The March of Progress: Haduary 2007


Newton got you down? Did Einstein get into your brain like sand in your swim trunks? Are you tired of the same old, day-to-day physics of string theory, M-theory, and the intensely adjectival super-string theory? Throw those theories in the dustbin and look no further! Megastring theory is here to take your physics to the next level.

Megastring theory is not for the faint-of-heart. It’s not for the weak-willed or the past-their-prime. Megastring theory is not on the path to the theory of everything. Oh no. Megastring theory is the theory of everything, the Holy Grail of Physics. Let me tell you how you can tap into the awesome power of Megastring theory. There are no complicated equations here, just eleven easy steps to Universal understanding. Are you ready to dive into the rest of your life? Let me tell you how.

1. Space is not just multi-dimensional, pan-dimensional or other word then dash dimensionals. In fact, it consists of exactly 1,409 spatial dimensions, 13 temporal dimensions, and four dimensions of a consistency with over-cooked spaghetti. These dimensions are not folded up. In fact, they can be found in an old cigare box in Mortimer J. Jacobson’s basement. Most smell of fresh apricots, though at least two could be considered more of a dried plum.
2. Most of these dimensions are inhabited by what looks like, and in fact is, stupid pudding. Also, there are eels there. The eels eat the pudding and then excrete gravity. What holds you to the Earth is hyperspatial eel poop. It’s a fact.
3. The 695th dimension consists entirely of a two-fingered old woman with no name. Two comical gnomes constantly antagonize her: Shortimer and Flango. Shortimer and Flango are always trying to steal the vast cold-cut and sliced-cheese spreads the anonymous woman has put out for her dinner guests who never arrive. These guests do not arrive because they learned early on that there were no cold-cuts or sliced-cheeses when they arrived. Though the old woman attempts to stop them, Shortimer and Flango invariably outsmart her and all the cunningly complicated traps she lays for them. In fact, they are only cunning by comparison to members of her species with one finger because her specie’s brain is located within each of the digits of its hand. The interaction between the woman and the gnomes creates meta-friction which produces the pudding people mentioned in point #2. When Shortimer sneezes, it creates the weak nuclear force. When Flango breaks wind, it creates the strong nuclear force.
4. All pudding people, eels, gnomes, and old women exist because of the interaction of a pot and a kettle in the 501st dimension. As each goes back and forth calling the other black, the other beings are maintained via the interaction of the pot and kettle’s negritons, allowing the gnomes to exist.
5. Made of marble, the 45th dimension is covered in cheese which is often smacked by a hammers wielded by tiny elephants. The cheese, thus stricken, vibrates, producing ventricles, or the particles apparent in lower dimensions such as ours. This is also where Madam No-Name Two-Fingers gets the cheese for her platters. The tiny elephants are not pleased about this, but being so tiny there is very little they can do about it.
6. Electromagnetism is there also.
7. Gravity, electricity, and the strong and weak nuclear forces are all mixed in a bowl and stirred regularly by Isis, who is mayor of the 1000th dimension. They are slowly poured into our dimension, which has already been greased around the edges, but not before mischievous, sentient catamarans decide to inject magnetism into the mix, much to the bedevilment of Isis.
8. The universe came into being because of the above mentioned things.
9. Once Flango and Shortimer eat all the cold-cuts, all the electromagnetic forces in the universe will begin to flow upside down, and the strong nuclear force eventually disappears.
10. Because the cause of Flango’s sneezing was actually a reaction with the extra-dimensional pepper molecules found in Shortimer’s flatulence as a result of his consumption of cold-cuts, the weak nuclear force will also eventually disappear.
11. CAUTION: Should gravity for some reason invert someone should go to Mortimer J. Jacobson’s basement and shake the cigar box. Not too hard, though. That should right everything and help recharge the universe. Do it a bit to the left, too, as I’d like to wake up perpetually to the smell of strawberries.

And that’s it. The universe in a nutshell. Megastring may seem complex or counter-intuitive, but remember that it has ten times more empirical evidence for it than super string does. 10 times zero is still zero.

The March of Progress: Fabuly 2007

Release of the Picturenary!


Every library contains a dictionary, as do many homes and bookshops. And why not? It’s a useful thing, a dictionary, for it lists and defines every last word in the English language. Should you want to know what a word means, how to pronounce it, its category or origin, you need only consult a dictionary. But what about pictures?

Finding information on pictures has always been a difficult task, made perhaps more difficult by the lack of suitable reference materials. This week that all changed as the Movable Type Printing Company announced the publication of the first eight volumes of the long-awaited Picturenary.

