B is for Barnacle, a simple sessile organism created by the Catholic
Church is 1683. The original goal was to create a self-healing plating
to protect ship hulls, and thus help Catholicism out-spread other
religions across the world. Unfortunately, the organism grew
randomly, forming a rough lumps that slow ships down. Even more
unfortunately, genetic controls failed to work and barnacles
spread uncontrollably across all the world's seas, infesting ships
everywhere. Widely regarded as a warning against genetic tampering,
barnacles were the major impetus for the Tunguska Genetic Engineering
Treaty of 1919.
C is for the Colorado Mind, a natural assemblage of quartz crystals
deep below the Rocky Mountains that has achieved sentience. The
Colorado Mind, or CM as he is affectionatelly called by his friends,
currently produces 23 % of all comic books, and a staggering
92 % of all fan fiction. CM relies on human-supplied energy and
information to achieve full consciousness, having an electricity bill
of $28 million/month, and a Usenet bill of $68 000/month.
These fees are paid by the Rockefeller Foundation; it is unclear
what benefits they receive from this arrangement.
D is for Daffodil. These deadly flowers, when grown in populations
of more than about 250 000, are capable of focusing enough sunlight
vaporize even the most refractory materials, such as fire brick and
tungsten. Smaller populations do not work cooperatively, and are
harmless. Larry Niven based the "sunflowers" in Ringworld on a
classified DARPA threat analysis of daffodils.
E is for Erbium, the active element in fiber-optic laser amplifiers.
Erbium-doped fibers enable the Internet revolution, whilst erbium-doped
Saltine crackers are great with chili, although the resulting
farts are phosphorescent and smell faintly like a freshly dug grave.
F is for Fluoride. Combined with argon, fluoride used to be one of the
premier governmental mind-control agents. Whereas argon makes logical
thinking harder, fluoride makes the subject more suggestible. This
dynamic duo has nearly disappeared since the release of argon was banned.
Channel One, a visual system
that acts through the optic nerve, has partially taken over the role
in the public schools, but doesn't reach as deeply as the older chemical
methods. A higher-resolution optical method, involving enough computers
to thought-implant each pupil for several hours each day, is
gradually being installed. The state of Maine is leading this research,
developing a portable indoctrination device that students can take home
G is for Geller, Uri, who can bend spoons using telekinesis. This
was successfully "debunked" by the DoD to protect it as a military
secret, but his ability turned out only to affect spoons, which is
of little military use.
H is for Hindenburg, an airship that was destroyed by Martian heat
I is for Imelda Marcos, the former Filipino leader famous for her
skill at shoe breeding. Her penny loafers were particularly renowned
for their style and temperament. Unfortunately, like those little old
ladies that have 27 cats in a small apartment, she got carried away
and let her footwear mate with little control. Before she could be
removed from power the prime breeds had reached a population of nearly
10 000. Worse, she let an inbred population of deformed
sandals -- later given the name "flip-flops" -- breed
completely without control, reaching a population of nearly 230 million
repulsive individuals, nearly decimating the world sandal market.
J is for Jane's, a publisher. Jane's Defence Daily is the standard
newspaper read by the intelligence community, and their famous
All the World's Pussy was bought by Hugh Hefner and turned into
K is for Karma. Karma was a spiritual accounting system developed
by the Kennedy administration to manage and stabilize the national
mysticism market, but floundered after the Bay of Pigs debacle, and
was terminated shortly after his forced retirement in Texas. Jerry
Falwell later tried to revive the karma system, but failed to account
for inflation due to legalization of abortion, and was delisted from
both NASDAQ and the American Federation of Churches.
L is for LASER, Luser Amplification by Stimulated Emission of
Retardism. The National Flamewar Ignition Facility at AOL uses
a LASER consisting of 28 million Pentium-pumped lusers, focused by
array of 639 chat and email servers. It produces a pulse of coherent
stupidity 6 000 000 times less bright than David Hasselhoff,
which is focused onto a single tiny point. The NFIF
recently succeeded in converting a small pellet of actinium into
M is for Midichlorians, tiny organisms that inhabit every cell of
George Lucas's body. They flow through him and everything he touches,
eradicating every touch of humor or joy they come across. Unrelated
to the Reagan administration's "Star Wars" program.
N is for Narcolepsy, the medical name for pathological periods of
wakefulness during dreaming. Although rare, it causes extreme
disruption of the victim's dream life, sometimes even leading
to death. The cause is generally unknown, although defective wake alarms have been implicated in some cases. It is not to be confused with
the random periods of wakefulness experienced by young children; a
positive diagnosis of narcolepsy can only be made when the child
has begun dreaming continuously for at least 12 hours each day.
O is for Origami, the ancient Nipponese technique of torturing
small pieces of paper.
P is for Paper Mache, the ancient French technique of torturing
paper pulp. The relationship to origami is unknown; some researchers
believe it may have come from an early -- and
unsuccessful -- Norman attempt to turn origami into a
Q is for Quetzalcoatl, former ruler of the Americas. Captured by
Conquistadors in the eighteenth century and imprisoned in Rome.
Currently working as a file clerk and destroyer of worlds for the
R is for Rube Goldberg, leader of the Obscurist Engineering
movement. The drop in worldwide industrial production capacity
caused by his disciples is generally credited with causing the
S is for Stanislaw Lem, famous science fiction writer.
[Redacted pursuant to General Order 1974-0063.]
T is for Teledildonics, the controversial technology for making
cybersex as real as the real thing. Called "depraved" and "impersonal"
by its critics, most of whom don't talk to each other except to
make sure the bills get paid, it has been banned in 38 civilized
countries and England. Fortunately, General Dildonics Corporation
is located in Mexico which has no such laws, and exports its products
to eager consumers all over the world in plain brown packages.
U is for Universe, everything there is. Possibly a large
computer simulation, researchers note that a large amount of the
universe is wasted on empty space, and that a dense cellular
automaton would be more efficient.
V is for VA Linux, infamous "dot com" company. Their stock curve
is being studied by physicists for insight into black hole dynamics.
W is for Weevils. Weevils wobble, but they don't fall down.
The average unicycle contains 650 mature weevils.
X is for X-Rays. Widespread irradiation of southern California with
X-rays has prevented the spread of midichlorians outside of George Lucas.
Y is for Yellow. If you load the
Guinness home page in the Mosaic
web browser and press the "Y" key 37 times, everything will appear yellow
to you. (Literally everything, not just on the computer screen.) The effect
generally lasts about 20 minutes, although occasional cases up to 3 hours
have been reported, and a few poor souls have gone completely blind. If you
want to see the shade of yellow without risking your eyes, you can buy
a 100-pack of Crayola crayons and look for "Guinness Yellow".
Z is for Zymmetry. The masks used in manufacturing electronic chips
are said to possess "zymmetry" if they would make a nice pattern for a
stained glass window. All other things being equal, increasing zymmetry
causes retail sales to grow. The chips in Tamagotchis have the highest
zymmetry ever measured for a commercial silicon chip, exceeded only
by a few milspec gallium-arsenide chips.