Science (S): Professor Erectvs--
Vert (V): Call me "Vert."
S: Okay, Vert, many consider you a renegade astrophysicist. Your theory that dark energy is actually irony is causing quite a stir among scientist all over the world, living and dead.
V: Living and dead?
S: Yes. There have been reports that Einstein is spinning in his grave.
V: Really? Of all people? I would have thought he would have "gotten it" before anyone. After all, isn't he the one who said, "If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts"?
S: Yes, but he was drinking at the time.
V: Hey, that's where some of our best ideas come from. Mine come from mojitos.
S: I'm sure. Anyway, its been over ten years since scientists discovered "dark energy," the invisible substance that has shaken the fields of physics and astronomy. As we all know, that discovery confirmed that nearly 75 percent of the universe is made up of an invisible substance called "dark energy." Only a tiny tiny fraction of the universe is made up of atoms because the last 25-or-so percent seem to be made up of "dark matter"-- enormous amounts of even tinier particles that still haven't been identified.
V: Tell me something I don't know.
S: In fact, "dark energy" seems to be winning a "tug of war" with gravity. In the last five billion years, "dark energy"-- a sort of "negative gravity" or "repulsive force"-- has overcome gravity and is driving galaxies apart at an ever-increasing rate.
V: It's not a pretty picture. It could drive lesser men to drink.
S: And now you come along with what your detractors call the "cockamamied calculation":
V: They're just jealous because they didn't think of it first which, in itself, offers proof of the equation.
S: Others are calling your discovery the "Erectvs Equation," as if it was the most important discovery of all time.
V: Now those are people who know what they're talking about.
S: Speaking of the equation, it seems to be a blatant rip off of Einstein's, which most people will agree is the most famous equation of all time.
V: Famous-shamous. It's all relative.
S: Right. Anyway, as we understand it, "DE" stands for "Dark Energy"--
V: Something Einstein didn't even know existed.
S: Maybe. In any event, the equation continues with "MC²:)". Scientists all over the world-- and a few drunks and lonely men without girlfriends-- want to know what the hell does that mean?
V: In layman's terms it means: mass times the speed of light in a vacuum squared times the "smiley face" which I use to represent "Irony," the invisible factor tearing the universe apart.
S: We're surprised to see you choosing a "smiley face" to represent such a dark ending for life as we know it.
V: Well, that's what makes it so "ironic."
S: Vert, you're not really that deep, are you?
V: Why, what do you mean?
S: People are suggesting that you're merely in it for the money.
V: What people? I want their names.
S: They say this is nothing more than a cheap publicity stunt on your part to bring attention to your real motive: selling t-shirts on CafePress.com.
V: Hey, if Einstein was alive today, he'd be doing the same thing. T-shirt sales help offset my meager scientist salary.
S: They're saying you can't even balance your checkbook much less solve the mystery of the universe.
V: But when you do balance your checkbook, the feeling of discovery is just the same.
S: You really are quite insane, aren't you, Vert?
V: They called Copernicus insane, so what?
S: Worst yet, your "cockamamied calculation" implies that there is a loving, caring God what with the stupid "smiley face" you worked into the formula.
V: Hey, you can read my formula anyway you want to for all I care. As a scientist, it captures the beauty of Newton's theory that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. My "smiley face" might look like God peeking His Head through a cold calculation, but it's also the Yin's Yang to "Dark Energy." In other words, it symbolizes "Dark Matter" and balances out the equation.
S: Tell us, Vert, how did you come up with this ridiculous idea? Were you drinking at the time?
V: No, I was stuck in traffic on the Palmetto.
S: The "Palmetto"?
V: An "expressway" in Miami-Dade County. For me it is the "irony conduit" for my theory. Every day thousands of people use it to "rush" to and from work at an average speed just above jogging. It's a joke. A cosmic joke brought on by ourselves because committing to commuting, no matter how long or slow it is, is the means to acquiring things that will insulate you from seeing the world for what it is.
S: And that is, we're afraid to ask?