Ask Prof!

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Ask Prof

Of elections and pan-dimensional

What ho, all! Welcome to the second issue of Ask Prof, my very own column
in the wonderful virtual tabloid that is the Post. I'm back from San Beta at
last, and hopefully in a better state of soberness than last week. Though it may not have been too evident in
my writing, I was beginning to succumb to the effects of the highly
alcoholic beverages served at parties I was attending. If it was obvious,
then I do apologise.

Before I move on in fact, I have to make another apology. You see, it has
come to my attention that the little joke I printed here in last week's column did not go down too well. An
informant - who shall remain anonymous - reminded me shortly after going to
press that you as a people had not yet advanced far enough, technologically
speaking, to a point where you knew what on Earth the difference between an
electron-defragmenting tower and an anti-spectral counter-flux was. Now, as
I couldn't possibly account for my forgetfulness of your evolutionary state
without lying, I find it only wise to make my most humble apologies known to
you. I won't embark on the scientific details of the two machines now, as
the joke would lose its humour and wit.

As I promised last issue, I will tell you
more about these GalaGroup Elections that I have just won. The GalaGroup of
San Beta is of course the leading governmental entity in the Treaty of
Multi-Political Hierarchies, and as such has to appoint a very trustworthy
leader, someone who will not let the rest of the Known Universe down. Ah, I
hear you thinking now, who better to rule the Universe than the great
Professor Tonks? But believe it or not, there are other candidates for
GalaGroup Overseer status. But I see them off every time. And do you know
why? Because I invented this Government! Only I know how it works from top
to bottom! Oh yes, it's true.

You see, the Government of San Beta was very young when I first arrived
there, and was appointed Head of Science, and was ruled by a President, as
is normal in most galaxies and GalaGroups. And as the Earth well knows,
Presidents tend to beat about the bush. *cough* And so I campaigned
to become the leader of the GalaGroup, and after a long time of making
myself known to the Universe in general and putting myself forward as a
candidate for the presidency, I succeeded, and was elected! Some surprise,
you may think. Anyway, as soon as my success was announced, indeed the very
hour of being seated at the head of the grand audience table, I proclaimed
myself to be GalaGroup Overseer. The basic idea was to try out a
governmental system whereby I would only 'oversee' its working, rather than
work as a definitive leader. I'll speak to you about the current state of
Government in a later issue.

The Electoral system though I shall talk about. Anyone who is already
somewhere in the Government can put themselves forward as candidate for
GalaGroup Overseer. People lower down the governmental ladder usually chose
to run for a Head position though, sort of like Earth's ministers. Every
planet within the Catchment Area (the area over which the great force field
protecting the GalaGroup spans) who is aligned with the Government at the
time - and please note that there are a fair number of planet within the
GalaGroup that aren't actually under the Government's rule - is able to
vote. They get five votes altogether, and how they work out how to
distribute the votes according to the planets' individual populations'
decisions is up to them. The votes all go together into the various galactic
sectors, which then make five votes out of the many, many sets of five votes
they get from the planets.

Still with me? Good. Now, the galactic sectors are like constituencies or
states in an Earth-based election, so all their votes are counted and the
winner announced. Even though the GalaGroup is such a humongous place, the
technology employed to count the votes is so advanced (well, I was the one
to introduce it) that a winner can be announced on the day of the election,
no hassle at all. Just to keep things fair, the computer system used to
count the votes is housed inside a teleportable asteroid, which is under no
particular party's control, and is positioned in a random place every
election time. This way, no tampering or 'rigging' of votes is possible.

Few, that was exhausting. Let's hope you learned something from that, my
friends! How to hold a fair election! Anyway, on to the letters at last!


Deary me, I have only received one letter since last issue! A very good
letter I must say, but only one, nonetheless. Perhaps I have an explanation
for this anomaly in questions being put forward. I understand of course that
this column isn't at all very well established yet, this being only its
second issue, but I do know of numerous people who've confirmed their
reading of last week's. Hence, I ask of you: if you do read this, and
something springs to mind, however trivial or daft, write to
about it, and I shall reply. Don't simply assume that someone else
will ask the question for you, and I assure you that I'm not going to invent
any letters just for the sake of filling up the page. Anyway, on with the
letter I have received.

Name: Amy the Worried Ant
Subject: Floating Planets

Dear Professor,

It has recently been reported that the Hubble Telescope has spotted several
planets just floating about in space rather than performing nice tidy orbits
around a star.

BBC News Page

Are you responsible for this? Can the Odd Sock Theory of the Universe be
extended to accommodate this finding? And anyway, what are you going to do
about it?

Greetings, Amy! You pose some very good questions here! Alas, no, I am
not he responsible for the abnormality discovered by the Hubble Telescope,
though I did cause some disruption in Sector G12 of this galaxy when I was
experimenting with gravitational traction devices during my two-year stay on
the planet of New Xanthos. The planets I experimented on have, of course, been
put back in their proper places. Ahem...

What you see as the M22 star cluster is in fact a vast tract of space
dominated by large pan-dimensional life forms. The apparent 'planets' found
to be moving freely are in actuality giant space colonies of the said
pan-dimensional entities, and due to their size were not built in this
dimension. The suns are also not true suns as such, but artificially created
cross-dimension wave generators, allowing these strange life forms to exist
in this reality. Their appearance as stars is merely due to the enormous
light discharge created by holding multiple dimensions together.

Now, because of a sub clause in the Treaty of Multi-Political
Hierarchies, all pan-dimensional entities are allowed to exist freely in
their own territories as long as they don't disturb any other folk.
Therefore I'm unable to do anything about it, assuming I wish to stay within
my legal bounds. But fear not, Amy, as these entities pose no threat to
anyone as long as I'm around!

What is this Odd Sock Theory of the Universe of which you speak? I've
never heard of such a theory, so it must be some interesting idea concocted
by Earth scientists. It appears to me that they wish to put everything they
find in two categories: 'normality' and 'everything else'. If they deem such
things as pan-dimensional life forms to fit in the category of 'everything
else' then I must impress upon them to realise that there's far more out
there in the Universe than they could possibly imagine!

Ah well, that's it for this issue of Ask Prof. I most certainly hope you
enjoyed it, and wish for you to send
more questions! Please do, it would please me very much! Till next
week, then!

Yours in far healthier conditions,

- Professor Christopher Tonks

Minister for Science & Technology for the Alabaster House

GalaGroup Overseer to San Beta


(Page looks best in Alabaster.)

05.07.01. Front Page

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