Emeralds Are Grue, Sky Is Bleen

Jan. 2, 210
PASADENA–Responding to recent panic surrounding the sky’s dramatic change in color, a team of logicians and philosophers of language at the California Institute of Technology has released findings designed to calm the public and explain the transformation. “We have heard the press speculation that the change in the color of the sky is related to an unexplained and possibly toxic pollution event,” notes Caltech Professor of Nomenclature Dorinda Pocopollo. “Our aim with this press conference is to dispel those rumors. This is not an ecological catastrophe, as many have feared, but a logical one.”

Scientists and religious leaders alike have struggled to account for the January first transformation of the traditionally blue sky to a shade of green likened by many to key lime pie. In an effort to diffuse apocalyptic and alarmist fervor, a number of scientific institutions have offered preliminary analyses and have taken efforts to disseminate available concrete facts about the transformation.

The U.S.-based National Center for Atmospheric Research (“NCAR”) announced late yesterday that the change was not coordinated with any “apparent modification of atmospheric state or behavior” while atmospheric observatories and weather stations worldwide report no measurable change in the physical properties of observable light reflected from the sun through the earth’s atmosphere. “As far as we can tell the sky is still blue,” exclaims NCAR Executive Director Herman Grout. “Even if I didn’t trust my own eyes, though, I’d have to trust the 30 billion other eyes out there that also are telling me it’s green. At this point it seems safe to say the sky is, indeed, green. There are, however, no indications that it is falling.”

Noting that the largely overshadowed change in the color of emeralds occurred at the same time as that of the daytime sky, Professor Pocopollo’s Caltech team speculates that the changes are related to a traditional logic problem known as Goodman’s paradox. “Goodman’s paradox is a challenge to our intuitive understanding of induction,” explains Professor Pocopollo. “It postulates a language in which the properties ‘blue’ and ‘green’ are replaced with ‘grue’ and ‘bleen.’ Something is ‘grue’ if it is ‘green’ before a certain time and ‘blue’ after it, while something is ‘bleen’ if it is ‘blue’ before and ‘green’ after.”

Discussions of the paradox have traditionally used emeralds as a heuristic example, and typical analyses have hypothesized a definition of ‘grue’ objects as objects that are green before 2100 and blue afterward. “We aren’t offering a conclusion concerning what’s happened,” opines Professor Pocopollo, “But we would like to point out that the change in the color of the sky, and in that of emeralds, has been fairly accurately placed at 12:00:01am Greenwich Mean Time, and while Goodman’s paradox does not traditionally use the sky as an example of a potentially ‘bleen’ object, the sky is the paradigmatically blue object.”

Asked to speculate about the implications of her team’s findings, Professor Pocopollo indicated that, rather than a sign of an impending apocalypse or ecological disaster, the green sky may simply be “the first fact about the state of the world to confirm that our language is out of step with the case. Until now we’ve concluded, inductively, that the sky is blue; now we’ve learned that it is most likely bleen. That’s an inductive mistake that certainly isn’t going to kill us, however much it may shake the entrenched foundations of our confidence in the familiar inductions on which we rely in everyday life.

“If you ask me, and if the green sky is related to Goodman’s paradox, people shouldn’t worry about anything else than getting used to saying ‘bleen’ and ‘grue,'” confided Pocopollo. “The thing I worry about is what this might portend for Hume’s paradox. Hume pointed out that our belief that the sun will rise tomorrow is inductively derived from our habitual experience of the daily rising of the sun. If we’re as wrong about that as we were about the color of the sky we could be in for a rude surprise tomorrow morning.”

Lay an Egg, Grow an Organ

Feb. 18, 2072
MINNEAPOLIS, MN–Consumer biosciences giant Monsanto Mills today unveiled plans to market a replacement-organ cultivation technology with a novel, consumer-friendly interface modeled on traditional agrarian processes. The as-yet unnamed product embeds organ cultivation in the familiar practice of plant husbandry, and is designed to evoke the warm, nostalgic feelings associated with America’s historic farms. “The real challenge for replacement-organ cultivation isn’t actually growing genetically compatible organs,” explains Monsanto’s VP of Human Development Eunice Freelie. “The real challenge is getting people to adopt organ cultivation as a part of their everyday lives. Our new approach will overcome some of the popular, though undeserved, aversion to organ cultivation.”

