An Urgent Appeal to the Physics Community

An essay by Terry Fied, Department of Physics, Manhattan Institute of Theoreticians
Related to this journal by E. B. Fischadler
Art by Dawn Vogel


To the Editor:

Recently, I became aware of a new and disturbing trend: the courts are using physicists to develop new and horrific methods of execution. The following is the first example of this trend I have encountered. Hopefully it is a unique case and the community of scientists can intervene to stop this terrible abuse of science before any other such cases exist.

As you know, I often am sought as an expert witness in highly technical cases. This new trend came to my attention in the form of a “friend of the court” brief which came across my desk. In a recent case, the courts asked the physics community to offer its opinion of a method to cause planetary extinction as punishment for a crime. While it could and should be argued that the deaths of which the defendants are accused occurred through no fault of their own, the court has found them guilty and sentenced them to death. The defendants filed an appeal, asserting that existing methods of planetary extinction constitute cruel and unusual punishment. The court turned to the science community for alternatives, and an artificial supernova of the star around which the defendants’ planet orbits has been proposed as a means of execution.

The brief, a copy of which follows, is an opinion of the pain and suffering associated with this method of execution. The science is not at issue here–this unconscionable abuse of physics is. The science community must resist any such requests in the future. This is an issue of immense import and should be our highest priority.

Please join me in opposing this misuse of science and maintaining the high moral ground on which physics has always stood.

#

Attachment:

Nos 11-137, 13-098, 14-456
In The
Supreme Court of Galaxus

Planet Earth et. al Petitioners
vs
3rd Sector Court of Appeals Respondents

On Writ of Certiorari to the Galaxus Court of Appeals

Brief Amicus Curiae of

Department of Physics
Manhattan Institute of Theoreticians

in support of Respondents

Peri G. Mason
Counsel of Record

Counsel for Amicus Curiae
Manhattan Institute of Theoreticians

Questions Presented

  1. Whether inducing a supernova of the star around which planet Earth orbits in order to execute its inhabitants constitutes a cruel and unusual punishment.
  2. Whether a botched execution is likely, and would the Earth suffer unduly as a result.

Table of Authorities

Cases cited

Planet Earth v Government of Third Arm Galaxus

Planet Mars v Planet Earth

Statutes cited

Gen Laws Galaxus, chap 3 v 4

Miscellaneous

Wells, H. G. War of the Worlds

Note:  While many hold this as fiction, we believe Wells was actually describing a botched attempt by the Martians to carry out the order of this court to execute the Earthlings.

Summary of Argument

As to whether a supernova constitutes cruel and unusual punishment: Recent planetary executions have raised the concern that such executions constitute cruel and unusual punishment as defined under the statute cited. Indeed, the botched execution of Earth as described by Wells could be construed as an example.

The courts have charged the Earthlings with three major crimes.

The first is their taking of planet Earth, which was inhabited by the reptilians referred to as dinosaurs. The dinosaurs peacefully inhabited Earth for several hundred million years until the race which became the Earthlings hurled a large fireball at the planet, resulting in the extinction of the large reptilians.

The second is the near extinction of the Martians around 1880 (note 1) following the botched attempt at executing Earth for the first offense. Planet Earth wrongly assessed the court appointed executioners from Mars as an invasion force [ref Wells] and retaliated with germ warfare (Rhinovirus), wiping out the executioners and causing the near extinction of the Martian race when the virus was carried to Mars by the few survivors.

The third is the attempted taking of the Planet Mars by robots that the Earthlings sent to Mars for this purpose. The Earthlings claimed Mars was unoccupied, yet it is well known that Mars had been left fallow for several millennia in accord with good farming practices.

The court has found Earth guilty of all three offenses and imposed a sentence of summary extinction, with the remaining planet to be awarded to the Martians as reparations.

An Urgent Appeal to the Physics Community

The court turned to the science community for alternatives, and an artificial supernova of the star around which the defendants’ planet orbits has been proposed as a means of execution.


To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Summer 2015 collection.


