Monday, July 16, 2012

Hipster scientists postulate existence of ‘ironic matter’

Senior hipsters have announced that they believe it likely that the universe is filled with massive quantities of ‘ironic matter’ on the analogy of the ‘dark matter’ hypothesized by physicists.

Dark matter has not yet been directly observed, because it neither emits nor absorbs light. That’s why it’s called ‘dark’ matter. The behavior and distribution of objects that can be observed points to large and unexplained gravitational forces acting on what we can see. As that gurning science pin-up Brain Cocks puts it:

“If we only refer to the matter that we can see, then we just have no idea why that matter is carrying on the way it is. It’s fucking weird is what it is. So, we have a choice. We can accept that the universe is very weird, or we can propose that it only seems weird because there is some very weird and difficult to detect stuff in it, and that we physicists could find this stuff if we got handed trillions and trillions of dollars to build insane toys. And it’s not just the expensive toys. We need money to fly around getting hammered at conferences, and money for a tiny number of female post-docs who we cluster around like vultures near the bloated rotting remains of a bull hippo that’s been dead for five-days. Obviously we thought about it really carefully. Can we have our money now?”

Figure 1: Physicists say that the large-scale distribution
of observable matter makes no fucking sense at all, unless
there is a whole lot of dark matter distributed in blobs
like those in this image nicked from Wikipedia. They also
say ‘we need more money’.
In a little more detail, the speculation favored by the physicists is that there are very large quantities of this dark matter in the universe, engaging only in gravitational interaction, and perhaps the ‘weak’ force, but not electromagnetically. A leading hypothesis in the field is that dark matter consists largely of ‘Weakly Interacting Massive Particles’, or WIMPs. If this hypothesis is correct, then substantial numbers of WIMPS must pass through every part of the earth almost every second. A number of (very expensive) experiments to test this hypothesis are underway, but WIMPS of the required sort have yet to be observed.

It is also well known that hipsters neither emit nor absorb anything genuinely useful. Indeed do not spontaneously interact with anything recognized as interesting or entertaining by the vast majority of people. Even so, the observed behavior of hipsters demands an explanation, just like the observed behavior of galaxies. Why the fatuous obsessions with retro hats, poorly functioning energy inefficient and sometimes unsafe, albeit visibly non-contemporary vehicles, unsuccessful bands and movies without plots? Why devote so much effort to sourcing and wearing T-shirts with badly rendered logos of defunct products and quotations from movies nobody ever watched? Why, when the world is so exciting and scary, pay so little coherent attention to things that matter to everyone else, and work so hard to cultivate a disposition of bored indifference?

Figure 2: This also makes no fucking
sense. None. At all. Holy living fuck.
Picture taken from here
‘Ironic matter’, the hipster scientists argue, would answer all of these questions. The brainwave came while a hipster affected complete indifference to a room-mate’s explanation of his ‘horrifyingly mainstream’ physics PhD. As the resolutely unsmiling hipster put it, “the physics problem was that the ‘dark matter’ theory said there should be loads of WIMPs, but the WIMPs had not been observed. And then it hit me. If you look at hipsters, it’s clear that there are loads and loads of observable wimps. But the mainstream just can’t ‘get’ our interests and priorities.’ Later, while listening to a bootleg cassette of some staggeringly obscure Amish ‘shun core’, his thinking went a little further:

“The physics guys could explain what visible matter does if they could detect the WIMPs. And the mainstream can detect the hipster wimps, it just can’t explain them. But what if there is a whole lot of invisible ironic matter, which only hipsters respond to and interact with?”

The analogy with physics and hipsters breaks down about here. Mainstream, and dorky, physicists work very hard to figure out how to detect dark matter if it does exist, and spend a lot of time trying to secure massive funding for massive experimental tools to conduct the tests. (And getting hammered at conferences, etc.) Hipsters say that even if ironic matter could be observed, the mainstream just wouldn’t understand it. Some Hipsters speculate that that the act very of observing ironic matter would bring it into the mainstream and thereby eliminate its ironic properties. And nothing would more clearly establish that ironic matter was no longer performing its function than a massive research grant. As one hipster “all that funding shows that physics is the opposite of hip.  They should call what they’re looking for ‘dork matter’.”