Duh Matter

It’s not often that I venture into solving physics problems. Well, it’s rather rare. To be more specific, this would be the first time. Many physicists would argue that it still has not happened. Some who support multi-universal theories may disagree and say that if I have actually solved this issue, the universe that contained that possibility would break off from the multiverse, fold in upon itself until it could be expressed in zero dimensions, and hide in shame. I appreciate their support.

Here’s the issue. Physicists will argue themselves silly over the proof (or lack thereof) of Dark Matter. You see, dark matter is a theoretical “thing” that is inferred by observations of this undetectable mass’ gravitational effects on recognizable things like visible matter, radiation, and the universe itself. Some cosmologists theorize that dark matter plus dark energy comprise more than 95% of the total content of the universe. (Critics say that this is what happens when scientists take practical jokes too far.) Theories about dark matter and dark energy arose based upon observations of something that could not be observed directly. Instead, we have observed how top scientists from around the world have beaten their extremely impressive brains against the very fabric of the universe (which they would say may be approximately 95% dark matter/energy) in an attempt to observe the effects of the thing that cannot be observed.

In their attempt to peer into the furthest reaches of the universe for the answer, they forgot to look right here. No, I mean here on Earth. You know how you feel when you search everywhere and finally ask for help to find your glasses and then you find them on your head? It’s a bit like that.

So, here’s where I think they went wrong. They forgot to factor into their calculations the impact of humanity on the universe. I call this impact, “Duh Matter.” According to my observations, individual human beings give off massive amounts of Duh Energy. When humans congregate in large numbers, the output of duh energy increases exponentially. Some Bubbas speculate that duh energy would need to have a strong negative pressure in order to explain why the rest of the universe is so anxious to get away. Duh matter, on the other hand, is an attractive force with a strong positive pressure. This would explain why certain pastimes enjoy such popularity. As large numbers of humans gather to enjoy this brainless fare, massive amounts of matter are converted to duh energy, thereby forcing the universe to expand out of a sense of self-preservation and self-respect. The combination of duh energy and duh matter produce the observable gravitational effects which used to be attributed to dark matter.

I know. It’s a little embarrassing. I mean, it was so obvious. I’m sure that someone else would have figured it out eventually. If I didn’t know better, I might think that claims by certain scientists that my theory clearly demonstrates the power of “Duh” may not be an endorsement.

 

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Humanity Was Delicious

Well, it was. Sorry.

I should probably start at the beginning. On second thought, I don’t think we have enough time for that. Ok, here’s what you need to know. A group of independent science fiction/fantasy authors came together on the Goodreads website to produce an anthology of short stories. They called their creation, Wyrd Worlds and then someone ate all of the bacon. A few months ago, a strange fog descended over the group and they decided to fry up more bacon and write a sequel. Well, some of them focused on the bacon. In a flash of creative genius, they named the second anthology, Wyrd Worlds II.

Here’s where the carnage comes in. I was minding my own business, writing about a farmer who confronts aliens, when another story crawled out of my subconscious mind. It demanded to be written. More accurately, it described how I might taste if I declined. It turns out, I’d have a hickory smoked bacon flavor. After careful consideration, I decided that the original story could be postponed. Instead, I found myself writing the story of the werewolf who ate the last human on Earth. It would have been easier without a lycanthrope trying to read over my shoulder. The warm breath behind my ear didn’t help my concentration.

Anyway, I contributed Humanity Was Delicious to the Wyrd Worlds II anthology primarily out of self-interest and the desire to avoid hearing the details of more recipes. For the record, if any exceptionally furry person ever offers you a scoop of ice cream filled with liver slivers, you are at the wrong ice cream truck.

Wyrd Worlds II is available now on the Smashwords web site for free. It’s an excellent opportunity to discover new authors and fantastic tales. Within the next few days and weeks, Wyrd Worlds II will be available for free on other eBook sites as well. If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to enjoy last year’s collection, Wyrd Worlds is also free on all the normal eBook sites.

For those who download and read these books, I’d love to hear your feedback. Oh, and there’s a certain werewolf who would appreciate it if we would all eat a lot more bacon. I’m already on it.

Wyrd Worlds II is available at: iBookstore Scribd Smashwords Txtr

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Time Spiders

Einstein meant to include this in his Theory of Relativity. He had it all worked out. He spent countless hours diagramming the complex physics and simplifying the concepts for ordinary mortals. Unfortunately, someone cleaned his chalkboard and the proof vanished into chalkdust. Some reports say that when he walked in and saw the bare chalkboard, he had a screaming fit, scribbled, E = mc2, and yelled, “Fine! This is close enough!”