Terry Fied is a Junior Assistant Lieutenant Deputy Adjunct Professor loosely affiliated with the Department of Physics at the Manhattan Institute of Theoreticians. His background includes certificates from some of the finest psychiatric institutions in the nation. Mr. Fied’s recent works include: Do Alien Abductions Constitute Transport Across State Lines? and Selected Quotes from Chewbacca: Wookie Poet Laureate.


E. B Fischadler has been writing short stories for several years, and has recently begun publishing. When he is not writing, he pursues a career in engineering and serves his community as an EMT. Mr. Fischadler’s technical works have been published in several refereed journals and a book. Fischadler continues to write short stories and is working on a novel about a naval surgeon.


Dawn Vogel has been published as a short fiction author and an editor of both fiction and non-fiction. Although art is not her strongest suit, she’s happy to contribute occasional art to Mad Scientist Journal. By day, she edits reports for and manages an office of historians and archaeologists. In her alleged spare time, she runs a craft business and tries to find time for writing. She lives in Seattle with her awesome husband (and fellow author), Jeremy Zimmerman, and their herd of cats. For more of Dawn’s work visit http://historythatneverwas.com/

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Come See a Mad Scientist’s Seven Wonders!

Lightspeed Magazine Issue 64Selfies contributor Caroline M. Yoachim has a new story available in the latest issue of Lightspeed Magazine titled “Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World!” It’s a magnificent tale exploring time, space, and a new take on the classic wonders. You can read the story on the website or buy the whole magazine issue!

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Now Available: Selfies from the End of the World!

Selfies from the End of the WorldAt long last, our newest anthology is available! Not only does it have twenty-three tales of the end-times, but it also includes some stellar interior art! Now available at Amazon, Powell’s, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords!

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That Man Behind the Curtain: August 2015

Please do not touch the porcupine.

Some people need to be told.

I’ve been a bit busy with my new Kickstarter, but here are the numbers for the month!

The Money Aspect

Amounts in parentheses are losses/expenses.

Hosting: ($17.06)
Stories: ($167.09)
Art: ($150.00)
Advertising: ($20.00)
Processing Fees: ($22.28)
Donations: $169.40
Ad Revenue: $0.51
Book Sales: $96.32
Total: ($386.63)
QTD: ($836.57)
YTD: ($6028.31)
All Time: ($32,898.46)

As per usual, I try to list costs for art and stories under the month that the stories run on the site rather than when I pay them. (This does not apply to special content which does not have a specific month associated with it.) Sales are for sales when they take place, not when it’s actually paid out to me. I also cover Paypal expenses when paying authors and artists.

Sales perked up this month. It may be that cooler weather has resulted in more book sales.

Submissions

August saw 22 submissions, of which we accepted 7 (31.8%). All time acceptance rate is 47.8%

Followers

Number of followers in social media as of the end of last month. Since we broke a thousand on Facebook, I’ll be doing a giveaway later this month.

Facebook: 1,001 (+21) (!!!)
Twitter: 396 (+6)
Google+: 59 (+0)
Tumblr: 110 (+15)
Mailing List: 41 (+1)
Patreon: 9 (+0)

Traffic

Our traffic was back down in August. We had a total of 1,190 visits. Our traffic consisted of 700 users and 2,084 page views. Our highest day of traffic was 120.

This month’s search engine term is “ghost spam is free from the politics, we dancing like a paralytics.” We had 36 visitors based off of that. 36! Sadly, no hits based on quilt patterns. They may be on to us. (Maybe that’s why traffic is down?)

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News of Death

An essay by Edgar, as provided by Nick Nafpliotis
Art by Luke Spooner


I am eternal.

For millions of years, my kind has roamed this earth in both the light of day and the black of night. Through countless wars, droughts, and famine, we continue to flourish and thrive, secretly holding dominion over all that we survey.

Our long reign over this planet, though not always realized or acknowledged, should not come as a surprise. Unlike the many other weak and fragile species that have surrounded us through the ages, we are built to survive. The weaknesses born of biological need are enemies against which we have no equal.

I am life.

Blistering heat and bitter cold cannot harm me. I do not require a constant or gluttonous supply of food and water; months can pass before the desire for sustenance has any chance of slowing my progress.

