Category: science

The World Is Flat!

“Mad” Mike’s rocketship. If you can’t prove the world is flat with this contraption, perhaps you can at least catch a roadrunner.

Breaking News: The world was proven flat on Saturday, March 25, 2018, when intrepid daredevil, “Mad” Mike Hughes launched himself 1,875 feet into the troposphere (yes, the TROPOSPHERE, I say!), in his homemade steam-powered rocketship.

You first heard about “Mad” Mike Hughes on this very blog (unless you heard elsewhere). That’s when I scooped the entire journalistic world, except the journalists who made me aware of this story, and told you about “Mad” Mike’s ambition. I even met his helper and saw the madman not more than 50 feet away. He ignored me. But I did take some snapshots of his crazy spaceship.

Here are the links to my earlier blog posts:
Mad Mike and His Steam-Powered Rocketship
Science

Yep, I like to keep you abreast of the cutting edge of science. And nonscience. And even, nonsense.

“Mad” Mike Hughes believes the world is as flat as a frisbee. But he doesn’t want you to take his word for it, he wants to prove it. So he built a steam-powered rocketship, which he has used several times now to penetrate the troposphere, and gaze upon this frisbee from on high. I guess there’s nothing like getting a birds-eye view of something, so you can tell exactly how it’s shaped.

“Mad” Mike’s first launch, several years ago, delivered him to heights of 1,500 feet. However this latest launch shattered his old record, bursting the 1,800 foot mark. This time he used two parachutes instead of one, and managed to avoid breaking both of his ankles again. But he does claim to have a sore back.

Actually, some of the above was fake news. I’m sorry. I hate to burst your bubble, but “Mad” Mike did not really prove the world is flat. All his launch did was raise our awareness of his flat earth cause. He claims he’ll have to launch himself some 68 miles up into the air before he can provide evidence of our planet’s flatness.

But he does plan to do this, in a fancy-fangled device called a “Rockoon”. This is a hybrid of a rocketship and balloon, that “Mad” Mike intends to invent.

We’re looking forward to it, “Mad” Mike, but we sincerely hope you will survive. We’re glad you returned to earth safely on Saturday, and we hope you always keep safety foremost in mind. Never deny the scientifically-proven fact that gravity can be very dangerous.

I now return you to your regular blog programming . . .

Stolen Quote: Science

The general public has long been divided into two parts: Those who think science can do anything, and those who are afraid it will. ~ Dixie Lee Ray, Governor of Washington State


And then there are the science-deniers, such as daredevil stuntman and flat-earth researcher, Mad Mike Hughes. The latest news on Mad Mike is that he has postponed his launch into the troposphere, indefinitely, while he addresses some mechanical and logistical issues. Mad Mike has also clarified that the purpose of this launch in his steam-powered rocket is simply to establish a world record that nobody can break, as well as raise awareness of his flat-earth cause. He admits he cannot prove that the earth is flat until he can figure out how to launch his rocket to a much higher altitude than 1,800 feet. Here’s a little youtube update from Mad Mike himself, via the Flat Earth Network:

Mad Mike and His Steam-Powered Rocketship

Just four miles east of Roy’s Cafe, on Historic Route 66, near the ghost town of Amboy, CA, Mad Mike Hughes is setting up his steam-powered rocketship. Many believe this launch will be groundbreaking (literally). The launch date has been tentatively set for Monday, December 4th, 2017.

Stolen Quote: No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit. ~ Helen Keller

Is the world round or flat? Is global warming real? Did NASA fake the moon landings? Most importantly, is it sane to trust modern science?

Mad Mike Hughes does not. He has pessimistically claimed there is no difference between science and science fiction. And he’s willing to put his life on the line to prove it.

Mad Mike is a desert rat from the Mojave Desert. And like most of us desert rats, his brain may have spent a little too much time baking in the sun. I chase unicorns, myself. And Mad Mike, well, he tries to prove that the world is flat.

But there’s a genius to his mad mind. He has figured out how to build a steam-powered rocketship. Yep that’s right, good old-fashioned steam. Just like the paddle-wheelers of yore, or the locomotive, or your mom’s steam iron.

He’s been making the news lately, with a planned launch in the Mojave Desert, near the ghost town of Amboy. Check out this youtube news story on the madman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Am0bPTiUUDg.

My wife and I first became aware of him through the news. And guess what? It was not fake news! Imagine my delight when we were driving through the Amboy area on a road trip, and happened upon this mad science-denier setting his rocketship up right next to the highway, in plain view of passing motorists.

