06 July 2012

What Really Happened in San Diego, CA on the Evening of 4 July 2012

The Inside Scoop:  Special Report from Journalist F. Montforte D'Hubert

In a shot that was heard around San Diego Bay and for miles farther, a quiet group of physicists managed to pull off one of the greatest subversive experiments in pyrotechnic history.  

No, we are not talking about Higgs boson.  That is old news to be certain.  We speak here of the formerly top secret enterprise of one Dr. Jasper Plank and his team of nuclear physicists working on the (until now) unknown particle they call the "Hickey coson" (pronounced hi-key coh-sun).  In an exclusive interview allowed to me by this secretive group, I am able to bring to light the truth about the alleged fireworks display botch on 4 July evening.  

The photograph captured above looks like no other fireworks display gone wrong.  That's because, it was a carefully timed explosion surrounding sensitive instruments that have been designed to withstand intense heat and flame while isolated sub-atomic particles.  This method of breaking up atomic matter is known by Dr. Plank and his team as Low-level Mid-air Isotope Collision Infuser (LeMICI).  Dr. Plank's LeMICI operations specialist, Dr. Cranston Dimshaw explains:

Dr. Cranston Dimshaw

"Well, sir, I don't mind a-sayin this; we have that Hadron Collider thingamabob over yonder in Switzerland beat all to hell and gone. They had to tear up a lot of dirt and rock..killin' a bunch o'worms and stuff to get that beast a-planted underground.  Now, Dr. Plank and me had this idea a-piece back that we could contain a ball-bustin' ('scuse me, kin I say that in print?) atom smasher in a contained space above ground-- keepin' all the energy focused inward.  I told Dr. Plank that if he'd get me five hunnert pounds of dyneemite, I'd be good for my word, as a pyrotechnic specialist with a doctorate in explosion physics from USC, and get him a big enough blast to show up them lilly-livers in Europe."

Dr. Dimshaw went on to explain in some technical detail the process of bringing five hundred pounds of tri-nitro toluene (dynamite) in the form of a complex fireworks display into such a configuration as to create an infused explosion -- which can be seen at the top of this report.

When I asked Dr. Plank and his team just what it took to get this equipment in place, he pointed to their mobile laboratory, known as "Hotspot," and said, "Thar she be...finest mobile facility on wheels is my guess."
"Hotspot" being loaded by labrats
As a reporter, I was immediately aware of the lack of security around such a sensitive and sophisticated scientific mobile facility.  Dr. Plank explained, "Ya see those two ears  a-peekin over the window yonder?  That varmint is our guard dog, Stewey.  He is the meanest, oneriest and golldarndest cantankerous fox terrier I have ever seen.  He is ten years old and kin tear yer.....(deleted) off afore ya kin whistle the first three notes of "Dixie."  Oh, and don't whistle that tune around Stewey.  He hates that tune like crazy."  I was permitted to climb aboard "Hotspot" for a very brief peek from the front of the bus.  Stewey was right there, as I climbed the steps...showing me the kind of lip that said this dog meant business.  I did as I was told and avoided experiencing his expertise.  I never knew such a small dog could seem so big.
Stewey the Vicious Guard Dog

Up to this point, I had not had the opportunity to have a long interview time with Dr. Plank himself.  He seemed awfully busy cutting and pasting pictures on booklets that looked suspiciously like passports.  He was also supervising what seemed to be a rapid mobile retreat to some place no one would share with me.  

