Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Final Frontier

  In the early days of the space program, Bill Leet and I are always experimenting on lizards in the name of furthering scientific research. And once Bill’s father asks why we are torturing those animals. And we have Orville and Wilbur disbelieving looks on our faces, confused by the question of why the thrill of experiencing flight may not translate to some green lizards. After all, isn’t there a Russian dog orbiting above our heads, sending yip yips back to earth so one day Death Rays can be launched from orbit?

  Having graduated from games of Indians slaughtering Pale Face Settlers, our bows and arrows are now launchers and missles. Borrowed hankerchiefs become parachutes drooped over the point of the arrow, strings on the four corners knotted neatly on the shaft. So before the first lizard is launched into space, Bill’s bicycle is turned over on seat and handlebars, the back wheel now the Johnsville Centrifuge that will generate up to 40 g/s. Strap the first lizard down and start the back-wheel centrifuge slowly, building up to a speed where the spinning pedal is difficult to hold. Apply brakes quickly to test rapid deceleration. Look and find the first scientific principle: when placing the astronaut lizard on the centrifuge, always make sure the head of the astronaut lizard is also secured.

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