Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Stormontium (atomic mass of 108)

Much of the political focus is on Westminster at the moment as candidates pound the pavements delivering election literature through our doors (so far always when I’m out). But up on the hill, MLAs are still debating Café Culture (or "Tiocfaidh ár latte" as Keith Belfast refers to it) and making St Patrick’s Day a public holiday.

I’m not usually impressed by emailed jokes, but this one was better formed than most. (I’ve seen a variation where QUB was replaced with Belfast Met.)

Scientists at QUB have discovered a brand new element. The new element, Stormontium (symbol=Sm), has 2 neutrons, 11 assistant neutrons, and 95 deputy neutrons giving it an atomic mass of 108. [Updated to take account of P&J]

These 108 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called pillocks. Since Stormontium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact.

A tiny amount of Stormontium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take from 4 days to 4 years to complete. Stormontium has a normal half-life of 2 to 5 years. It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganisation in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

In fact, Stormontium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganisation will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Stormontium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as a critical morass.

When catalysed with money, Stormontium bonds with Administratium (symbol=Ad), an element that radiates just as much energy as Stormontium, since it has twenty times the number of pillocks but half as many morons. Administrative pillocks are characterised by an aversion to using up energy. In fact the more pillocks there are in Administratium the less energy they use.

The scientists concluded that in its present form there were very few practical uses for Stormontium.


Niall said...

Crumbs ... that goes back many moons! Glad to see re-use alive and well and living in Belfast :-)

Ivor Whitten said...

brialliant - cheered up my day!