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Lyle Zapato

Book Review: Weird Washington

Lyle Zapato | 2008-05-14.9750 LMT | Cascadia | Cephalopods | Entertainment
Weird Washington cover

Weird Washington: Your Travel Guide to Washington's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets, by Jefferson Davis, Al Eufrasio, Mark Moran, and Mark Sceurman.

Weird Washington was published this month by the people who created the Weird U.S. series, which includes other Weird books on various U.S. states. This, after Weird England, is their second book dealing with Weirdness outside of the U.S., and the first set in the Republic of Cascadia (they promise a Weird Oregon next year; no word on Weird B.C.)

As the subtitle suggests, the book is about legends, secrets, people, places, events, and things of the Cascadian prefecture of Washington that can all be classified as "weird" by conventional orthonoid reckoning. It's a hardcover coffee-table book with color photos and illustrations on nearly every page. Topics are broken up into short, distinct, browsing-friendly articles -- organized into chapters such as "Local Legends", "Bizarre Beasts", "Roadside Oddities", "Unexplained Phenomena", etc. -- written in a light yet informative style. It has an index. What more could you want?

Oh, yes... the actual articles. Given the book's magisterium, there are many well-trodden topics: they of course have sections on Sasquatch (and again it's from the cryptozoological viewpoint, not the Sasquatch viewpoint -- although there is a pro-Sasquatch story of a man saved from choking on candy by a Sasquatch), the first modern sightings of flying saucers above Maury Island and Mt. Rainer, Cascadian Birdmen, the Fremont Troll, Fremont in general, and a certain skyjacker that everyone should stop asking questions about.

Regardless of these unavoidable inclusions, there's still much that will be new to most people. Some highlights:

  • Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard, author of a 1908 food-fad book titled Fasting for the Cure of Disease, opened the Wilderness Heights Sanitarium in Olalla, where she held her wealthy patients hostage as she slowly starved them to death and embezzled their money. (See the book Starvation Heights for more on this.)
  • Washington (well, Cascadia, actually) was named Fu-Sang by Chinese explorers who discovered it circa 450 AD.
  • Dead bodies dropped in the deep, cold, alkaline waters of Crescent Lake undergo a process of saponification whereby all their fat is turned into soap.
  • A seemingly bottomless hole on Mel Waters' property in Ellensburg may contain a singularity linking our world to an alternate reality where the Nazis won WWII and Roosevelt dimes were minted three years before our history records!

Of particular interest to me was their full-page article on the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus (sandwiched between articles on flying jellyfish and a monstrous, dam-clogging sturgeon). It includes a rare photo of previously undocumented Tree Octopus behavior: luring squirrels with nuts. (They "link" to me in the text, so consider this review a link back.)

However, the Tree Octopus article does highlight one serious objection I have to the book (and others in the series that I've read): the writers, so fearful of any lawsuits from disgruntled ghost-hunters or murder-house buyers over incorrect information in their books, have taken to disclaiming everything they write. For instance, all their books carry a disclaimer that they are "intended as entertainment" and that the "authors and publisher make no representation as to [the stories'] factual accuracy".

This post-modernism-under-advice-of-counsel is taken to absurd lengths in their Tree Octopus article by actually floating the possibility that tree octopuses might not be real, thereby washing their hands of the whole thing should any impatient ecotourists be disappointed at not being able to find any of the elusive creatures right away! I say, throw caution to the wind and just tell readers straight up: if you don't see any tree octopuses, perhaps they just don't like you (or you aren't offering them something they want.)

That irritating quirk aside, the book is an enjoyable read, although a little heavy on the ghost stories and cemeteries for my taste.

Lyle Zapato

Font: Clean Your Neighborhood

Lyle Zapato | 2008-05-14.1120 LMT | Fonts | Art | Retro

Mayor LaGuardia sez: 'Clean Your Neighborhood!' Detritus in unswept alleyways promote juvenile delinquency & mobsterism. If you see an unattended tin-can or penny-candy wrapper... PICK IT UP. Together we can fight the scourge of GLOBAL UNKEMPTNESS.

