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May 7, 2012. Guapo, Arizona.  Imagine gliding down the steel tracks at 85 mph on your personal 2-wheel, self-balancing transport. Officials from Thrombax Transport and Burlington Northern San Simeon met at Pultroon University and negotiated an agreement to develop high speed personal rail for owners of the Segway two-wheeled personal transport. An upgrade to be made available will allow operators of two-wheel self-balancing tranport to mate their vehicles to standard gauge rail and operate on the rail system.

The new transportation mode will be limited to the northern tier of states initially.  It is anticipated that speeds of 120 mph along the rail will be possible eventually, making ground transit across the more tiresome flyover states tolerable.

According to a paper published by Pultroon University assistant adjunct Professor Harman van Hemp in the Japanese journal Bull. Shitsu Jpn, 2010, 19, 20134, the theoretical maximum speed of a 2-wheeled self-balancing vehicle is limited by lateral instability problems associated with the inner rim of the rail wheel. Prof van Hemp has devised an aerodynamic stabilizing control surface built into the fire retardant trousers of the operator. The stabilizer is actuated by a swing of the operators hip. Wind tunnel testing at Pultroon University has shown that the device is effective in subsonic flows up to a Mach number of 0.67.  While the technology is being refined by Thrombax, the all important line of merchandising and apparel is being subcontracted.

International soft drink giants Coca Cola and Pepsi have been charged with greenhouse gas emission violations by the Europese Kooldioxidecommissie (EK) in Modderkip, The Netherlands.  The soft drink manufacturers were indicted for their part in the worldwide spread of efforvescent emissions of a greenhouse gas.

Viktor Fischkopf, Titular Comissioner of the EK, issued a press release stating that the soft drink companies have been brought before the court for international conspiracy to supply carbonation for the express purpose of emission through direct efforvescence and by fugitive emissions from bottling, eructation, and flatulence. While the charges fall short of crimes against humanity, a conviction by the EK may result in embargo of goods in participating nations.

Representatives of Coca Cola and Pepsi have declined to comment. However, one executive from Coca Cola subsidiary Fanta spoke on the condition of anonymity. “We will fight this with all of the resources we can summon. If we lose this fight, the peoples of the world face the grim prospect of flat, uncarbonated Coke. It’s unthinkable. The word ‘soda’ will become meaningless.”

Pultroon University, Guapo, Arizona.  A scandal has rocked the Institute of Quantum Spot Physics at Pultroon University. A graduate student and supervising faculty member stand accused of academic fraud. The office of University Chancellor Blodwin A. Gatwick has released a statement indicating the matter was under internal investigation.

Associate professor Corey Irwin was placed on administrative leave while the graduate student, Ragnar Ostrom, faces possible suspension.

Irwin and Ostrom were initially accused of falsifying results from a series of thought experiments published in Physics Expecta Acta, 2007, Section B, 256-278.  However, it was later determined that the falsified thought experiment results were in fact plagiarized from a future thought experiment by Faroe Island physicists Spotsandottir and Dotsson. The two Faroe Island physicists were surprised to learn that their plans to falsify data were usurped by previous workers.

The Society of Thought Experimentation was contacted for comment but issued a press release stating the Society was still imagining what it’s position would be.

The Pulitzer Board today announced that Bob Loblaw, associate editor at The Onion, has been awarded the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Faux News. Loblaw was recognized for his groundbreaking 300 word essay on faux journalistic integrity in virtual political news reporting. Loblaw’s knack for news aggregation from the internets has encouraged editors throughout the web to extract and publish virtual news.

The Publisher, Editorial Board, and staff of Lamentations on Chemistry wish to congratulate Bob Loblaw and The Onion on this prestigious award.

The Eureka Vinyl Mine in La Brea, California, closed May 13 of 2011. The mine had been producing natural vinyl since 1896.  Prominent investors included Thomas Edison and Johnny Mercer. The demand for virgin vinyl has steadily dropped since the polycarbonate CD hit the market in 1982 with the release of Billy Joel’s 52nd Street.

