Jordan’s Feet Can Be Your Shoes

June 23, 2085
NIKE, ORE–Speaking via satellite from the sleek public hearing room in Nike Town Hall, Nike’s visionary founder Philip Knight announced today the availability of a line of bioengineered athletic wear derived from the company’s most popular athletes. “I’m very excited today to introduce you to a revolution,” exclaimed Knight, modeling the company’s new Bio Jordan sneakers. “I am wearing Jordan’s feet. His living, breathing feet. And now you can too.”

The sneakers, grown in Nike’s factories using a proprietary process, have the look and feel of basketball legend Michael Jordan’s bare feet. Built around a special osopolymer frame, the shoes are covered inside and out by flesh genetically derived from Jordan himself. The inside of each shoe, lined also with warm, living skin, offers a snug, toe-sock style fit for maximum control and maneuverability on the court. Specially designed muscalature, sensitive to the pressure of the wearer’s foot, flexes to enhance and amplify performance. The largely biological components of the sneakers can sustain themselves for up to a year on time-release nutrients stored in the shoe’s hollow frame. Cuts, abrasions, and bruises heal naturally, with minimal scarring to ensure an unscuffed, like-new appearance for the life of the shoes.

“Nothing in the world compares to what I am feeling now,” marveled Knight, putting the new shoes through their paces on the Town Hall’s central court. “And it’s not just the control, the intimacy these shoes let me maintain with the court. It’s also the warm, human link they provide to the history of the game, to its myths, its legends, its gods.”

The sneakers, branded by hairs along the ankle and heel growing in the pattern of the Nike swoosh, have drawn fire from representatives of Nike athletes worldwide concerned that Nike might exploit obscure language in its contracts permitting the production of athletic gear bearing the “derived likeness” of signed athletes. “This is a big issue for us,” notes sports agent Henry Bucket. “About 65% of all athletes work for Nike and have signed similar contracts. Negotiations for royalties and licenses related to products like this have never taken place. Nike’s reported reliance on the ‘likeness’ language can only be in bad faith.”

International labor groups further criticize Nike for labor practices and conditions associated with the new line of shoes. “We don’t know all the details, but what we have heard troubles us profoundly,” explains longtime Nike critic Ellen Rugby. “From what we understand, the production process for these shoes relies on stem cells derived from fat extracted from employees. We’ve had reports that overseas subcontractors associated with these new shoes are signing big catering contracts with high-fat fast-food producers like McDonald’s and Taco Bell. Vulnerable overseas workers are being treated like human fat farms just so Nike can feed its own greed.”

Preferring to keep the broadcast “on topic,” Knight waved off questions concerning criticism of the new shoes, saying simply that Nike was happy to “stand on its record of progressive and responsible conduct.” “I’d really like to talk to you about what the future holds for Nike,” noted Knight, who went on to model other products in the new Bio line, including Tiger Woods Biogrip golf gloves, and what Knight called “booty shorts” to be marketed under the tag line “j. lo on the down lo.”

Cuba Buys Disney, Announces Redevelopment Plans

Dec. 18, 2071
ORLANDO–At a press conference held late Tuesday to formally announce Cuba’s acquisition of The Walt Disney Company, officials from the Cuban Bureau of Recreation unveiled plans to redevelop Disney properties worldwide. “Disney’s entertainment properties are an ideal fit for us,” noted Cuban Executive Director of Learning Environments Minerva Perez. “This acquisition supplies us with the infrastructure that will enable us to leverage our ideological advantages and get our message out globally.”

Asked about the acquisition, Disney Chairman and CEO Increase Matthews pointed to a “Cuban tradition of tourism and showmanship very familiar to all of us here at Disney,” and declared confidently that, “with the infusion of Cuba’s fresh blood and capital,” the “spirit of Disney will live on into the 22nd century.”

The once powerful entertainment giant’s stock hit an historic low of $.53 in April as attendance at its parks plummeted following public release of FBI crime statistics covering the Orlando and Anaheim properties. “It’s sad to say, but the Disney parks have actually become fairly dangerous,” explains FBI Crime Trends Division spokesman Jerome Hoyle. “Gangs of street kids and mid-life nostalgia vandals roam the grounds. Security is lax because of budget cuts, and they’re desperate enough for gate revenues that they’ve done little to discourage ‘wilding Wednesdays.’ The revenue-boosting liquor concession has only added to the problem.”

