7 September 2008
If you have a fast connection, load the Orthogonal MRI Viewer. Be patient, it's got 12MB of data to download. If someone can come up with a decent yaw/pitch/traverse control that translates to a plane formula (such as: ax + by + cz = d), this viewer could render arbitrarily angled slices, not just orthogonal ones.
Flying back west proved interesting. The US border agent (stationed within the Ottawa airport) tried cross-referencing my H1-B visa with his database. A sensible check, since otherwise you could just Photoshop your visas. Sadly, my visa wasn't listed in his five databases. At this point I was detained and brought into a back office for further processing. The stamps in my passport certainly looked genuine, and my employer looked vaguely reputable. So as a last resort, the agent pulled up a list of all H1-B visas granted, in chronological order, and started scanning through the list for "FRASER". Page after page, each screen-full containing ten names. Next. Next. Next. After an hour of this stunningly boring chore, he finally found my entry. With a quick stamp, he approved my re-entry to the US -- ten minutes after my plane had departed.
In fairness, I can understand the problem. I mean, their database has literally THOUSANDS of entries. That quantity of data would overwhelm any imaginable computer system. Clearly the only scalable approach is a visual search. However, they really ought to look into using pigeons.