Devian Rayatazeum, the head of the Quantum Linguistics Department at the Vollstrach Symposium, recently published a book to no reviews and a small tinny fanfare played on a broken Electro-cornet by his secretary.
Its title "The use of Eigenvectors in the divination of true meaning" was quickly changed to "The Liar Particle" in its second printing after the media got hold of one of the central ideas and twisted it to their own less than academic ends.
Devian was then additionally startled when, on the back of astonishing book sales, was asked to appear on "The Essential Show", a prime time forum for weird and occasionally useful ideas.
After a dry start the host, Te Moui, who had almost slipped into a catatonic stupor as the old man droned on, got right to the point.
"So, baby," he schmoozed, "what's all this noise about the particle, man?" In news circles it is worth noting that Moui was seen as something of an intellectual.
The particle, as it turned out, had been discovered during Devian's research on advice, a curious linguistic construct that, depending on the reliability of the person giving it, can be both true and untrue at the same time.
Advice has a few other notable properties. Any advice involving time is easy to get and always inaccurate, whereas advice about the nature of existence is impossible to get and only verifiable through the use of stunt philosophy.
The first axiom of advice is therefore: "The more difficult it is to get the more it must be worth."
Advice can make money, mend hearts, keep you healthy and can also book you into a disappointing hotel your neighbor swore was a hidden paradise. When you stomp back from your hellish holiday all your neighbor will do is shrug his shoulders and say: "Well, it was years ago…"
The second axiom of advice is that it can only be true if it is given in the right context (i.e. not hopelessly outdated and not subject to some fairly stiff laws that weren't in force at the time.)
The basic unit of advice is the classic "You don't want a pint, what you need is a big glass of fluorescent 100% proof gutter bleach instead". This is always wrong.
The best piece of advice ever given was to a young Nif Dink who, as the legend goes, was yelled at by his father for getting in the way in the workshop and was ‘advised' to "Bugger off and draw something in the kitchen or you'll get the back of my hand!" This is the reason he always gives at to why he is the well-adjusted genius he is today.
Back in the studio Muoi was feigning interest as Devian got on with his explanation.
Advice had a quantum state, he explained, both true and untrue simultaneously. So if you get really annoyed by a particularly bad piece of advice you have to have a good old moan to balance out the equation.
Devian called his particles Rightons and Wrongons despite the best efforts of his marketing team.
However, the Quibbl, the unit of annoyance was thought up later by trained hipsters and caught the public's imagination nicely.
QUIBBL = R + W where R -—> e
, means that the angrier you get about shoddy advice the more Rightons and Wrongons must have been bouncing around in the first place. If the advice was bad the Rightons destroy themselves and release a dense cloud of energy (e) – giving a handy explanation of why really irritated beings are described as "hot under the collar".
This state of affairs continues until all the Rightons have been destroyed and the being in question has had a chance to "cool off".
All this was seen as droll and highly speculative until a research diplomat claimed to have actually detected the particles in question during a standoff between a civil service finance being and a trade union member. Of course he turned out to be lying, which was sort of the whole point, and he was immediately promoted to a highly paid staff job in the Vega Beta Ambassador's office.
Meanwhile, Devian's name has passed into legend amongst statisticians of all people, who list it next to the definition of ‘median' and describe the ‘Devian point' as so far off base that it needs a whole other diagram to explain just how completely wrong it was.
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