Wednesday, September 10, 2008


It was only a matter of time before a real live mad-scientist doomsday device was invented - but who would have expected it to be in Switzerland? The Apocryphist, that's who. Ever since reports began to surface about the genesis of the Large Hadron Collider - a super-cyclotron created for ostensibly peaceful "study" purposes by CERN (Center for Europeans Researching Nuclearity) that runs a 17-mile circuit beneath the Swiss countryside - we knew that there was more to the project than its maddeningly neutral proponents were letting on. And, despite the naively positive press the endeavor is receiving today, its opening day, we stand uncorrected.

First, a little subterranean geopolitical primer: until the 17th century, a race of cave-dwelling troglodytic peoples lived relatively unmolested in a series of caves beneath the Alps. In order to protect their peaceful existence against the coming onslaught of Modernity, they signed a treaty with the Swiss government in 1647, essentially declaring the underground stratum of the area a separate nation from its surface. Rather uninspiringly known as Subterranea, this nation survived and even flourished despite its occasionally cruel attitudes towards its own citizens. (Proto-anthropologist Dante Aligheri published an early ethnography of these people's quaint practices in his 14th-century monograph Inferno.)

Fast-forward to the 1940s. Previously unaware of the existence of Subterranea (which, in stark contrast to its upper counterpart, secretly and somewhat quixotically fought against both the Allies and Axis powers during WWII), former Nazi war criminals looking for hideouts that did not involve long ocean voyages or having to learn Spanish found its craggy confines to be a comforting alternative to execution. Within a generation, Subterranea became the most popular tax haven and libertarian skulking-ground the world had never heard of. That it soon attracted a new class of megalomaniacal supercriminals should come as no surprise.

This burgeoning breed of masterminds were no mere Nazis - rather than simply taking over the world, they wanted to hold it ransom for vast sums and/or sell its citizens as food to passing extraterrestrial warships and/or just destroy it outright for private, psychotic reasons. The vast majority of these projects were doomed to failure before they even made it to the drawing board - but with the creation of the Large Hadron Collider, a new chapter has been opened in the book of mega-evil.

By hiding its activities under the believable-sounding acronym CERN (unlike its risible predecessors SMERSH, SLUDGE, EEEEVIL), the criminal conglomerate was able to enlist the aid of scientists and national governments worldwide under the aegis of its stated goal: to advance quantum physics by throwing molecules into each other at unbelievable speeds in order to approximate the conditions of the world at the time of the Big Bang. That otherwise respectable people were drawn in by what is obviously a horrible threat thinly veiled by scientific jargon (you know what happened at the time of the Big Bang? THE MOST UNBELIEVABLY GIGANTIC EXPLOSION THE UNIVERSE HAS EVER SEEN) is a testament to the insidious intelligence of these evildoers.

Among the other stated goals of this project is to create a theoretical particle known as a Higgs Boson - but anyone remotely literate should be aware that this is not an actual scientific concept, but rather a sly reference to Bos'n Higgs, the demented leader of the pirate mutiny in Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale of maritime adventure, Pirate Mutiny. In reality, as many mainstream scientists have declared in recent months, the Large Hadron Collider is liable to do nothing more than create tiny black holes, which can either be inserted as ammo into black-hole ray-guns (which can be shot at Fort Knox security guards in order to warp them into another dimension during a daring robbery) or else destroy the world outright.

Only time will tell if CERN's nefarious scheming will pay off - the Collider is going to take several months just to warm up. In the meantime, let us declare that we are not proclaiming a judgment - either positive or negative - on this mind-blowingly insane project. Just as evil can sometimes come of good, good can occasionally come of evil. If one of the side effects of this horrifying endeavor is, say, extreme human mutation of the wing-growing/x-ray vision variety, or the return of Atlantis to the surface of the ocean, or the awakening ofthe hibernating Cthulhu deep within Antarctica - well, let's just say we won't altogether mind.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Nothing twists the spine into Escher-esque loops of impossibility quite like the prospect of giant animals. No, not blue whales and elephants, but shockingly enlarged versions of more pedestrian animals. In fact, the smaller the original animal, the more face-crushingly terrifying the giant version will be. So, like, giant cat? Deadly, but not scary. Giant rat? Way worse. Giant cockroach? WAY worse. Let's not even discuss giant amoebae, paramecia, and hydrae - you wouldn't be able to manage your bowels when confronted by a CGI re-creation, let alone the real thing.

We have recently had the grim pleasure of uncovering this 1930 article from Modern Mechanics magazine, which was recently uncovered by the grimly pleasant people at the Modern Mechanix blog (presumably some form of ebonics spelling or the like). It details the havoc that would be wreaked on mid-20th-century America by the advent of giant insects.

What the Mechanix entry isn't brave enough to fess up to is the fact that this article, though ostensibly intended as a speculative lark, was actually a carefully placed piece of government propaganda. Attempting to address Middle America's locust crisis, Department of the Interior scientists had the brilliant idea of engineering a mega-locust, injected it with the notorious cannibal gene of the common praying mantis to induce it to devour its tinier brethren. The experiment, as such experiments tend to do, went horribly wrong, and resulted in a bunch of mega-locusts eating American crops and then each other, leaving nary a trace of their brief, freakish existence. Thus, the dust bowl was born.

The article, of course, was designed to remove government culpability. "See?" the text seems to plead, "It wasn't us - it was the evil doctrine of EVOLUTION. Maybe if we pray on it real hard, it'll go away."

And for all intents and purposes, it did. Proof of god? Or just another case of the U.S. government being too incompetent to go all the way with the world-domination thing? You decide. And please keep it to yourself.