Another Day, Another Blog

December 15, 2007

Saving Einstein

Filed under: ficlet, humour — iamza @ 10:20 pm

It was an accident, so they tried to tell everyone later. Newton, Thorne, and Einstein had gathered in the upstairs library for their bi-annual “Save a Physicist, Save the World” campaign. They’d been waiting for quite a while for their fellow compatriots to put in an appearance. Rutherford was downstairs in the middle of a fencing lesson, being bombarded with foils. And Bohr was outside, circling the house like a lost electron.

Bored, Thorne handwaved a wormhole into existence, and Newton lobbed an apple at the shimmering interface. “He shoots, he scores!”

Unfortunately, Einstein picked just that moment to take a closer look at the collection of dusty books piled on the table in front of Thorne’s wormhole. The apple hit Einstein square in the head, stunning him and causing him to stumble backwards into the wormhole. Then, before either of the remaining men could so much as blink, the wormhole sealed itself up with a barely audible burp.

Newton looked at Thorne.

Thorne looked at Newton.

“Oops,” said Thorne.

The door to the library opened, and Rutherford came in, his face red and shiny, and full of pockmarks where the foils had driven home. “I say,” he said, “there’s nothing quite like a little blood-loss to make one’s head lighter. It’s a good feeling, actually — makes me feel unconstrained by the gravity of the situation.” He paused, and looked around the room. “Where’s Einstein?”

Thorne bit his lip.

Newton coughed. “He, er, stepped out.”

“Well, at the rate we’re going, we’ll never get this meeting off the ground,” said Rutherford, and stomped across the room to the library’s sole window. He yanked the window open, and leaned out. “Bohr! Stop fooling around with those daisy chains, and get yourself up here!”

Newton cleared his throat. “Uh, Galileo called. He’s having legal issues, and probably won’t come. His ex communicated with lawyers, and now Galileo’s stuck in court. The judge is apparently a real hard-ass.”

Rutherford frowned. “So it’s up to the two of you, Einstein, Bohr, and me to save the world?”

“No, no,” Thorne said, with a curiously high-pitched laugh. “Michelson and Morley are coming as well. They were caught up in light traffic, but should be here any minute.”

Just then, the door to the library opened again, and a pale-faced Bohr snuck in trailed by a dozen daisy chains.

“Good of you to take time out of your busy schedule to join us,” snapped Rutherford.

Bohr sighed. “I was going to give you one of my chains,” he said, “but I think I’ll give it to Michelson and Morley instead.”

“Oh, they’ve arrived, then?” Newton quickly interjected, as Rutherford’s face purpled and his mouth opened.

Bohr nodded, then looked quickly around the room. His eyes narrowed. “Where’s Einstein?”

There was a moment’s silence as Newton looked at Thorne, and Thorne stared down at the floor with sudden and intense interest.

Newton glared at the top of Thorne’s head.

Bohr cleared his throat. “Uh, Einstein? Remember him? Crazy white hair pointing every which way but down?”

Newton transferred his glare to Bohr. “He stepped out.”

Thorne covered his downcast eyes with one hand, and mumbled, “Wa-a-a-a-ay out.”

Bohr’s gaze narrowed still further. “Define ‘wa-a-a-a-ay’.”

“Hesteppedinawormholeandisnowquiteprobablylostsomewhereonthefarsideofthe universe,” said Thorne.

“What?” said Rutherford, even as Bohr yelled, “You lost Einstein?!”

The library door opened, to reveal Michelson and Morley standing in the hallway, smiles quickly draining from their faces. “Einstein’s lost?” said Michelson.

“That’s bad,” said Morley. “How are we supposed to save the world without Einstein?”

Bohr frowned. “Well, I suppose we could try recreating the experiment.”

Rutherford nodded. “Excellent idea. Thorne, make a wormhole.”

Thorne looked down at the floor again. “We’ll need an apple,” he mumbled, “and some rope.”

Michelson pulled an apple from his pocket. “I was saving this for the ride home, but you can have it.”

Bohr looked at the daisy chains looped about his feet. “I reinforced these chains with wire,” he said. “Will they be strong enough, do you think?”

Newton looked up at the ceiling, lips moving silently as he did some quick mental calculations. “Hey! It just might,” he said, then stooped down and picked up the loose end of a daisy chain, which he tossed at Rutherford. “Here, tie this around your waist. Morley, run and get a fencing foil from the hallway downstairs.”

“Me?” said Rutherford. “Why me?!”

“We don’t know where Einstein came out. You’re the one of us most capable of defending himself if it’s somewhere nasty,” said Newton in a distracted tone. “Now, hurry up and tie that rope around your waist. Thorne, can you handwave the wormhole back into existen–?”

“Wait!” yelped Rutherford. “What about my foil?”

“What about my apple?” Michelson said mournfully from his vantage point in the corner.