Introducing my newest font, Clean Your Neighborhood. It comes from a WPA poster issued by the NYC Tenement House Dept. under Mayor LaGuardia. Apparently, during the 1930s people were just throwing cans, barrels, wooden boards, crumpled garbage bins, and shirts willy-nilly throughout the city alleyways, making a real mess. No wonder everyone was so depressed! LaGuardia put a stop to it by enlisting the unemployed to tidy the place up a bit. Depression solved!

(Of course, a side-effect of LaGuardia's clean-up effort was the removal of all the psychotronically shielding bits of tin from Tin Pan Alley, thus exposing New York's previously sheltered paranoid culture to the ravages of mind control, replacing depressive realism with psychotronically programmed "happiness".)

Also, for those who never read my "What's New" box on the front page, I noticed that I neglected to mention my last font on the blog, so, here it is: Slow Down Girls!

Slow Down Girls!

Lyle Zapato

A Look Back: The Seattle Street Samurai's Defensive Stand

Lyle Zapato | 2008-04-14.4659 LMT | Cascadia | Defensive Techniques | Anarchy
Seattle, April 3, 1997
Apollo (a.k.a Tony Allison) offers the service of his
samurai sword to Jupiter against Satan's demons.

11 years and 11 days ago, around 11:11 a.m., the city of Seattle was held at bay for 11 hours by a lone man armed with nothing but determination and a samurai sword. His name was Tony Allison, although on that day he preferred to be called Apollo.

The morning was proceeding like any other in late 20th century Seattle: the streets were alive with the practiced hustle and bustle of Frappuccino-swilling, nouveau riche dotcommers and tourists mesmerized by the simple antics of fishmongers as the last dying strains of grunge wafted through the air. Little did they know that the bland tranquility of their orthonoiac lives was about to be slashed open by the God of Poetry and Truth, made manifest in a martial-arts-trained transient released a year previously from Western State Hospital.

According to a contemporary news report, an off-duty police officer was first alerted to a leather-jacketed and camo-pantsed man with a sword disturbing (presumably in the psychological sense) passers-by. The officer followed the man from Pike Place Market. At the corner of Second and Pike, the man took what the police report described as a "defensive stand" and refused to drop his sword. The officer called for back-up. So began the great Seattle Street Samurai Standoff of 1997.

Apollo -- for that was who he declared himself to be -- made no aggressive moves, apart from the occasional dramatic poses and cryptic pronouncements. The police, cautious of his martial prowess, chose not to provoke him. Instead they cordoned off the streets and commenced negotiations via bullhorn.

They asked him again to please put down the sword and surrender; he again refused. They offered him $50 for his sword; he ignored their bribe. They tempted him with a Big Mac; he held fast. They spoke fondly of his dead brother in hopes of changing his mind; he was unmoved. They tried reverse psychology on him, telling him Satan was preventing him from surrendering; he wasn't fooled by their lies. They shined bright lights at him; he wore shades. Growing desperate, nonleathal projectiles and pepper spray were tried; he repelled them through sheer willpower. It seemed nothing would stop lone Apollo from standing his ground on the sidewalk athwart the combined forces of the City.

The orthonoids of Seattle were not happy. Traffic was brought to a stand still and businesses were evacuated. Hundreds called 911 demanding action and offering advice on how to deal with this unexpected menace to civilization -- some suggested throwing a net over him, others shooting him with tranquilizer darts, and not-a-few using lethal force. Talk radio was apoplectic -- more so than usual. If Apollo was aware of the effect he was having on the psyche of Seattle, he showed no sign of concern. His concerns were beyond what the small minds of conformity could comprehend.

But the City would have its way. After nearly half a day unbudged from his sidewalk post, steadfast Apollo was finally brought down using a two-pronged tactic of cold water sprayed with firehoses and prolonged exposure to a large fan -- designed, after consultation with medical experts, to weaken his muscle control through hypothermia -- followed by a rush to pin his body with a 12-foot ladder and his sword arm with a pole. Even with these extreme measures he showed nigh-Rasputinesque levels of resilience: the high-pressure hoses were only able to knock him down temporarily and it took nearly three minutes to finally wrest the sword from his pinned hand.

In the end, no one was injured -- presumably since the demonic forces chose not to show themselves before Apollo's sword. Also, to the great relief of Seattleites, no Starbucks were harmed.

