So as you may or may not know by now, I participated in the first Scientific Theory Slam last Thursday. It is kinda like a Poetry Slam where you read your own poetry, but in this case you were to present your own (hopefully crazy) scientific theory. About 100 people attended and a dozen presented theories including yours truly. They had real scientists on hand to usher mediated opinions.
I showed up about a half an hour early to the Varsity Theater. There was a note on the door that the event had been moved around the corner to the Loring Pasta Bar. This would make it the second time it had moved as it was originally supposed to be at the Kitty Kat Club. I wore my tweed suit to give me some credibility and headed immediately to the bar counter when I got to the Loring. I ordered a Jameson and a Guinness and the bartender poured about 4 shots of Jameson into a drinking glass. Not that I'm complaining. I was shortly joined by the monster.
Six rolled around and we headed to the mysterious Red Room (red room! red room!) above the restaurant – a place I'd never seen before. The room was packed so there was standing room only. Apparently people had been settling in for some time without my knowledge. The MC who was wearing a lab coat (as was the scientific panel) began to introduce the night. I was to be the second to last presenter which I thought was a fine position to be in.
Somewhere in the mix was this old white haired lady. 78 years old as she pointed out. I have absolutely no idea what her theory was, but at some point she said that she intended to bring animals along but they wouldn't let her so she instead invited the animals of Dinkytown. She then shushed the audience so that the animals could identify themselves. She was serious. Then she dug in her purse and pulled out this wad of tissue. I thought she had an animal in there but she looked just as confused as I felt when she unwrapped the tissue only to find nothing inside. She started to ramble quietly, and try to find her spot in her notes, but had totally lost herself. I hope to god she was kidding but I'm pretty sure she was not.
When my time came I made my way from the back of the room. "Here comes Zach cooly making his way up from the back of the room," as the lab coat wearing MC put it. I was holding a stack of index cards upon which I had scribbled my speech. I began in my best Professor Fink voice, "Gaaaaah I have prepared some cards for the NERRR! scientific theory FLAVEN! because my doctor tells me I have an attention deficit GUH-HIGH!" And then in my normal voice, "Just kidding." I think the laughter was mostly of relief that I wasn't actually that annoying. My top index card was the title of my speech which I did not intend to read, so I looked at it a moment and tossed it away which also gained some laughs. That move would ultimately drive the rest of the speech as I decided to ad lib and toss each and every card after I read it. Here is what my index cards said (I picked them up after the event ended):
Life as we know it, biology as we know it, is not a product of God nor is it a purely accidental product of evolution.
If evolution had produced life it would be ridiculously complex and disordered and impossible to figure out. If a God with a beard in the sky had made us, he would have just "Poof!" made us, and life would be stupidly simple.
In reality, biology is both very complex and very ordered. It is a system we can understand.
Biology is in fact an alien technology far advanced from our computer technology but not wholly dissimilar.
Proteins form an alien operating system, and DNA is the source code that executes on our hardware.
This alien biology-technology is like our robotics: a combination of software and machinery.
A perfect example are the proteins that replicate DNA: they slide down the DNA molecule unzipping it and filling in the blanks like an assembly line.
Returning to the idea of DNA as source code: An article was published last month titled, "HIV to cure cancer."
Now, if you die of AIDS you would in fact not have cancer anymore, but this is not what the article suggests.
Scientists learned how to remove the bad kill-you parts of the HIV virus and make it instead deliver new DNA of their choosing.
They can use the HIV virus to correct your DNA-- to rewrite your source code.
Viruses are a very powerful technology to understand in respect to biology. They are just like computer viruses. They get our hardware to execute their source code.
The aliens that created biology knew that they might not always be around so they left us a clue about viruses being a powerful code changing tool: the common cold.
Think about it: The cold virus servers no evolutionary purpose. It doesn't control the population like HIV. Nobody dies from a cold. It doesn't break things down in the environment like bacteria do.
All the cold virus does is annoy you several times a year. And that is what the aliens intended. It wouldn't do any good if it killed you. You can't learn when you are dead.
The fact that it is such a common and huge annoyance has lead to much research, though. It made us pay attention to viruses.
The aliens gave us a cold so we'd learn about viruses, so we'd learn how to hack our source code.
There was what seemed to me a thunderous applause when I finished. I was happy it had gone over so well. My score (there were several groups of peer judgers) put me into 5th place.
The final theorist went, and then the MC suggested, due to time constraints, a final round with the top three. Then he asked, "Or should we do top five?" I yelled from the back "TOP FIVE!" and he said, "Ok. Top five it is." Go me.
My second theory consisted of me going up with a backpack and settling the audience. "The aliens that created us – and they did –" I began. "Come closer." I waved my hands, beckoning them all inward, then I whispered, "They're here right now!" That's where I reached into my backpack, pulled out a roll of tinfoil, and proceeded to create a makeshift tinfoil hat to protect myself from alien brainwave intrusions. I offered the front row my leftover foil. Everybody laughed at the gag, and then laughed again when I walked off the stage without adding anything further.
I forgot my jacket up in the front, so when I went back up to get it I put my foil hat onto one of the scientists heads where it remained for at least another theory.
Ultimately though, my gag would land me still in fifth place. Of the top five, three were about sex or pooping, and the winner was also a gag, but with visuals including a Shetland pony.
The scientists in the panel up front were asked to comment on the night's theories, and one of them stated, "And Zach – I don't need to say anything to Zach because he already knows what I'm thinking." That was pretty funny, even if that doesn't make sense. My theory wasn't that I was a mind-reading alien. Also one of the groups of peer judges told me that I was their favourite.
The University posted some news about the event you can read. Also, there should be some coverage in the Rake coming up, and I am working on getting ahold of the video footage.
News flash! This just in: while writing that last paragraph I have received an email stating that I shall be getting a DVD copy of the speeches. More as that develops mid week.
oh. we have GOT to do that out here. i'll invite Frank Chu and Michael, whom i just wrote about today!
It turns out that aluminum foil hats might actually serve to INCREASE the ability of the government to brain wash you.
not Frankie (guest)
genius to start wit professor fink!!