Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Let Freedom Ring

Three senior scientists at the University of California at San Diego have issued an urgent advisory based on recently completed modelling studies. According to a statement released yesterday in the UCSD Koala, the three physicists stated that a certain material in brasseires may present unprecedented destructive potential.

“Our research has concluded that a new type of antimatter, called superantimatter, may spontaneously form within certain specific clothing conformations due to the superlatticework interaction among pseudosymmetrical axes. This superantimatter is far more destructive than any known material. It would be very bad for the environment. This risk can only be eliminated through the immediate destruction of all clothing with relevant conformation, namely, brasseires.”

The response from Washington was swift. Senior Democratic sources praised the advisory, and one promptly drafted a bill to “declare bras illegal to support women’s freedom, strength, and hope.” Sixteen minutes later, the bill was withdrawn by its author, who also apologized for any damage to his wife’s presidential campaign.

This brief statement had a dramatic effect on campus as well. Many UCSD students have ceased wearing brasseires, most of them female. An announcement this morning that the scientists would issue follow up statements in a hastily assembled conference in Price Center drew thousands of students. Before the conference, I interviewed several of them and got a wide variety of responses.

Kenna Naylor, a freshman who read the Koala article on Monday, said she had been free since then and appreciated the public support. “Everyone is sooooo much cooler to you when you are like environmentally conscious. Like, since I became free, my TAs are all totally cool to me. They said they would hold extra office hours for me and don’t worry about the bad grade on my last essay.”

Her two friends, both named Jen, agreed. “Yeah, like, at work, things are totally different,” said one. “I got promoted - twice - and all the guys buy me lunch and buy me things and I learned how to play shuffleboard and bocce ball. So working in a retirement home is pretty cool!”

The latter Jen described similar support. “I work for this corporation and it is like the same there. My boss, he said he would pay me extra to work late, but I could just use the time to study. And he said he could help. And then he said he would take me on business trips with him and he didn’t really love his wife and he would pimp beer for me and my sisters. And those network guys are sooooo much more responsive, they were total dicks before, but I got a new computer and monitor and eight webcams! They even made this cool string of webcams over my desk! So, like, there is a lot of support for the environment here! Go environment!” Jen cheered and whooped while her two friends nodded enthusiastically. Kenna and the other Jen nodded too.

Male students were also supportive. “Fuck yeah, I support all this! I am hornier than an ivory bazaar. This is better than that take back the night march!”

“Dude, I am fuckier hornier than a rhino orchestra.”

“And they don’t even need beer or beads! I wonder what it’s like at State.”

“Hey you! Yeah you, writing all this down! You know they’re laughing at you at network, right?”

“Huh? Oh, yeah. Um. I think …. Uh, sorry, yeah, this ….. um…. Yeah. What was the question again?”

“Jesus dude! Are those fucking real?”

“I don’t care dude, I am like a toad in heat, I get that tall one over there.”

“Fuck you, bitch, I saw her first.”

However, some dissenters were present as well. One student, the headwomyn of Feminists United for Concerned, Knowledgeable, Understanding Students, was especially angry. “I have long chosen to be free of male-engineered "support," for much more important reasons than these noobs. I don’t like the lack of attention to the underlying feminist issues here,” she said while expressionlessly backfisting a passing gawker. Looking toward the Jens, she said, “Yeah, you. I mean you, bitch. You’re going down, you choose how.”

I had to shove through the crowd to get to the press conference, where the three senior physicists were taking questions. I arrived to see a physicist whose nameplate read John Hagelin answering a question. “No, our simulations have conclusively shown that male clothing presents no risk of antimatter formation. We think only bras are dangerous.”

“Naw, dude!” chimed his colleague, Brian Greene. “G strings might be bad too. And the top inch or so of low cut jeans. We need to do more simulations. But we recommend erring on the side of caution.”

I asked if they could present more data describing how they reached their conclusions. Greene said that his results have been submitted to Nature, and that it would be inappropriate to present details prior to publication.

A gentleman in the crowd asked if any sort of testing might be possible to assess whether any superantimatter had already formed. Hagelin replied, “Yes, and thank you for that excellent and very important question, Jeff. I mean, sir. Yes. Indeed, yes. The initial formation of superantimatter might produce a small, nearly invisible rash. Since yesterday, we have developed a means to evaluate photographic evidence and identify relevant indicators. So, we urge women to send us pictures of themselves after becoming free. Please include your contact information. We will contact you in cases that require further investigation.”

“But it doesn’t always work,” added Greene. “It only works on women from about 18-40. And maybe we can detect G string risks too. ”

“Oh yes,” commented the third physicist. “Good call.”

“And also, it only works with C or larger cup sizes,” said Greene.

“Dude, stop getting fucking greedy,” replied Hagelin. “I mean, I disagree with your interpretation of our modelling data, Dr. Greene. It works for B cups too.” The two scientists had a brief discussion with the microphone off, then turned the mike on again. “Sorry,” said Hagelin. “We had to discuss highly technical details of our model. Yes, our technique would work pretty broadly. Just send the pictures.”

One woman from the audience asked if they should be sent to the email addresses posted on their official web pages. “No,” said Hagelin, “definitely not. Our server would get overloaded. Send it to nineinchnailer@hotmail.com. That is an alternate site we set up to handle this grave task.”

“Or wait, ma’am, maybe we could meet you after the conference to help,” said Greene. “We can’t really see you there, can you stand up? Oh. Hm. Well, I think you look safe, ma’am. No need to send a picture.”

One student in the crowd asked if this conference would be on CNN. “We aren’t sure yet,” answered Hagelin. “We couldn’t get any of the networks here because they kept arguing about our credentials.” The student followed up noting that the speakers did not seem old enough for such distinguished careers, and were not listed among Physics faculty at UCSD. This angered the third physicist so much that he stood up and stormed out of the room.

“Yo, dude!” said Hagelin. “That’s such bullshit. You can’t talk to Stephen Hawking that way! This conference is over.”


Carl Sachs said...

This is spot-on priceless, mein Freund. Ausgezeichnet!

The parody of "the Jens" is pitch-perfect -- so much so that I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Carl Sachs said...

This is absolutely spot-on, mein Freund. Ausgezeichnet!

The parody of "the Jens" is pitch-perfect -- so much so that I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

(By the way, I hope that you have not mentioned the war.)