Even the need for oxygen can be forestalled. The most powerful of beings in this world can be brought to their knees after a few seconds devoid of their precious air, but I can comfortably go without it for nearly an hour.

I am death.

For centuries, my kind has been bringers of the end. I carry the many harbingers of an epidemic, spreading disease and filth with indiscriminant efficiency.

I am fear.

Although my preferred dwelling is the shadows, I can easily lay claim the lighted lands around me. The mightiest of this planet’s rulers recoil and scream at my slightest touch. My mere presence can cause the occupants of a single room … even or an entire kingdom … to flee.

I am legion.

For every one of us you see, there are billions more that you never will. I am powerful on my own, but together, we are unstoppable. Other creatures may believe that they rule this planet, but its various empires and apex predators are mere footnotes in the saga of our eternal reign.

So what could I, a perfectly constructed, winged angel of death, possibly be scared of? What meager defense does this world have to offer that would find me on the other side of fear?

News of Death

So what could I, a perfectly constructed, winged angel of death, possibly be scared of? What meager defense does this world have to offer that would find me on the other side of fear?
A rolled up newspaper.


To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Summer 2015 collection.


Edgar is a cockroach of the Periplaneta americana species. He hatched approximately eight months ago and expects to live another four at the most. During his short life span, he has accumulated a vast amount of knowledge about the Blattodea order of insects, mankind’s history on earth, and where the human owner of his residence, Arthur L. Berkowitz, is most likely to drop Cheeto and Dorito crumbs. He has an unusually high opinion of himself and is terrified of flashlights.


Nick Nafpliotis is a music teacher and writer from Charleston, South Carolina. During the day, he instructs students from the ages of 11-14 on how to play band instruments. At night, he writes about weird crime, bizarre history, pop culture, and humorous classroom experiences on his blog, RamblingBeachCat.com. He is also a television, novel, and comic book reviewer for AdventuresinPoorTaste.com. You can follow Nick on Twitter, where he brings shame to his family on a daily basis.


Luke Spooner a.k.a. ‘Carrion House’ currently lives and works in the South of England. Having recently graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a first class degree he is now a full time illustrator for just about any project that piques his interest. Despite regular forays into children’s books and fairy tales his true love lies in anything macabre, melancholy or dark in nature and essence. He believes that the job of putting someone else’s words into a visual form, to accompany and support their text, is a massive responsibility as well as being something he truly treasures. You can visit his web site at www.carrionhouse.com.


This story originally appeared in Voluted Tales #14.

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New Horror Collection by Mad Scientist!

Growing DarkHorror author Kristopher Triana is one of the writers that will appear in our soon to be published anthology, Selfies from the End of the World. Until that’s available, you can check out his new collection of horror stories titled Growing Dark. 80s actress Liane Curtis proclaimed, “I have to say I am not easily frightened but I caught myself white knuckling a few times!” Eric Martin of Guts and Grogs said, “Triana’s writing will make your soul feel like more maggots are raining out of it than in a Fulci film.” If that sounds like your cup of tea, you can find more details at Blue Juice Publishing.

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Mad Scientist Returns to Cobalt City

Cobalt City: Ties That BindNathan Crowder, who has contributed to a couple of our anthologies, has released a new ebook set in his super hero setting! Cobalt City: Ties that Bind features vigilantes Velvet and Bantam delving into the darkest part of the underworld to take on human traffickers. It’s available now for just $1.99 on Amazon!

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Review of She Walks in Shadows, Edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles

She Walks in Shadows

A review by Dawn Vogel

She Walks in Shadows (Innsmouth Free Press, 2015) is an anthology of stories set within the Lovecraftian Mythos, all of which are written by women. While all of the stories contain horror elements, they range between funny and truly terrifying, hitting all of the points in between.

With 25 stories included in the collection, some of which feature reimaginings of Lovecraft’s own characters, while others explore uncharted territory within the Mythos, readers are sure to find something they love within the pages. Several of the stories stuck with me long after I finished reading the anthology, and some may linger in my nightmares for a very long time.

