Kapow, finished m’ thesis.

Six Seasons and a Movie

There should be a TV show where a team of Caltech professors is forced to fly around the country to deal with dumb people’s mundane problems. The show could be called “We Pay Them More Than the Nobel Society Can”.

And then in each episode, the professors also say what they would be doing instead, just to make it even more depressing.
I see this fitting in really well with “Toddler & Tiaras” and “Hoarders”.


I had always just assumed they’d be somewhere in here (you can click to see it bigger), but Finnish, Hungarian, and Estonian are actually members of a whole separate language family from Indo-European—they are Uralic. Perhaps the Indo-Euroctopus could have a Uralisquid friend. Or it could visit the Uraligist.


Recordings of Robonians II

TriWard 88 is notable for having absolutely no means of interaction with the world around him. Although he has a binocular forward viewer, a tri-starport for celestial navigation, and a short wave antenna, TriWard’s output is limited to varying the colors on his status panel, which has 12 character spaces, each with four possible states. So it’s curious that TriWard and others of his class are often used as security robots throughout Robonia. We spoke to “Beeps” Rockefeller, TriWard’s employer, about this unusual situation.

Gliese Times-Navigator: So why does TriWard work security for you, anyway?

“Beeps” Rockefeller: Well, he hovers pretty good.

GTN: But he has no way to warn away intruders. What does he do when he encounters someone caressing your factory, as is common in our fine colony?

BR: Hovers at ’em a spell. Just hovers there, looking. ‘Bout 25, 30 minutes.

GTN: He just… looks at the miscreants, as they shower your factory in sweaty amour?

BR: Yuh.

GTN: Does he… record them doing it, as evidence?

BR: Couldn’t say.

GTN: … so he doesn’t—… Beeps, TriWard’s status panel has almost seventeen million possible states, more than enough to represent the official vocabulary of most languages. Does each panel state correspond to a word, allowing him a form of rapid communication?

BR: Couldn’t say.

GTN: Does he use the short wave radio for anything?

BR: Might do.

It’s unclear whether TriWard and those like him were factory-built, or are a product of the Robonia Intelligent Evolution Mandate. The Historical Record dates the first TriWard-type Robonian to AC 442, but outside sources confirm that a TriWard-esque Robonian was working security at the Record’s museum at least 30 years earlier. The debate about what function they serve continues; for his part, “Beeps” Rockefeller “couldn’t say” where TriWard himself came from, only that he appears to be a hard worker.


Government Transparency

The class I’m T/Aing goes off-topic a lot, so I started recording OTs after a couple weeks. The class isn’t through, but we’re doing focused wrap-up stuff now so OTs would probably continue to trend down, with maybe just one or two short OTs until the class ends on 5 May.

Notice spikes in short OTs a week before spring break (1 March) and a week before we started working on final projects (7 April). The sudden drop in long OTs after Spring Break is interesting, but I feel like if I worked it out that drop wouldn’t be very significant, mathematically.

This recording system didn’t prove ideal; it’s just what I came up with in 10 seconds on 27 January. More qualification would be a big benefit; >20s OTs occasionally mean “took up the entire rest of class,” which is very different than the common two-minute discussions of hamburgers. Generally, I think a more qualified OT-rating system would have resulted in a graph that reflected when breaks were much more clearly. Consider the OT totals for each day, and you already start to see that.


Recordings of Robonians

The nom de probe “ProBot-1” doesn’t have anything to do with ProBot’s drill-arm, but instead refers to his professional status as a dilithium prospector, although of course he is now retired. But we can accept a lack of fortitude; he is a Regulan.
Although fellow passengers were confused as I drew his portrait on my phone. “I thought those had better graphics,” Ronaldiñho said. I chided him for inadvertently mocking my congenital tiny square fingertips.

Codex Saumarez II

I will tell you one story of El Generalissimo Ernesto R. “Mad Dog” Saumarez, Uniter of the Americas and Guardian of the Red Shield.

