Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Skull-blogging: The Torch in my Ear

Imagine our disappointment here at Riddled Research Laboratory, to discover that someone else has already thought of selling a small torch that plugs in one's ear, with the idea that light will pass through the bony bunker encasing the middle ear and illuminate one's brain. In fact they claim to have patented the notion, although I am not convinced that the patent would stand up to a challenge in court, given the existence of prior art from Elias Canetti.
Earlier invention
Also the Valkee company departs from Riddled in the goal of this cerebral illumination. They do not hope that shedding light on the brain will interfere with the transmission of neural biophotons and bring swift easeful oblivion. Rather, they argue that it will ameliorate the ravages of Seasonal Affective Disorder during the long arctic nights lit only by the Aurora Borealis... ease jetlag... improve cognitive functioning and athletic performance... because brain photoreceptors blah blah melatonin blah blah.

Alternative title: Don't skate on polar ice
It's too thick to be sliced by the light
Of long and white polar nights
Valkee pursued this argument with a series of clinical trials: in World Journal of Neuroscience (a jizzmop of a journal from SCIRP where 'peer review' consists of waiting for the cheque to clear), then in Medical Hypotheses (a gift to lazy bloggers, noted for its contributions to the gaiety of nations). More recently a study was commissioned for ‎€10,000 and published in Frontiers of Physiology (a Med. Hyp. wannabee), where the peer reviewer was a Korean dance instructor in the editor's employ.

Be that as it may, we were not downcast for long. As we consoled ourselves at the Old Entomologist with a round of Glander's Vegemite Gose, it occurred to us that if the goal is to bring light to the brain without drilling holes in the customer's head, then the thinnest, most light-permeable part of the skull is not the temporal bone, but the ethmoid bone. In other words (and fewer of them), what we need is a miniaturised torch that fits up the nostril.

Any light that does not filter up through the cribiform plate into the brain will be scattered back down and out the other nostril, providing useful illumination if one happens to be reading an atlas during the long polar night, while illustrating the concept of sinus-oidal projection.


M. Bouffant said...

The light that never ... never warms. (I hope.)

M. Bouffant said...

Also: Prick up your ears.

Smut Clyde said...

I had considered "Click up your ears".

JP said...

It took me a moment to remember that torches do not involve fire in your parlance, sadly.

Smut Clyde said...

That would come too close to ear-candling, and we do not want to cross the streams of woo.
But Elias Canetti definitely had the burning variety of torch in mind when he titled his memoir.

Mentis Fugit said...

Plus One for Howard's Finest.

rhwombat said...

I note that, from the figure used, one possible effect of the Valkee device seems to be a complete elimination of all matter above the clivus - including the CNS. I suppose that this could also be an artifact of their selection of control subjects, and well as their misunderstanding of negative controls.
Also - I didn't realise that Yorick was a Finnish immigrant to Denmark.
In other news, Franco, Rosencranz and Guildenstern are still dead.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Fancy that, stimulating the photoreceptors of the brain through the auditory receptors. How about another set of lights in the socks to stimulate some reflexology point or other? There's just not enough woo here yet!

Smut Clyde said...

Laser foot reflexology is a thing, as BBBB is no doubt aware. It only remains to thread the fibre-optic cables into the fabric of the socks.

Helmut Monotreme said...

if all of these other seemingly unrelated organs have photoreceptors does it not also stand to reason that unrelated organs might have olfactory receptors? Is anyone doing aromatherapy of the eyes or feet? Taste therapy of the ears? Audibe stimulation of the kneecaps?

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I bet our toes would like some sort of olfactory relief.

Specialty scented socks should sell, Shirley?