The new product, packaged in wood pulp cartons reminiscent of those traditionally used to market food-grade chicken eggs, consists of a series of color-coded, egg-shaped “sample vectors,” each designed to produce a particular organ system: red for kidneys, blue for a liver, pink and yellow for a heart, and ecru for lungs. The eggs are covered in a flexible selectively-absorbent membrane containing a proprietary combination of natural and artificial proteins and growth-factors. Consumers swallow the eggs whole, as many as three at a sitting according to preference. “It’s a bit like downing a large oyster,” explains Freelie. “We considered chewables, but felt that anything that violated the integrity of the eggs would not be consistent with our vision.”

Resisting digestion, the eggs’ absorbent membranes collect an array of samples as they pass through the digestive tract, including cells from the lining of the stomach and small intestines. Exploiting a patented hemo-osmotic process, the complex polymer membranes store imprints of key proteins, enabling the eggs to tailor subsequent organ development to the protenomic phenotype of the individual consumer.

After passing the eggs, consumers plant them in conventional potting soil. Within 7-10 days, the first sprouts appear, and, after 4-6 weeks of cultivation, the plants begin to bear large, egg-shaped fruit. Colored to coordinate with the egg from which it has sprouted, the rind of each fruit also bears tattoo-like marks shaped like the organ with which they are associated. The fruit ripens within days and can be picked once it makes a full, hollow sound when thumped.[p]
The melons each contain a set of organs of the appropriate type: handy, portable, and ready for immediate transplantation. Stored in sawdust, or in a cool, dry place, they can keep for up to 8 weeks.

“This new process has been testing very well in our focus groups,” notes Freelie. “Research had shown us, time and again, that people wanted to have genetically compatible organs available for transplant, but were intimidated by the popular image of weird tanks in a sinister lab. They also didn’t like the idea of giving up control over their own tissue.

“Now we’re addressing those concerns. This is a very user-friendly process. It involves cute eggs, something everybody can relate to. And the laying of eggs, just like a chicken on the farm. Plus growing a beautiful plant. There’s nothing more natural and human than working with the soil. We’re leveraging familiar skills and ideas to drive adoption of a technology everybody wants but few are yet comfortable with. This is a sure winner, and a real triumph for our product design folks.”

Market trials are scheduled to begin late next month, with world-wide product roll-out planned in time for the spring planting season.

Embryos, Stem Cells Vote Bush in Record Numbers

Dec. 12, 2042
WASHINGTON DC–In only the second national election since implementation of new voting rules under the Unborn Voting Rights Act, heavy Republican voting among embryos and active embryonic stem cell lines may have determined the outcome of a presidential election. A special committee formed by the Federal Election Commission to analyze voting in President-elect Bush’s November victory reported Wednesday that embryos and open-source stem cell lines cast nearly 27% of votes in the presidential race. “Our analysis indicates a much greater than expected turn-out among newly-enfranchised single-cell and single-neuron voters,” noted committee chairman Arnold Pusse. “This is a watershed moment in the evolution of the American electorate.”

Discussing the specialized polling equipment designed to predict voting preferences of single neurons and small-cluster embryos, the committee noted that the equipment functioned well within error margins and offered few use or implementation problems at local polling stations. “We were really pleased with the ease-of-deployment of the Microsoft solution,” explains Florida Director of Elections Maryanne Freebie. “Handheld devices enabled scanning of petri-dishes and test-tubes for headcount and DNA-signed voter-roll checks, while simple, self-positioning filament leads allowed us to link voting cells to the full NT-hosted vote-extracting models.”

Though praising the Commission’s rapid deployment of standards-based technical solutions to fulfill its obligations under a new and untested law, the committee acknowledged a number of formal, public complaints about the computer models behind the vote-extraction technology. “By choosing a private-sector vendor like Microsoft, the Commission effectively shielded key parts of the technology from public view,” notes VOTE! executive director Elaine Just. “The computer model is doing a lot of the work, hypothesizing the full mental process involved in voting, sometimes on the basis of a single neuron. We need to know that that model is non-partisan.”