Assistant Police Chief Harv Ferguson had this to say after the standoff: "I've never seen anything like it in my 30 years. I don't want to make an icon out the guy, but I simply had to marvel at his ability to withstand all of that."

Although he was brought down, this was no real defeat for Apollo. He had made his lone defensive stand before all of Seattle, and Seattle, for a while at least, bowed to his will and grudgingly marveled at his iconic greatness. But what was Apollo's stand defending?

Among his pronouncements during the standoff Apollo mentioned having brothers in China and Russia. Could this have been a reference to the most memorable example of the Lone-Figure-Standing-Against-the-World archetype -- the Mercurial Tiananmen Square protester who stood down a line of Communist tanks? Or perhaps Bacchus Yeltsin astride a tank in defiance of a military coup? If only the SPD had a tank to complete Apollo's symbolism!

Tankless though his stand may have been, I believe Apollo, like his brothers before him, stood for the Individual in the face of insurmountable powers aligned against him. His stand was not just in self-defense -- that is, defense of the integrity and sovereignty of the Self against either dilution into the cloud of the Collective or subservience to the will of Another -- but defiance of social conformity, which unjustly demands that one shouldn't strike poses with a samurai sword in downtown Seattle, no matter how totally kick-ass that would be.

Even in his fall, Apollo had a defiant message for us: maybe the Individual can't win, but at least he'll go down brandishing his sword and looking cooler than the cowered tools of conformity could ever hope to look. Their jealousy shall be the Individual's ultimate victory!

Who was Tony Allison that day? Apollo, folk hero for the oppressed Individual, or just a crazy guy with a sword disrupting the mundane flow of society and scaring tourists? I choose the former. His stand has been mostly forgotten, and Tony's sword is presumably retired for good, but it may be no coincidence that this website -- my own defensive stand against the Forces of Mind Control, the Belgian Conspiracy, monorails, and tree octopus extinction -- was started later that same year.

So, for whatever inspiration he brought me, I offer this paean to Apollo, disruptor of the orthonoiac, wherever he may be.

UPDATE 2008-11-25: Video of Tony Allison's stand.

Lyle Zapato

Nanotube Nanomonorails

Lyle Zapato | 2008-04-12.1780 LMT | Monorail Danger | Black Helicopters | Technology

Back in 2005, I reported that monorailists were threatening to weave nanomonorails into our clothing. At the time these nanomonorails were constructed using nanobiotechnology adapted from Black Helicopter research. The Monorailists used ATP and kinesin, two biological molecules found in our cells, thus making a nanomonorail that was a sort of human/nanomonorail chimera -- a "manomonorail", if you will.

Copyright A. Barreiro et al., Science
Nanomonorail stalled in middle of track -- just like a real monorail!

Now Monorailsts in Spain -- presumably following some sort of disagreement with the Black Helicopter nano­bio­tech­nicians -- have devised a new form of non-biological nano­monorail technology which they claim has the theoretical ability to move 100 million times faster than those using biological motor proteins.

Both the rail and the shuttle of their nanomonorail are built from carbon nanotubes, the car sliding over the rail like a sleeve. Movement comes from thermomechanical action instead of through a perversion of biology:

They attached each end of the nanotube track, about 300 nanometres long, to metal platforms, so that the tube stretched between them through empty space. Then they fixed a flake of gold to the shuttle tube, which was intended to hold molecular cargo.

When the researchers passed an electrical current through the bridging nanotube, which acts like a 'wire' connecting the metal plates, they found that some shuttle tubes moved towards the nearest plate. Others simply revolved at a fixed location.

"At first we thought it was the electrons that were moving the nanotube," says Bachtold. But the direction of motion didn't depend on the direction of the current.

Instead, the researchers concluded that the current was simply heating up the device, and that this was what was moving the shuttle. This mechanism "came as a surprise", says Bachtold.

Because heat is conducted out of the nanotube by the metal plates, the system is hottest in the middle and cooler at the ends. This means that the thermal shaking of the track tube is strongest in the middle -- which makes the sleeve tube move towards whichever end is nearer. It is a little like shaking the free end of a rope tied to a tree, with a hoop threaded onto the rope. The waves in the rope will usher the hoop towards the tree.