Once completed, the multi-volume work will show, with accompanying information and learned commentary, every picture in existence; including photographs, drawings, mosaics, etchings and napkin doodles.

While sought after by several large reference collections, pre-release sales of the Picturenary have been far below expectations. In response to the slow sales, Movable Type Printing announced that they would speed up production; releasing three volumes per year, instead of the two planned.

The currently available eight volumes contain some 43,000 pictures, all of them of aardvarks, the city of Aachen or men named Aaron. By 2012, the Picturenary should move forward into pictures of abacuses and Abbasids. . Photographs of the letter A will be saved for a special series of volumes featuring pictures of words and a series of special volumes have been set aside for abstract art which will include multitudinous interpretations of the work.

Picturenary editor Horvald Tomlinsson was taken aback when asked about the recursive problem of the Picturenary. That is, that for each image shown, a new copy of the image is created requiring another entry in the Picturenary. Tomlinsson responded that perhaps a blue-ribbon panel could study the subject, or the internet could help.

As part of the announcement, Movable Type Printing has requested that all people in the world send in copies of their snap-shots and vacation pictures, especially if they are named Abbey or have recently visited an abbey.

The Sordid History of the Picturenary!

Since the first Cro-Magnon men and women wrecked the cave walls at Lascaux with their graffiti of bison, mankind has dreamed of having a Picturenary. The first attempt to catalogue all known pictures was undertaken in 215 B.C. when Chinese Emperor Chin ordered his artisans to create ceramic miniatures of all known statuary. Unfortunately, Emperor Chin died before the project was completed and it was abandoned during the Great Han Pottery Destruction.

Thousands of miles away and hundreds of years later, the Council of Nicea planned to create a collection of all known pictures of Christ and the Disciples, to act as a companion book to the standardized Bible. This effort was abandoned when the Council of Hippo declared The Pictoriam to be a route to the sinful worship of graven images.

In the early 19th Century, Frenchman Joseph Nicéphore Niépce became the first person ever to successfully compile all known photographs when he placed the first photograph on his desk.

The Picturenary’s only modern antecedent was a DARPA project begun in 1972. The effort relied on creating a miniature black hole in the belief that an object of infinite mass would contain infinite information. Unfortunately the project was found to be missing at least 433 entries after a project scientist looked up a pair of drawings his son had made as a child and found them absent.

It wasn’t until 1998 that an ambitious young editor at Movable Type Printing, a Daniel Bester Inc. company, first began the modern Picturenary, when his collection of pornographic images won the Nobel Prize for Photography Accumulation. And the rest, is history, or more accurately, the rest is current events.

March of Progress: Gregor 2007

Metal Rings Now Obsolete
In what is being hailed as a revolutionary breakthrough, technicians at Toledo’s Bester Labs were able to successfully attach plates to a metal ring. Also made of metal, the plates have now rendered plate-less metal rings completely obsolete. This is a major step forward in metal ring technology, an advance unequalled since metal rings were first developed in the early 1930s.

For decades, many in the metal ring industry had considered the addition of plates to be science fiction hokum, a belief which was dispelled in 1998 when metal ring technician Amanda Brock published a mathematical proof that plates would be possible, under certain, difficult to achieve conditions. Though many continued to debate the veracity of Brock’s claims, a few advanced labs began testing to determine if plates could be successfully added to metal rings.

After nine years, and fifteen billion dollars, Bester Labs managed to fulfill the dream of countless generations by adding plates to metal rings for the first time. “This signals the dawn of a new age,” said Assistant Ring Technician Tommy Branson. “With pluck, determination, and a few billion dollars, anything is possible, even plates on metal rings.”

The prototype metal ring with plates, dubbed EVX-17, will be on display at the Toledo Hall of Science until January.

The March of Progress: Aphros 2007


Years of laboratory and statistical analysis have led to consensus in the scientific community on the subject of corndogs. The Corndog Tastiness Theory stood up to every scrutinizing test devisable and has now been declared a law of nature, taking a place alongside motion and thermodynamics to form the triumvirate pinnacle of scientific achievement.

There is still some dispute on the development of corndogs. Why did they only appear in the late Nineteenth Century? Was there some physical mechanism suppressing their creation? Hardnosed researchers, resembling film noir detectives more than scientists, have at last untangled this daunting enigma.

Axes & Alleys spoke with Professor Samantha Blockart, whose latest paper (co-authored with graduate student Sydney Favre) has sent shockwaves through the laboratories, universities and research-o-toriums of the world. It’s hard to imagine that this fedora-wearing, trench coat wrapped scientific maven, unassuming in most regards, could have finally solved this riddle through her Anti-Corndog Development Radiation Hypothesis, which states that a previously unknown form of energy created by the existence of Vikings prevented the creation of the delectable treat.