In his youth, El Heneral Saumarez lived, for a time, in Sanyo Presents Rocas de Santo Domingo. This small village in the heart of the Southern Americas was well-regarded for its cuisine and the pleasant, husky voices of all its residents, particularly the infants. . . but it was also a cursed hamlet. For underneath the town, in the depths of the Lithium Mines, there was trouble—in their hunger for lithium, the Chileans dug too greedily, and too deep. You know what they awoke in the darkness underneath the Cordillera de Mahuidanchi, for it is common knowledge now. At the time, though, not even Saumarez knew. But once a week, in the darkest part of the Sea-Goose Week, a million giant bats would shoot out of elevator shafts across the tiny village, chew off the nipples of anyone they could find, take a quick break, and then die.

El Heneral Saumarez, Protector of the United Seas, was not a fan of the Underdark Bats and their nipple-hungry ways. He called upon his assistant, a young Wibbles Hugo, to help him outfit an Under-Ground Expedition, the aim of which would be to find the home of the bats and destroy it. Working late into the night, the team of man and Super-Man created an early prototype of the device which Wind-Tamer Saumarez would use to conquer The Salvadors twenty years later—the Mole-Tank! This contraption was a tank with the world’s largest drill bit on its backside; where tank barrel and machine guns and steel treads could not forge a path, the tank could merely drive in reverse, and burrow through matter organic or in-. A fantastic sort of device.

The pair clambered into the beastly vehicle, and El Heneral Saumarez set a course for the Lithium Mines. “Let us descend!” he said, and descend they did; several weeks of drilling passed slowly until suddenly, the Mole-Tank broke through into a giant cavern. As its sodium superlamps clicked on, Saumarez and Hugo could see more and more eggs—a million eggs, each filled with a fetal giant nipple-fevered bat! At the center, a slugulous mother bat lay, producing even more eggs as she sat. “Sir, so many of them! So, so many!” Hugo cried, “Not enough bullets! “I am Saumarez,” El Heneral Vanadioso replied. He opened the main gun’s loading hatch removed the armor-piercing rocket shell’s warhead, and put in its place a single hair, plucked from his own head. Re-chambering the round, he swung the main gun around and fired at the center of the mother bat. The shell lodged itself in her chitinous plating, and grew white-hot—and all of a sudden, a million Saumarez-hairs burst from the shell, each of them spearing one bat-egg! The last, original hair sprung out last, growing and wrapping itself around the neck of the mother bat.

Generalissimo Saumarez saw her writhe, and reversed the tank into her chest, the giant mole-blade spraying bat goo everywhere. “Sir, her death already comes. . . your hair is magical, let us not waste the mole-blade’s power,” Hugo said. “I am Saumarez,” replied Saumarez, as bat purée sloshed over the tank’s uncompromising body. The two returned to the surface, and the residents of Sanyo Presents Rocas de Santo Domingo immediately crowned Saumarez their king. “I was already your king,” said Saumarez, “but I will bless you all nevertheless, at a later date.”

Hail Saumarez! May his chronicles never end!


An Afternoon with the Commission

As the world’s first unelected body created to prevent our knees falling off and being eaten by robot dogs which they also created, the Koninklijke Commissie voor Sprodj Reclamation holds a special place in the hearts of all hideous/attractive people. “Please hold our hands,” they will say! Their hands are weird and diseased.

It is because they have too much of the internal sprodj workery. And that is why the Commissie was brought into being. These people must be located, and then we must attach gigantic hoses to them in order to remove the sprodj. Or add sprodj. Changing sprodj levels is next to godliness, and cures certain diseases, like incurable tooth, lesbianism, and literacy.

Founded in 1891, during the reign of Queen Wilhelmina, the Commissie was originally conceived as an elaborate scheme to get its members into movies, which had reached the Netherlands two years earlier disguised as as microscopes. Marikje Lürssen-SuperKrupp was gazing wistfully through one of these fake microscopes, which was actually a movie she was not invited to participate in the creation of, when she saw a minute flickr of incandescent mega-particle—the sprodj! She immediately learned all of its properties by writing a Wikipedia article on it, contacted the Queen, and founded the KCvSR to regulate this new resource.

