourite CD and we will play it through the headphones during the scan,' it said on the piece of paper, recycled paper of course, a funny brown colour. Mmm, I thought, wot's going on here (or hear) is this a ploy, masking the punter's claustrophobic screaming which of course would upset the operative's meditation.

    In preparation for the scan I carefully compiled me own disc, some Lieder, Johann Sixt and Friedrich Silcher would do the job nicely, very deutschen Südwestern, memories of snow-scented alp and edelweiss.

    Thrum, thrum; wallop, wallop, "everything ok in there?" out I came, minus a filling, dazed, freezing, they had put the fan on, "it helps."

    "How was it?" musically challenged, I thought. "You can keep the CD" I said, "thanks, we will add it to the collection, what is it?." I bet they didn't.

  5. Many thoughts Nige - but uppermost among them was my introduction to Gibbons, many years ago, c/o the nutty Canadian pianist Glenn Gould who, if memory serves, compared him to Beethoven - a bit of a stretch I remember thinking.

  6. areas in the reward centre of the brain became active

    The reward centre? Is there a punishment centre in the brain that lights up when when somebody plays "MacArthur Park"?

  7. Ah, Macarthur Park! A classic track...just open your mind to it Peter...