Saint Sava (saint_sava) wrote,
Saint Sava
saint_sava

  • Music:

A memory of Usenet.

Even back in college I didn't have a life, and I'm not entirely ashamed to say that while my roommates were out drinking, tipping cattle, and climbing water towers, I was generally at home digesting sci.physics on Usenet -- not necessarily because I was that studious about physics, but rather, 1995 was a wonderful year for scientific and mathematical cranks in that particular newsgroup: the more literate of that cretinous population somehow saw the medium for what it was -- a method for reaching not only intelligent and scientifically-inclined individuals but the support and sympathy of other crackpots -- and the regularity with which they assaulted the group with their crackpot theories and whiny ad hominem attacks made it required reading.

For the most part, the troublemakers provided ready-made entertainment, either in the substance of their theories, their inexpert presentation or argumentation skills, or their prickly inability to construe even the first and gentlest criticism of their beloved theories of everything as anything less than a vicious, slanderous personal attack. One legendary crank of the group was the esteemed Alexander Abian, whose warlording sig I shall let speak for itself:


Alexander Abian: Equivalence of Mass and Time
Albert Einstein: Equivalence of Mass and Energy

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
IF IT EXISTS IT IS MASS
TIME IS MASS. ABIAN MASS-TIME EQUIVALENCE FORMULA T=(10^18)Log(1-m/Mo) SECONDS.
ALTERING EARTH'S ORBIT AND TILT - STOPPING GLOBAL DISASTERS AND EPIDEMICS.
ALTERING THE SOLAR SYSTEM. REORBITING VENUS INTO A NEAR EARTH-LIKE ORBIT
TO CREATE A BORN AGAIN EARTH.


As you can probably guess, Mr. Abian decided that if the supposition that mass and energy are equivalent was good, the argument that mass and time are equivalent was awesome, and his helpful measure of the mass of the cosmos at the time of the Big Bang, which he called the abian, could only help it gain scientific currency. You'll hear more about Alexander's ideas and the general attitude towards them later.

Most of the reprobates would quickly realize that the regular audience of sci.physics was unprepared for the transcendent wisdom of their theories, having been raised into and inculcated by an evil educational system designed to deceive and discredit, and would mercifully go away. Some, however, persisted in their illucid crankishness, drawing responses whose expert ridicule made the group doubly worth reading.

So, then. In response to Mr. Abian's endless talk about the inertia of time and his discontent with his ideas' reception in the group, some of the sensible regulars responded to one of his posts a la MST3K. Thanks to the splendid source material, this post eventually made it into a number of compilations of the Best of Usenet:

abian@iastate.edu (Alexander Abian) writes:

[Mike] Hey, look, guys!  It's Alexander's Rag Time Band!

>                      att: Richard  PIERCE et al

[Crow] I have a feeling this is going to be painful.
[Tom] He's back!  And he's _pissed_!
[Mike] _This_ time, it's PERSONAL!

> Mr. Pierce

[Crow] I see the reports of your death have been greatly exaggerated.

> I read your litanies and endless supplications and your endless
> nagging complaints concerning me and my ideas.

[Tom] And I have to admit that I've given up and will now turn to a life
      of raising pigs in Iowa

>  You are constantly imposing your standards of what is right and what is
>  wrong scientifically,

[Crow] Stop trying to confuse me with _facts_!

>  You are constantly imposing your standards what is reality and what is
>  not reality,

[Mike] I'm gonna tell my mommy on you!  You big...big....PARTY POOPER!

>  You are constantly imposing your ideas on me by telling me what I
>  must do to satisfy the scientific world, what procedures I should follow
>  to make people accept my theories,

[Tom] Which procedures is he referring to?
[Crow] Oh, you know, the usual:  Don't foam at the mouth when you talk,
       don't rant and rave like a lunatic, don't talk to yourself in
       the john...

>  You are constantly telling me to give evidence,
>
>  You are constantly telling me to give proofs,

[Tom]  Yeah!  What do you think this is?  Science?!
[Mike] Those looney scientists!  Always wanting_proof_!

>  You are constantly nagging and nagging and nagging that my ideas
>  are invalid, ridiculous, etc., etc

[Crow] Nag nag nag nag NAG!

>  You are constantly lecturing me what science is, and what I should do 
>  and how should I behave,

[Tom] And I'm _not_ going to take it anymore!
 *sings*  "We're not gonna take it!  No, we're not gonna take it!
      We're not gonna take it....anymore!"