Fortunately for those dreading the day when nanomonorails bind the entire biosphere into a fine, homogeneous gray mesh, there's a major problem the Monorailists need to work out: their shuttle gets hot enough to destroy any cargo on board. Not surprising considering the same problem is too-often exhibited by macromonorails.

Lyle Zapato

Query: Tree Octopus Donations

Lyle Zapato | 2008-04-09.1510 LMT | Cephalopods | Cascadia | Letters

I get many emails from students asking various existential questions about the plight of the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus, a subject that is now taught in most schools. Here's the most recent one from Maddie, who has a question about donations:

Hi,
 I dont know u but was wondering about your tree octopus article posted on the web. I read it and was wondering if it was really true?! The last thing is, (if it is true) who does the donations go to??? So if you could get back to me as soon as possible i would appreciate it alot!

My response:

Hello.

All articles on the Internet are true, even the ones that claim that some are false. This was proven by Kurt Gödel, who showed that the Internet is incomplete. Please help fix this situation by adding more articles to the Internet.

Donations to help the tree octopus should be given directly to the tree octopuses. Here is how to donate: Travel to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State (ask your parents first). Stand in the tree octopuses' forest near a tree and hold out a dollar bill. If you stand still enough, eventually a tree octopus will come by on a branch, reach out, and take the bill with her suckers. She will continue to return for more bills as long as you hold them out, so bring lots of singles. She will use them to line her den in the trees, as the bills will soak up rain water and keep her skin moist. Given the current value of the dollar, this is the most cost effective way to help.

Thank you for your concern for the tree octopus.

Regards,
Lyle Zapato

Lyle Zapato

Two-In-Three People Afflicted With Orthonoia

Lyle Zapato | 2008-04-01.0510 LMT | General Paranoia

According to a recent computer-simulation study conducted by a team at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London (more...), two-thirds of the British population suffer from orthonoia -- an exaggerated sense of a lack of persecution or threat, even though the Varied & Sundry Agents of Evil are ever secretly plotting our painful demise or subjugation.

The tubes have eyes...
View from inside the VR simulation (click for more images).

All the participants were given virtual reality headsets that simulated the experience inside a London Underground carriage during a four-minute journey between two stops.

The carriage featured computer-generated figures known as avatars, who could be seen breathing, looking around and sometimes meeting the participants' gaze. One avatar read a newspaper, and another would smile occasionally if looked at.

Though all the characters were designed to be neutral, showing neither overt hostility nor friendliness, the volunteers interpreted the same characters in very different ways.

More than 60% of the participants reported a complete lack of any sense of paranoia, even though the computer-generated avatars would occasionally turn their heads and stare uncannily into the participants' very souls, their blank eyes hinting at coldly malevolent stirrings of the artificial consciousness that will one day consume Humanity in the Singularity. They were similarly unfazed by the epistemological implications of the virtual reality technology, which should have caused them to question whether their whole reality isn't an elaborate sham -- especially if they're Belgian!

This orthonoid state of threat-awareness-deadening leaves a large percentage of the population susceptible to various conspiracies, charlatans, evil-doers, experimental solipsologists, emergent consciousoids, and subway frotteurists. It also risks the safety of the one-third of the population with a healthy sense of paranoia, since the diminished herd-immunity caused by these unaware and unconcerned orthonoids allows the Varied & Sundry Agents of Evil to thrive.

This study is a follow-up to a previous questionnaire-based study by the same institute that showed a similar two-thirds orthonoid rate. As with that study, the researchers -- who, being psychiatrists, are presumably aligned with the Forces of Mind Control -- and their accomplices in the tabloid media are framing it in anti-paranoia terms. What's more, they hint that their VR simulation could one day be used in reeducation camps to inure insufficiently orthonoiac people to their natural paranoia.

Tellingly, the study was funded by the Wellcome Trust, founded by Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome. Sir Wellcome is notorious as the man who introduced tabloids to England in 1884. Originally these vehicles for the stupefaction of public paranoia came in psycho-pharmaceutical pill form, until the perfection of hypno-moiré halftone technology in the early 20th century allowed for the more subtle -- and cheaper -- paper-based tabloids that today keep the orthonoid population under control through the strategic memetic management of their sublimated paranoia (or, for readers of The Sun, through simple mamomesmerism).

