Solution to White Noise

by Naomi Cliffer, Sasen, and a committee of pretty much all the editors

This puzzle was inspired by music by Aphex Twin and Venetian Snares. For a description, look here.

The first step is to notice that the sound files are named red.wav, green.wav and blue.wav, which clues that there is image data in the sounds.

How does one store image data in sounds? A spectogram.

Here are the spectrograms of the files:


As you then guess, you need to mix these as the channels of one image (with the presence of sound, like the presence of light, mapping to "lighter"). The result should look something like this:


You now have a map of South America, with every country colored except for the one that is present in all three soundfiles. This country is white, matching the title of the puzzle. Therefore, the answer is that country: ECUADOR

A note on software: The spectrograms here are screenshots produced in version 1.3 of Audacity (a free sound editor for OS X), with the spectrogram window set at 512 samples, and the image stretched as much as our screen would allow. We used the Gimp to produce the composite image with color from these spectograms.

2006 MIT Mystery Hunt