>  Now, let me tell you

[Mike] *sings* "...a little story 'bout a man named Jed.  A poor
       mountaineer, barely kept his family fed..."

>  and let me impose upon you my ideas: that you should
>  stop imposing

[Tom] Yeah!  Stop imposing ideas on me so I can impose my ideas on you!
[Crow] It's _my_ turn to impose now!
[Tom] No it isn't, Crow!  Now shut up!

>  your standards of scientific correctness on me and just
>  stop giving unsolicited advice

[Mike] When _I_ want your advice, I'll _pay_ for it!

>  and stop moralizing me like a self-appointed
>  mother superior,

[Tom] Well, then, how would you _like_ to be moralized?
[Crow] I wanna be moralized like he was Tipper Gore!
[Mike] Or Tip O'Neal
[Tom] How about Meldrim Thompson?
[Mike] The governer of New Hampshire?
[Tom] Well, everyone knows that nobody is farther right than
      Meldrim Thompson.

>  guardian of scientific methods and righteousness.

[Tom] Yes, it's Method-Man!  Guardian of science!
[Crow] Defender of justice!
[Mike] Reveler of Righteousness!

>  The only realistic conclusion upon reading your mournful complaints,

[Tom] When you complain, it saddens me.
[Mike] No, Tom....it saddens all of us.

>  your obsessive preoccupation for putting me down is

[Mike] ..that I'm a total looney

>  THAT YOU ARE SIMPLY ENVIOUS AND JEALOUS OF ME.

[Crow] Whoa!  Nice comeback!
[Mike] *Sally Struthers voice*  Would you like to be jealous me?
 Sure!  We all would!

>  You are jealous that it I

[Tom] That it I?
[Mike] Tom, you shouldn't make fun of his speech impediment.

>  and not you who advanced the most brilliant idea
>  of the present and the past two or three centuries , i.e,

[Crow] Sliced bread?
[Tom] Electric snore surpressors?
[Mike] The Super Soaker 200?

>  (A)       TIME HAS INERTIA  and  EQUIVALENCE OF TIME AND MASS

 Huh?

>  You are envious that  (A)  is catching people's attention

[Mike] Oh, yes....I'd just love to have this kind of attention.  Wouldn't
       you?

>  and that it was
>  created by me WITHOUT ANY EXPERIMENTATION AND WITHOUT ANY PROOF

[Crow] Always the sign of an honest scientist.
[Tom] "It's true, because I said it is!"

>  THAT 
>  WOULD SATISFY AND CONVINCE PEOPLE WITH YOUR SCIENTIFIC STANDARDS.

[Mike] Or a 2-year-old.

>   Yes, you are envious that I have given no evidence, no experimental
> verification no proof no nothing,

[Crow] I wish _I_ could make outrageous claims like this.

> and yet people are more and more attracted to (A) and find it FASCINATING.

[Tom] *William Shatner voice*  What do you think, Crow?
[Crow] *Leonard Nimoy voice*  I find it....fascinating.
[Tom] Recommendations, Crow?
[Crow] Set phasers on "well done"

>   You are jealous that  (A) without satisfying your scientific standards,

[Tom] And without satisfying my passion for chocolate

> and without passing your censorship,

[Mike] How do you "pass censorship"?
[Crow] On the freeway.

> is being considered and not being rejected by many people.

[Crow] It's not being rejected by many people?
[Mike] Nope.  It's being rejected by _tons_ of people.

>   You are jealous that (A) is going to be the cornerstone of the New
> Physical Theories

[Mike] Do not underestimate the power of the letter "A"!

> and it was just imagined by me without any evidence!

[Tom] Yes, folks, it's time for another round of "Imaginary Science"!

> Just imagined, just IMAGINATION and no proof !!!

[Crow] I detect a running theme, here.
[Mike] Yeah, but running _where_?
[Tom] Running out of control...

>   Only a person with compulsive envy toward me would spend so much time, 

[Tom] Trying to ask me out on a date.

> post so many posting in trying to put me down and to denounce and 
> renounce me.

[Mike] I hereby renounce thee, fowl spirit!
[Crow] Fowl?
[Mike] I was thinking in terms of "birdbrains" at the time.
 Ahhh...

>  You are imposing your ideas and your  righteousness and I AM IMPOSING
> MY IDEAS AND MY RIGHTEOUSNESS,

[Mike] So there!  *tphtph*

> and, one of my righteousness is that I am
> going to impose upon you that:
> 
>      I do not have to prove to you or to anyone else anything

[Tom] That doesn't even make sense.  What kind of sentence structure
      is this?

