"I never said it," said Bill Gates flatly.

"The internet says you did," replied the interviewer doggedly.

"640K was never a ceiling on RAM requirements," Bill insisted. "It was an upper bound necessitated by cost. We always anticipated needing more, eventually."

"Bill," the interviewer said tiredly, "the shared electronic environment that you helped create, and that in turn drives the global demand for your products, says you said it. Citations be damned; it's all over the internet. Are you going to bite the hand that feeds you? Are you calling the internet… a liar??"

Bill swallowed. "No," he said glumly.
NOTICE:

Seasonal high spirits aside, safety concerns must trump celebrations. Accordingly, station personnel are ordered not to fire the Death Star beam on New Year's Eve.

Stray planet-killing rays account for billions of lives lost every year, some of them not ordered by the Emperor. Well-intentioned troopers see only a collimated beam of high-energy photons shooting harmlessly off into space, but even at long range, the Death Star's power is formidable.

Those responsible for the accidental annihilation of moons, planets or entire star systems will receive fines and a reprimand, which will go on your permanent record. That is all.
My good old Chrono Transit ground to a halt. The Hawking Cylinder had burnt out. Parts aren't available anymore, and I needed the Chrono to go back in time, so I had to manufacture the part myself. That's tricky; a Hawking Cylinder extends beyond three spatial dimensions.

So, I fired up the tesserolithograph and uploaded the part template. It painted layers of resin and neutrinos in a matrix folded into the higher dimensions. The setting bath cured the part such that it was finished before the process started.

I don't always live in the future, but it's fun to visit.
The Massachusetts colonists brought insufficient food to last the winter. Luckily, they befriended the local indigenous tribes, who pitied the starving Europeans and taught them to survive using the Native American skills of matter transmutation and teleportation.

A celebratory feast was held. Roast haunch of Siberian Mammoth was served, dressed with pudding made from synthetic molecules. Exotic spices from Cathay and Batavia were procured, and Colonists and Indians alike toasted each others' health with impossibly distilled alcohols.

But even then, the colonists secretly dreamed of relegating the tribes to pocket dimensional reservations. The Americas would be theirs, and theirs alone.
"Timothy's sick," said Mrs. Frisby. "Owl said you were the rats to see."

"Tomorrow we finish that Invisibility Formula," said Hawkeye, stirring his martini with his tail-tip.

"We're decent doctors," admitted Trapper John. "Well, 'we', meaning Hawkeye and me, but not Jenner."

"Aw, shaddap," growled Jenner.

"That's not it," begged Mrs. Frisby. "Fitzgibbon's plow is coming, but moving would kill Timothy."

Hawkeye opened his mouth but was interrupted; Radar tumbled into the rat-lair, thick glasses askew. "Incoming, sirs!" he stammered.

"To be continued," Trapper John promised. The rats scattered as the warrens echoed with the unmistakable yowl of a cat.
The North American beaver is making a comeback. Lodges have been spotted in Chicago and New York City; beaver ponds are proliferating in Canada and New England. Once hunted close to extinction, conservation measures are giving the beaver a fighting chance.

The beaver has had to adapt to its changing environment in order to survive. Beaver dams now feature crude paddle-wheel rotors made of bark that turn concealed dynamos; the lodges glow with a flickering electric light.

More troubling are the beaver traps found upcountry. Hikers disappear, only to be found later without their skins; beaver sou'westers are highly waterproof.
Meanwhile, at a luau on the wrong side of Tikitown, Pimp Jules held court from his bamboo throne. He presided over crooks, pushers, grifters and fish smugglers – the worst kind of refuse. He adjusted his floral-print cape over his zoot-suit.

"Who beat up my loanshark?" he demanded. The cartilaginous fish gasped, broken and bruised at his feet.

The crowd parted, and a strong black brother appeared. His multi-colored daishiki highlighted his Herculean frame, and his high-volume afro was perfectly spherical.

"I did," he purred, massive arms folded. "Name's Badd."

The parrot on his shoulder stretched. "Chuck Badd!" it squawked sonorously.
The sick child on her deathbed sang:

Jesus loves me, he who died,
Heaven's gate to open wide.
He will wash away my sin;
Let his little child come in.


"Come, Jesus," she whispered hoarsely, sweat beads dappling her forehead.

Jesus loves me - this I know,
For the Bible tells me so,
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak but He is strong.