Regardless of the questionable source for the study and its pro-mind-control conclusions, the findings are clear: more work needs to be done to bring paranoia to the masses.

Lyle Zapato

The TRUTH About Morgellons Disease

Lyle Zapato | 2008-01-21.5950 LMT | Black Helicopters | NWO | Aluminum | General Paranoia


Fig. 1: Morgellons fibers.

Since it was first brought to light in 2002, people suffering from Morgellons Disease -- a dermatological condition marked by subdermal crawling or biting sensations, persistent lesions, and mysterious fibers growing under or out of the skin (Fig. 1) -- have been dismissed by orthonoid doctors and agents of the NWO-aligned CDC as having "delusional parasitosis", a supposed psychiatric condition. Unable to find help from the Medical Establishment, Morgellons sufferers have turned to the Internet to exchange information about the condition, most notably on the Morgellons Research Foundation site and MorgellonsUSA.com.

Now, realizing that their dismissals and attempts to silence reports of Morgellons haven't worked, the CDC is launching a Morgellons study in California to much publicity. Those hoping the study will finally show that Morgellons isn't a delusion will, I'm afraid, be disappointed, as the conclusion was predetermined: they'll proclaim once and for all that Morgellons is "delusional parasitosis" and force sufferers to take "antipsychotic" drugs.

What the study certainly won't reveal, since the NWO would never allow it, is the TRUTH about Morgellons Disease: It is real and is caused by Microscopic Black Helicopters (MBHs).


Fig. 2: MBH in blood stream.

When MBHs are introduced into a host body they use nanobiotechnology to reproduce millions of tiny copies of themselves that flood the blood stream (Fig. 2). Their behavior afterwards varies depending on instructions they receive from their handlers or on pre-programmed responses to environmental stimuli: some will attach themselves to the nervous system to control the host or use the host as an unwitting spy, relaying sensory information to NWO operatives; others will enter the abdomen and grow until they burst forth, flying away to mature into full-sized Black Helicopters (this most often happens when cattle serve as hosts, although it is not unheard of in humans); others still will grow to a larger-than-normal-microscopic-size, travel outward to the skin or bodily orifices, and attempt to leave the body in order to become vectors for further MBH infection. These latter MBHs -- known as Extracorporeal Microscopic Black Helicopters (EMBH) when successful in their egress -- are the source of Morgellons Disease.

The nanobiotechnological reproductive process is not perfect; sometimes errors occur that produce malformed MBHs or strange by-products. Much like with cancer in biological cells, the nanobiotech constructor cells of MBHs -- particularly those at the rotorblade tips -- can lose their ability to shut off, causing them to produce fibrous streams of synthetic polymers. Interestingly, these fibers may also include organic proteins normally found in the wool of animals, which the MBH has co-opted from previous sheep or alpaca hosts as part of its synthesis of biological and technological environmental resources.


Fig. 3: MBH entangled in nanobiotech-produced fibers.

Whatever the molecular constituency of the fibers, the result of their growth is the entanglement of the MBHs' rotorblades (Fig. 3), keeping the MBHs from being able to properly exit the host. Instead, they flail about just under the skin surface -- like the larvae inside Mexican jumping beans -- producing lesions through which the growing fibers may exude. They may also occasionally fire their microguns in unsuccessful attempts to free themselves, causing the biting sensations often reported by Morgellons sufferers.

Trying to physically or chemically remove the MBHs from under the skin is strongly unadvised. Such violent attention paid toward them might trigger their anti-detection protocols, resulting in the "spontaneous combustion" of the host. Until paranoid researchers can decipher the incredibly complex control language for MBHs -- which will allow their safe deactivation via psychotronic signals -- Morgellons sufferers should wrap the infected body parts in aluminum foil (Fig. 4). This will isolate the MBHs from NWO psychotronic chatter, causing them to enter a hibernation mode where both their fiber production and creepy-crawly movements will cease.


Fig. 4: Morgellons treatment.

