Mountain View, CA – Scientists from NASA’s Ames Research Center announced this morning the discovery of evidence of a rip in the space-time continuum. Joe Heinz, an aeronautical engineer with over twenty years experience with NASA, is leading a team of scientists and engineers who are investigating the strange phenomena. “We received a call yesterday from a distraught gentleman in Mountain View who claimed that a very large object had disappeared right in front of his eyes. The story seemed so implausible we assumed it must be an April fool’s joke.” It was no joke. After subsequent phone conversations with the increasingly desperate gentleman, Joe decided to pull together a team to investigate. “It was lunch time anyway, so we figured what the heck. We’ll just roll by the guy’s office on the way to lunch and take a quick look.”
It was a decision Joe will never forget. “When we arrived at the company, we were met in the parking lot by Security and HR. They led our team to the company fitness center, and we saw something we will never forget.” What Joe and his team saw was…nothing! “We walked into the center, and noticed a fifteen by twenty foot area of the floor which contained nothing. Not a single thing!” The empty spot had once held the compnay pool table. HR explained, “The pool table had been with the company for many years. We don’t know what type of table it was, and we don’t even know where it came from, but that’s not the point…now it’s gone!” The HR rep wiped a tear from her eye and added, “How are we going to attract the best talent in the medical device industry if we don’t have a pool table?”
Cornell, the company fitness expert and manager of the fitness center, denies any responsibility for the disappearance. “It’s true that I wanted to expand the fitness area and put in some new equipment for the employees to use, and yes, I’ve started to move some equipment into the space formerly occupied by the pool table, but I swear, I had nothing to do with the disappearance of the table!” Of course, we believe him.
In a corner of the fitness center, Joe and his team found Michael Reddick, the gentleman who discovered the anomaly. Joe explains, “When we found him, he was curled up in a fetal position, whimpering like a child. It was horrible. He was mumbling something about the world coming to an end. Watching a grown man whimper like a child only steeled our resolve; we had to solve this mystery.” According to Joe, Michael was the first to propose an explanation. “We couldn’t really understand what he was saying, but evidently Michael believes the table has fallen through a rip in the space-time continuum.” Joe added, “Sounds plausible. How else can you explain a calamity of this magnitude?”
Joe’s team subsequently contacted Leonard Susskin, Felix Bloch professor of theoretical physics at Stanford University, for his interpretation of the events. Dr. Susskin’s response was immediate, “HOW DID YOU GET THIS NUMBER?!!” Joe went on to explain, “After I told Dr. Susskin the reason for my call, there was a soft click, and phone line went dead. Obviously, there must be something to this theory.” Nonplussed, Joe’s team decided to conduct research themselves. “I’m no physicist,” Joe explained, “but I did take a course in college.”
Joe’s team postulates the following explanations:
(1) Someone moved the table to make room for more exercise equipment. Although this seems like the most likely explanation for the disappearance, Joe’s team is not convinced. “We have powerful evidence which suggests this is not the case: Cornell said he didn’t do it, and we believe him.”
(2) The table is actually still there, we just can’t see it. Joe explains, “According to the Heisenburg uncertainty principle, you can never precisely know both the exact location and momentum of an object. The more certain you are of an object’s location, the less you know about its momentum, and vice versa. It’s possible that Michael played on the table so much, and precisely observed so many balls rolling swiftly around the table, that he inadvertently collapsed the table’s wavefunction, and now no one is certain where the table is.”
(3) A rip in space-time swallowed up the table. Joe concludes, “How else can we explain both the disappearance of the table, AND the unwillingness of Dr. Susskin to entertain, much less answer, our questions?”
Although Joe’s team has reached no definitive conclusions, they are determined to remain on the case and solve the mystery. “It’s like a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, and surrounded by morons.” Good luck Joe, we are counting on you.