The resident faculty left an almost-famous formula outside the mail room. The staff think it’s either a typo, or a clue…. (More)

First our thanks to this week’s writers:

On Monday, you shared your stories of political activism in Things We Did This Week and Linda Lee mused on My Dad, My Mom, and Our Pig in Midday Matinee.

On Tuesday, the Squirrel asked Is Our Politicians Learning? in Morning Feature and readers helped tell Tuesday’s Tale: Prognosis, Murder in Midday Matinee.

On Wednesday, the Squirrel warned that Fox Nuts Take Root in Morning Feature and Linda Lee celebrated Sunshine in Midday Matinee.

On Thursday, the resident faculty began a series on Backtalk with The Silencing in Morning Feature and triciawyse brought us Fursdai Furries in Midday Matinee.

On Friday, the resident faculty continued their series on Backtalk with The Chait Effect in Morning Feature, triciawyse shared Friedai Critters in Midday Matinee, and Winter B saw Dolphins Dying from BP Oil Spill in Our Earth.

On the weekend, the resident faculty concluded their series on Backtalk with What ‘Freedom of Speech’ Means in Saturday’s Morning Feature, Ms. Crissie was asked Honoring Women … by Making Them Disappear? in Sunday’s Morning Feature, and Winter B brought our weekly Eco News Roundup in Our Earth.


Note: Please share your stories of offline political activism in Things We Did This Week.


Thus we return to the almost-famous formula left outside the mail room as the resident faculty made their way from the wine cellar library where they spent the weekend drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”) to the hot tub faculty lounge for their weekly game where the underwear goes flying planning conference:

QuestionScience photo QuestionScience.jpg

“Isn’t that question mark supposed to be a two,” Chef asked as she brought out the decoder ring.

 photo SquirrelPecanRing.jpeg

The Squirrel nodded and tapped at his Blewberry. “That’s Albert Einstuft’s equivalence formula. Energy equals macadamias times cashews squared. But of course his human friend got all the credit.”

“I think,” the Professor of Astrology Janitor said, “it’s energy equals mass times the speed of light squared.”

“I guess that depends on how fast you eat the cashews,” the Squirrel texted.

Chef chuckled and scraped stray pecans into the Squirrel’s bowl. “Perhaps Einstuft was solving a different problem?”

The Squirrel shrugged and tapped at his Blewberry. “Maybe. The calorie ratio for macadamias to cashews is 1.298 to one, but Einstuft realized he had to factor in the taste too.”

“In other words,” Chef said, “he made it up.”

“No, no,” the Squirrel texted. “Einstuft was a very careful scientist. He went to a park in Vienna and put equal-sized bowls of macadamias and cashews at various heights in trees. Then he counted how many squirrels climbed how high to get each kind of nut, and calculated potential energy by multiplying the average mass of a squirrel by the number of squirrels that climbed to each bowl, then multiplying that by the height of each bowl, and finally by acceleration due to gravity. He found that more squirrels would climb much higher to get the macadamias, because macadamias are yummier than cashews. More squirrels climbing much higher equaled way more potential energy than the calorie ratio predicted.”

“Did he record all of this so other scientists could replicate his experiment?” the Professor of Astrology Janitor asked.

“Umm,” the Squirrel texted, “remember, there were no computers or calculators back then, so Einstuft kept count with seeds. And after he was done….”

“He ate his data,” Chef said.

The Squirrel nodded and tapped at his Blewberry. “But he scratched his conclusion in a nutshell. Then his human friend found the nutshell and used the formula for something else and got famous. And did he credit his squirrel for inspiration? Of course not.”

“So,” the Professor of Astrology Janitor said, “we have a remarkable story of a squirrel who supposedly performed an experiment with macadamias and cashews – but conveniently ate his data – versus several published papers documenting the development of the mass-energy equivalence formula from 1907 to 1911, which was first observed experimentally with the Cockcroft-Walton Generator in 1932, and finally measured with precision by Rainville, et. al. in 2005. Which should we believe?”

The Squirrel twitched his tail as he texted. “That’s what the resident faculty will discuss this week. Periodic questions about scientific studies versus people who just question science … period.”

Chef nodded and put the Squirrel’s bowl up on a shelf. “Perhaps we should try to replicate that study for pecans.”

The Squirrel tapped at his Blewberry. “Newtufts did that experiment. And his human friend found his nutshell, and that’s why potential energy is written with a capital E and a subscript p.”

“Keep digging,” the Professor of Astrology Janitor said with a wink.

“Why dig?” the Squirrel texted. “Those nuts aren’t buried.”

Not yet, anyway.


Happy Memorial Day!