Tuesday, January 25, 2005

A new type of Chemistry

Thanks for the National Review for this article. I read it yesterday in my copy and I had to post it. Thanks for this wonderful article.



Memo to: WFB
From: Linda BridgesDear Bill: Did you see this?
The following is supposedly an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry midterm. The answer by one student struck the professor as worth sharing with colleagues, via the Internet, which is why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well.
Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?
Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle’s Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant.
One student, however, wrote the following:
First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving.
As for how many souls are entering Hell, let’s look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell.
With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle’s Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added. This gives two possibilities:
1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.
2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.
So which is it?
If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my freshman year that “it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you,” and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then Number 2 must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over.
The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore extinct . . . leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting, “Oh my God!”
THIS STUDENT RECEIVED THE ONLY “A.”
Dear Mr. Buckley: From reading your columns and books, there appears to be a bit of difficulty some people have in distinguishing between “solecism” and “solipsism.” Perhaps a more visual explanation would clear things up:
A solecist is a person whose sailboat, Leftward Ho!, upon entering ocean waters churned up by some force of wind, becomes demasted. A solipsist is a person sailing the same boat who, though it becomes appropriately demasted, reflectively decries the lack of government oversight vis-à-vis coastal waters, while he awaits rescue from the Coast Guard. Overhearing the partially submerged mariner, the rescuer gently suggests that, since this would involve a huge, expensive undertaking, in order to enjoy sailing more in line with his skill set he might consider moving his boat to a lake, at which point the solipsist instructs his rescuer to go jump in one. I hope this helps. Happy sailing, Don Snedeker North Plainfield, N.J.
Dear Mr. Snedeker: It helps a whole lot. And adds a new definition to the word “solecism.” Cordially, — WFB

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