Janet Jackson's power knows no bounds.
Janet Jackson's vocal power knows no bounds. According to a delightful Tuesday blog post by longtime Microsoft software engineer Raymond Chen, Janet Jackson's hip-shaking 1989 hit "Rhythm Nation" has the strength to completely crash some Windows XP-era laptops — and as per an official entry in a database of known vulnerabilities, the wacky-sounding claim is absolutely true.
"A certain 5400 RPM OEM hard drive, as shipped with laptop PCs in approximately 2005," reads the CVE warning, "allows physically proximate attackers to cause a denial of service (device malfunction and system crash) via a resonant-frequency attack with the audio signal from the Rhythm Nation music video."
In other words, "Rhythm Nation" possesses the natural resonant frequencies for a specific laptop hard drive. Thus, like an opera singer's falsetto might shatter a wine glass, Jackson's poppy vocal chops can rock these particular computers into malfunction. Icon!
In his blog post — marvelously titled "Janet Jackson had the power to crash laptop computers" — Chen explained that the "Rhythm Nation" phenomenon was discovered by engineers at an unnamed "major computer manufacturer," who realized that playing Jackson's hit not only crashed the computer that the music video was being streamed on — it crashed many computers in the vicinity, too.
"I would not have wanted to be in the laboratory that they must have set up to investigate this problem," Chen mused, perhaps to say that he wouldn't want to listen to "Rhythm Nation" on repeat for hours on end. However, he did thoughtfully add: "Not an artistic judgement."
Chen further explained that the manufacturer skirted the issue by "adding a custom filter in the audio pipeline," which worked to detect and remove the crash-causing frequencies. But as Ars Technica points out, this isn't a perfect solution — while it might allow anyone with these laptops to safely listen to Janet Jackson on their own devices, their computer could still crash if in proximity to someone else playing the song.
On one point we can all agree: some things, like Janet Jackson's discography, are simply worth taking risks.
READ MORE: Old laptop hard drives will allegedly crash when exposed to Janet Jackson music [Ars Technica]
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