And there He was, beyond the open door's threshold. Jesus beckoned. "I love you," he said.

"Take me, Jesus," the child implored.

"I shall," Jesus replied, grinning toothily. "But you have to invite me in."
The primitive sits and watches the sun set over a plateau. The spread of color and the play of light are miracles, a source of wonder.

The primitive is not hungry; her family has food and shelter and few fears. At last she has time to think a new thought, and that thought is: how? How do miraculous things happen? How can the sun paint the whole world in tawny gold and burnt orange?

In some remote part of her mind, long before she has the tools of logic and reason, the primitive knows that the sun holds power. How?
Read more... )
The truth is, if the debt ceiling limit isn't increased, God will strike us down.

International finance has become so complex that few people, Congress-persons notwithstanding, actually understand its workings. Buried in various contracts and treasury swaps and investment funds is this fact: we are borrowing money from God to keep our economy going. God is a good creditor with high liquidity, but you DON'T WANT to DEFAULT. They learned that the hard way at Sodom and Gomorrah.

I hope both sides can reach an agreement. I don't know what's up for collateral and I don't want to find out.
Crap! No time to write *again*. This sucks.

"Snooki" Stackhouse, orange-hued telepath and veterinary technician, had to decide between Guido lovers. There was Sam "The Situation" Merlotte, the shape-shifter with the rock-hard abs, and there was "Billy D" Compton, Italian-American vampire and deejay.

"We been smushing all summer," argued Billy D. "On the bayou, in my coffin, everywheres. Now you wanna nail this animal?"

"Some of us don't stop partying when the sun comes up," scoffed Sam.

"What? He's a stud!" said Snooki, reeling slightly. "I can read his mind. Sex, sex, sex; always!" Sam preened.

"Yeah?" said the vampire. "Read *my *mind, bitch!"

Snooki laughed. "WHAT mind?!"
We have an open-bomb law in this town. It's the best law ever. Everybody is friendly. Everybody is respectful. There's no violent crime. I know my family is safe.

The other day I got in a fender-bender with Pauly. We were both upset and tempers flared. But there was no fighting, certainly no weapons. Pauly and I kept it cool. We had to.

It works when everybody has a bomb. It's wired to our medulla oblangatas. The second we die, the neutron bomb goes off. Goodbye town, families, everybody.

A mutually destructive society is a polite society.

Buckle up, everybody.
"I told you I would find you a girl," said Blood, whining in the back of his throat.

"I’m not a girl," said Aravis haughtily. "I'm royalty."

"Shut up, Blood," said Bree, the big talking horse. "We're not eating this one. Eating, or worse. We're all going to Narnia."

"Right, right; where all the dogs talk," sniffed Blood.

"Hey," said Vic, "I heard there's this chick there, gives out candy to boys – all you want."

"The White Witch," snorted Bree. "You don't want anything from her."

"The hell I don't," replied Vic.

"I could eat a horse," whispered Blood thoughtfully.
I brought my kite down to the beach. Others were already there, barefoot, holding tethered boxes and straining deltas, tails flapping in the breeze. I got my kite out.

Despite the posted warnings, I let my kite off the line. It joyfully leaped skywards, twisting and bucking, smelling other kites, skimming the surf. Kites want to be free. It's a shame a few rogue kite attacks led to these draconian laws.

"Hey," shouted a man, "do you mind?" My kite scudded away, leaving a steaming pile of bamboo and twine on the sand.

"Sorry," I called, reaching for my baggie.
Ancient scripture lacked vocabulary to describe timeline rifts. For 'arising' physically, substitute shifting to an alternate timeline. Jesus 'arose' when he died, with the rest of us inhabiting one Earth, and him the other.

The Rapture allows decent people to cross and join him, their histories seamlessly rewritten such that they were always there. Those who remain are rewritten as well, never missing those who are gone. Prayer and belief don't enter into it.

You think the Rapture didn't happen today. Oh, it happened. The question is, which side are you on?

What say you to that, O Ye Doubters?
Everybody save Quarson knew that stars were the smallest possible particle.

"Not so," said Quarson. "Look, things still smaller exist." He called them planets. Photographed under microscopy, none could doubt their existence.

But were these planets divisible? "We cannot know," said Quarson, "unless we smash them together."

So he built a collider, accelerating planets by gravity around a central sun. He shot another travelling in the opposite direction, to see what would happen when the two destroyed each other.