What he meant to say was that time also slows as one approaches a spider web. Oh, you may not notice the effect with those wispy thin cobwebs. On the other hand, test subjects have reported a substantial time dilation effect when walking face first into massive, sticky, high tension webs. To an outside observer, the subject’s hysterical flailing (usually accompanied by a high pitched squeal of terror) appears to move very quickly. In many cases, the event may be documented and posted on the Internet before the subject’s breathing has returned to normal. From inside the web, however, the experience is somewhat different. The extent of the time dilation varies depending on the amount of web that ends up in the test subject’s nasal cavities.

There’s a very simple reason for this phenomenon. Spiders are Time’s minions. Time can’t be expected to do everything herself, you know. To save time, she’s outsourced some of the menial tasks to arachnids. “Why does it have to be spiders,” you ask? I’d like to say that the answer is philosophically profound or meaningful. The fact is that they also are uniquely talented as back-scratchers.

You know how much you love a good back-scratch? Yeah. Just imagine having hundreds or even thousands of tiny spiders crawling all over and scritching away…

You’re welcome.

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Preparing for an Alien Abduction

We prepare in advance for all sorts of things. We may take an umbrella on cloudy days. Filling up the tank before running out of gas seems like a good idea. Before pulling out onto the highway, we will sometimes have an idea of where we are heading. We check our insurance coverage before going to Spain to run with the bulls. Before sitting down to that big holiday feast, we wear the pants with the stretchy waistband. We call this type of thoughtful planning “Common Sense.”

By that logic, it only makes sense to prepare for an alien abduction. Sure, the likelihood of such an event may be rather remote, but that fact may not be reassuring once you’re in the mothership. So, how would you prepare? What would you pack?

Do you attempt to arm yourself? How effective do you think human weapons may be against an advanced civilization with sufficient technology to leap across the void of space to bag you? Would they disregard your attempt at self-defense, or would you provoke a hostile response?

Would you pack some water and snacks? I mean, convincing them to pull over at the next fast food joint on their way back to Flerbnit 7 may be difficult. I’m sure they may think that Quinvarbigum Fire Slugs are a fine delicacy, but I’d rather have a bacon cheeseburger.

Do you load up with electronic copies of the finest artistic and scientific achievements of the human race? Would aliens prefer Beethoven or Mozart,  Da Vinci or Picasso, ballet or contemporary, Hawking or Einstein? I have a sneaking suspicion they’ll love mime.

I think that loading up with books and movies about repelling alien invasions might be considered unfriendly. Likewise, tales of friendly aliens coming to help humanity might be viewed as wacky comedies. In addition, providing aliens with all of our best ideas for how to deal with an alien invasion could be tantamount to treason.

That’s why I am stocking up on tales of fantasy. Watch their eyes curl as they try to make sense of Alice in Wonderland.  I’ll sport rings on every finger while they read Tolkien. That should blow their toenails. I’ll try not to giggle when their faces turn inside out after studying Edgar Allen Poe. Top off the evening with an episode of  BooBah, and they’ll beam me home with a polite apology before fleeing back to the safety of the nearest civilized star system.

So far, the plan is working splendidly.

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A Month of Insanity

It was inevitable. You knew it would happen sooner or later. Whether you blame it on the heat, sheer boredom, or the fact that one of the little creatures that live inside your skull accidentally left a door unlocked, the moment has arrived.

The Smashwords Authors group at Goodreads has devoted July, 2014 as Bubba-time. To be more accurate, the group features an author from within their ranks each month. Against all reason, these poor, misguided and extremely sheepish souls have opened Bubba’s Box* and started an Author of the Month discussion featuring Ubiquitous Bubba.

In the future, historians may look back on this period of history as a cautionary tale. Philosophers may look back on this as another example of how historians get all the good jobs. Meteorologists will complain that anyone can talk about the past, but it takes real skill to predict future weather events with at least 20% accuracy. Mimes will wave frantically, but no one will understand. If we did, perhaps the future might have turned out differently.

If you’re the sort of person who clicks on things, here’s the link to the discussion group on Goodreads. https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1890557. If you’re not, then you can sit there, smug and superior, and yet plagued by an itchy feeling that you might have missed something.

 

*Bubba’s Box is a little bit like Pandora’s Box, except that it contains imaginary creatures that don’t get out very often. When they do, they tend to run wild, frolicking in cottage cheese, holding competitive whale shaving events, and debating the finer points of Saturnian philosophies with rodeo clowns. Reality usually face-palms, trying in vain to ignore the snickering of the fictional universes.

 

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Ripping off Faces

I don’t remember how old I was the first time I saw a TV show where a character ripped off their face to reveal the real person underneath. The bad guy grabbed a fold of skin under his jaw and pulled his face right off, exposing himself as the hero of the story.

Whoa. In my mind, the mind blowing idea was not the sudden plot twist, but the admission that I might have been right all along.

I knew something was off. I’d see it in the way strangers would catch my eye, as if they knew a secret. They’d turn away quickly, covering their true intent. Sometimes, they would exchange knowing glances. Clearly, this was no simple doppelgänger ruse. It was a conspiracy.

