“I Cannot Be Played on Record Player X”

Steph and I are watching The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen. There’s a scene where they’re all on the Nautilus, and they find a record that was planted by the “bad guy,” and Capt. Nemo puts it on his awesome pimped out (Victorian style!) phonograph. The thing that immediately sprang to mind was the record-player-destroying records from Gödel, Escher, Bach. In one of the innumerable, wonderful Carol-esque dialogues, two of the characters are battling it out, one designing records that, upon being played, produce a sound such that the phonograph playing the record is destroyed, and the other, designing phonographs increasingly complex, intelligent, and difficult to destroy. I haven’t read the book in ages but in this moment I was reminded of how enjoyable and stimulating a read it was, so I may pick it up again when I get back to school.

Interestingly, the record from the film does encode some sort of meta-infromation: super-high frequency sounds that trigger bombs all over the Nautilus. Maybe not as direct as the Tortoise’s records, but the effect is more or less the same…

Oh, and EVERYONE SHOULD READ GÖDEL, ESCHER, BACH! No, really.

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  1. Thanks for the information, I’m an avid phonograph fan and have been researching (and buying) them for over 10 years now!




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