Vinyl mining was once a vital part of the manufacturing economy in Southern California.  These rich vinyl deposits produced exceptionally high grades of vinyl late into the 1990’s. Flemish immigrant Goeskin Goossaert discovered a vein of natural vinyl while excavating a foundation in the Pasadena area in 1874.  In it’s natural form, vinylite is dark in color and is grainy and brittle with striations of styrenite. 

Not knowing what the material was, Goossaert set some ore aside for a time.  Eventually Goossaert discovered that the material melted easily and burned with a piercing odor. For a time he sold the ore as fuel under the unfortunate name of Stinkenkool. But the problem with vinylite as a fuel was that it melted and spread burning material throughout the enclosure.  This unfortunate behavior lead to several highly publicized tragedies. Soon the new fuel was shunned in favor of coal or kerosene.

Noting that the material could be molded, Goossaert contacted Thomas Edison and arranged to send samples to the Wizard of Menlo Park for evaluation. Within a short time Edison fashioned a recording cylinder out of it and patented the invention, leaving Goossaert without any share.

Other veins of vinylite were discovered and soon many applications of this thermoplastic substance were found. To a large extent, the recording industry in LA was founded on the availability of this wondrous substance. Goossaert never attained wealth from his discovery and died penniless in 1928.

April 2, 2011, Guapo, Arizona–  Investigators working under a DARPA grant are experimenting with an advanced flight control system using Wii technology.  Professor Laurentz Fine, titular director of Pultroon University’s Ornithopter Institute (PUOI), disclosed results to the public today on recent aerospace advances at PUOI. 

Professor Fine disclosed that important breakthroughs have been made in a new type of flight control system design that may influence how aircraft of the future are flown.  The prototype devised at PUOI uses motion and position sensors placed on various locations on the arms, hands, and head of the flight crew.  Vibration sensors on the throat are fitted to to the pilots detect the low frequencey growling sounds used for powerplant control input.

According to Professor Fine, the crew members may be placed in a prone position or may be seated in an upright position while operating the aircraft.  Additional sensors may be placed on the legs and feet of the pilots and weapons officers for more channels of control input.

In a typical mission profile the pilot would don a pressure suit fitted with Wii sensors that report the position and acceleration of the limbs. The pilot would buckle into a specially designed ejection seat that would allow for the desired freedom of motion.  The pilot would extend his arms horizontally to either side and issue engine commands by producing gutteral sounds on the throat sensors.

The system has only seen use in simulators at this time, but Professor Fine anticipates applications with remotely piloted vehicles and manned surveillance vehicles by 2016.  Fine suggested that a model for helicopter applications was in the works, but declined to comment further.  He did admit that uncommanded input caused by turbulence was a difficult problem, but progress has been made to control this issue.

Kennedy Space Center,  January 6, 2011.  Officials at the Kennedy Space Center released spectacular photos of the recent launch and explosion of SITCOM 2WTF. The $300 million comedy satellite was to be the first of 3 satellites to go into geostationary orbit exclusively for the Comedy Channel. Underwriters at Acme Insurance, however, weren’t laughing.

Launch Failure of SITCOM 2WTF

Lewis Black, Director of Launch Operations at the Comedy Central network, was quoted as saying “Sonofabitch!!  We put a bird on orbit dedicated to Law and Order reruns just the other day. What the hell happed to this one?”

A spokesman for Kathy Griffin, Satellite Procurement Officer for Comedy Central, said the comic had been on the phone all morning with Pixar’s Comedy Rocket Motor Division headquarters in Malibu. Griffin is reported to be quite upset and is preparing a Comedy Central tell-all special on her drunken encounters with comedy satellite celebrities like Jerry Seinfeld and George Wallace.

Veteran comic Phillis Diller is reportedly shocked by the event. She was selected to be at the cape to light the fuse for the launch.  Diller was unavailable for comment.

