Fellow insomniacs who turned on NewsRadio after David Letterman last night might have heard the BBC’s highbrow event of the year – the Reith Lectures, named after the corporation’s founder, Lord Reith. This year’s subject is science, with former Cambridge vice-chancellor and president of the Royal Academy of Engineering Lord Broers, talking on The Triumph of Technology.

Crikey, alas, ignores science. Boffins constantly complain that the media is run by liberal arts graduates who have no interest in or knowledge of their areas of expertise and ignore their contribution. So let’s redress that with a Crikey science update kindly submitted by a reader:

A major research institution has just announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element has been named ‘’Governmentium’.

Governmentium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact.

A minute amount of Governmentium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete, when it would normally take less than a second.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of four years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganisation in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

In fact, Governmentium’s mass will actually increase over time, since each re-organisation will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a certain concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as ‘Critical Morass’.

When catalysed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element which radiates just as much energy, since it has 1/2 as many peons but twice as many morons.

Peter Fray

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