Aitch-Bar

Two Almost Physicists With Almost Something To Say


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Apollcalypse

When I’m listening to some of these internet radio stations and their slightly off-brand retro dance music, I feel like I’m about to have a bad teenage experience. I am at a rave, and I can’t find any of my friends, and the fog machine is slowly displacing all of the oxygen in this abandoned warehouse but no one else seems to mind. I’ve stumbled upon that small fraction of the population–and every single member is here tonight–that can wear naught but glowsticks and have intercourse in the open without performance anxiety-induced ED, and have that be just another Friday. I am concerned that Hot Mix Radio 90s is going to roofie my drink while I’m not looking, and I am going to come to with no wallet and an untreatable case of the trojan flame.

There is a series on Natty Geo called Doomsday Preppers, where every episode showcases three adults devoting what remains of their lives to ruining what remains of their children’s. The NG poll at left is taken from their website, hopefully illegally. A few items bear discussion; you can go ahead and click the thumbnail to bring up a full-size view, because otherwise these observations won’t make any sense. If you’re ready, let’s proceed. 26% of those surveyed think the Soviet Union is still around. 21% are trapped in the ruins of the History channel, deep in the body dent on their couch, an episode of Ancient Aliens and a bag of Cheetos as their only sustenance as they await the weekend, when they will finally shower. 2% support destroying the Sun before it destroys us. And, by my calculus, 104% of people are generally pessimistic about our future prospects. I invite you to look up the definition of “microcosm,” as it is apropos on that last point.

GS made a fascinating observation, which points to the one and only thing that’s wrong with the subjects of the show: they are all preparing for the apocalypse by storing food and holing up in bunkers. Thanks to these episodes, we know with great precision exactly where all of these people live, what their defensive capabilities are, and what golden treasures they secret away. There needs to be an episode where they interview a person whose sole purpose is preparing to invade everyone else’s bunkers, and is stockpiling military hardware and conscripting homeless people, and every Saturday evening gets to add three new flags to their map of the U.S. No one ever steps up to really own the role of warlord until post-cataclysm. A little preparation now will go a long way, after a solar flare causes Yellowstone to spew radioactive oil-eating superviruses all over our money.

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I Have To Get These Hungry-Man Dinners Into My Freezer Before They Thaw, and You Will Not Stop Me

Oh. Shit. Look what’s back in stock. Hungry-Man. It’s been a long time, my friend. I’ve been eating two half-pound frozen dinners in one go, waiting for your return. Your commercial had me convinced that I would get blown away by carelessly-aimed hair dryers if I didn’t gorge myself at every well-preserved meal.

Hold the phone. I wasn’t even aware of some of these options. Home-style Meatloaf? Mexican Style Fiesta? Way to make Boston Market look like an asshole. Popcorn Chicken with Spiced Rum BBQ Sauce? Let me stop you right there. Sold. No way that’s going to make my night end badly. Let me just help myself to one of each. Better beat the rush.

Let me just carefully read the fine print, like I do on all my freezer products. Do not thaw? Jesus. Let me pull out my calculus. We’re starting at 0°, it’s 82° with 36% humidity outside right now, my car can get down to 68° with full A/C over a period of 5 minutes, the house is 15 minutes away, plus 1 to get through the garage where it’s undoubtedly over 98°, and each meal is 1 lb and 150 in2 with a heat capacity roughly that of ice. So there’s maybe eight minutes of contingency here. T0 was 30 seconds ago, while I sat here calculating. We are running the clock.

Well. This just got extremely fucking real.

Pardon me, old lady perusing the Birds-Eye products. Impressive, the way you managed to wedge your cart sideways in the middle of this narrow aisle. I assume that this is part of some master plan too grandiose for me to comprehend. Dare I not disturb this careful arrangement, in case you’ve positioned it in the middle of some space warp and it’s holding the universe together like an episode of Dr. Who. Let me jam myself sideways against the freezer and squeeze around. That’s fine, don’t even notice. The structural integrity of these delectable chicken bits hangs precariously in the balance and I’ll parkour over you as if that’s what it should be like to live in modern society.

I can’t help but notice that this line is taking a long goddamned time. Contingency is burning. Excuse me, sir up at front, buying fruits and shit. Good for you. A hearty bounty from the cavernous bowels of Nature herself. Here’s a proposition for you. Add these two Hungry-Men to your inventory, check them out, give them back, and we will all be better for it. Here is some money. You seem to be spending your life savings on organic melon, I fear these TV dinners would topple you into financial ruin.

No. What is that card. Put that card down. Thermodynamics doesn’t rest because you made a bad gamble that the world would suddenly join hands and embrace American Express. The Nickelback of credit cards. Here’s a fifty. This ought to cover your plants. Look at me. Take the fifty. Buy these Hungry-Men. Buy them now.

Let me explain to you how science works. If even one molecule of the chocolate splotch that magically hardens into a brownie thaws before it starts absorbing micro-rays or whatever, it’s game-fucking-over. That’s not me talking; that’s chemistry. It will leak over onto the corn and form a colloidal shit matrix. That corn is second to none but I will not force down maize brownie. That is sick. That is where typhus came from.

Yes, Officer Dawdles, I was doing 96. Probably because I have somewhere extremely important to be. Does God Himself have a hit out on these mashed potatoes? They are pre-gravyed. The gravy is already on them sir. This is a truly volatile mix of poorly understood ingredients and proportions. If this pile reaches liquid phase in an uncontrolled environment there is a nonzero chance of it coming alive and gaining sentience. It will debate us. It will gain a seat in Congress. It will levy taxes on hand-made jewelry and smiles. It will destroy our way of life. Or I can get to my freezer. I am putting this car in drive. You can shoot me and then lose the battle in November, or you can choose freedom.

Yes, hello son, that is a very nice plastic bag space helmet and matching santoku-knife-turned-laser-gun. Is that our toaster with forks sticking out of it? Ah, his name is Robotron. You know what, son, go play with your robot, maybe show him your aqueous bath tub space capsule, or your fortress in the dryer. No, I did not know we had super juice in a leaky bottle under the kitchen sink. I’ll come try some in a bit.

First, there’s something I need to get done.