Wednesday, 15 June 2016

You wait ages for one, and then you explode.

I'm sure it's happened to all of us. There you are, standing at a bus stop, and the bus is late. Late enough that you're starting to wonder if you've missed it, and whether or not you have time to pop into the shop down the road or light a cigarette. You decide not to chance it, and continue to wait. Time passes. Soon you've been standing there long enough to have smoked an entire pack and go to the shop for another. Finally, you decide that the bus isn't coming. Your focus wavers, and just as you give up on the bus arriving any time soon and move off- wham! There's the driver, glaring at you impatiently through the open doors. You're caught off guard. You rush back from the direction of the shop. You trip, drop your change. In your flustered state you inhale your cigarette. You can't breathe. Darkness claims you.

The weight of anecdotal evidence on this phenomenon is staggering. Perhaps not the death-by-asphyxiation part, but certainly the bit with buses turning up just as the potential passenger fully gives up hope. So much so that we can safely assert a causation between low commitment to waiting, and the sudden arrival of the bus in question. It is as though any given bus, en route to a passenger with a defeatist mindset, was compelled by some causal law to adjust its velocity in accordance with their hope of seeing it. This being the case, it leads us to accept that we have encountered a vital link between Sod's Law and hard, quantifiable Physics. The intriguing part of this concentration-based system of public transit appearance is the potential to harness its regularity in non-transport areas. Were people at every stop on a bus route to give up on waiting at the same moment, the bus would have to appear at each stop almost simultaneously- in other words, the bus would have to travel at the speed of light in order to disappoint everyone in its catchment area. Achieving light-speed travel so simply is certainly a thrilling prospect, but we should bear in mind the limitations of the method. We could not use light-speed buses for instantaneous transfer of goods or mail, for example. By definition, somebody expecting the bus to arrive somewhere with their package would cause it to drop from light speed, to the velocity of the cyclist trundling ahead of it. This is why, regrettably, the only foreseeable applications of the light-speed bus are military.

In order to elaborate on the concept of the unexpected bus as a weapon, it is necessary to emphasise the interplay between hard science and somebody muttering how bloody typical it all is. A bus so accelerated is drawn by Sod's Law, not the physical mathematics which make it useful. Therefore, the eager physicist would do well to remember that their work is merely a utilization of something which is outside of their field. With this in mind, imagine the system of simultaneous bus-forsaking described above, which accelerates the vehicle to the maximum possible speed. Now suppose that the bus route ends in a ramp, so angled that the bus will land directly on a hostile country's largest population centre. North Korea would soon stop its nuclear sabre-rattling if a double-decker 38C left Dennistoun and landed in downtown Pyongyang at the speed of light. As a weapon of mass destruction powered by British pettiness at minor inconveniences, it is also unable to be manufactured by foreign powers, making a public transport arms race impossible. With such a force under her command, outweighing even the power of atomic weapons, Britain might once again be in control of global affairs.

The only downside to this invention is that it requires the death of a bus driver each time it is used. But this can be made less distasteful with the right amount of ceremony. Just as Kamikaze pilots drank sake with their commanders before flying to their deaths, the martyred bus drivers of Britain might enjoy a pint with the Secretary of State for Transport before their final journey. Considering the potential power of this weapon, and the level of influence it would allow Britain to achieve, there should be no shortage of patriots willing to sign up. Although it is worth considering the payment of a generous pension to the deceased driver's family in order to assist recruitment. Besides, it would not even be necessary to launch a bus against a foreign power except in severe circumstances. Necessary leverage in international politics could be achieved simply by assembling a squad of willing drivers and keeping them on standby.

All these things having been considered, it seems obvious that Britain is in possession of a unique super-weapon which will allow us to exert control on the world stage in a manner which would previously have been unthinkable. It should therefore be obvious that we have no longer have any need for alliances with other countries, or of anchoring ourselves to agreements where we are required to pull our weight.

With this in mind, vote Leave on June 23rd. Britain can go it alone. We have our light-speed buses of mass destruction. 

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