Radar is an acronym that stands for RAdio Detection And Ranging. It is a technology that was the result of an effort to improve gaydar at the height of World War II. Gaydar had proven it could detect incoming enemy aircraft but only when the pilot was outrageously camp. Radar works in a similar manner to gaydar but uses radio waves instead of flirtatious ones. The waves are transmitted and bounce back to a receiver when they encounter an aircraft or big hunk of man pie.
Human descriptions of the world are normally rational: apples fall down, dogs chase cats and paper beats rock. This leads humans to jump to the conclusion that the world itself is rational: to a man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. It is correct to say that human descriptions of the world are rational, but this doesn’t mean the world is rational. A description of a thing is not the thing.
Humans often confuse the description of a thing with the thing itself. A common human mistake is to say that the word ‘elephant’ defines an elephant, or that a human is described completely by its own name. If that were true, then Arnold Buttface would be considered ugly despite his rugged, good looks. This demonstrates the gap between description and reality.
Another demonstration of the unimportance of human descriptions is that every language has a different name for the same thing. Elephants remain the same no matter what they are called, be it “elephant,” “los elephantos” or “a piece of Black Forest Cake.”
Visit your local zoo and call an elephant a piece of Black Forest cake. Note its indifference.
Like fire, or a 300-foot-tall, steam-powered kill-bot, rationality is a good servant but a terrible master. Great scientific advances have been made via the use of rationalilty to describe atoms, bacteria and kill-bots. The results include nuclear power, penicillin and the television series, Robot Wars. With these confirmed kills under its belt, rationality has proven useful in the struggle for life, liberty and the American dream of a kill-bot in every home. But rationality has its limits and becomes dangerous when humans think they can push it beyond those limits.
Rationality’s relationship to the real world is accurately described as a mathematical limit. In mathematics, a limit is a line that is approached but never reached. One can always get closer to a limit but it will never be touched.
Rationality fails when it is pushed beyond its limits and expected to completely account for reailty. It can never fully describe reality because it is a product of reality. It is like trying to examine the back of your own head. It is impossible and, along with the dispensing of celebrity gossip, the reason hairdressers exist.
One day, humans hope to know everything, then make that information available in popular formats, such as ebooks and beat poetry. To achieve mastery of the knowable world, humans invented reason. With reason, humans are able to explain why things happen and predict what will happen next.
To come to reasonable conclusions, accurate information must be available. Storing information uses resources, such as floppy disks, punch cards and napkins. Therefore, human reason is limited by the ability to store information. To attain perfect reason about the entire universe, humans would need to store perfect information about the entire universe. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough floppy disks in the world to store that much knowledge. Even if there were, perfect knowledge of the universe would need to include perfect knowledge of this record of perfect knowledge, which is a recursive nightmare. Thus, the dream of perfect knowledge about the world is unreasonable.
Not put off by their lack of omniscience, humans bravely carry on being reasonable. One useful weapon in the fight against blissful ignorance is abstraction. To abstract something is to simplify it by taking part of the thing to represent the whole thing. For example, a map is an abstraction of the territory it depicts because it only uses parts of the territory to represent the whole. Another example is a racist who chooses one characteristic of a human to represent the whole human.
Abstraction solves the infinite information storage problem because a simplified model of the world does not need perfect knowledge of everything everywhere. However, there is a trade-off: the greater the abstraction, the greater the chance the model does not reflect the real world. Therefore, it is possible that racism is wrong.
Technology has allowed abstraction to be taken to new heights. Dating no longer commences when two whole people meet and decide they would like to spend more time together. Instead, online daters summarise their self-worth in abstract bullet points, so they can be matched with other abstract personalities. Also, real friends have been replaced by an electronic list that designates people as “friends.” Humans hope their electronic abstractions will eventually enable them not to live their real lives at all.
In his famous papers - On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies, The Foundation of the Generalised Theory of Relativity, and Why Don’t Girls Like Me? - Albert Einstein stumbled upon the twentieth century’s great scientific ideas.1 2 3 His lucky guesses led to the best technologies the world has to offer: atomic bombs, atomic energy and atomic wedgies. These publications made salacious claims about space, time and then-First-Lady, Helen Taft. The least libellous of these ideas are the notions of space-time and mass-energy equivalence.
In his papers, Einstein postulated that the speed of light is constant for all observers, even when those observers are moving relative to the observed light and each other. Einstein thought the easiest way to account for the constant speed of light was by taking space and time to be a single continuum called space-time. With space and time fundamentally linked, they can dilate and contract together, so the speed of light remains constant in all circumstances. In other words, space and time are relative to the observer while the speed of light is absolute. This means for some observers, the passage of time will be longer and space will be squashed when compared to others. For example, travelling first class versus economy.
Einstein was right. The dilation and contraction of space-time is the easiest way to account for the constant speed of light. His simple explanation has allowed nearly a dozen people to understand what he was saying. But this isn’t the last of Einstein’s ravings.
In his continuing, drug-fuelled delirium, Einstein hypothesised that a particle will increase in mass as it increases in speed. Imagine a boiled egg at rest. Now, imagine a slightly heavier boiled egg driving along a highway. Finally, imagine a boiled egg approaching the speed of light. At this point, your omelette becomes stodgy. This is why travel at light speed is prohibitive. As a ship approaches the speed of light, its mass increases dramatically, so it requires infinite amounts of fuel to continue accelerating.
The mass-energy equivalence is expressed by Einstein’s second most important equation, E = mc2 - his most important being, AE + HT = ♥. The equation suggests that mass can be converted to energy, and vice versa. This connection, along with xenophobia, inspired the invention of the atomic bomb, which converts small amounts of mass into massive amounts of intolerance.