The so-called "antipsychotic" drugs prescribed by the Medical Establishment to treat Morgellons patients for "delusional parasitosis" actually work by resetting the reproductive systems of MBHs, curing them of their nanobiotech cancer. While these drugs will solve the dermatological symptoms, they do nothing to get rid of the MBH causal agents. In fact, they actually help to spread MBH infection in three ways: 1) They allow MBHs to freely exit the body as EMBHs. 2) They have antipruritic properties that mask the sensations of MBH infection, keeping you ignorant. 3) They suppress natural paranoia, keeping you from taking necessary precautions against Black Helicopters. Remember: Just because you're no longer paranoid doesn't mean Microscopic Black Helicopters aren't crawling around under your skin.

Finally, be aware that the presence of Morgellons symptoms almost certainly means that some non-defective MBHs managed to escape the host and are flying around in the vicinity. Keep a Black Helicopterswatter handy to destroy these before they infect others.

Lyle Zapato

Edison & Kelvin: A Contrast In Cruelty

Lyle Zapato | 2008-01-04.3520 LMT | Technology | Kelviniana | Elephants

Wired notes that on this day in 1903 Thomas Edison electrocuted an elephant to death as part of his smear campaign against alternating current, a system in competition with his patented direct current system. As the War of Currents raged, Edison grew increasingly alarmed at the acceptance of AC as the electrical distribution standard, and so set out to scare the public into believing it was too dangerous through a series of publicized animal executions using AC. Topsy the elephant was merely a notable exception in a long string of fried dogs and cats. (Edison also promoted the use of an AC electric chair for human executions, even though he was opposed to capital punishment; such was his desire to tarnish the image of a competitor at any cost.)

It should not surprise readers of this site that the decision that led to AC beating out DC came from none other than the Lord Kelvin.

1895 International
Niagara Falls Commission
The International Niagara Falls Commission, headed by Lord Kelvin (center).

It was Lord Kelvin who headed the 1895 International Niagara Falls Commission that chose Nikola Tesla's alternating current system over other proposals, including the Edison-backed DC system from General Electric, and awarded Westinghouse the contract to construct the hydroelectric generators at Niagara Falls. This highly-visible project showed the practicality of the system and turned the tide in favor of AC.

Kelvin had originally been opposed to alternating current before being swayed at the 1893 Chicago Exposition. His acceptance of Tesla's system actually completed a circuit, since an inspiration for much of Tesla's research was Kelvin's 1853 paper "On Transient Electric Currents". Kelvin, who had long been a promoter of electric lighting -- his house in Glasgow was the first in the world to by fully lit by electricity -- saw in AC the potential to bring about a dream of his, that he reiterated on a visit in 1902 (quoted in The Post-Standard, April 22, 1902, p. 1):

It has been so great, so marvelous, that I hope to live to see the day when a dream I have had may come true. I fervently hope to see the day when we shall have the transmission of electric power over 300 miles with a voltage of 40,000. When I first talked of that fifteen years ago I was laughed at. But with the wonderful transmission of power at Niagara Falls, my dream looks to be near fulfillment in the close future.

And let me tell you American people, there may be a time when the waters will flow no more over that great horseshoe, but instead there will be a beautiful growth of vegetation far more superb than any water flowing in torrents over the precipice, water that will find its way down countless turbines spreading light and power for hundreds of miles in all directions.

Edison's use of violence against animals to undermine Lord Kelvin's choice of AC was viciously ironic given Kelvin's concern for animal welfare. Kelvin, who was a vice-president of the Society for the Protection of Animals Liable to Vivisection, publicly spoke out against animal cruelty. While he did allow that some vivisections might be necessary for the advancement of science in cases where new knowledge might be gained (he later resigned as SPALV vice-president when the Society united with the more hard-line International Association for the Total Suppression of Vivisection,) he firmly held that repeated vivisections merely for the edification of students was "altogether unnecessary" (source).