Morley came running back into the library, a foil clenched in one fist. “Here you go,” he wheezed, handing the foil to Rutherford whose face looked distinctly paler than it had a few minutes before.

Thorne gulped. “Now?”

Newton nodded grimly. “Michelson, get ready to toss that apple at Rutherford’s head as soon as the wormhole appears.”

“What?” squawked Rutherford, even as Michelson’s gloomy expression melted into a giant smile.

Thorne waved his hands, and a shimmering blue circle opened just behind the table of books. Michelson’s apple sailed across the room strong and true, and hit Rutherford with a thud. “By node!” Rutherford yelled even as he disappeared in a cloud of bloody daisy petals.

“I love it when a plan comes together,” said Bohr, and smiled.

 

-30-

December 14, 2007

Thought Experiment

Filed under: ficlet, humour — iamza @ 10:34 pm

Michelson! Morley! Leave that laser equipment alone, will you? You’ll hurt someone.

Einstein, stop hitting Hertz. No, he doesn’t have to discuss photoelectric effects and quanta with you if he doesn’t want to.

Maxwell, where did you get that magnet? And the wire? Just put it down before you hurt yourself.

Liebniz, if you don’t put that apple away, I’ll confiscate it. Yes, I bloody well can, and what do you think your parents would say if they found out you’d been tossing apples at Newton’s head all day, anyway?

Marie, Pierre, move apart please. You’re starting to glow.

Damnit, Millikan. What did I say about letting your oil spill all over the pla–

OW! Michelson! What did I say about the laser equipment? No, don’t look at Morley. You’re the one holding the laser, and I’m the one with a hole in my leg. Just, just put it down, and go and sit next to Marie.

Yes, Rutherford, I’m fully aware that gold doesn’t tarnish, but, as I’m sure you’ll agree, gold foil leaves rather a lot to be desired in the bandage department.

Thorne, Morris, why don’t you send that wormhole somewhere useful for once, and fetch the nurse?

Morley, so help me, if you don’t put that laser down right now… No, I don’t care about testing the penetrability of gold foil. Nor, Mr. Kelvin, do I care about the interior temperature of a gold foil-encrusted oil planet when subjected to a blast of electromagnetic radiation from one of Hertz and Maxwell’s contraptions.

Liebniz, if I see that apple one more time, I will stuff it in your mouth, and serve you for Sunday lunch. Clear?

Dear god, when will this day end? No, Davies, that was a rhetorical question. I do not need to know what happens in either the first or the last three minutes of the universe right at the moment.

Einstein, take Rosenberg, and check up on the wormhole twins, would you? And ask them to hurry it up a bit. The room is starting to fade at the edges.

Schroedinger! Put Marie’s cat down, and give her back her radium. No, I will not climb in the box so you can think about whether I’m alive or dead. No, I don’t care that you’d leave out the radium! If you have to think about something, think about a tree falling in an empty forest.

Where is that godforsaken nurse?! Is it starting to get dark in here, or is that just me? Edison, could you turn the lights up?

Morse, Bell, call for help, would you?

I’m just going to take…a little nap….

August 3, 2007

Criminal Minds

Filed under: ficlet, humour — iamza @ 2:44 pm

“When I grow up,” said Mervyn, his antennae waggling in the light evening breeze, “I want to be a profiler.”

Sergeant John, who was standing guard with Mervyn, scowled. It had been a long shift, and Mervyn’s fanciful asides had not helped to pass the time. “You’re a private in Her Majesty’s Army, Mervyn. You’ll grow up to be a soldier ant, just like the rest of us.”

For a few minutes, the battlements were bathed in blessed silence. Then,  just as Sergeant John was starting to relax, Mervyn said, “Do you think the army has any profilers?”

“Yes. They’re called commanding officers, and you don’t want to get on their bad side. Now, shut up and start guarding, Private!”

Mervyn’s antennae came to attention. “Yes, Sir, Sergeant, Sir!”  

Sergeant John cocked his antenna in a return salute, and turned away. When Mervyn’s antennae wilted shortly afterwards, he pretended not to notice.

***

The war of the ants was in its seventh year when Admiral Clement was found murdered in the Strategic Intelligence Room. Sergeant John had happened across the body during a routine inspection of the military nest, and had quickly called for backup in the form of the AMPs (Ant Military Police). Unfortunately, given that Sergeant John was both the last ant to have seen the Admiral alive, and the first to see him dead, the soldier quickly found himself sitting in an interrogation cell.

“But I didn’t do anything!” Sergeant John said.

“Admiral Clement was alive when you saw him yesterday?”

“Ye-e-e-es,” said Sergeant John, slowly.

“And he was dead when you came back in the early hours of this morning?”

“Ye-e-e-es,” said Sergeant John, even more slowly.

“And did you see anyone enter the SIR between the time when you last saw the Admiral alive and when you first saw him dead?”