That is but the first part of the tale. The first couple of years of the Commissie were difficult, as nobody had yet invented hoses giant enough, or sprodj pumps with enough gusto, or Belgians (to practice on). Throughout the last years of the 19th Century, the organization struggled to regulate sprodj levels throughout the Netherlands, and was unable to establish any foreign offices. These were the dark years. Horse-operated Sprodj Pumps, unpadded handcuffs for the operations, hoses made out of smaller hoses which had been stretched. Sprodj levels went unregulated. But fortune favors the Commissie, and upon her death in 1901, Queen Victoria had bequeathed her entire fortune to the KCvSR, such that they might alter sprodj levels across the land. This unimaginable windfall allowed the organization to increase their size by 7.8 orders of magnitude. But the next decade was to be more trying than the last. . .


Tales of Intrigue

We will all, at one time, attempt to be Dr. Gregory’s wingman as he approaches HRH Dingbat Yamada. The importance of this event is apparent and amazing; Dr. Gregory will find love. But Dr. Gregory is a winged beast, and has two wings already. He is the scion of Tourniquet, Ostrich of the Nine Winds, and his ninth wife Amandine, which means that he does not typically need wing-assistance.

HRH Dingbat Yamada is a different story, however. She has no wings, because she is one of the famed Mole-esses of Crete. So, it’s possible that Dr. Gregory will need two wing-men. He may woo HRH Dingbat Yamada by giving her his wings, and that’s where the two new ones would come in. Of course, HRH Dingbat Yamada is also Japanese, so he may not need wing-corporals, as she may be wooed by a Louis Vuitton bag. But, it is possible that Dr. Gregory does not know this, so there’d be an opening for a wingman who might enlighten him. We have thus established that Dr. Gregory needs zero, one, or two wing-men.

If he were to be told that HRH Dingbat Yamada would like a handbag and give her his wings, he would have used a total of three wing-men, which is even more promising for you assembled teeming weirdos. A fourth might be able to insinuate himself upon their pairing by offering his services as a shoe-shine boy. This is, however, a risky proposition because Dr. Gregory does not wear shoes, and HRH Dingbat Yamada wears a single iron boot which she guards with her life; the fourth prospective winged man would need to establish a pre-existing friendship, guardianship, and power of attorney-ship with her before Dr. Gregory would even consider taking him on.

Numbers of wing-men above four are precipitously unlikely; wing-gifts, Vuitton-informing, and shoe-shining are the three most likely pursuits for young lovers in this ninth century of ours, so there just isn’t that much room. Perhaps, perhaps Dr. Gregory could employ a fifth as a hat, or a stole… it is unclear, but unlikely.
Glory to he who aileron-assistancy seeks!


Tales of Velour

Beginning in 1977, hydrogen-core band Korea Slim, composed of immortal Texarkanian refugee Cheon Eun-Kyung and a rotating core of session musicians, began releasing centennial compilations entitled “Our 13 Greatest Explosions,” featuring new and old hits in 3D. The first and second editions were well-received, and Eun-Kyung became a minor deity world-wide.
However, the release of the 2177 edition of “Our 13 Greatest Explosions” caused mass protests across Asia-Sud, with the main complaint being that the band members of Korea Slim did not pay proper homage to their hydrogen-core forebears, Laotian sound collective haxaFUEGO. Eun-Kyung’s statues were torn down across the region, and she canceled all of Korea Slim’s Vietnamese concert dates out of concern that their new level of bass might cause the country to sink beneath the waves. haxaFUEGO, having been a conceptual art project that never released any music or even existed in the first place, did not comment. Korea Slim’s immortality defused the controversy, when everyone who cared died.
By the time the 2277 edition of “Our 13 Greatest Explosions” was ready for distribution, Korea Slim had lost none of their status, and a planet was named after them in the Fardeep Colonies. However, Eun-Kyung was hesitant to emigrate, noting that if she left Earth, she would renounce her family’s claim to the leadership of the Bob Directorate. Desperate for a ticket off the Pale Blue Dot, her session musicians banded together and, after a late-night rehearsal at the Sagrada Familia, descended upon Eun-Kyung with knives and clubs. Later testimony suggests that she was stabbed over 700 times. However, in the melee, her body disappeared, and no record of it has surfaced since. All Korea Slim servers and repositories went down immediately, and the band has not been heard from since.
As the presumptive release date of the fifth collection of Explosions approaches, the worlds wait with bated breath; will 2377 O.Y. bring a new Korea Slim CD, or will the labyrinthine halls beneath Neo-Daejeon remain dark? Watch the countdown to the new year live on Empire Broadcast Net.