Amelia Gorman’s “Bring the Moon to Me” involved a fascinating blending of computer programming and knitting, not necessarily two things that you would think of in conjunction. But it makes perfect sense in this story, and it makes me wonder what those coders and knitters at the local coffee shop might actually be up to. I also loved Jilly Dreadful’s “De Deabus Minoribus Exterioris Theomagicae,” a story told in the form of an outlined set of notes that reminded me of my grad school days (except the books I was reading at the time weren’t nearly as interesting as the one in this story). And while the strange and eldritch book is perhaps a trope in Lovecraftian tales, this is a fresh take on the presentation of such.

“Lockbox,” by E. Catherine Tobler, is definitely one of the stories that stuck with me. With a creepy ruin of a house and a woman who may or may not exist outside of dreams, this story is quite haunting. Another fantastically creepy story is “Hairwork,” by Gemma Files. Though the beginning is somewhat slow, and the point of view changes take some work to follow, the story picks up the pace and turns out to be a wonderful tale of righteous vengeance.

Two other stories, on opposite ends of the spectrum of how pervasive the Mythos is, round out my list of favorites. Laura Blackwell’s “Bitter Perfume” is a lovely, touching story about family, yet the connection to the Mythos is only slight. Meanwhile, “The Cypress God,” by Rodopi Sisamis, is set in a world where Mythos deities have their own church and shrines. The characterization in this particular story absolutely floored me, and it worked perfectly with the setting.

She Walks in Shadows is a fantastic read from start to finish, and despite my mention of only a handful of the stories, all of them were well written and interesting. The anthology will be available on October 6, 2015, but can be pre-ordered on the Innsmouth Free Press website: http://www.innsmouthfreepress.com/blog/books/she-walks-in-shadows/

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General Submissions to Close September 30th!

Do Not EnterMad Scientist Journal will be closing to general submissions on September 30th, 2015, and will re-open January 1st, 2016. There will be a special call for submissions during our period of closure, but otherwise we won’t be taking any submissions during those three months.

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Francine’s Baby

An essay by Ivan Gorr, as provided by Diana Parparita
Art by Scarlett O’Hairdye


My name is Ivan Gorr, and I’ve been, perhaps, the key contributor to Project Eve, though, as my lack of an academic background might suggest, I was not one of the researchers working on the project. I was employed by Neogenesis Labs as a janitor, a task still considered to require human intelligence over mechanized precision, due in part to the inventive hiding places that the residues of a genetic lab might find under the furniture, and in part to the twenty-hour workdays that some scientists subjected themselves to, making cleaning their labs a difficult to time operation that required a tactful, humane approach that the cleanbots currently on the market simply cannot emulate. My email address, consisting, according to company regulations, of the initial of my first name followed by my last name in full, instantly attracted the attention of every employee who had some form of business requiring urgent communication with the janitorial department, whether it was to announce a surge in biochemical waste that needed instant removal or to request a fresh supply of body bags, and within a week of my arrival at Neogenesis, I was known throughout the compound and hailed everywhere I went as “Igor.”

The employees at Neogenesis certainly do have a penchant for humorous nicknames and I wasn’t the first to be thus christened by them. Dr. Francine Stein, for instance. The eminent geneticist in charge of Project Eve, was known to her colleagues as Dr. Frankenstein, while the project she was heading was only ever referred to as “Frankenstein’s Monster,” which, I believe, was the staff’s own take on the non-disclosure agreement we had all signed, down to the last and lowliest janitor, to protect the secrecy of the project until Neogenesis would announce it publicly.

I was fascinated by Dr. Stein from the very beginning. In those days, she was already in her early forties, and a highly respected member of the international scientific community. She was one of those scientists who worked impossible hours, and junior staff under her command frequently resigned or pleaded to be transferred elsewhere after mere weeks of trying to keep up with her schedule. She was invariably pale and invariably tired, living exclusively inside her lab, sleeping in her chair, surviving on coffee and dietary supplements and showering in the antiseptic decontamination chamber on the 5th floor. During the day, when other employees were around, she wore her lab coat buttoned up and her hair in a bun tied so tightly that it pulled at her skin, stretching her face into an impenetrable mask. At night, when she thought no one was around, she’d take off her shoes and unbutton her lab coat and loosen her hair, letting it flow over her shoulders in a cascade of chestnut-brown curls.

