Wednesday, September 22, 2010


A Fossilised Stone

Today I found a fossilised stone! I'm fairly sure it dates from the Silurian Period (between 440 and 395 million years ago). I have used inductive reasoning to reconstruct its final moments. It appears that a prehistoric scissors became snagged in the finger branches of a hand tree; its cries attracted the stone, which then got stuck in the sand; the struggles of the stone attracted a predatory piece of paper, which trapped itself under the stone. All three perished together. The scissors and paper in this photograph are models (the originals decayed before petrification was possible) but the stone is genuine. Fossilised stones are incredibly rare! Note that the paper is covered with practice attempts at perfecting my new signature: this only deepens the mystery!

It's a well-known fact that scissors, stones and pieces of paper form a self-contained food chain. But a system of this nature with only three elements is inherently unstable. So here's an improved set-up, also entirely self-contained, that features five elements. Biodiversity is of vital importance! This schematic, incidentally, was drawn by a fellow named Anthony Lewis: he acts in this film as a bald jazz-singer. The two extra elements are: Dynamite and Raincloud. As can be seen, the Rock blunts the Scissors but it also smashes the Raincloud; the Scissors cuts Paper but it also severs the fuse of the stick of Dynamite; the Dynamite blows the Rock to pieces but it also disperses the Raincloud with shockwaves; the Raincloud rusts the Scissors but it also makes the Paper soggy; and the Paper still smothers the Rock but now it also becomes a letter of complaint to the authorities about the owner of the Dynamite, who is subsequently arrested.

For more silliness about stones check out my Postmodern Mariner blog...

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