‘Dear Professor Science,
How does teleportation work?
You were unusually perspicacious to write to Professor Science, as we are one of the few laboratories in existence with genuine teleportation experience. I am pleased to reference the Professor’s extensive 1957 monograph, ‘The Scientific Study of Teleportation, or How To Move Things A Very Long Way With A Great Deal of Difficulty.’
Fundamentally, teleportation (’I talk to canoes,’ from the Greek tele or ’speak’ and portage or ‘a way to canoe over dry land’) is the science of precise replication. Our teleportation device is shown in Figure 1 below and consists of an input unit, into which the desired object is placed; the replication unit, which cannot be seen in the provided figure for intellectual property reasons; and the output unit, inside which the object will appear. With two identical devices the output unit may be any distance from the input unit provided the replication belt has been correctly configured, and provided the object is no larger than a photon.
To quote the Professor, ‘Teleportation has left the bed of the purely theoretical and entered the entwined embrace of science and philosophy. In short, any teleported object – using the method we have described – is utterly destroyed, though an identical object is created a short time later. During the lag, science may seem unnecessarily cruel, for the scientist has destroyed to the last molecule whatever item has been placed in the input chamber. However, when the item swiftly reappears in the output chamber, science takes its proper place among the pantheon as a god which may create new life at a whim.’
In less poetic terms, the teleported item is copied, destroyed, and re-created rather than strictly ‘moved,’ which is obviously in the realm of preposterous, H.G. Wellsian science fiction. This does lead to some knotty ‘ethical’ questions in the event that persons or animals are teleported, due to outdated ideas that no copy can be of sufficient quality as the original. However, as the technique becomes further refined, Professor Science – and all of us at the laboratory – would like to reassure you that it is perfectly safe and will shortly prove itself to be of great service to science.
The Redundant Postdoc
A young scientist from Winnetka, Il. writes:
“Dear Professor Science,
How come whales and seals don’t get all wrinkly from being in the water all day?
Although there are at least two schools of thought on this very interesting topic, my laboratory’s exhaustive research has determined that the answer lies with ‘bioplastics,’ as they have become popularly known.
Biologically-produced bacterial polymers are generated by colonies of special bacteria residing on the epidermis of aquatic mammals. Labhand C and the Redundant Postdoc recently spent over twenty-nine minutes at the Bamfield Marine Institute acquiring samples for culture in our laboratory incubators.
It swiftly became apparent that these bacteria are commonly found on the epidermal layers of Tursiops truncatus and none on Odobenus rosmarus, as could perhaps have been deduced from their external appearance, which we as scientists are of course obliged to ignore in favour of a closer examination of the true nature of our scientific subjects.
You yourself may demonstrate scientifically, in the comfort of your home, the apparent benefit of such aquatic bacterial consortia by immersing one finger in water and the the same finger on the opposing hand into a man-made polymer, such as a latex glove or similar item, prior to immersion.
Good evening, aspiring scientists!
Professor Science has returned from his sabbatical intact and with a suitably dark shade of skin damage from the tropical sun. He requested I assure you that his leave was indeed academic, and was completely unrelated to the disciplinary hearings he coincidentally attended just prior to his absence. I have also been asked to correct all seekers of knowledge who were told by university staff that he left with ‘unseemly’ haste, lacking sufficient time to pack the passport containing his real name and country of origin. This was certainly not the case.
In his absence, the laboratory has been very quiet and all science has been put on hold. However, with his long-awaited return we are all eager to resume our educational efforts in the service of science – as we hope you are.
Good forenoon, aspiring scientists. Today I have set aside time during a lengthy centrifuging procedure to answer reader questions on behalf of my supervisor.
‘Dear Professor Science,
Is it true that scientists are working on food pills that will solve world hunger and keep yucky vegetables off my plate? Please reply ASAP as my mother has reported that tonight’s dinner is expected to include brussel sprouts unless such a pill has been invented.
These items are no myth; Professor Science happens to be a great proponent of so-called ‘food pills,’ although he would certainly correct your vocabulary. Such items are properly called Compressed Rapidly-Available Pellet Supplements.
In our lab, we are currently extruding CRAPS composed of hydrolyzed soy proteins, sub-particle gluten, concentrated vitamins, minerals, psyllium fibre, and artificial colours. Rat trials have proven difficult and Labhand C has been bitten a number of times while scientifically inducing the rats to swallow the supplements rather than masticate them (Figure 1).
We enclose our CRAPS in a gelatine shell similar to those used for delivery of powdered analgesics. These shells are useful for labelling purposes and are created in the machine shown in Figure 2.
Unfortunately, our team has not yet been approved for Phase III (human) trials. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Canadian Safety Association, and the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food have received detailed scientific proposals and are expected to respond to our inquiries shortly. In the meantime, I suggest you show this letter to your mother and convince her to let you participate in our Phase III testing in lieu of eating your sprouts. CRAPS are far more nutritious, palatable, and efficient than non-scientific food delivery systems.
The culinary arts are an exemplary case of science in action. In the above figure, astute observers will notice that the brownies are not the normal convex or lens shape normally acquired after baking in a mini-muffin tin. These brownies are spherical, and are the result of a phenomenon known as surface tension.
When brownie batter is placed into the muffin tins and the surface smoothed firmly with the back of a speculum or spoon, it creates a layer that becomes impermeable to steam once baked. As steam rises, it causes the tops of the brownies to expand and harden. Surface tension – the attraction of the layer molecules to themselves rather than the remainder of the batter – causes the spherical shapes seen above. Unmodified brownie batter has a more homogeneous structure which allows the steam to escape and the resultant brownie to take the approximate shape of its container, rather than a golf ball.
This phenomenon is no different from the processes that form soap bubbles, which other children than myself viewed as a mere diversion on sunny days. They would have been better served studying the scientific theories behind such wonders.
Aspiring young scientists should take every available opportunity to perform science during their daily activities, thereby gaining valuable scientific knowledge outside of their formal science education.
The following is a simple scientific experiment which may be performed at one’s convenience in almost any structure with a point of ingress or egress.
To demonstrate the dynamic nature of the human musculoskeletal system via doorway ionization and electron transfer
1 (one) human
1 (one) doorway
1. Stand vertically oriented in doorway, parallel to direction of travel.
2. Raise arms and place palms flat against opposing jambs (Figure 1).
3. Exert horizontal force with palms for a period of 90 (ninety) seconds.
4. Lower palms and step out of doorway.
5. Observe results.
This experiment simply demonstrates the power of the average human organism to ionize a doorway made of any material by connecting the two sides of the doorway using his palms, in much the same fashion as a galvanic cell (Figure 2).
At the point of palm contact, doorway particles react with the salts and electrolytes in the experimenter’s palm to create ionization. An identical process is used in microwaves to heat food, but due to the shape of the doorway, no heat is created in this experiment.
As ionized air begins to flow around the experimenter, his arms become charged and produce the results seen in Step 5 of the Procedure (Figure 3).
This phenomenon is the basis of public service warnings indicating appropriate positioning during tectonic disturbances.
Objective: To determine, via science, whether a post can be successfully posted.
1,4-butanediol dimethyl-sulfonate (125 mL)
1. Use hands to write post on computer
2. Repeat Step (1)
3. Immerse hands in 1,4-butanediol dimethyl-sulfonate to kill pathogenic organisms associated with university computer lab
4. Congratulate self on cleverness, decide on next post
Conclusion: I think I need more sleep.