Should have just checked here first. March 20, 2015 10:45 AM   Subscribe

Twice in the past month I've sought information on the wider web only to find that the answer was here all along. Turns out that noise in my head is my tensor tympani muscles flexing and that someone else had a question about that line from L&O:SVU a decade ago (they really did need a warrant to arrest someone in his own home). So: what cool things have you left MeFi to find, only to find them back here on MeFi?
posted by davidjmcgee to MetaFilter-Related at 10:45 AM (22 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

posted by Lemurrhea at 11:14 AM on March 20, 2015 [25 favorites]

I wish I wrote these down, because it's definitely happened to me a few times. But every time, I'm like, "oh, well, that's that" and am just happy to have figured out what I was trying to figure out and end up moving on. Partly, I think that learning stuff on Metafilter has become such a normalized experience for me that it doesn't jump out at me as much as it might if I were new to the site.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:16 AM on March 20, 2015

is this where I point out that nobody, either here at MeFi or any other damned place on the whole wide world interwebs, could tell me how to create a countdown list (ie: reverse order) in Microsoft WORD?*

You'd think it would be easy. But it isn't. Fact is, it seems to be impossible. Not blaming anybody (not here anyway -- I'm immensely annoyed at MicroSoft) -- just observing that sometimes there isn't an answer to one's question. Or more to the point, sometimes that answer is NO.

* and continue to behave as a proper numbered list (ie: accept insertions, deletions etc)
posted by philip-random at 11:47 AM on March 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

and you can't do it in Excel either.
posted by philip-random at 11:47 AM on March 20, 2015

Ha, my most recent was from yesterday - what makes that goodwill smell. I was curious but not expecting an answer, and there was metafilter. I had actually briefly considered asking this, but thought maybe it was too weird.
posted by umwhat at 12:25 PM on March 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I suppose technically if you defined the numbering format to put a minus sign in front of the number, it would be a countdown list, wouldn't it? Granted most lists don't start at -1 and count down from there...
posted by FishBike at 1:03 PM on March 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Needless to say, I'll be doing all my chicken-fucking research on Metafilter from now on!
posted by in278s at 2:19 PM on March 20, 2015

Not the same, but the number of times I've started to research a posted AskMe with a google search and the AskMe question itself came up as a first result is really, really high. Even if I don't use the exact wording, and the original post time was very recent.

Also noteworthy: with all of the crazy stuff that happens in the world, out of billions, there have to at least be a whole bunch who want to know how to dispose of a dead body, right? Someone out there is trying to figure this out before they go to jail. Metafilter to the rescues as google result number four.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:27 PM on March 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

just a few days ago a google search that lead to helped me figure out that all the weird symptoms my husband was having were related and that he was likely diabetic. we just got the blood work done and he was pretty far off the charts. in a way, metafilter helped save his life. so, thanks!
posted by nadawi at 3:42 PM on March 20, 2015 [8 favorites]

AskMeFi was the second result when I searched for the definition of pegamoid.
posted by betweenthebars at 3:44 PM on March 20, 2015

davidjmcgee: "Turns out that noise in my head is my tensor tympani muscles flexing"

Literally was googling about my eardrums making weird noises due to muscle spasms last night; are you sure you're not my sockpuppet?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:45 PM on March 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

Yeah right I'm not even wearing socks.
posted by davidjmcgee at 7:29 PM on March 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I probably would have asked about that one show I saw in 6th grade, where the girl from earth got locked inside a closet by her classmates for believing in the sun on a world of perpetual rain. And all she got during that one hour of sunlight was a brief moment of sunlight coming through a crack. And then all her classmates brought her flowers as an apology.

The first time I saw an iteration of that question, I was so excited!
posted by aniola at 10:16 PM on March 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

Turns out that noise in my head is my tensor tympani muscles flexing

Forgive me for being insufferable, but I will add a bit to this because the Acoustic Reflex is one of my minor obsessions.