The rocketship will launch Mad Mike up this ramp built out of a motor home frame, and over 1,800 feet into the troposphere.

I can recognize a unicorn when I see one, and pulled over immediately. We got out and snapped a few photos of this steam-fueled contraption, and got to see Mad Mike himself setting the dern thing up.

We didn’t actually speak to him though, because his assistant walked out and intercepted us. He introduced himself as “Pioneer Pat”, and claimed to have been Mad Mike’s friend for several years. Pioneer Pat explained that he and Mad Mike are pioneers at proving the fiction in science.

Pioneer Pat informed us that Mad Mike was going to launch himself 1,800 feet into the air with his rocketship, and all under the power of steam. He said that a new, tentative launch date was set for Monday, December 4th (a prior launch date of 11/25/17 had been scrapped, due to interference from the golderned U.S. Gummint).

We sincerely expressed to him our worry for Mad Mike’s safety, and conveyed our wishes for a safe, successful landing. The poor man creased his brow as he thanked us, betraying a bit of worry, himself.

Pioneer Pat explaining the methods to Mike’s madness.

I asked him how this rocket launch would help to prove that the world is flat. Pioneer Pat admitted that it wouldn’t. But before I could follow up with a question like, “Well then what the hell is your real reason for this suicide mission?” he changed the subject and began educating us about Stanley Kubrick directing fake moon missions. So I kind of got the gist that the real reason behind this stunt was to make a mockery of the science of space exploration.

Pioneer Pat was a friendly, affable man, and quite garrulous. We enjoyed our conversation with him, but walked away with doubt in our heart that his friend had much longer to live.

I can’t help but wonder if this risky rocket launch is symbolic of the risks we take when we deny the validity of science. When we teach creationism and forbid the teaching of evolution, do we risk lives by slowing advances in biology and medicine? When we deny climate change, do we risk submerging major cities across the globe in seawater? And can science-denying lead progress down a screwball path? A path where time and talent is wasted on crazy things, such as steam-powered rocketships and eccentric researchers, who try to disprove that which most of us take for granted as true?

Or are we really the mad ones, and Mad Mike the sane one? Have we been duped by scientists? Did Stanley Kubrick really direct the moon missions? And did Christopher Columbus fall off the edge of the earth, only to be replaced by a cunning imposter?

I suppose we’ll have wait until Monday, December 4th to discover the answer. For on that date a marvelous man named Mad Mike Hughes will soar 1,800 feet into the air, on a jet of hissing steam, and somehow prove to us that the world is, indeed, as flat as a frisbee.

Or, on the other hand, rescue workers will be scraping a rocket man off the desert floor. And it will not be the earth that is flat, but rather, it will be Mad Mike himself, and all his science-denying theories.

Although we believe in science, we still like Mad Mike Hughes, and wish him a safe and successful return to Earth. You can see him in this photo, in the right-hand corner, gazing up. Up. Up there. To whatever wonderful mysteries lie beyond. Mysteries that are yet to be discovered by that dastardly field of so-called knowledge which we call science.

Plasticillus

Baggus Grocerus. This common species of the wild may soon be threatened with extinction, from an emerging pandemic.

Baggus Grocerus. This common species of the wild may soon be threatened with extinction, from an emerging pandemic.

My nephew Herbert is a brilliant young man with a PhD. He spends his time in his basement conducting scientific experiments and developing cutting-edge inventions that make this world a better place.

He’s been worried about plastic for a long time. Plastic takes hundreds of years to break down in our landfills and oceans, and even after it breaks down it remains in tiny particulate form that threatens wildlife.

But a group of Yale students recently discovered a fungus in the amazon that devours polyurethane at an astonishing rate. And then there’s the Canadian high school student, Daniel Burd. Burd developed a cocktail of bacteria that can completely dissolve plastic bags in just three months.

Herbert decided to build on these recent discoveries by trying to genetically engineer a super-hungry, plastic-eating bacteria. He wanted to release this powerful microbe into the world, so it could quickly and naturally dissolve all the plastic buried in our landfills and floating in our oceans.

My nephew kept me updated on his progress. I’m not smart like him, so I really don’t know how he was able to extract the DNA from that amazonian fungus and combine it with that Canadian bacon, I mean bacteria, to engineer the new organism that he developed. All I know is that something went very, very wrong.

I got a call from him last night. He sounded panicky. “Unc-unc-unc Uncle T-tippy!” he was breathless.

“Calm down Herbert, calm down. Do a few math problems on your calculator. There that’s it. Feeling better now? Good. What’s going on?” At least I’m smarter than him when it comes to psychology.