He photographed the bits spiraling into space, and the single moon diving into the sun.

"What could be smaller?" Quarson mused.
I'll catch the conscience of the king, thinks Hamlet. With thaumaturgic thespians he hatches plans.

When the dumb-show has passed, the players begin in earnest. Here, a king; there, his queen. "How like you this play?" Claudius sees himself reflected.

Now comes Lucianus – nephew, poisoner. The King rises! Lucianus rises! "That is not me!" cries Claudius! "That is not me!" cries Lucianus.

Bring light! But the king is gone. There is only a protesting player. And he, too, vanishes as the curtain falls.

Hamlet revels – but alas, all the world's a stage. His play dies too, and with it, vengeance.
Global temperature increases may be irreversible by conventional means. The best solution is to encourage Ragnarok, the End of the World.

Per Norse Mythology, Ragnarok is preceded by Fimbulwinter, a period of three winters with no intervening summers during which snow shall come from all directions. Yes, brother will kill brother, but average global temperatures should drop by thirty degrees.

Invoking these events will require winding the Gjallarhorn, causing the world-tree to shudder, and spawning tsunamis by awakening the Midgard Serpent. There will be wars, deluges, and Gods will regrettably die, but the environmental benefits more than outweigh these downsides.
There are those who fold space mechanically, without passion. They do not truly understand.

I reach into the inner space. There I make delicate folds - precise, methodical. Geometric planes compress into a fractal flower. The flower opens, and I vanish.

Two creases and the flower becomes a pinwheel. I blow gently. I transit through non-Euclidean lattices without passing through intervening space.

Now, the tricky part. A subtle seaming, then the structure is inverted. The construct becomes a crane. It dips its beak. I re-enter normal space, miles from my origin.

Folding space is Origami. There is Art to it.
Pygmalion wasn't interested in women. He had seen the Propoetides prostituting themselves in public, and it disgusted him. But he was still a man; he still had certain basic needs.

He started carving using a single large block of marble. He called the work 'Galatea' after the sea-nymph. The female form entranced him – the lyre of the hips, the swell of the breasts. He started carving at the nestled hollow at the intersection of the thighs and belly. As he carved, Pygmalion decided that anatomical correctness was important.

Eventually he had carved enough to do what he needed to do.

**

"That," said Cupid, "was disgusting. I mean, really now."

"Don't judge, you little creep," said Venus. "We are in the business of love and love-making, after all."

Cupid pointed with outrage down from the clouds where they were relaxing. "That perverted Cypriot," he said, "just carved a hole in a rock and nailed it. That's not love-making, that's statutory rape."

Venus frowned. "Less rape jokes," she commanded. "What Pygmalion does, he does because he has been inspired by me. I shall not condemn him for that, and you shouldn't either."

Cupid sulked. "We'll just see about that," muttered the godling.

**

Pygmalion worked day and night. The curves of the buttocks, the graceful arch of the neck – these things he drew out of the stone, disrobing the form of woman from its heavy garments of crude marble. As the female form of Galatea swam into clarity, Pygmalion's lust for his work grew. He lay with it several times a day.

"What need have I for a real woman," he moaned as he approached climax. "In this labor, my handiwork, I have discovered perfection. In my affection for my artwork I have found happiness. Venus herself could not craft a greater love."

**

"Now *that* I heard," Venus said, miffed.

Cupid couldn't look away. "Oh, great; now that he's carved the mouth, he'll be at this day and night. Hey, guy, how about a little hygiene?!"

"This is injust," Venus proclaimed firmly. "I won't stand in the way of any sort of love, but to proclaim this love as superior to anything I could create? Inexcusable!"

Cupid crept up and whispered in Venus' ear. "Then show him," he urged. "Create some love for him that he cannot mistake. Perhaps in the comparison between the two, this sculptor will find humility."

"Hmm," considered Venus.

**

At last Galatea was complete. Pygmalion marveled at the beauty he had created. She looked so lifelike upon her pedestal.

Then Galatea stepped down. Pygmalion dropped his chisels. "Oh, Pyggy," breathed Galatea huskily. "Some miracle has brought me to life; now we can truly be together."

"Er, um... yes. So it would seem," stammered the sculptor.

"And," whispered Galatea in his ear, "since after your most recent passion your child grows within my belly, our love shall be that of a new family!"

"That's... that's fantastic," replied Pygmalion, looking around for an exit.

But, you see, he was stuck.
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