Thought experiments

In laboratory experiments, white rats fed on a diet of pure smoke from tobacco, all died. A parallel group, however, fed instead on tofu, lived several hours longer, and some of them for days. A third group, subjected to recordings of Gregorian Chant, lived longest of all. (Those were allowed to eat whatever they wanted.)

To tell the truth, gentle reader, I did not physically do these experiments. I just guessed at the results. Up here in the High Doganate Academy of Sciences, we get all of our results this way. We (or “I,” if you prefer) are thus able to keep within a tight budget, and our apartment remains uncluttered by scientific gear (without expensive advice from any small Japanese wench, or being fry-panned by a mistress). The landlord arguably discourages rats in the building, so that our scientific methods help us to avoid litigation, too.

The experiments were performed this morning over coffee. I’ve forgotten, now, what was to be the point of them. Perhaps I was hoping to break into Drudge, or some other prominent, online scientific periodical. Properly worded, I’m sure the manuscript could skip by the referees in any distinguished climate or sociological journal.

On environmental consideration, I recommend my innovations. So many old-fashioned tests release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which, in addition to being plant food, necessary for the plants to produce oxygen, is also said to be a lethal poison. According to some of the men (and women!) in lab coats, it will contribute to a planetary extinction event in another 11 years, 7 months, and ticking. (I also wear a lab coat of sorts, sometimes, but it doubles as my kitchen apron.) Cows also release methane, which is why some experts give us less that ten years. But that’s not my fault. I have never kept cattle up here, or even goats, although their milk-to-methane ratio is much better. (One of my experiments confirmed this.) Well, I suppose I could be criticized for my failure to develop lactose intolerance.

Did I mention my advance in cold fusion? I’ve invented an engine that can generate 100 kilowatts perpetually, in a cell the size of an AA battery. It is still at the design stage, however, and might take centuries to license. Unfortunately, I’ll be unable to assemble a prototype in the foreseeable future, because the parts are not available at the local Home Hardware, and even if they were, Marie Kondo would almost certainly disapprove the mess they would make. (I understand she is now recommending “getaway cozy cabins in the woods” to let you stay off the Internet. What an ingenious solution!)

My own “read a book” strategy is actually more portable, and requires less wood. Alas, this involves clutter for the man of more than one book, and if you buy a Kindle to get around this, you may be tempted back on the Internet again.

But fact-rich “thought experiments” should be beyond criticism, whether or not the facts happen to be true. And they will solve almost all of your physical and even metaphysical quandaries, although some of them require a second cup of coffee. Think how much, as a society, we could save!