> and that you
> should accept (A) as the most righteous, most brilliant idea in the
> entire scientific world.

[Mike] For without it, we wouldn't be able to spell words like "crazy",
       "lunatic", or "raving".

> Further I impose my idea upon you (as you are
> constantly imposing your ideas)

[Tom] With a tinge of garlic and a smattering of lemon juice.

> that you should accept that:
> 
> (B) THERE IS EQUIVALENCE OF TIME AND MASS,  BECAUSE I SAID SO !

[Crow] *bzzzzzzzt!*  Seen it!
[Tom] Hated it!

> Well, if you impose your standards and ideas upon me, I am imposing my 
> standards and my ideas upon you by reiterating that:

[Mike] Whoa...what an incredible sense of deja' vu...

>     You should accept:
> 
> (C)  TIME HAS INERTIA,   EQUIVALENCE OF TIME AND MASS,   REORBTING VENUS

[Tom] Is there a connection between these three?
[Crow] Is there a connection between _any_ of this?
[Mike] Now come on, guys...this sounds really important.  I mean,
       time having inertia and mass...that's a heavy concept.
[Tom] It brings whole new meaning to the phrase "time flies"
[Crow] Like a banana?
[Mike] No, Crow, those are "fruit flies".

> without any proof or evidence . You constantly impose your standards, your
> righteousness upon me,  Now, it is my turn to impose (A),(B) and (C) upon you
> and impose that  you should accept them without any proof  - that is my
> imposition of my righteous ideas.

[Tom] You know guys, I just finally realized how redundant this all is.

>  YOU MAY  QUOTE (C) as many times you want.

[Mike] Or you may not.  Tune in next week when we'll hear Nurse Piggy say:
[Tom] "Doctor Bob!  This patient's time is running out!"
[Crow] "I see the problem, nurse.  There's a hole in his watch!"

>  I love to see it quoted, it
> inflates my ego and make me feel secure.

[Mike] It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside!
[Crow] It makes me feel like a big man!

>   I have the same conviction about the righteousness of my ideas that you
> have of yours!! And, my proof is "I say so "  

[Tom] Hello, I'm with the Department of Redundancy Department.

>  It takes an analytic open mind

[Mike] Not just _any_ open mind.

>  to observe that any proof in the last analysis
>  boils down to "I say so" -  proof  or no proof ! 

[Crow] Actually, I'd say it takes more like rudimentary reading skills.

>      IMAGINATION IS THE ESSENCE THE REST ARE DETAILS !!

[Tom] Small, _insignificant_ details.
[Crow] Like facts.  And E$$ENTIAL capitalization.
[Mike] I've had enough of this, guys...let's get out of here.



1  .....  2  .....  3  .....  4  .....  5  .....  6  .....


[Tom] You know, Mike, that was the most pathetic flame I've ever read.
[Crow] Not to mention the way he defended his theories.  Very lame!
[Tom] Where do people come up with things like this, Mike?
[Mike] Well, guys, I have to admit that I agree with you.  Though the
       origin of this kind of thinking does in fact have a very
       distinguished history.
[Crow] Does it really?  Please tell us about it, Mike!
[Tom] Yes, Mike.  Enlighten us with your infinite wisdom!
[Mike] Uh, right....  Well, it all started back in the days of Chicken
       Little, when he tried to prove that the sky was, in fact, falling.
[Tom] Chicken Little?
[Mike] That's right, Tom Servo:  Chicken Little.  You see, he was
       ridiculed for his ideas, too, but he stood firm behind his belief
       that the end was near.  The falling sky was a prophecy...a fore-
       shadowing of things to come.
[Crow] But was the sky _really_ falling, Mike?  Did his vision come true?
[Mike] Well, he never really _proved_ that the sky was falling, but he
       was right:  the end _was_ near.  He was hit by a truck.
[Tom] While trying to get to the other side?
[Mike] No...I think you're confusing Chicken Little with the Chicken that
       Wanted to Cross the Road.
[Tom] Ahhh....
[Mike] So you see, he didn't have to _prove_ that the sky was falling
       in order to predict the end.  All he had to do was _say_ it was
       falling, and then it all sorta...fell into place.
[Crow] Any more puns like that, and it _will_ be the end for us.
[Tom] Oh, you're just bitter, Crow.
[Mike] Knock it off, guys.  The Doublemint Twins are calling.  What do
       you think, sirs?
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