The bad thing about exposing a conspiracy is that you can’t be certain that the people you’re telling aren’t already involved. That teacher who smiles for no apparent reason…the neighbor pretending to water his lawn…the coach who tries to convince you he’s not a cannibal… Any of them could be involved. Well, the coach is an obvious choice. Occasionally, they’d tease me.

One would scratch his neck and I’d get my hopes up that this time he’d go ahead and rip his face off. I was desperate to see who lurked underneath the mask. Each time, however, I was denied.

I pondered the possibilities. What if everyone was who they appeared to be and there was no conspiracy? Needless to say, I immediately rejected that ridiculous option. What if everyone is normal and I’m the one wearing a mask? I checked that out, but my face stayed in place. I admit, I was a little disappointed. What if everyone else but me is in on the conspiracy and there’s no one I can ever tell? Obviously, this was the most likely scenario. I checked my dog, but her face stayed on as well. She was not amused.

I’ve kept watch over the years. I’d catch a glimpse of someone I thought I knew in a crowd, but when I’d look back, the face would be different. Clearly, I’d just missed a face removal. Sometimes, I’d whip around a corner, trying to catch someone in mid-rip. Oh, they’d try to cover things up pretty quickly, but I could tell. Years have gone by and the game continues.

So, facerippers, you think you’re pretty smart. You’ve had a long run. For years, you’ve tried to fool me and I’ve pretended to be fooled. We both know, however, how this charade will end. Sooner or later, you’ll rip off your face, only to have me yell, “Aha! I knew it!”

I can wait.

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Bubba’s Laws of Intelligence (and/or stupidity)

Zeroth law of intelligence: If two systems are in intellectual equilibrium with a third system, they must be in intellectual equilibrium with each other. This law helps define the notion of intellect. The hypothesis is intended to allow the existence of an empirical parameter, the intellect, as a property of a system such that systems in intellectual equilibrium with each other have the same intellect. The law as stated here is compatible with the use of a particular physical being, for example a middle aged LARPer, to match the intellect of other beings, but does not justify regarding intellect as a quantity that can be measured on a scale of real numbers.

 First law of intelligence: Because stupidity is conserved, the internal stupidity of a system changes as idiocy flows in or out of it. Equivalently, people that violate the first law (liars) are impossible. Idiocy is the flow of stupidity from one person to another. The total stupidity of an isolated system cannot change. It is conserved over time. Stupidity can be neither created nor destroyed, but can change form. The first law may be stated as: δS=dU+δH, where δS is the amount of stupidity added to the system by the Internet, δH is the amount of stupidity lost due to intelligence gained by the system or its surroundings and dU is the change in the internal stupidity of the system. If the intellectual system is invariant under the continuous symmetry of time translation, then its stupidity is conserved.

Second law of intelligence: The entropy of any isolated system cannot decrease. Such systems spontaneously evolve towards intellectual equilibrium — the state of maximum entropy of the system. Equivalently, people that violate the second hypothesis (big fat liars) are impossible. When two initially isolated systems in separate but nearby regions of space, each in intellectual equilibrium with itself but not necessarily with each other, are then allowed to interact, they will eventually reach a mutual intellectual equilibrium. The sum of the entropies of the initially isolated systems is less than or equal to the total entropy of the final combination. Equality occurs just when the two original systems have all their respective intensive variables (stupidity, traffic) equal; then the final system also has the same values.

 Third law of intelligence: The entropy of any pure substance in intellectual equilibrium approaches zero as the intellect approaches zero. The entropy of a system at absolute zero is typically zero, and in all cases is determined only by the number of different Facebook friends it has. At zero intelligence the system must be in a state with the minimum intellectual energy. Entropy is related to the number of possible microstates according to: S = kB ln Omega, where S is the entropy of the system, kB Boltzmann’s constant, and Ω the number of microstates (e.g. possible configurations of morons). At absolute zero there is only 1 microstate possible (Ω=1 as all the idiots are identical for a pure substance and as a result all orders are identical as there is only one combination) and ln(1) = 0. The entropy of a system approaches a constant value as the intelligence approaches zero. The constant value (not necessarily zero) is called the residual stupidity of the system.

These laws support Scooter’s Third Law, which says that for every Profound Thought, there is an equal and opposite Stupid Idea. Incidentally, immediately after drafting this law, Scooter’s shirt, which he had created by duct-taping live weasels together, turned on him. Afterwards, Scooter abandoned the fashion world and returned to working the drive through.

The bottom line is that for every Stephen Hawking, Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Madame Curie, or Neil Peart, there are the rest of us. Thanks to the law of the conservation of stupidity, we now know that when one of these great thinkers comes up with their next big idea, the rest of us will get dumber as a result.

Thanks a lot, geniuses.

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