Sunday, August 17, 2008

Never trust physics to a bloke with a septic tank

Australians are renowned for two great recreational passions. These are, as I'm sure you're aware, Philosophy and Quantum Chromodynamics. I'm a bit more on the philosophy side, but I've got a few mates who like to tinker with crystal radio sets and the like. Just the other day, my mate Graham the Barbarian and I were sitting around in his shed having a cold one and cleaning the rifles, when out of the blue he said "Loz, this fuckin' M-Theory has got me buggered."

"How do you mean, old son?", I enquired. "As far as I'm concerned the whole thing's a doddle."

"No, no - it's not the theory's mathematics that's the problem, it's... Look. I haven't told the missus about this, cause she'd hit the roof. You know how big she is on a particle explanation, so don't let on to her about this, right?"

"My lips are sealed, pal," I responded, eager to hear the bloke out.

"It's these dimensions, Loz." He leaned over towards me conspiratorially; "I found another one of the little bastards yesterday, behind the septic tank. Sittin' there as large as life, if you know what I mean, given that they're not real big buggers, an' all that."

"Well, the Planck length is not something readily observable to a bloke with a tape measure," I agreed. " Graham, you haven't been doing anything unusual around here, have you?"

The poor bloke was abject. He waved me over to the fridge. We ripped the tops off another couple and he continued.

"You know how I borrowed Leigh's excavator to dig the new transpiration pit? Well, I made the fuckin' thing a complete circle, right around the back of the chook-pen, up the side, past the grey gum, and back over to here. Dunno why, just got carried away. Anyway, I was lookin' at it, and a thought came to mind. You know those old magnets we picked up from the railway yards a few months ago, well I threw a few of them around the hole, got some of that copper wire that fell off the back of Barry's work truck last week, and... well, I've rigged up me own cyclotron."

"Fuck me dead, Graham, I knew you were a handy kind of bloke, but this is ridiculous! Go on."

"Well, I tapped into the 33 kilovolt power line that runs through the back of the place, and Bob's yer uncle! Got the laser scope off the triple 4, hooked it up as a particle generator, and mate, I tell you I'm the only fuckin' bloke in Kurrajong that can smash atoms!"

"So, have you managed to find the Higgs yet, mate?", I attempted to jest.

"Well, see, Loz, that's my problem. Once I got the thing really revved up (an' I tell you, I nearly got busted when the missus' lava lamp started to go dim), out popped all of these other bloody dimensions. This is what I've been tryin' to tell ya, mate - this string theory business is for real."

"Well, mate, I reckon you better get on the blower to CERN and give 'em a heads-up - they'll probably want to come over and have a look."

"But mate," Graham almost sobbed, "that's the problem. I've got a bet goin' with Len and his fisho mates down at the Arms that the Large Hadron Collider is gonna wipe string theory off the planet, and if this gets out I stand to lose half a case of beer!"


TheWhitePearl said...


oh man that does paint a pretty picture indeed.

This is what you guys do during your free time? I need to be an australian.

Apathy Personified said...

Haha - You and your friends Laurie!

How did he get the nickname 'the Barbarian'?

Laurie said...

Well, he's actually an amalgam of two really good friends of mine. Both of them as completely different from me as you can get. The original Graham is a mechanical engineer who loves hunting pigs with a broadsword he made himself. Hence "Barbarian."

Sharon said...

Brilliant. :)