Monday, June 12, 2006

Cum On, Feel The Noize

The best bad idea ever.

Wired magazine reports on a strange subculture of the already strange bod-mod community. For a nominal fee, people will insert a tiny rare-earth magnet into one of your fingertips. They're not doctors so they can't use anesthetic; you finger is iced for as long as you can stand it then they cut you open, pop the magnet in and sew you up. Once the throbbing goes down, you find you can sense electrical and magnetic fields in that finger.

For example, the writer working on his laptop noticed he was aware when the hard drive was spinning up. He also sensed active power lines and stereo speakers. The feeling was akin to a buzz or oscillation.

It's not totally cool. Aside from the risk of infection and the disqualification from MRI use, the magnets have not always held together. Though they're encased in bio-neutral plastic they can still break open, at which point the magnet breaks apart into tiny pieces. And here it gets weird. You can hire a real doctor to go after them, but there are too many pieces and they are too tiny remove them all. So you lose the ability to sense fields AND you have an ugly black spot on your finger.

And weirdly, after a while, the pieces attract each other and eventually settle in and align, though the resulting magnet isn't nearly as powerful. And you're still stuck with it.

Even the guy who wrote the piece doesn't recommend the procedure, and admits it's of limited usefulness. Still as bod-mods go, it's gotta be more practical than having cat whiskers screwed into your face.

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