“I won’t be able to use the calculator for very much longer, Uncle Tippy. Oh Uncle Tippy, what have I done?! The calculator keys are dissolving right before my eyes. And so is this phone. Not sure how much longer we’ll stay connected.”

“Why? What’s happening? Tell me what’s wrong? Is there anything I can do to help?” Now I was the one feeling a little panicky.

“It’s PLASTICILLUS!” he shouted.

“What the hell is that?”

“I invented it. Plasticillus, I call it. It’s a brand-new GMO bacteria that I, Dr. Herbert Veervender, invented. I should win the Nobel Prize for this. Except one thing. It’s one heck of a lot more virile than I intended it to be. It escaped my petri dishes and it’s taking over everything.”

“But isn’t that what you wanted, Herbie? Isn’t this how you’re going to save the planet from plastic?”

“You don’t understand. It’s dissolving everything plastic in the house. My computer keyboard is flaking apart. Our polyester curtains are shredding. Our vinyl flooring is decaying beneath my feet. Even the polyester fabric in my clothes is coming apart. I’m looking out my window and can see my neighbor’s artificial lawn turning from green to splotchy brown and gray. But I can’t go outside and warn my neighbors and community about this spreading bacteria because my clothes will fall off, and that would be very embarrassing.”

“This sounds crazy, Herb. What can I do? How can I help?”

“You have to do something, Uncle Tippy! Warn everyone! Warn the world!! You have a blog don’t you? Write a post to warn people. Soon no cars will be drivable, because the plastic parts in the frames and engines will decay. Soon the water utilities of many cities will cease to function, when their PVC water mains dissolve. And the electric grid will be destroyed nationwide, then worldwide, as plasticillus devours the insulation of power lines. Civilization is coming to an end!”

“Gee, this sounds serious. Alright, I’ll write a post to warn everyone. Anything else I can do?”

“Yes, you’re in a very unique position to help. So listen very closely. This is critically important to stopping the spread of this bacteria. You have to–”

We were suddenly cut off. The plasticillus must have finished off his phone. I can’t communicate with my nephew anymore. So now I’m left trying to figure out for myself what I have to do to save the world. Any ideas, anyone?

LIGO

A Black-Hole

A Black Hole

I’m trying to wrap my head around the latest astronomical discovery. On September 14th of last year, the scientific world was gobsmacked when astronomers at the LIGO observatory detected the gravitational waves of two colliding black holes.

They converted these gravitational waves into audio waves, and it sounded something like a drop of water from a dripping faucet.

By the way, LIGO is not to be confused with LEGO. LIGO is the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. LEGO is what you step on when trying to take a leak in the middle of the night. LIGO is the only such observatory of its kind. Except that it’s actually two observatories that work in conjunction with each other; one in Washington state and the other in Louisiana. It’s been operating since 2002, while detecting absolutely nothing worth anything. But that all changed last September, when it picked up the drop heard ’round the universe.

Somehow, this drip-dropping noise proved one of Albert Einstein’s theories related to relativity. This is the theory that my relatives are the ones who forget to tighten faucet handles. However, they say that the “sound” produced by this black-hole collision released three times more energy than all the galaxies in our universe combined. This to me is further proof of relativity, because some of my bumptious relatives can actually shout that loud.

The black holes collided 1.3 billion years ago, at a distance of 7,625,404,800,000,000,000,000 miles from Earth. They were both about 30 times the size of our sun, and were spinning around each other at several thousand revolutions per minute. That’s a pretty reckless speed for two objects of such Pantagruelian proportions, so naturally these lumbering titans had to collide sooner or later. Good thing we Earthlings kept a safe distance.

Now the question I have is, what happens when two black holes swallow each other? Shouldn’t it create some sort of anti-black hole, and force them to regurgitate up everything they’ve been consuming for billions of years? Back in my math school days, I learned between naps that a negative number multiplied by a negative number always equals a positive number.

So I have a positive attitude about this black-hole collision. I think they’re going to spit up all the stuff they’ve been stealing from the universe, and we’re going to recover lost property. Who knows what sort of wonderful marvels may emerge from the site of this cosmic accident? We should send a space exploratory mission to the site of the crash. Hey, what’s a few extra trillion dollars added to our national debt?

As you can tell, I’m no Albert Einstein. My thinking about this is about as far-off in outer space as the black-hole collision itself. But after 13 years of listening to nothing, then becoming elated when they heard the sound of a dripping faucet, I draw this conclusion about the astronomers who made this discovery:

Scientists are easily entertained.