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Chrono-synclastic Infundibulum Discovered

April 1, 2011

Looks like another case of science finally catching up to the sci-fi writers. You may recall that in his novel The Sirens of Titan Kurt Vonnegut posited the existence of a chrono-synclastic infundibulum which was described thusly –

Chrono (kroh-no) means time. Synclastic (sin-classtick) means curved towards the same side in all directions, like the skin of an orange. Infundibulum (in-fun-dib-u-lum) is what the ancient Romans like Julius Caesar and Nero called a funnel. If you don’t know what a funnel is, get Mommy to show you one.

Don’t have the book in front of me, but if memory serves he also described it as a ribbon-like energy structure weaving its way through the solar system which warped the perceptions of space and time.

Well look what some pointy headed people from UNH recently found

In a paper to be published in the April 10, 2011, issue of The Astrophysical Journal, scientists on NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) mission, including lead author Nathan Schwadron and others from the University of New Hampshire, isolate and resolve the mysterious “ribbon” of energy and particles the spacecraft discovered in the heliosphere — the huge bubble that surrounds our solar system and protects us from galactic cosmic rays.

The finding, which overturns 40 years of theory, provides insight into the fundamental structure of the heliosphere, which in turn helps scientists understand similar structures or “astrospheres” that surround other star systems throughout the cosmos.

Perhaps if they tune their telescopes to a finer resolution, they may also see a freaky haired guy with a wry smile, smoking with one hand and thumbing his nose at them with the other.

Side note: Not only is today April Fool’s day, but it is also the 2nd anniversary of this little blog. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who has written their thoughts here and to all those who have seen fit to read my own ramblings.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    April 1, 2011 1:47 pm

    The ongoing saga of Maine’s labor mural continues. Last weekend LePage had it removed when nobody was paying attention and now nobody is quite sure where it is.

    Front page of today’s paper has LePage saying that the mural was removed at “a bad time” because evidently it distracted from all the other goodies in his legislative agenda he’s been waiting to shove down our throats.

    But the other local paper reports a slightly different story today. The Portland Daily Sun reports that LePage has agreed to a compromise and will put the mural back up in edited form.

    The link is to the home page which has a copy of today’s actual paper on the right hand side. You may have to check the link today to catch it, but enlarge the front page and take a close look at the “editing”. Ha!

    • cometman permalink*
      April 1, 2011 1:49 pm

      Oh yeah, forgot to mention those other pressing legislative priorities that LePage has been distracted from while dealing with the mural issue.

      He wants to put more $$$ in the hands of minors by rolling back Maine’s child labor laws.

    • cometman permalink*
      April 1, 2011 6:49 pm

      Ok, this should be a permanent link to the 4-1 edition of the Daily Sun here.

  2. cometman permalink*
    April 1, 2011 2:10 pm

    A few notes on some stories being followed –

    Scott Walker takes a step back and now says he won’t defy the judge’s order barring him from implementing his union-busting law.

    Meanwhile, WI professors decide that they will defy Scott Walker and are forming their own union. Take that!

    More news regarding the recently released documents about who got what from the Fed’s discount window. Yves Smith notes that the Fed was handing out enormous sums against junk collateral and also mentions that 70% of the $$$ handed out during the worst period in October 2008 went to foreign banks and speculators/investors, with quite a bit going to……….Libya!!!!! Bet Gaddafi’s glad he got those few billion from Uncle Sugar right about now. I’m sure he’ll be paying back any remaining obligations tout de suite.

    More on that here.

    One more note regarding the war in Libya. Asked if the Bushwa Barry would abide by any Congressional action to cut funding for this latest imperial escapade, Shillary replied “We don’t need no stinking Congress“.

  3. artemis54 permalink
    April 1, 2011 6:08 pm

    Happy Birfday!

    Newsletter from the CBD this morning:

    In Idaho, Eight-foot Endangered Earthworms Run Amok

    Rural residents of northwestern Idaho stayed indoors this week after a 15-member pack, known as a “squish,” of endangered giant Palouse earthworms was spotted rampaging through a neighborhood bar. Previous accounts of the species had asserted that the earthworms grow up to three feet long, smell like lilies and spit a harmless liquid short distances, but recent reports say the newly emerged worms are eight-footers that purposefully spit flesh-corroding juices up to 12 feet and carry a faint stench of man BO.

    Though the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service denied the Center for Biological Diversity’s petition to protect the giant Palouse earthworm, maintaining it was too rare to even deserve the adjective “rare,” the unexpected appearance of these even more giant earthworms has forced the feds to admit to the species’ inconvenient existence. Unfortunately, the feds have also said they’re likely to issue an all-too-common “warranted-but-precluded” finding on the species due to its lack of being cute and the aforementioned body odor.

    Eyewitnesses say the squish killed five cats and one miniature horse with their acidic projectile saliva and were last seen fighting over an 18-pack of Keystone Light.

    • cometman permalink*
      April 1, 2011 6:47 pm

      And I thought it was slugs that were attracted to cheap beer. Ha!

    • January 11, 2012 1:05 pm

      Thank you for using my artwork for your thumbnail image !
      Elaine Booth-Kallweit

  4. cometman permalink*
    April 2, 2011 9:11 pm

    Away for a few days.

    Somebody let me know if anything interesting happens while I’m gone!

  5. cometman permalink*
    April 11, 2011 12:47 pm

    Back from a much needed vacation. Checked the news upon return and it seems as if there were no major coups, wars, or disasters while I was not paying attention – quite a change from the few weeks prior.

    One thing worth noting from the last week or so. One legislature actually did something productive as Jefferson Smith led his colleaugues in rickrolling the Oregon legislature

    Jefferson Smith loves a good political joke.

    Early last year, the then-freshman Oregon House member from Portland was getting ready for bed when he and his wife, Katy, began bantering back and forth about what might be the ultimate political prank, something that could lighten the increasingly divisive political mood among his colleagues.

    As Smith recalls, the idea came almost instantly. “What if we were to Rick Roll the legislature without anybody noticing?” he wondered.


    …Smith–who developed the concept with his wife, a few colleagues and several friends, one of whom is video editor–had a few rules about the joke. The lines had to be delivered on the House floor during a lawmaker’s regular floor speech–which is, under Oregon law, videotaped for public records purposes. And the lines of the lyrics had to be spread out, so as not to tip off the state House clerk or other observers to what lawmakers were up to.

    The result –

  6. cometman permalink*
    April 12, 2011 1:40 pm

    Some notes –

    The Japanese may soon be admitting that the nuclear reactor disaster has reached Chernobyl levels.

    In contrast, Bolivia is set to grant Mother Nature the same rights as human beings. Unsure how this will square with plans mentioned here before to build a huge highway through the country.

    Brought before Egyptian authorities for questioning about his finances, Mubarak suddenly develops palpitations during the interview. Perhaps it’s just a 24 hour heart attack…

    Matt Taiibi’s latest where he discusses more details from the FED audit. Sounds like they were handing out free money to any rich asshole who asked nice. He details how the wives of two Morgan Stanley fatcats with no business experience managed to wrangle almost a quarter billion for themselves – The Real Housewives of Wall Street.

    Researchers find that our squidly friends also suffer from acoustic trauma.

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