The committee’s conclusion that nearly 89% of single-cell and single-neuron voters supported Ms. Bush has fed speculation that Democrats will mount a legal challenge to the Act and the Commission’s rules. Though not ruling out the possibility of litigation, Terrence Limp, speaking on behalf of the DNC, dismissed rumors of court action as “premature.” “We understand that there may be ideological reasons that embryos tend to vote Republican. We certainly aren’t interested in disenfranchising anyone because of how they vote. But it’s important that we get the technology right.”

Reviewing its findings on embryo voting in the context of declining non-embryonic turn-out, the committee projected dramatically declining average-brain-cell-per-voter counts over the next three election-cycles. “As average voter-neuron counts decrease, we anticipate a greater and greater ideological skew. Single-cell organisms appear to vote Republican in overwhelming numbers.”

Responding to recent charges of embryo voting irregularities, the committee concluded that rumors of concerted efforts among Republicans to “get out” the embryo vote by growing and registering thousands of embryonic clusters in the weeks leading up to the election are “unfounded and unsupported by any available evidence.”

Tom Cruize Kills Himselves, Police Charge

June 16, 2082
LOS ANGELES–Confirming weeks of popular speculation, Los Angeles County District Attorney Barry Chupa formally announced that his office had secured multiple indictments against Tom Cruize for the October murder of two of his isotypes, Thomaz Cruize and Thom Cruize. “This case, understandably, has been the subject of a great deal of public attention,” noted Chupa. “People have been anxious for a resolution, but we wanted to be sure that all our ducks were in a row before we went to the Grand Jury. I feel confident, now, that we will be able to bring Mr. Cruize to justice.”

Cruize, a popular stand-in and stuntman for the beloved elder Cruise, is charged with the stabbing death of the two younger Cruizes just outside the Cruise compound in a posh section of the City of Industry. According to internal police reports, Thomaz and Thom had stepped onto the grounds outside the main gate for a private discussion when Cruize surprised them, stabbing each multiple times about the head and chest. Fleeing the scene, Cruize allegedly reentered the compound by scaling an unmonitored wall at the rear of the property, sneaking back to his quarters unnoticed by other members of the household.

The County’s case rests on a combination of DNA and circumstantial witness testimony pointing to Cruize. A knit cap discarded at the scene reportedly contains hairs genetically matching Cruize, and a glove, saturated with Cruize blood, was discovered by detectives behind the pool house at the rear of the property. Police interview records indicate that the elder Cruise, who had taken up residence in the pool house, was awakened on the night of the murder by loud “thumping” behind the house, near the spot at which the glove was later discovered. “I don’t know. It was kind of a noise like somebody stumbling around back there,” explained Cruise. “I was totally baked, though, and fell right back asleep.”

David Boies, speaking for the Cruize defense, dismissed the County’s case, noting that the “DNA evidence is less than useless. The blood on the glove, the hair in the hat, the miniscule spots of blood on Cruize’s car, those could belong to anybody in the household. Including Cruise himself, they’ve got more than a dozen genetically-identical people living there. They’ve also got no motive. These hints of a love triangle are the desperate and ludicrous musings of a prosecution without a clue.”

Cruize has continued to maintain that the slayings are related to the Cruizes’ ongoing copyright dispute with the Church of Scientology. “Thomaz and Thom were very involved in the case,” explains Cruize. “They were the first of the Cruizes to become clears without the help of the Church. They couldn’t allow that. It was too much of a threat. The police department is lousy with Scientologists. They’re planting evidence and looking to frame me up.”

Papers filed last year by the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles Federal District Court allege that the Cruizes conspired together to exploit their genetic similarity by narco-surgically copying “engram-free” neurological structures from the elder Cruise, a member of one of the Church’s highest orders. The Church maintains that the “clear” structures in Cruise’s brain are protected by Federal copyright and trade secret laws.

Asked about Cruize’s accusations, Scientology spokeswoman Jo Listle responded vehemently: “To imply that the Church is at all involved in these tragic killings is slanderous. Cruize is clearly guilty and trying to scapegoat Scientology, and it simply won’t work.”

Though a trial date has yet to be scheduled, County attorneys expect to begin the process of jury selection within the month.