United Nations, New York, USA.  The United Nations has scheduled a special session on pronunciation aimed at the ultimate goal of harmonizing the pronunciation of Roman alphabet characters around the world.  Sir Angus MacGuiness, MP and Adjunct Undersecretary to Her Majesty’s Standing Council on Inflections and Pronunciation, has requested and required the British Delegation to the UN, via unanimous consent of Parliament, to petition for a special session on the subject of the pronunciation of the Roman alphabet.

Speaking for the office of the Adjunct Undersecretary, assistant Duncan Hiney Peebles disclosed to members of the press that the issue of how to pronounce words written in the Roman alphabet has gotten completely out of hand. “Between Polish, Welsh, and Icelandic, we have no idea even how to sound out these words” Peebles flatly stated. “We believe that the situation has gone completely bonkers and that an international body needs to convene on the matter.” 

When pressed on the matter of standarization, Peebles replied “naturally, we believe that British English should be the standard for pronunciation.  Minimally,” Peebles said, “words should be phonetically translated when printed in English speaking media.”

Peebles then went on to cite examples of words that should be phonetically translated even though they use Roman characters. “Take the case of the Islandic Volcano ‘Eyjafjallajökull’ ” Peebles pleaded. “For Christ’s sake!  It is pronounced eh eeya fyatla yokutla. How is anybody supposed to know to pronounce a double ‘ll’ as a ‘t’ sound? And then there is Polish and Welsh. This is insane and we have stop pretending that it is not a problem, ” Peebles pleaded.

A resolution been proposed and will come before the General Assembly in June of 2012, but is not expected to pass.

Guapo, Arizona.  10/1/10.  The Staarkrakken Institute at Pultroon University in cooperation with ThermoFissure Corporation have announced the development of a new ground glass joint standard for the 21st century. The laboratory glassware joints to be retired initially are the 14/20, 24/40, and 29/42 joints. The taper angle will be raised by 1.8 degrees on all subsequent designs. Ball joint design standards will change as well. Look for ball joint standards to change in early 2014.  Additionally, the outside diameter of the joint will be increased, so Keck clips will also undergo a redesign.

This change is the result of years of marketing studies designed to determine how satisfied chemists were with the familiar standard taper joint. Market researchers found that customers rarely had strong opinions about their familiar standard taper joints or simply expressed “boredom” with the topic. So, in an effort to stimulate fresh demand, executives from ThermoFissure Corporation approached the Staarkrakken Institute for design studies that would lead to stimulated sales of lab glassware.

Olaf Staarkrakken, Director of the Staarkrakken Institute and grandson of founder Nels Staarkrakken, commented “this is the right time for change in the worlds laboratories. We believe that this upgrade in glassware will strengthen joints everywhere. The time is now and we’re proud to lead the way.”

Robert “Stone” Hanusly, Director of Sales and Marketing at ThermoFissure, announced the arrival of the Fissure brand of laboratory glassware using the new standard taper joints. Hanusly added that the Fissure brand is expected to be a big hit among R&D workers and that they have built up their inventory of Fissure glassware in anticipation of high demand. Mr. Hanusly commented that a wide array of adapters will be available.

Guapo, Arizona.  University Chancellor Dr. Tina Grimstone issued a press release containing the annual list of Honorary Degrees to be conferred by Pultroon University at the spring 2011 commencement.   Notable are three awardees from the State of Wyoming, former US Senator Alan Simpson, former Sectretary of the Interior James Watt, and former Vice President Richard “Dick” Cheney. 

In her brief comments Dr. Grimstone stated that “seldom has a state produced three characters of the magnitude of Simpson, Watt, and Cheney in a single generation. We felt it was important to highlight this fact as an example to others who may choose public service.”

The University public affairs office disclosed that Sen. Simpson will deliver the commencement address on the topic of “Folksy Farm Witicisms in Public Life.”  Secretary Watt will follow the ceremony with a pentecostal benediction spoken in tongues and Vice President Cheney will pesent the Honorary St. Elmo’s Firing Pin to the Chancellor in the precessional.

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