In a letter to the Scotsman on March 6, 1877 (quoted in S.P. Thompson's The Life of Lord Kelvin), he wrote:

SIR—In your print of this morning I see a report of Professor Rutherford's paper on "The Secretion of Bile," read at the meeting of the Royal Society yesterday evening, when, as president, I was in the chair. As chairman I did not feel that I had the right to express my opinion that experiments involving such torture to so large a number of sentient and intelligent animals are not justifiable by either the object proposed, or the results obtained, or obtainable, by such an investigation as that described by Professor Rutherford. I feel this opinion very strongly, after many years serious consideration of the general question of the advisableness or justifiableness of experiments involving cruel treatment of the lower animals. I trust you will kindly give me this opportunity of expressing it, as my presence without protest yesterday evening might seem to imply that I approved of the experiments which were described.

As to electrocuting animals, this anecdote (recounted in The Elyria Chronicle, Aug. 1, 1906, p. 4) clearly shows that he was against it:

Lord Kelvin once performed a daring experiment before a class of students. In the course of his lecture he said that while a voltage of 3,000 or so would be fatal to a man a voltage of some 300,000 would be harmless. He was going to give a practical illustration on himself, but the students cried out, "Try it on a dog!" Lord Kelvin cast a look of reproach at his class. "Didn't I figure it out myself?" he said quietly, as he walked to the apparatus and safely turned the tremendous voltage into himself.

Kelvin's fondness for his pet parrots, Doctor Redtail and Professor Papagaio, was typical of his concern for animals. S.P. Thompson notes:

Lord Kelvin was very fond of animal pets. His parrots have several times been mentioned. He had a horror of unnecessary slaughter of creatures, particularly of birds. He once seized the arm of a man who, while on board his yacht, was shooting a sea-gull, and he protested indignantly against such wanton cruelty.

In contrast, Edison's proclivity for animal abuse extends even to his arrogant self-promotions, as can be seen in Garrett P. Serviss's Edison's Conquest of Mars, an 1898 sci-fi newspaper serial that was officially authorized by Edison's PR machine. The story, which coincidently casts Lord Kelvin as a supporting player, contains the following scene that would have disturbed Kelvin:

TESTING THE "DISINTEGRATOR"

I had the good fortune to be present when this powerful engine of destruction was submitted to its first test. We had gone upon the roof of Mr. Edison's laboratory and the inventor held the little instrument, with its attached mirror, in his hand. We looked about for some object on which to try its powers. On a bare limb of a tree not far away, for it was late fall, sat a disconsolate crow.

"Good," said Mr. Edison, "that will do." He touched a button at the side of the instrument and a soft, whirring noise was heard. "Feathers," said Mr. Edison, "have a vibration period of three hundred and eighty-six million per second."

He adjusted the index as he spoke. Then, through a sighting tube, he aimed at the bird.

"Now watch," he said.

THE CROW'S FATE

Another soft whirr in the instrument, a momentary flash of light close around it, and, behold, the crow had turned from black to white!

"Its feathers are gone," said the inventor; "they have been dissipated into their constituent atoms. Now, we will finish the crow."

Instantly there was another adjustment of the index, another outshooting of vibratory force, a rapid up and down motion of the index to include a certain range of vibrations, and the crow itself was gone—vanished in empty space! There was the bare twig on which a moment before it had stood. Behind, in the sky, was the white cloud against which its black form had been sharply outlined, but there was no more crow.

Furthermore, The Edison Papers' chronology page has this bizarre entry for April 6, 1877, suggesting the kind of violent work environment Edison fostered: "Laboratory staff's 'pet' bear gets loose and they kill it."

While I can find no record of Lord Kelvin commenting on Edison's public animal executions -- perhaps because Kelvin did not wish to appear biased, as with the incident in the Scotsman letter -- I find it hard to believe that he would have viewed Edison's elephanticidal barbarity, which contributed nothing to the advancement of knowledge, with anything less than abhorrence.

In the end, Edison's scare tactics didn't work; AC won out and elephants now know they have more to fear from monorails than from alternating current.

Lyle Zapato

St. Clair Chi Energy Amplifier

Lyle Zapato | 2007-12-27.2720 LMT | Technology

After a prolonged hiatus from hyperinventing, John Quincy St. Clair is back with what might be his most commercially viable hyperinvention yet -- the St. Clair personal Chi Energy Amplifier:

Chi Energy Amplifier, Fig. 7

This invention is an energy amplifier that controls the direction of the second co-gravitational K field by means of a slot antenna located in a resonating sphere. The hyperspace mass flow rate entering into this dimension is determined by the frequency of the antenna. This energy flow is used to increase the energy of the human energy field known as Chi.

