Wait For It… a blog by Andy Ross

Missing Link

Posted on April 18, 2011

Reasons this skull I discovered might not be the missing link:

1) Hairline fractures along the occipital bone could only have been caused advanced stone tools.

2) Wear along the molars suggests the consumption of cultivated grains.

3) Rather than displaying classic Hominidae post-cranial traits, this is closer in shape to a vole or rodent's skull.

4) I found it on a picnic table in Central Park.

5) A group of ten-year-old boys were trying to hit it with a stick, but I chased them off.

6) My former colleagues at the museum insist it's a squirrel skull.

7) When I questioned their reasoning, they told me I was supposed to hand in my museum ID months ago.

8) My ex-wife agrees it's a squirrel skull, and says I need to stop coming around. She’s married to Donald now.

9) The foramen magnum is not positioned as anteriorly, which would suggest a semi-erect posture.

10) My buddy down at McGinty's, Dirty Pete, thinks it is the missing link, and he's usually wrong about things. Also drunk.

11) It’s in pretty good shape for being 200,000 years old.

12) The guy at the pawn shop wouldn’t give me more than five bucks for it.

13) I am pretty drunk right now.

14) The skull still has some bits of squirrel attached.

15) So, those are my reasons why I think this possibly might not be the missing link, officer.



Posted on November 17, 2010

When we here at the Walter M. Kronenberg Microbial and Fungal Research Lab at MIT began using time-lapse photography in our study of fungi, we discovered surprising results. It certainly wasn't the expected outcome of the experiment.

Originally, we had simply hoped to examine non-quantitative growth trends of Basidiomycota mushrooms as it related to the near infrared (NIR) spectrum. Based on projections, we expected a ten percent decrease in growth angle as cloud cover reached three oktas. What we found instead was an unpredictably erotic quality to the photography.

It was subtle, but something about the time-lapse and its virtual speeding up of mushroom growth ... I mean, none of us are art critics by any means. Most are Ph.D.s with specialties in spore-bearing fungus. But, these films moved us on a very core, very visceral level. There was a palpable sexuality to them. It was … hypnotic.

Don’t get me wrong, none of us are mushroom fetishists. (At least none of us came into this as mushroom fetishists. I’ve heard that’s big amongst Japanese fugi researchers.) No, we’re just ordinary post-doc men and women who’ve had our eyes opened to the sensual orchestra that is time-lapse mushroom growth.

I don’t want to go into detail about the titillating aspects of high-speed mushroom growth films--the engorged stems, the delicate release of the gill latticework, the pulsating throb of non-photosynthetic spongiform development. This is, after all, a grant application to the National Science Foundation. But, what I will say is that my fellow researchers and I feel that this is important ongoing research in the field of mycology.

That is why we are asking for continued funding in the area of Basidiomycetes growth study with specific focus on buying some Barry White albums and having a few cocktails before we watch the next round of time-lapse videos.

Thank you for your consideration.


Dr. Emmet Brunchler, Ph.D.

P.S. I thought I'd attach a few YouTube videos I found of mushroom time-lapse photography. I mean, whatever. If you're into it, you're into it. If not, it's just fungi.


The Reducerator

Posted on August 16, 2010

Hello? I say, hello! Down here! Look down here, on the countertop! Can you see me? Yes, me—the tiny man standing on the clipboard. My name is Professor Arnold Ziff. It would seem that my shrinking ray finally works.

I’m so relieved someone has finally come into the lab! As you can see, I've managed to shrink myself to the size of a wine cork, which is marvelously exciting and the culmination of my lifelong research in the field of particle physics. However, because of my current stature, I'm unable to reach the "unshrink" button on my machine. Could you possibly do me the favor of unshrinking me, please?

I'm sorry to put you out. This is very embarrassing, especially as it’s due to my own oversight. It was only after I tested the Electron-Cloud Reducerator that I realized I'd placed the "shrink/unshrink" button at the very top of the device.

You'd think I would have learned a lesson from the many feature films about this very same predicament. However, I am a busy scientist with no time to watch such films.

I attempted to construct a makeshift ladder using chopsticks and scotch tape. But, as you can see, I've become comically entangled in that same tape. Thank goodness you’ve arrived before the laboratory’s pet cat awakens from its nap.

Now, on to the matter of unshrinking me: It’s quite simple. I’ve already used a paperclip lasso to change the machine’s setting to -0.145n with a neutron burst pointed along the q-axis. (That took quite a few attempts, I don’t mind telling you.) And, after a few days of living inside this styrofoam cup hut, I deduced that I could reset the Lorentz force to half its curve by reversing the electromagnet’s polarity.

So, with all that complete, all you need to do to return me to my natural size is press that green button labeled "unshrink."

Although, please be careful, as that the Electron-Cloud Reducerator is likely the greatest invention in the history of man. Anyone who possesses it would surely become an instant billionaire and hailed as a genius around the globe…

I see that you are now stealing the device. That is completely understandable. I simply ask, then, that you not slam the door behind you, as you might wake the…

Well, hello, Mr. Scruffles. You remember Dr. Ziff don’t you? Remember when I was tall and would give you kitty treats? Mr. Scruffles?



Posted on April 15, 2010

Scientists say the universe is expanding. But, they also said I couldn’t fit 34 full-size marshmallows in my mouth, so that shows how much they know.

I once heard a scientist say he liked the movie Boondock Saints. These are the people we’re entrusting with our precious science? Boondock Saints? Unless you wear a trench coat to shop class, there is no reason to think that is a good movie. What else do you believe—evolution? Grow up, scientists.

Somebody should be checking the credentials of these so-called “scientists.” Sure, they might have gotten doctorate degrees from prestigious institutions, but have they ever taken Dead Man’s Curve on their Razor scooter? Until you have done that, you have no idea how the universe works. Believe me.

And, these scientist guys are always the same people debunking all the best conspiracy theories. A bunch of wet blankets if you ask me. Maybe if scientists spent less time cooped up in a lab, they’d be more open to a bigger world filled with new ideas about the mind-controlling properties of fluoride.

You know who’s interesting? People who take science and add their own spin to it. Like Scientologists or Christian Scientists. Because, at least they're having a little fun with it. That’s why I’m starting my own scientific body, and any scientific facts we don’t like we’ll just change to suit our worldview. We’re calling ourselves the Texas School Board.

[Author's note: Boom! Look who got political at the end there! Yeah, I said it. What? You got a problem with me getting political? Well, get used to it, because this guy is take-no-prisoners. I am a satirist. You know what that means? That means I take no prisoners. I am like a surgeon with a scalpel. I, uh … I say … things people are too afraid to hear. I am the nation’s conscience. Look out, people who disagree with me, because I will take you down with some scathing passive-aggression. I don’t give a fuck.]