Sunday, June 27, 2010

Being a Treatise Against Internet Conversion

I fear that the internet may be broken. Being a degree-holding Time Traveler from the University of Stony Brook, I am obsessed with the conversion of measurements. Just think, the most infinitesimally small miscalculation could see a chrononaut wishing to knock back a few Singapore Slings with Napoleon could end up smack in the middle of a wooly mammoth hunt in the Pleistocene Era. Imagine my shock - nay, my HORROR - when I chanced upon these very different results when researching an EXTREMELY important conversion when dealing with Time Travel:
Light years per century to furlongs per fortnight
Why is this conversion so vital? It's a long story, but I am willing to share it with you. A number of steam punks (who were also LARPers, incidentally) from the year 2012 accidentally built a real time machine out of really cool looking rusty gears from nearby junk yards and a few antique camera lenses from a garage sale in Red Hook. By coincidence, their maiden journey landed them at the first International Convention of Time Travelers and Chrononauts held in 802,701 C.E.. Not wanting to break from character during the panel on Feasible Speed Limits in the Time Vortex, the group of 11 hipsters clad in their finest alternative-history Victorian Era finery filibustered for the standardization of the Furlongs per Fortnight measurement. Grumblings from actual time travelers from the Victorian Era (who thought the measurement impractical) and from Zandquazer the Magnificent, Space-Sultan of Planet Glaucqqaatl-Omega 8 (who had never heard of the furlong) were drowned in a sea of the many who hopped on the steam punk bandwagon after promises of laudanum-infused absinthe martinis from the 11 gate crashers. Since then, it has been the very chic thing to set one's space-time speedometer to furlongs per fortnight. But we serious time travelers know better and use the far more practical light years per century. Still, when dealing with Time Cops (you'll remember that Franklin Roosevelt was himself a Time Cop) it is necessary to quickly convert one's practical measure of speed with its fashionable counterpart.
That said, let me show you what my research wielded. First, I input the conversion into the popular Google search engine. Here are the results:
For those too lazy to follow the link, Google claims 1 Light year/century is equal to 1.8026175 × 10^10 furlongs/fortnight.
Compare this to the results given to me by Bill Gates' Bing:
Lazy people: 1 Light year/century = 1.8038522 × 10^10 furlongs/fortnight
That is a discrepancy of .0012346 × 10^10 furlongs/fortnight! So outrageous a difference could very well cause a time traveller to skip off of a wormhole and into a supermassive black hole to GOD KNOWS WHERE in the UNIVERSE! The implications of that are too mind-boggling to even begin to comprehend. My present theory as to this potentially lethal difference of opinion may have something to do with one of the search engines not properly accounting for leap years - either neglecting them entirely or forgetting that we skip Leap Year Day each century on years that end in 00. Who knows, perhaps this problem comes down to a difference of Leap Seconds!
Now, I am no mathematician, so I fear that I must outsource my problem. I implore all competent and able-minded readers to convert light years per century to furlongs per fortnight, neatly showing me the conversions and work they have done. He or she who first submits the correct calculations will receive a GRAND PRIZE of an expertly crafted sonnet about him or her written by ME, an Honest-to-Goodness Baron of the Principality of Sealand. Wow, I realized I haven't told people about my baronhood. That will have to wait. For now - BEGIN CALCULATING!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wherein - Good Lord, I Do Believe John Hodgman Just "Tweeted" My Web Log!

It has come to my attention via an email from a complete stranger that John Hodgman, a person that I hold in no small esteem has used the social networking site Twitter to share my post about Oscar the Grouch being a TIME LORD. Imagine my current embarrassment. Here my favorite humorist has seen fit to acknowledge my understated brilliance, and I have not posted since April, failing even to complete the epic DISNEY SONG VOTE.
But then I reflect - some of the finest works of art remain incomplete. There's Stuart's portrait of George Washington:

There's Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
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And now there's Willie & Maria's Epic Disney Song Bracket.
It is now for the annals of history to decide upon its brilliance, though I may comment that anything containing a portrait of Jerry Orbach deserves any self-respecting museum's admiration.
I suppose I should offer a more recent glimpse into my life. I have recently applied to be a full-time teacher of History at the Bronx Urban Assembly Studio School for Writers and Artists at Casita Maria. Up to now, after a long and arduous battle with the New York City Department of Education, I have been a substitute teacher at various schools throughout the Mythical Kingdom of Brooklyn and the Bronx, a borough famous only for a steroid-imbued baseball team that has won to this date 937 World's Series championships and six Stanley Cups, though their claims to these hockey accolades are contentious at best.*
God-willing I will succeed in landing this position, as it has been a long-term goal of mine to teach children about the gross omissions in history textbooks, like these:
  • General Douglas MacArthur, the celebrated American general that conquered the Pacific Theater, was in fact a cyborg whose main fuel source consisted of corn cob pipes
  • Bob Dylan was the Second President of the Confederate States of America and penned All Along the Watchtower as a tribute to Abraham Lincoln
  • Christopher Columbus did not think the world round, but rather shaped like a neatly trimmed mustache
I have such a wealth of historical knowledge that I literally fear over-filling my students' brains with hard facts.
I assure you that given the current circumstances, I will have to update more frequently. And even if I don't, people may still witness Maria's and my culinary BRILLIANCE as we find out how many ways to serve the dozens of heads of lettuce we receive each week from our local Community Supported Agricultural share in Crown Heights.

*The New York [Name Withheld]s, formerly the New York Highlanders, formerly the Baltimore Orioles claimed the Stanley Cup Titles in 1620, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, and 2011 seasons. A little known clause in the team's charter declares them the victor in every Stanley Cup Championship in the immediate following year. And in 1620, well that was just a fluke and the Canadiens' goaltender at the time was a known alcoholic.