“It’s impossible to believe that a wonderful, tasty, self-contained comestible such as the corndog would not have been invented earlier in human history,” says Blockart. “Early peoples had meat and corn, and could easily have created the corndog. Yet all the evidence points to the Fletcher brothers introducing the batter-dipped meat sausage on a stick in 1942.” She concluded that “the means to do this existed beforehand, so why were they not created?”

“See, after looking at this proud progenitor of the moist, juicy dogs we enjoy today, it hit me: corndogs weren’t developed until after Scandinavians stopped going viking, creating polities in their homelands and colonies across the sea. Somehow, Viking warriors prevented corndog development. Nowhere in the sagas do we find a king outlawing corndog research, so it follows that the Scandinavians didn’t even know they were standing in the way of corndogs. The only answer is that by plundering monasteries and raping women from the North Sea to the Mediterranean, they were creating an emission of some sort of energy that prevented corndogs. It’s the only possible explanation.”

For five years, Blockart and her graduate research team have investigated every site of Scandinavian incursion and settlement from Norway and Denmark, to Eastern England and even the old midden heaps of Dublin. They spent several seasons cataloguing artefacts and scanning them with advanced equipment such as eyes and hands.

Their findings have been overwhelmingly positive, as not a single fragment found throughout the Scandinavian regions has any detectable trace of Anti-Corndog radiation, proving that in the ten centuries following the cessation of large scale raids by Scandinavians, all the energy had dissipated. So powerful was this energy that it took more than a thousand years to fade, allowing the development of corndogs to begin in the 1920s.

Mr. Favre said that we should all thank Christianity for the corndog “Without the centralizing authority of the Church, as well as the cultural influence and increased military strength of the Northern and Western Europeans, the Scandinavians wouldn’t have discovered how much nicer it was to settle down, do some farming, and enjoy intercourse with willing, monogamous partners.”

After pulling a fresh corndog from the warming carousel Dr. Blockart has running in her office, Mr. Favre concluded “because of that, their Anti-Corndog Development Radiation eventually disappeared, leading to us being able to enjoy wonderful, wonderful corndogs.” At which point, Mr. Favre took a bite of his corndog with gusto.

The Dangers of Time Travel

The Dangers of Time Travel

Time travel is not, and may never be, possible. However, a committee at the prestigious Flagstaff Institute of Theoretical Physics has released a new report detailing just how stupidly dangerous travel to the past or future may be. The report is of special concern to our growing corps of chrononauts.

“If you go back in time,” stated Dr. Steven Hawkins at a press conference held in the Luau Room of the Particle Physics Research Institute and Brothel “you may affect causality in numerous ways; say by killing your parents before they screw you into existence, or rolling your ATV over the sherwlike creatures which gave rise to all modern-day mammals.”

However, Dr. Hawkins warns against an even greater threat. “The real danger isn’t from paradoxes. It’s from disease.”

The group warned that the past is rife with all manner of pestilence, disease, and infections including, but not limited to, every disease ever. The FITP committee hypothesizes that a time traveler venturing, for instance, to 25 AD to prevent the Crucifixion would perhaps succumb to amoebic dysentery within two days before he could prevent the salvation of mankind.

“It wouldn’t be a pretty death either,” stated Hawkins. “Even the 19th and early 20th Centuries aren’t safe. We advise not venturing back more than a couple of decades if time travel is ever invented. Which it won’t be, because it’s not possible.”

According to a high-level official at NACTA, the National American Chronambulatory Travel Administration, the report is of grave concern to the nation’s fourth largest department. Both the Armstrong Administration and NACTA refused to comment for this article.

So, while it may be interesting to see what Napoleon could have done with machine guns and a logistics planning computer, any chrononaut who heads to Austerlitz with a crate Kalashnikovs and a planeload of MREs is going to be too distracted by small pox, diphtheria or cholera to enjoy the battle. Furthermore, photographs of Napoleon with a mustache could be taken, which would demoralize modern-day Corsicans.

The future may be safe, though people in the future will probably imprison and quarantine you before you even have time to look up your great, great grandchildren in some sort of futuristic phone book. You’d actually be quite easy for a group of futuristic, leopard-human hybrids to capture and we imagine they will take many photographs of you with their prosthetic audio-visual communication hands.

“If you have to go back, say to prevent Buddhism or something,” Hawkins concludes “it would be best to wear a containment suit that you burn as soon as you return to the present. Of course, you won’t ever do that, because time travel isn’t possible.”