Many analysts attribute the decline in Disney’s fortunes to the company’s failure to secure immemorial intellectual property rights in its stock characters, including “Mickey Mouse,” “Donald Duck,” and “Goofy.” Accused of price gouging in merchandise-starved developing markets, Disney late last year lost its twelve-year battle with the WIPO and was forced to dedicate the characters to public use. “That was a huge blow,” notes Jupiter analyst Marie Cacke. “Disney’s character-branded merchandise revenues crashed as everybody and their uncle crowded into the market for Mickey t-shirts. From there, things at Disney spiraled out of control even quicker than most of us expected.”

Cuba’s plans for the Disney parks are extensive, and include the development of free, park-wide healthcare, co-operative ownership of individual rides and attractions, and emancipation of the bioengineered characters that roam the grounds. The country also plans extensive revision of the “theme” of the parks. Cuba’s Perez explains: “Traditionally, the Disney parks have been distorted monuments to industrial capitalism, its ‘Frontierland’ colonial past and its ‘Tommorrowland’ future. We’re planning a more well-rounded vision, including a newly designed ‘the people’s land,’ and a special new ride: ‘Indiana Jones and the Sweatshop of Doom.'”

In an irony lost on few, Cuba is funding the Disney acquisition with revenues generated by worldwide sales of its popular Fidel-branded merchandise. Iconic images of Cuba’s former president, including Fidel watches, t-shirts, and key chains, are expected to be available in Disney stores by month’s end. Cuban officials are reported to have contacted topiary experts throughout the world concerning the best shrubs to plant in the shape of the beloved Castro.

Ellen Greenzpan Crushed by Falling Market

Oct. 11, 2108
WASHINGTON DC–U.S. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Ellen Greenzpan was rushed to a gated Bethesda hospital this morning after collapsing in the wake of a week of bizarre turbulence in world financial markets. The interest-rate sensitive Chair had been under close medical supervision since suffering a series of unexplained spasms and bouts of glossalalia unofficially linked to recent market turmoil. “She had been relatively stable for the past couple of days,” notes Dr. Peter One, director of Greenzpan’s medical team. “At about 10 this morning she seized, said something in Middle French, and collapsed. We immediately determined that we needed equipment available at her hospital and she was airlifted directly to Bethesda.”

Sources inside the hospital report that Greenzpan suffered from a severe “diverse, punctuated vasoconstrictive fluid extrusion” during which blood vessels throughout her body constricted simultaneously, causing a spike in blood pressure severe enough to rupture capillaries, squeezing hemofluids out through the pores. Engorged epidermal tissues wrung fluids from sweat and oil glands throughout her skin, causing “omni-dermal tissue flaccidity occasioned by hyper-acute dehydration.” “She looked like she’d been squeezed dry by a giant hand,” exclaimed an anonymous member of the hospital staff. “I mean, just all squeezed out like a tube of toothpaste. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Greenzpan experts link her collapse to the recent appearance and growth of “M8,” a controversial measure of the money supply designed to include the hypothetical “anti-capital” touted by research and financial services multinational Futurefeedforward. “Greenzpan was designed to be physically sensitive to the markets,” explains market analyst Gig Watson. “Her whole body is pretty much a wireless data hub. When markets move, she feels it. She can adjust interest rates literally by flexing her muscles. I watch her cheeks just before an FOMC meeting. If she looks a little flushed, it’s a good bet that the Fed will be changing policy. We watch her for symptoms that indicate the health of the economy. This collapse has got everybody spooked about what’s going on.”

Built on a transgendered clone chassis sired by legendary Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, Greenzpan’s body receives realtime economic data through a sophisticated network of distributed, nanoscale wireless nodes tied to her nervous system through customized synapses. Economic data of different types is linked to different areas of the body, enabling Greenzpan to feel and respond to economic fluctuations through an “intuitive somatic interface.” Durable goods inventories and sales data affect the bowels and lower intestines, precipitous drops in unemployment cause constricted breathing, and interest rate and money supply data interact with her circulatory system. “Ellen was born to lead the Fed,” notes Watson. “Her pulse is the pulse of this new economy.”

