Thursday, April 06, 2006

Chapter 13: Attack of the Plankton

It is generally a largely ignored fact that the universe as a whole is not all that clear on what exactly it wants to be. On occasion one might find it humorous that the universe just decides to flop upside down like some otherwordly beached whale. While this can be funny to us as bipedal humans, the creature it is most certainly not at all amusing to is the Great Orange Polymer of the 32nd dimension. It has already been stated the 32nd dimension is the highest dimension that we know of and, therefore, the most dangerous. It may seem to most casual observers and the occasional fruit bat that these so called “menaces to all we deem good in the world” aren’t anything more than just harmless everyday plankton. Oh the folly of the casual observer and occasional fruit bat!

Had the casual observer observed less casually or the occasional fruit bat been something more akin to a dog we would surely not be in the predicament we see ourselves in now. It has been concluded by the HSC (whose nearly greatest discovery has been the importance of three-wheeled bicycles when excavating gold from the mines of Krognon) that plankton are simply an extension of the Great Orange Polymer into our own 3rd dimension (or the “Dimension of Promptness” depending on who you’re talking to and how much said person has had to drink).

“But plankton get eaten every day by harmless little fish” you may say. To which we at QSP readily respond, “If only you knew.” On more than one occasion it has been observed that the plankton so keenly devoured by the myriad of fish and other water dwelling friends, are merely invading the host body to study the interior anatomy. Like a spy invading and taking information back to the home base, so are the plankton reporting directly to the Great Orange Polymer. As you can see, the GOP is craftier than anyone could have ever imagined. It is even theorized that the plankton survive the boiling, frying, filleting, and all manner of food preparation. It is only a matter of time before the GOP gains control of the human mind.

By that time we hope to have had someone come back from the future with information on dealing with this problem. Until then we can only offer these following safety tips as protection:

· Always wear white socks with red trim, in the 32nd dimension this is known as “Glory Baking”.
· Never under any circumstances try to run while carrying a house.
· Try not to jump more than 3,000 times in any given minute.
· Eat more oatmeal.

Under certain conditions the GOP may gain an unfair advantage whilst playing a heated game of badminton. However, you will not know that you are playing against the GOP as it will have taken over the higher brain functions of your opponent. It is suggested by many prominent figures that you just let the Great Orange Polymer win, as this will sate its nearly insatiable yearning to be victorious at the most prominent sport in the 32nd dimension. The reason it may come to our humble 3rd dimension to play is still being researched but may have something to do with the fact that the GOP is considered a ‘runt’ in the 32nd dimension. While it could choose another lesser dimension along the way, ours is the only one that has no ‘Dimensional Being Rift Gate’.

The lack of said gate will surely be our demise in the future when the Great And Terrible Battle Of Dimensions (GATBOD) is assumed to happen. While we at QSP along with key figures of the HSC have been anticipating such an event, it is probable that the universe at large is not ready to set its collective gaze on all manner of beasts, creatures, monsters, and burnt pieces of whole wheat toast that will surely come pouring through our gate-less dimensional border.

Constructing a gate will take approximately three lengths of time (as measured using the Intergalactic Time Measuring Stick of Yore), which means we must start building immediately. Unfortunately, in order to start building we must first locate the Dimensional Seam that holds everything together. What is even more unfortunate than the contents of the previous sentence is the fact that the only equipment capable of finding said seam was housed on Ventosus Island and was damaged in the act of vandalism that also destroyed the time-warping equipment. (By ‘damaged’ and ‘destroyed’ we of course mean that there is no trace of said equipment left.) Rest assured, though, that three lengths of time after we commence building the Dimensional Being Rift Gate we will be perfectly safe from bothersome, human-eating, beings. Unless of course our gate is tipped over by a strong wind, which has been known to happen on occasion.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Chapter 12: Space Elevators and the Demise of a Planet

Many of our readerbase has come across the subject of the space elevator. This is the technology slated to replace rocketeering into space with a more radical mechanical method similar to an elevator. The concept is to string up a carbon nanotube composite “cable” several tens of thousands of kilometers long into space and anchor it to a counterweight that could be as simple as a much greater length of cable or as complex as a captured asteroid. This contraption would utilize centripetal force from the rotation of the Earth to accelerate satellites into orbit. What the scientists won’t tell you however is that due to Newton’s third law, every payload that is accelerated to orbital speed by such a device is subsequently minutely slowing the Earths rotational speed. Much of this energy will be recovered when the elevator cars or “climbers” return back to Earth for another payload. However since the entire purpose of such a device is to launch these payloads and not necessarily bring them back down the cable we will be seeing a net reduction in rotational speed over the course of the elevators lifetime. This has been dismissed by the LSC as such a minute consequence that it may safely be ignored without consequence. The HSC however has seen such an invention out to it’s logical conclusion. As the space industry becomes privatized, more elevators will be built. Eventually the entire equator will become the picket fence of the planet. Elevators will litter the skyline across the entire circumference of the globe with lifting capabilities reaching inconceivable proportions. The combined release of that many satellites and extraplanetary thrill rides, sightseeing tours and scientific explorations will begin to take its toll on the length of our days. Such a massive exodus of materials and personnel will eventually slow down Earths rotation to the point that a stiff solar breeze or a small meteorite collision could theoretically cause it to cease altogether. Such a cessation would cause an intense disturbance to the ecosphere that nearly all the planets surface would become inhospitable to all creatures but the Australian lesser wallaby, the speckled hornblower bird from northeaster Chile and certain third world dictators. The only range that would have slightly normal temperatures would be a thin ring following the dusk area of the Earth around the new vertical equator. Otherwise the sunward side of the Earth would be turned into an arid desolate barren wasteland of superheated proportions and the spaceward portion would conversely become an arid desolate barren wasteland of interminable cold.

The HSC has begun taking measures to act upon this likely eventuality however. The matter of how it would deal with such a forthright disregard for future likelihood was a matter of much debate over eight of the last seven intercontinental HSC meetings of the Galactic Disaster Preparedness Committee (or GDPC whose greatest accomplishment so far was saving the Largely Grumpy Sea-Bass from the 23½ dimension from certain annihilation from the creation of interdimensional sport fishing, and whose greatest failure is now known as the Horse Head Nebula). The GDPC has considered many methods of dealing with this imminent problem. For one meeting one ill-favored scientist merely kept suggesting a simple picket line of the greatest minds that the Earth has to offer. This was dismissed soon thereafter however since most of the world does not even know about the existence of the HSC at all.

The most revered suggestion however has been the one that has gained the greatest following from the GDPC and therefore the world collective of higher scientific minds. As we speak the HSC is taking measures to charter a lift on the first space elevator or collection of space elevators with the combined lifting power to place all of Ventosus Island into an extra-orbital flight path. The short-term goal is (of course) Neptune, at least until the fad of Space Elevators happens to reach our outer ring planets and begin systematically destroying them as well. Ultimately Ventosus Island will become a self sufficient motile space borne island of vast scientific knowledge flying no flag other than it’s own and drifting at will among all civilized star systems divining the mysteries of the universe at random.