At length, the great Dr.Plank himself, came over with a cup of coffee for me, and we sat on two boxes of left over TNT and chatted for what he called, "a spell."  Here is the substance of the interview:
Dr. Jasper Plank
FMD:  Thanks for this time Dr. Plank.  What is your assessment of this event?
JP:  It beats the hell out of me.  We spent years planning for the right time and place to carry out this experiment.  You mighta guessed that this here was one complex puppy to pull off.
FMD:  Are you suggesting that something went wrong?
JP:  Wrong?  Sheeeit....we been lookin' for Hickey coson for 25 years.  I knowed it was thar while I was still at Berkeley.  One night, while me and Weed was doin' some agricultural research, it came to me...like the opening of a fog bank...that there was a particle inside all this soup we call atoms and molecules that made things all work together and just right.
FMD:  So, early on, you were in agricultural science?
JP:  After a manner o'speakin'...yep.  We was tryin' to learn about the complex atomic chemistry of a product and how it could be enhanced to provide more yield.  My friend and colleague, Weed, was in charge of the operation.
FMD:  Weed?  Who was he, or she.  
JP:  Cain't rightly say.  We just knew him as Weed.  He was a whiz-bang of a feller, but he went to the dark side of science and became one of them theologian guys.  Cain't unnerstand that.  How can you 'splain what you don't see?
FMD:  Isn't that what you are doing with Hickey coson?  And, by the way, how did you arrive at that name.
JP:  Well, we jest knowed that atoms is real and made up of particles of energy.  Now that particle stuff were new to physics.  We had a helluva time tryin' to sell that to our grant providers.  Eventually, we had to go commando to get our work done.  Oh, you asked 'bout Hickey coson.  Well, one morning the (then) agri-team assembled for a research meetin'.  We all had these purple blotches on our necks and found out we had all scored dates the night before with some of the campus ladies....you jest don't know what it's like to be in our line  o' work and try to get dates with real girls.  But here all five of us were.  Weed had two of them blotches....said it was a long night.  He also 'splained that the blotches was called "hickeys" and a sign of a successful date.  We was to be proud of them 'cause they only lasted a few days.  Weed was the man with two o' them puppies.  Weed was also the shouter on an 8 man rowing crew.  They call them coxwains.  Damned if I would like to be called that.  I guess boat folks don't like it much either, 'cause they called themselves "coh-suns."  Long and short of it:  When I started studin' on them particles, I wanted to name the mother of all particles the Hickey coson in honor of that original team, our darin' deeds and Weed's outdoor dealins.
FMD:  Well, that's a heck of a story, Dr. Plank.  A lot goes into a name.  Sure would like to know more about this Weed fellow.
JP:  Cain't talk no more 'bout him.  He's classified.  I do know he's been back busy on some new form of agri-science.  He always liked to brew up a mess o' whatever we was workin' on.  
FMD:  I know my time with you is almost up, Dr. Plank.  Let's talk more about last evening's event (being July 4).  Can you summarize it.
JP:  I'll try to be brief here, so stay with me young feller.  Coming up with enough dyneemite to create a collider infusion event was a problem.  We been knowin' fer years about them boys in New Jersey and their pyro shows.  Well, we was able to set up our lab and turn on the juice to our computers in such a way as to realign both the timing and trajectories of all that ordinance.  I cain't lie; we had a dickens of a time.  Had to call Weed, who keeps up with this computin' stuff, to give us a hand.  Ya' know, that skeester knocked out a big ole chunk o' the power grid here a few years back.  Southwest California folks were mighty pissed.  Didn't find Weed for days..worryin' about him and such.  Finally found him clean under his bed...still hidin.  But I digress.
We finally managed to git all the circuits to respond to our computer engineer's software.  All he needed to do was time his hittin the enter key at the same time as the New Jersey boy clicked his button to start the show.  Damn near worked to.  We was off about 0.5 seconds.  Dammit.  One part fired just that much later than the other.  It was one helluva beautiful explosion.  The infusion worked well enough, and the night was perfect in terms of temperature and humidity (I do love the SD Bay area).  Yep, we missed ole Hickey coson jest a hair.
FMD:  Manoman.  What a story.  How much did that cost you in terms of research dollars?
JP:  Us?  Hmmm.  I'd say 'bout  $119.65.  We had to buy some computer extension stuff and gas to get from where we was.  
FMD:  What?!!  Only about $120.00?!!  How the......?
JP:  Now, don't get jumpy on me lad.  The LeMICI is a work of genius simply because it is not expensive like them hoity-toity curvy colliders.  I do have to admit, those New Jersey boys are out a few bucks...big bucks.  But it was for the sake of science and technical research.  Still they are mighty pissed and such this mornin'.  
FMD:  What about the thousands of SD Bay area folks who bought tickets to be up close and came from miles around to see this annual event?
JP:  Hells bells!  Ain't no one got any sense of adventure and 'preciation fer what took place?  Where else you gonna see power, majesty and pyrotechnic genius like what happened last night?  I understand we extended the San Andreas Fault another 20 miles south.  Now these folks will be part of the Big Island when them tectonic plates start a movin' west in a few years.
FMD:  Simply astounding.  Hey, I see what looks like Fed cars coming up the road.  Are they looking for you or me.  We need to close this for now.  Maybe we can meet up again soon.
JP:  Yep, we need to skeedaddle on outta here.  Pure research cain't be slowed by those federal boys.  Pesky critters.....See ya.

That ended one of the most incredible interviews of my long and unusual journalistic career.  This story is so wild that even The Onion wouldn't take it.  Said it was too hot.  You betcha.  They should have been here.  Some nose hairs were singed for sure.  

I am thankful to Fr. Frederick Mann, fellow ordained Dudeist, for allowing me to tell this incredible, almost unbelievable, story.  Perhaps we can follow up.  Damn, there's another fed car.  I'll just be moving along now.  Chow.

F. Montforte D'Hubert
At Large Reporter/Journalist
Catch all the latest at ifitainthereitaintnewsworthy.aa/bollsgeschicte .  It is the downunder fer shur business (aa =Antarctica)

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