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!

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