Archive for July, 2013

dribble light bulb

July 31, 2013

The new underminister for the homeless proposed for their safety a new system of streetlights activated by trace amounts of human breath. The system would also be able to detect illness and change the streetlight’s color in order to direct health services to the needs of this under-served population.


beautiful objection

July 30, 2013

A memo was submitted: “Can you diffuse your frolicking so as not to muck things up? The unravellings, the destructuring, all of the resultant disorder will be laid at your feet. Perhaps the discipline required to rebuild is just what you require.”

reset factor

July 29, 2013

By bumping into so many people he lost his sun protection and wound up burned. His tendency toward boisterous laughter was choked off, which actually made it easier for him to deal with censor when discussing the publication of his illuminated love database. He planned to make the warning color code part of the design but wondered if he could get away with it. He didn’t want to inform the officials in advance though but try to present it as a fait accompli.


July 28, 2013

On my plate I found an inscription made by some past gastronaut while waiting for his next course. “I have established a one-to-one correspondence between color and taste, but the ordering of shade and gradation on each set is different. It is the number and combination of receptors that drives the difference. Can we figure the correct receptor configuration to produce any given ordering?”


July 27, 2013

A team in the research department developed a new condiment which would give food the taste of butter without the fat. One of the problems was that it was unstable. After about twenty minutes it decomposed and tasted absolutely rancid. The had to figure out a way that people could synthesize it at the dinner table, right before they ate.


July 26, 2013

Those who take are charity have agreed to live simply. For some the way of life comes first, and what we have to offer is a means to that end. We do not require anyone to work in the vineyard, but many do. There’s a bit or a peer pressure element at work. They go into the vineyard looking for companionship, and they find a purpose as well.

One man among the community is a skeptic. He obeys all the precepts except vegetarianism. He catches the rabbits that trouble are garden, then he flays them and butchers them in the yard, and cooks their meat for himself and whoever else will have it. He considers all the rules carefully on their own, and this one he breaks. Because, he says, “I do not harm men because I live in the company of men. I do not live in the company of animals. They will not stop to consider whether or not to harm me. They will not single me out for this special consideration, so I likewise will not give it to them.” He has become the abbot’s special project.


July 25, 2013

He wondered if he would still indulge in his gormandizing in an age with no chemical food preservatives. On the one hand, if food spoils more quickly there is less of it to eat. On the other hand, there should be less reason to hurry up and eat before the food goes bad. There should be more room for patience. He felt walled off from his own motivations, like watching the television in the next room.


July 24, 2013

From where he sat at the back of the class and with the congestion of his head cold he couldn’t really hear the teacher. Her voice was like a foghorn heard through blankets. She was rolling rhododendrons up in a nutritive tarp. He hoped he could just watch what she did and copy it later, but she kept talking. He suddenly realized he had forgotten to take his anticonvulsant that morning. Maybe if he had a seizure she would be sitting over him when he came to, and he could ask her to repeat the lesson. He didn’t think it likely. It seemed to recede further and further from probability as the class went on.

sniff out

July 23, 2013

The terrain of mesas and canyons necessitated the landing of a ground force. As part of its defense the enemy deployed pheromones. We weren’t sure if we could deliver enough gas masks or suits. To counter this our army experimented with different modes of castration – physical, chemical, electrical. Maintaining fighting effectiveness was difficult.

wither rhythm

July 22, 2013

There were only two or three short weeks during the spring when they had to get our swimming in before the pool dried up. They would look down at the plant stalks waving at the bottom of the water and try to guess which one would yield the biggest most delicious tuber in the fall. In-between, in the summer, they would come back and chase each other through the tall sunflowers and try to remember which they had picked out. One fall when they came to dig up the tubers a large carapaced thing had already dug up half of them and was guarding the rest. The men had to fashion spears to get past its giant claws and kill it. The next spring the water was half its usual level and cloudy with scum.