The BPI Fizzix Department are still hard at work on a transporter device. They’ve managed to make it work for ideas – with the help of the internet – but they haven’t yet figured out how to make it work for objects. They say the problem has something to do with quantum uncertainty, as there is no way to ensure the quantum states that comprise matter at the beginning of the transport process will be replicated the end. In other words, the transported matter would end up scrambled.

They said their next project will be time travel, but I can save them the trouble. Time travel is easy. Just have twin infants. I know it works, because Mrs. Squirrel and I are time traveling with Nancy and Michelle. We rarely know what time it is, and last night we were babbling just like the babies. This morning I had a nice conversation with the broom while I was sleeping with the nursery. That’s perfectly normal for a toddler. Not so much for a grownup. Once Mrs. Squirrel and I start stealing the girls’ pacifiers, I’ll know it’s time to patent my time travel idea.

If Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain doesn’t get to it first.

No, this isn’t about his I-don’t-remember-well-maybe-I-do response to the sexual harassment issue. It turns out Cain is very worried about the Chinese:

I’ll get to the economics in a moment, but first let’s consider Cain’s claim that the Chinese have “indicated that they’re trying to develop nuclear capability.” That would be a serious concern if this were, say, 1960. Alas, it’s not much of a concern anymore. China tested her first nuclear weapon in 1964, and has maintained a nuclear arsenal ever since. Now admittedly, Cain can’t be expected to know every detail about the global military situation, but there are only nine nuclear powers. He should be able to remember that number.

As for the economics, yes, China’s economy is growing far faster than the U.S. economy. On the other hand, China is classified as a newly industrialized country. Over half of her 1.33 billion population live on farms, and many don’t yet have indoor plumbing. Kinda like the U.S. back in the second half of 19th century, except China doesn’t have to invent the technology to industrialize. That’s why China’s economy has grown at an average 10% per year since 1990, while the U.S. economy grew at only 4.17% from 1850 to 1870. Since then, we’ve had only one other two-decade period of over 4% annual GDP growth: from 1930 to 1950. Depression-bust-to-World-War-II-boom.

Yet Cain says his policies would enable 5% growth. Maybe Cain thinks we can time travel back the late 19th century. He wouldn’t be the first conservative with that idea. Even so, you don’t need to be a mathematical genius to figure out that China’s $5 trillion economy growing at 10% will quickly pass our $14 trillion economy growing at 5%. Even assuming Cain’s never-before-sustained 5% U.S. growth rate, China growing at 10% would pass us in the year 2035. At a more reasonable U.S. growth rate – say, the 2.47% we’ve averaged since 1990 – China would pass us in 2027.

Of course, China’s economy won’t keep growing at 10% per year forever. Growth curves flatten over time, as untapped potential diminishes. If Mrs. Squirrel and Regis and I were growing at the same rate as Nancy and Michelle – they’ve doubled in length in just a week – I’d be looking for a new home in a sequoia. But we’re already grown up. Like the U.S.

My optimistic guess is that Cain’s plan involves time travel. Or he plans for a Recession-bust-to-World-War-III-boom. With a nation that already has nuclear weapons. Or maybe he was just tired and babbling. Mrs. Squirrel and I know all about that.

Good day and good nuts.