It's actually both the tensor tympani and the stapedius muscles - they work together. The tensor tympani pulls sort of up and forward on the first bone in your middle ear (malleus) and the stapedius pulls sort of laterally on the last bone (stapes). So the muscles pull your ossicles together, away from both the ear drum and the cochlea, which increases the (technically reactance component of the) impedance in your middle ear and lets less sound pressure get through.

To my knowledge, no studies have been done on how many people can contract the muscles voluntarily, but I poll my classes when we talk about this, and it's usually around 20-25% of folks. They are always surprised to discover that the rushing sound they can make in their head is actually their acoustic reflex!

I think it's a pretty cool reflex because it can be used to pretty effectively test for brain tumors on the VIIth and VIIIth cranial nerves, or in the superior olive. In most healthy hearing people, the reflex will engage at around 95 dB SPL or so, give or take, for frequencies below 4000 Hz or so. Because the reflex always engages in both ears no matter where the sound is coming from, you can test a person's reflex on both sides (contra and ipsi lateral) to see if they have a possible lesion in the reflex pathway and where the lesion is likely to be. It's pretty cool, and was used pretty widely to test for acoustic nerve tumors before imaging was so ubiquitous.

No one is actually quite sure why we have this reflex. Humans haven't been around loud sounds for all that long, so it's unlikely it evolved as a protective thing. Plus, it tends not to engage at high frequencies, where we actually need more protection. Some think it may have evolved as a way to not hear so much of our own voice or chewing type sounds - but, most of that isn't loud enough to engage the reflex, and the reflex has a relatively long onset time and then tends to decay, so it isn't particularly useful for transient sounds like shouting or chewing anyway. It's likely it doesn't really have any good evolutionary purpose, and is just this weird thing our brains do.

Thanks for indulging me. As for the topic of this post, I have no idea what leaving MetaFilter even means so.
posted by Lutoslawski at 8:50 AM on March 21, 2015 [11 favorites]

Wow that L&O thing. I always figured the detectives were just being jerks for waiting outside apartment buildings to arrest people as they came out.
posted by Mitheral at 9:38 AM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

and you can't do it in Excel either.

? Well, not fully automatically, but it's not hard, especially if you wait until the end to number them. In the number column last row, put 1. Above that, put =[the cell below]+1. Ctrl-c that cell, highlight all the cells above, ctrl-v.
posted by ctmf at 3:38 PM on March 21, 2015

♩♬Pegamoid, he was a pegamoid.
Happier than you and me.

Pegamoid, he was a pegamoid.
And it determined what he could see.♬♩
posted by carmicha at 6:20 PM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh wow, I never knew that was a "special" thing, to be able to flex your eardrum. I never noticed the rushing sound before, as I'd never held it for that long. I sort of use it as a "closed mouth yawn" type thing, or to regulate altitude pressure when flying. I can hear my tympani crackle a little when I do it, like if you touch the sensing membrane on a cheap radioshack microphone. I wonder if that's earwax or normal. anyway....

As for the topic of the post, Googling stuff and finding it on Metafilter is how I found Metafilter in the first place, so it happens quite often that I'm Googling some supposedly-esoteric thingamabob, and someone's already posted an FPP about it.

Wow, now I'm gonna have trouble sleeping cause I'll be busy flexing my eardrum muscles.
posted by not_on_display at 10:33 PM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Surely in excel you could do some formula like (whatever the actual syntax is) LENGTH OF COLUMN - NUMBER OF CURRENT ROW ?
posted by lollusc at 6:37 AM on March 22, 2015

In case anyone is still reading, I looked up the syntax, and yes, in Excel it's =COUNTA(B:B)-ROW(B1) (and then drag that to fill each row of column A.)
This will give you a countdown in Column A for items listed in Column B.
posted by lollusc at 8:02 PM on March 24, 2015

If you always start in row 1 of the sheet. Seems like a simple matter of programming to write up a VBA script to put countdown numbers only in column a where column b is not blank. I'm always wrong about the "simple" part when I think that, at least when compared to how long it would take to just do the same task by hand.
posted by ctmf at 9:12 PM on March 24, 2015

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