Back in those days, the project certainly seemed to deserve its name as Frankenstein’s monster. The lab was always full of body parts, carefully tagged and dissected and measured inside-out. They studied them in batches: feet, legs, arms, hands, torsos. In the end, it was eyeballs. There were thousands of them, preserved in tiny jars with bar-code stickers on them, ordered into neat collections on the shelves, color-coded. It was a collection any serial-killer would have died for, and there weren’t two of them alike. Small and round as they were, they often got lost, hiding under the furniture or in dark corners of shelves and drawers until the smell would give them away. For weeks I chased them over the floor, crawling on all fours under Dr. Stein’s desk, brushing my hand against her ankle to get to one sample or other that had rolled into oblivion under her chair. And for weeks I saw her studying her collection of samples, at first with interest, then hope, then a sort of impatience that gave way to irritation. I’d expected she’d move on to another body part soon and discard her samples as she’d discarded the hands and the arms and the legs and the feet and all other parts, but months went by and she was still hoarding eyeballs, until every space was taken up by their little jars. Late at night, when I was silently sweeping the dust while she slept in her chair, surrounded by all those disembodied eyeballs, I felt I was being watched.

#

The project was stalling. Assistants got reassigned. Higher-ups began coming into the lab to talk to her.

“You have made tremendous discoveries,” they’d say, trying to look away from the jars. “Thanks to your research, we now know more about the human genome than we ever thought possible. And the scientific community would greatly benefit from this wealth of information if you would only complete your project and publish your results.”

“This is my baby!” Dr. Stein would say sharply, her face tightened by the pull of her neatly bound hair.

“We know it is your baby, of course. And we value your commitment to the project. But eye color just isn’t important enough to justify the funds wasted by this delay. We must insist that you proceed to the next phase. Even at the projected pace, it would take years before we can show any results to the general public. Our shareholders are anxious. And without any progress to report, it has been increasingly difficult to find donors …”

“You bribe your donors!” Dr. Stein spat back. “Just bribe more of them!”

“We offer a small token of our appreciation to the relatives of the deceased for donating the bodies of their loved ones to science, yes,” the higher-ups would say tactfully. “But our shareholders believe too much appreciation has been put into your project already.”

Dr. Stein would always find a way to get them out of her hair without actually promising to move on with the project, and the higher-ups would always walk out of the lab in a foul mood.

“Women!” they’d say to each other, rolling their eyes as they walked down the corridor. “They’re never happy. Does she even know what she wants?”

“Does it even exist?”

“If it doesn’t exist, she can make it, I’ll give her credit for that. If she wanted the prototype to have bubblegum-pink eyes with little blue stars in them, she could engineer a gene for that. And we’d make a fortune just on the publicity we’d be getting from that sort of thing. But she doesn’t want that, no, she wants to find the right eyes. She wants everything nice and natural, no enhancements, just ‘natural’ pieces of ‘real’ DNA taken from actual, real-live people. Well, actual real-dead people anyway. And it’s going to be one actual real-dead project if she doesn’t make up her mind soon.”

Sometimes I worried that they’d really shut down the project, that they’d send her packing and give the lab to some stuffy old man and I’d never see her again. But, whatever it was that she did, she seemed to be the only one who could get the project through, and they’d spent too much money on it already to pull the plug now, without reaping any benefits. Still, they cut back on the funding and, as I watched her all alone in her lab, frowning at the same old samples and muttering to herself as she went over them again and again, I began to fear for her sanity.

Francine's Baby

In the end, it was eyeballs. There were thousands of them, preserved in tiny jars with bar-code stickers on them, ordered into neat collections on the shelves, color-coded. It was a collection any serial-killer would have died for, and there weren’t two of them alike.


To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Summer 2015 collection.


Ivan Gorr is manager of the janitorial department at Neogenesis Labs.


Diana Parparita’s stories have appeared in Allegory, Enchanted Conversation, Bards and Sages Quarterly, Swords and Sorcery Magazine, Mad Scientist Journal, and Avast, Ye Airships!


Scarlett O’Hairdye is a burlesque performer, producer and artist. To learn more, visit her site at www.scarlettohairdye.com.

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