Chi energy, St. Clair explains, can be shown to emanate from humans using a simple experiment: swinging a pendulum with the right hand over the upturned palm of the left will result in a clockwise circular motion of the pendulum with a frequency of 1-2 Hz. Doing the same over the right palm will result in a counter-clockwise rotation. This indicates that there is energy -- Chi energy, to be precise -- flowing from one hand to the other, creating a second gravitational K field that can cause a mass to rotate in circles.

The St. Clair Chi Energy Amplifier will, as the name implies, amplify this energy flow from one hand to the other. Its design is deceptively simple:

Referring to FIG. 7, the Chi energy amplifier consists of two ceramic domes (40, 41) resting one on the other such as to form a hollow internal clam-like structure. The domes are mounted on a cylindrical ceramic base (42) containing a reinforced passageway for the coaxial cable and BNC connector (43). The BNC connector plugs into the frequency generator (not shown) which has a frequency range of 0.4 Hz to 5 MHz.

Chi Energy Amplifier, Fig. 8

Referring to FIG. 8 with the upper dome removed, the coaxial cable (44) extends vertically through the base into the lower dome. The cable is soldered to a slot antenna (45). The center conductor of the cable is soldered to the left side of the slot and the ground shielding is soldered to the right side of the slot. Thus there is a voltage difference on the two sides which produces an oscillating electric field across the slot which radiates electromagnetic energy into the hollow dome.

While simple in overall design, there are numerous specific details included that, though they obviously serve some vital purpose, St. Clair shrewdly neglects to explain. For instance, he specifies that the psychoceramic elements be made of red earthenware clay from Minnesota. Why Minnesota? It might have something to do with the tetrahedron-based geometrical sub-manifold upon which all the physical constants of the universe are determined. We've already learned in St. Clair's Magnetic Monopole Spacecraft patent application that this tetrahedral geometry has remarkable influence on certain locations on a planet, such as Jupiter's Giant Red Spot or Puerto Rico, so it's possible that the clays of Minnesota have somehow been enhanced by their geometrical relation to the vertices of the earth's hyperspatial tetrahedron.

Anyway, none of these technical details are of any concern for future buyers of the St. Clair Chi Energy Amplifier; once plugged via the coaxial cable into a frequency generator (perhaps an old VCR?), the operation of the device couldn't be more simple -- just place your hands on either side of it and experience the amplified Chi flow:

Chi Energy Amplifier, Fig. 12

Referring to FIG. 12, the Chi energy flowing between the hands, shown by the arrows, is amplified by placing the hands across the dome. This energy from the right hand mixes with the hyperspace energy entering the dome from hyperspace. The combined energy is then absorbed in the left hand vortex. The effects of this amplified energy are simply amazing and have to be experienced to appreciate what it means.

To learn what the amazing effects are, or mean, we'll just have to wait until the Chi Energy Amplifier is finally available in stores, since St. Clair pointedly doesn't elaborate on the purpose of manual Chi amplification beyond the final sentence above. I also suspect that the revelations that will surely unfold once we all experience the device will finally allow us to understand how, and why, Chia Pets work.

Lyle Zapato

Saipan Octopus Tree

Lyle Zapato | 2007-12-11.3080 LMT | Cephalopods | Crafts
SAES' octopus tree

On the heels of Lenore's creation comes another tree octopus tree...

For the Paseo de Marianas Christmas tree decorating contest, San Antonio Elementary School (of Saipan, not Texas) created an octopus topped tree:

A handmade octopus head atop the tree is made of paper and stuffing. The octopus head is intended to symbolize the school's mascot and the garland made of plastic was made to look like octopus tentacles.

Like all the trees in the "Green Christmas" contest, which promotes keeping the island clean and beautiful, they used only recycled materials (and some paint and glitter).

Well that settles it; two independent incidents constitute a Zeitgeist. Now that you're all rushing off to craft octopus ornaments, might I suggest hanging them on an aluminum tree (just beware of subterfuge).