Informally dubbed “deflation sickness” by pundits, Greenzpan’s symptoms over the past week are believed to be related to a phenomenon known as “time-money value inversion” discoverd by FeedBank, the banking subsidiary of Futurefeedforward. Futurefeedforward CFO Emily Efou explains: “Traditionally, present-day dollars are thought to be more valuable than future-side dollars. That’s why conventional banks pay interest. Our research shows that that is starting to change. Certain institutions, like FeedBank, are starting to operate on the principle that present-dollars should be discounted in relation to future-dollars, thus creating eddies controlled by negative interest rates. Greenzpan’s system wasn’t designed to cope with this sort of development. The spike in negative-rate trading this morning must have crushed her.”

Greenzpan’s condition is reportedly critical. Longtime friend and Objectivist Party running-mate Wayn Rand arrived in Bethesda this afternoon to join members of the Greenspan family at her bedside. The family asks that concerned members of the public keep prayers and charitable donations to themselves.

Scientists Discover Super-Dense Corporate Cluster

March 11, 2118
BOSTON–A team of scientists at the M.I.T. High-Velocity Monetary Object Observatory announced on tuesday the discovery of a “super-dense corporate cluster” localized in mid-town Manhattan. The first structure of its kind to be observed, the cluster raises profound questions about the relationship between the physical and the economic worlds, and lends credence to the controversial new discipline known colloquially as “quantum economics.” “Most great breakthroughs begin with great observations,” notes M.I.T. Assistant Professor Marguerite Fury, leader of the research team. “And this is a truly paradigm-shifting observation. Physics and economics both just got much more interesting.”

The cluster, dubbed AA-1, is a “binary system” consisting of two, interrelated, capital-dense companies and a surrounding cloud of smaller, lighter firms drawn to the two central giants. AA-1 differs from other large-scale corporate partnerships and joint ventures because the two giants involved are linked through a peculiar ownership relationship known as a “mobius control stitch.” Professor Fury explains: “The two giants in AA-1, AOL and Amalgamenture, each own majority stakes in the other. AOL owns 52% of Amalgamenture, and Amalgameture owns more than 60% of AOL. This sort of thing happens occasionally in the course of hostile takeover and defense maneuvers, but usually resolves itself relatively quickly. The AA-1 stitch, though, has persisted for more than 40 years, largely because of the unprecedented size of the two linked companies.”

The “stitch” linking the two companies creates a “control paradox.” “The cluster is characterized both by a management surplus and a management deficit,” explains Professor Fury. “There are too many managers for the interlocked firms, which should be one firm with one management team. At the same time, there are too few managers. The board of directors of each company leads the companies separately, but nobody leads them together. This paradox creates an oscillating control vacuum that sucks in, alternately, firms that are control weak and control strong. The cloud surrounding the stitched giants is thus saturated with merger and spin-off transactions.”

In addition to attracting the swarm of merging and spinning corporations that compose the cluster’s characteristic cloud, AA-1 is also responsible for “spontaneous transaction pair production” attributed to a “large magnitude debt/equity density differential” between the two giants at the focus of the cluster. According to the team, the two giants belong to different “classes.” AOL is a conventional multi-national, characterized by globally disbursed operations, large employee base, and significant current assets and free cashflow. Amalgamature, in contrast, is a “super-leveraged holding firm,” with significant free cashflow, but debt orders of magnitude greater than equity and with nominal staff and a single Manhattan office.

Professor Fury elaborates: “The density differential at the heart of AA-1 generates an asymmetric transaction space in which independent transaction processes form. This sort of formation happens all the time in regular clusters, but the two sides of the transaction collapse into a single process almost instantaneously. In AA-1, for the first time, we’ve been able to observe buyons and sellons before they collapse into a transaction, giving us new and invaluable insight into the way transactions form.”

According to the M.I.T. team, AA-1 is a unique system, at least for now. “We’re very lucky that our discipline is gaining steam at just about the same time that complex monetary objects like AA-1 are forming,” notes Professor Fury, “but AA-1 is just the beginning. We anticipate that the next hundred years will see capital formations that dwarf AA-1 and produce wondrous effects we can’t yet imagine.”