Codex Saumarez

I will tell you two stories of El Generalissimo Ernesto R. “Mad Dog” Saumarez, Uniter of the Americas and Guardian of the Red Shield.

Antarctica was originally connected to South America by a wide land bridge, which was used by Perjtak, King of the Southern Seals, as a smuggling route. Perjtak’s influence began to spread northwards, and El Heneral Saumarez (who was, at that time, merely Guardian of The Chiles and The Tamer of Brazilia) took note. He knew he could not mount an attack on Perjtak’s citadel at the South Pole, as there was not a man in Saumarez’s army who was his equal, and temperatures at that time regularly reached Absolute Zero. “The world, she betrays me!” Saumarez thought to himself.

The situation grew more and more annoying. “The world betrays me,” said Saumarez, “but I may shape the world!” He walked south, towering over the mountains, crashing through the fields, and came to a place where the world began to grow more ugly, more… Antarctic-ey. “This is where the world ends,” Saumarez declared. He pulled out his Police Special and shot the ground, once. That hole began to erode more and more, and the waves crashed in as the ground subsided. Within a week, there was a fiendish ocean where the land bridge once was, and Perjtak was cut off from civilization. The end of the Southern Americas is now called “Tierra del Fuego,” in tribute to the power of Saumarez.

Things were peaceful. Then, two years later, while on patrol, Saumarez spied a Septapus cruising at 12,000 feet. He engaged it, and the Septapus banked to attack. Septapus attacks are heavily traditionalized, as noted by P. Q. Rellbudine OBE in his book “Dogfighting Practices of the Tentacled Ones.” They will make head-on approaches to maximize closing speed, then—just as their adversary passes them—they will vent their forward gas bladders to equalize speed and expel their deadly aft ink. The ideal human defense is “THE KRUGER TWIST,” where one engages the tentaculo in its preferred head-on position, but flies inverted. As the pass occurs and the tentaculo vents its gas bladders, one makes an inverted loop. This puts the fast part of a loop first (as opposed to a non-inverted loop), and the slow, climbing portion brings one’s guns to bear on the octopus as it reorients to confirm its kill.

El Heneral knew this. He flew straight at the Septapus, .50-caliber machine guns blazing, but steered right at the Septapus’s oncoming purple dome. He ejected as the two were five feet away going a combined 2400 KM/h, and floated down to Saumarez-Sud Airbase, where his martini awaited him. “El Heneral, why did you not just perform THE KRUGER TWIST, and make another pass?” his crew chief and tertiary beatbox asked. “Wladimir. Cowards make two passes. I make one pass. I am Saumarez,” Saumarez said, and took a nap.

Hail Saumarez! May his chronicles never end!


Job Hunting


– Force-fed Warren Harding live ferrets and wombats until Harding exploded in a shower of nickels and quarters.
– Kidnapped novelist Virginia Woolf using a time-exposure suit designed by novelist Emily Brontë.

– Built the world’s first intra-thoracic model railway whilst moonlighting as an intensive care surgeon.
– Fired by the Oregon-Northwest Steam-Rail Company for using the telegraph to repeatedly broadcast “WENIS (STOP) OR WENUS??(STOP)” for over 36 consecutive hours.

– Sponsored an expedition to the lost city of Whanoctlatolepec after reading about it in a copy of “Boys’ Own Adventures.”
– Failed to secure a Papal pardon, despite all efforts.

– Produced in a factory that processes peanuts.
– Performed eye surgery only once, on Raul Castro.

– Dabbled in international finance, but was fired due to anti-cloneism.
– Is legally prohibited from unfolding in time and the Z-axis.
– Arrested for wantonly disseminating information on and relating to the proper maintenance of a vagina without the proper authorization or knowledge.
A valued member of this organization, perhaps?