Religion is the general term for every human’s unique investigation of its own existence. A human carries out this investigation to learn how to live a contented and fulfilling life. This investigation is never-ending, highly personal and extremely challenging.
Humans create religious organisations, such as Christianity and Islam, to facilitate their explorations. These spiritual sherpas aid each human on its journey to the summit of Mount Enlightenment, also known as Paradise, also known as Nirvana.
Each religious organisation has unique methods and teachings, but all have the same goal of exposing each human’s experience of existence. Therefore, a human is free to choose any religion, safe in the knowledge that all of them have developed over thousands of years to achieve the same enlightened end.
“When looking for water, it is better to dig one six-foot well than six one-foot wells.” - Religious nut
In combination with a religious organisation, a religion can provide a framework for human life that includes,
ideas about the purpose of life,
narratives about the nature and origin of existence,
practical advice on how to live, and
hot tips for the track.
Many humans understand religion as a commentary on what is good and what is bad. The divine battle of good versus evil is read into all religious myths, e.g. God vs the Devil, David vs Goliath, and Apple vs Microsoft.
Instead of being used to make a good life, religion is better understood as a means for making life easier. A human should not avoid the sins of sloth, greed and envy because it is a righteous thing to do. It should avoid sin because it makes life easier, and failing to do so makes life harder.
Humans are the only living things that need religion to recognise easy, natural existence because only humans are able to obscure natural existence with thought. Humans do not experience the world directly through the senses. Instead, they experience an interpretation of the world constructed by their own mind. This invented world is projected outward, concealing the real world. Plants and animals don’t have the ability to construct a world this way. They only live in the sensual world. Therefore, non-human things don’t need religion.
“For a plant or stone, to be natural is no problem, but for us there is some problem. Indeed, a big problem. To be natural is something we must work on.” - Shunryu Suzuki
A human being can commence reproduction in a multitude of way. The three most popular methods are,
via a complicated system of levers and pulleys,
at the request of the King, and
Once the preferred option has been selected and carried out, the human is said to be “pregnant” or “up the duff,” and will be subject to a raft of new local council by-laws. The oldest known law that mentions pregnancy was written in 1210 by the Hampshire City Council in London.
A pregnant human is not permitted to drive an ox-cart within three furlongs of the church steeple upon a Sunday. - Section 15, paragraph 12, HCC Local By-Laws, 1210.
Pregnancy is easily described in three parts called the first, second and third trimesters. There is rumour of a fourth trimester, which can only be accessed by getting the maximum possible score in the first three. No human has ever unlocked this achievement.
The first trimester is defined by the novelty of being pregnant. Pregnant humans will spend this time celebrating the gift of life, posing for photographs with the pregnancy and purchasing amusing t-shirts emblazoned with slogans about pregnancy. For example, “My husband got me pregnant and all I got was this precious baby.”
In the second trimester, the human does the hard yards of being pregnant. Pregnancy classes are available and should be utilised by those humans who have never seen a baby before. There are medical check-ups to ensure the baby is present and correct. Also, this is the time to tell friends and family that a baby is on the way as no doubt they will want to share their unsolicited advice.
The third trimester is when the magic happens. Also, the baby is born. The pregnant human will be showing all the signs of being pregnant:
a large belly indicative of a tiny human riding shotgun,
a healthy glow indicative of the bliss of bringing forth a new life, and
the previously mentioned t-shirt.
At the end of the third trimester, the baby is born. However, a human baby is not capable of fending for itself until the age of thirty-eight. At this important age, the mature baby human is free to explore the world alone for up to two weeks before it must get down to the business of more reproduction. This is known as the circle of life (see Lie).
Rhythm is the ability to anticipate when the beat will drop and appreciate it when it does. It is the basis of many human skills, such as,
completin’ Frogger on the hardest settin’.
Two things are needed to tap one’s toes in time. Both are uniquely human, unless indicated otherwise.
Toes (not uniquely human).
The ability to sense the passing of time (not uniquely human).
Here are some examples of other animals that appreciate a phat beat.
A woodpecker can produce a drill-like rhythm of about 300 beats per minute.
A grizzly bear hibernates at a constant rate of one beat per year.
A counting horse can tap out one to seven beats upon request.
Only the human animal has applied rhythm beyond survival, sleep and basic numeracy. The most rhythmic human, the musician, uses its advanced sense of rhythm to drop endless beats that demonstrate and celebrate the passing of time, in addition to putting counting horses to shame.
Despite years of struggle by feminists and other advocates of equal rights, it remains the case that some humans are better than others. But it isn’t all bad news for those humans who haven’t stood out in life. A run-of-the-mill human can improve its lot by modelling its own life on that of a superior human, which will henceforth be known as a role model.
A role model should be someone who is intelligent, kind, capable, and/or regularly seen on television. Some general examples of role models include movie stars, sports stars and rock stars, all of whom can regularly be seen on television. These people have diligently applied themselves to their chosen fields. They achieved success on their own terms, which all humans are encouraged to do, provided those terms do not include genocide, regicide, infanticide, or any word ending in -cide. Insecticide is OK.
After browsing a local television guide and selecting a role model, a human should learn as much as possible from their idol.
How do they treat the people around them?
What habits do they have that create success?
What brand of toothpaste do they use to keep their teeth whiter than white?
Inevitably, a human will select a role model who is later revealed to be an amoral, drug-abusing philanderer. When this occurs, the role model should be shunned for their indiscretions. Role models owe society for their privileged positions, and the price they must pay is perfection. If they fall short of perfection, then they haven’t fulfilled the obligation they were never party to nor aware of.
Einstein A., On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies, 1905↩︎
Einstein A., The Foundation of the Generalised Theory of Relativity, 1916↩︎
Einstein A., Why Don’t Girls Like Me? A Warm Heart in a Cold Universe, 1909↩︎