“No.” The word echoed loudly in the room, and Sergeant John’s eyes widened. “Now, wait just a minute. Surely, you don’t think I ha–”

“That will be all. Thank you for your co-operation.” And the AMP interrogators got to their feet. “A lawant will be assigned to you shortly. Good day.” 

***

The Queen was not happy, and when the Queen was not happy, nobody else in the nest was happy, either. Pheromones were flying far and fast, and the antennae network was waggling overtime. Only one ant remained still: Sergeant John was chained to his chair at the front of the throne room.

“Why would you do this?” the Queen asked in a voice shrill enough to penetrate the noisy chaos that had overtaken the nest. “Admiral Clement was a great soldier, and a good man.”

Sergeant John looked up at his queen from under drooping antennae. “I did nothing wrong. I was only doing my job. Admiral Clement was already dead when I found him.”

The Queen glared at her prisoner for a moment, then transferred her glare to somebody behind the Sergeant. “And you? What do you have to say?”

“He’s telling the truth, Your Majesty.”

Sergeant John’s antennae perked up. That voice…he knew that voice! He swiveled on his chair, and there, standing behind him was his one-time guard-companion, Private Mervyn.

“And you know this, how?”

Mervyn cocked an antenna. “Well, because the Sergeant doesn’t fit the profile of the killer.”

“And just what is the killer’s profile?” The Queen’s teeth were clenched so tight, she could barely speak.

“Ah, I’m glad you asked,” said Mervyn with a smirk. “This particular killer’s profile is mine.”

June 13, 2007

Happy Pun-day!

Filed under: humour — iamza @ 11:46 am

Brain leaps

June 2, 2007

Filed under: bright ideas, elsewhere, humour, sci-fi — iamza @ 10:53 pm

May 23, 2007

Yet another pointless post

Filed under: curiosities, humour — iamza @ 7:04 am

Considering I’ve not read the novel yet, I find it highly entertaining that Peter Watts’ Blindsight has brought me more internet traffic than any other post I’ve written so far…

Sorry, Peter Watts fans — I hope that google doesn’t bring you back here twice!

May 21, 2007

Food, glorious food!

Filed under: humour, what not to say — iamza @ 4:40 pm

Today’s favourite headline comes courtesy of BBC news: Supermarkets devour Indian traders. Beware of supermarkets, people; next thing you know they’ll be looking for dessert!

 

May 18, 2007

Package holidays — never quite what you expected

Filed under: humour — iamza @ 1:35 pm

(It may help to know that the round thing is supposed to be a fish pond…)

May 16, 2007

Morbidly yours

Filed under: humour, the joy of life — iamza @ 12:43 pm

Yesterday, my sister was telling me about the first time she visited a morgue. It sounded quite intriguing. The morgue, as per any good Hollywood thriller, was located in the basement of the hospital, and could only be accessed by a very long, shadowy hallway. The overhead fluorescent lighting flickered in a suitably spooky manner, and when she happened to mention that the morgue was located next to the cafeteria, I could feel the hair on the back of my neck starting to rise.

“Hi, I’ll have a cheese sandwich and, oh, do you have any dead feet stored away next door? You do? Great! I’ll have a couple of those to go, too, please.” 

The staff at the morgue also sounded a little, er, quirky. Apparently, the guy signing in the dead bodies was chatting up the corpses as he worked.

“Hello there, my darling. Not wearing any jewellery today, then? I know, I know, it’s over-rated, isn’t it? Come now, don’t be shy.”

Still, I suppose it could be worse. He could have been arguing with the newly departed–

“You’re wrong, and you know you’re wrong, and everybody here knows you’re wrong, and, and…Hitler! There, I said it. By Godwin’s Law this argument is now over, and I win. So there.”

–or doing his best Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal impersonation:

“Well, Clarice, have the lambs stopped screaming?”

“Heh, yeah. Very convincing. Especially with that leather facemask and the straightjacket. So, uh, here’s your body, and I’m just gonna run and do that thing I gotta do. Outside, yeah. Outside and very far away. Bye!”  

Afterwards, I was trying to decide if quirkiness is a job requirement for working in morgue. 

POSITION AVAILABLE: Morgue assistant.

We are looking for hardworking people who don’t mind handling dead bodies. Must be willing to work flexible hours and have an oddball sense of humour. Zombies and golems need not apply. 

Perks: The customer is dead, so politeness is optional.

Scientifically, I guess, the first step to test whether all morgue people are quirky is to visit more morgues (or, in my case, have my sister visit more morgues). And to visit at different times of the day. Maybe all the really quirky people are only on duty during the day shift, and the graveyard shift people are ordinary?

So, anyone want to peg off so my sister can transport your body to the morgue for me? No? Come on, people, where’s your love of the scientific method? :-)

May 4, 2007

Morning epiphany

Filed under: bright ideas, humour — iamza @ 9:22 am

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