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Thought for the day: a metal syllogism

1. In astrophysics, the elements consist of: Hydrogen, Helium, and Metals. (The relative abundance of elements in the cosmos being something like: Hydrogen 95%, Helium 4%, and Everything Else, 1% — thus, the "everything else" category is lumped under a single name.)

2. "The most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity" — Harlan Ellison.

It therefore follows that stupidity is either Helium, or Metal. We can test the former option by saying saying "Helium is stupid" — which, on the face of it, is pretty damn stupid. Which leads me to conclude that the other possibility is the only reasonable one. Stupidity is clearly Metallic.

(Unless it's dark matter.)

In next week's thrilling episode we examine: how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, and on the basis of this observation, whether divine beings are Bosons or Fermions.

12 Comments

1:

I think Ellison already alluded to this when he stated "God is an Iron".

It's interesting that although stupidity represents less than 1% of the total matter in the universe it is so highly concentrated on this little rock we call home. Perhaps Earth is a strange attractor?

2:

I think Ellison already alluded to this when he stated "God is an Iron".

Is that a typo or is there some joke I'm missing?

3:

Not a typo, so blame it on my obtuse sense of humour.

Of course, in checking the facts, I have the reference wrong. Spider Robinson wrote "God is an Iron". Sigh! Note to self: google first, post second.

I was thinking along the path "If God is an iron, stupidity may also be a metal."

4:

Did you know Spider Robinson misspelled that title? It should have been "God is an Eiron".

Also, it turns out that any number of angels you care to name can dance simultaneously on the head of a pin -- angels don't obey Fermi-Dirac statistics. If they obeyed Bose-Einstein statistics, however, that would make God a fermion, since angels mediate between God and the universe. It's therefore more plausible that angels obey Pseudo-Dionysius statistics, and are computronic.

5:

Metal and Helium. All I can say is "Rush".

6:

Metal (music) is stupid. Presumably, heavy metal is even stupider.

7:

Abundances (by mass) are more like 73% Hydrogen, 25% Helium and 2% metals.

Not that this detracts from your main point!

8:


I think that quote is more widely attributed to Frank Zappa:

"Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe." - From "The Real Frank Zappa Book."

Perhaps Stupidity is what dark matter is made up of... Stupidions.

9:

Interesting. Metals in general may be stupid. Rust never sleeps, and exhibits low cunning when attacking the interior of my land-rover's chassis. if metals are stupid, then it must be the oxgen that gives rust its strategic advantage. Oxygen, I think, must be cleverer than hydrogen and helium both.

10:

Angels are clearly bosons: an infinite number of them can coexist (not dance) on the point (not head) of a pin) (BEC) and they are, functionally, CARRIERS of that mighty force, THE WRATH OF JEHOVAH.

Now if we could just figure out what virtual angels are.

11:

Obviously. Metals are dense.

12:

A little experiment:

1) Inhale some helium.

2) Say "helium is stupid."

Case closed.

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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on August 27, 2006 12:19 AM.

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