Sharon3003 Ch. 04byTaunus©
Disclaimer: This story is fiction cast in the future. No resemblance to persons living or dead is intended or should be inferred.
It is the year 3003. Harold Watless and his gynoid, Sharon, are stopping at Starbucks (*$) for coffee. Harold recognizes an old friend sitting alone and reading the news.
"James!" Harold exclaims. "May we join you?" The person he is speaking to is James Workman, another retiree.
"For sure," James responds. "Who is the beauty. She's too pretty to be human. Is she a skin job?"
"Yes, as a matter-of-fact," Harold stammers, slightly embarrassed. Her name is Sharon. Harold and Sharon seat themselves. Harold reaches over and holds Sharon's hand. She responds by lightly squeezing his hand in return. Sharon blushes.
"These skin jobs have spanned the 'Uncanny Valley,' haven't they, Harold?" James interjects. The gynoids are fembots or female androids. Originally designed for geriatric and special needs patients, their clientele has extended to the well-heeled yuppies."
"So, now that you have retired, have you given up on your PhD in Physics?" Harold asks.
"Great gods and little goldfish!" James exclaims. "I spent all my wealth, leisure, social life, health, and physical fitness on twenty years in graduate school. After three years in several schools I advanced to candidacy only to be forced by employment or other factors to leave the program."
"Oh," Harold utters.
"I sometimes worked part time and went to graduate school full time; often I worked full time and went to graduate school part time; but, mainly I worked full time and went to graduate school full time." James remarks. Then he complains: "Full time employment counts for nothing in graduate school. Part time as a Teacher's aid counts for hours carried. My life was living hell for twenty years."
"That is a sad story," Harold comments. James is clearly irritated. He adds some more raw sugar and non-dairy creamer to his coffee and stirs the caramel colored brew. Harold slurps on his Latte Magnificent(tm).
"I ruined my health, wealth, social life, and career chances," James laments. "I was told year after year that I was up for graduation the next June or August or January only to have the end date slide. It was not unlike Charley Brown in the comic strip 'Peanuts' and the football. When I finally turned 70 I just gave up. They tried to offer me a 'senior citizen certificate' for the lost years. Fuck them and the horse they came in on."
Sharon smiles and comments: "What of that paper you composed on the radioactive decay constant? Didn't you offer some scheme for utilizing Uranium? Your idea was to shorten the value of the radioactive decay value---the half-life value. Wouldn't that provide additional energy?"
"Sharon," James retorts. "You only know of that from Harold. My submissions to journals were denied as being impractical. For sure, with my passing, some student will 'discover' the theory and claim it as his own, or as her own, whichever gender they be." He then quotes Tom Lehrer: "Plagiarize. Let no one else's work evade your eyes."
Let no one else's work evade your eyes,
Remember why the good Lord made your eyes,
So don't shade your eyes,
But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize -
Only be sure always to call it please 'research'.
— Tom Lehrer, "Lobachevsky"
In the late Nineteenth Century and early Twentieth Century the consensus of the scientific community was that radioactive decay rates were essentially unaffected by such external conditions as heat, pressure, chemical bonds, as well as electric, magnetic, and gravitational fields. In the late Twentieth Century some small perturbation of the radioactive decay constant for several radioactive elements was noted. However, the standard error of estimation from the mean time to decay was never observed to exceed 0.5%. The phenomenon of a nuclear chain reaction is another issue altogether.
"Ah so," bellows Harold. "But Uranium is so, so 'Twentieth Century.' With the advent of plasma and the penultimate, quintessential energy source---proton decay---we are no longer shackled to 'burning our rocks' or 'burning our oceans.'"
"What was your thesis?" Sharon asks. She knows the answer already. Even as a particle at a relativistic velocity experiences a time dilation and a half-life decrease so also a spinning disk can be expected to cause time contraction to keep the intrinsic value of the spin invariant.
"Still, my life is the pits," James moans and groans. "Soon I turn 80 and then my real property is forfeited to China under the China Reparations Act Proposition (CRAP). I will die destitute and in poverty as a subsister. All those years you were putting aside money in your retirement program, I was squandering my money on school, textbooks, &c. I believed in the vague, gossamer, diaphanous promise of a teaching career. I have spent every Christmas Break, every Spring Break, every Thanksgiving Break, and each summer studying for a terminal degree while my health and wealth withered away. This suffering went on for twenty long, long, brutal years."
"Why not take the 'senior certificate?" Harold asks.
James turns red with rage. He curses: "Fuck you, you sorry ass cocksucker! What do I need with a sorry piece of bum fodder stating that I am an idiot and a fool?"
Sharon speaks with the voice of Kelly Chen. Kelly Chen is famous for her singing of "Lovers' Concerto," constructed from Johann Sebastian Bach's Minuet in G-Major.
A beautiful woman with a beautiful voice calms the unholy rage and pure passion. James smolders underneath a facade of serenity. Harold decides that discretion is the better part of valor and tries to excuse himself.
"You wouldn't part with Sharon for one night would you, Harold?" James inquires. "After all, she is only a machine."
"She is a sentient being," Harold retorts. "You might get her trashed by some neo-Luddite or technophobe. I don't have insurance on her. It is too expensive. Do you have enough bread to afford to insure her?"
James blushes: "No way, Jose. I am a subsister." James pouts.
"Didn't you do some work on the Parallel-Processing Personal Computer (P3C)?" Sharon inquires. The P3C is the "brain" of every android, gynoid, and fembot. It is about the size of a grapefruit. It has many serial buses for any possible configuration, be it human, or animal, or machine.
Harold coughs. The radical improvements were stolen, plagiarized even, from James by one of his professors. The plagiarist claimed that her work was "an independent parallel discovery." Who is to argue with academia and large corporations. Money talks and cash shouts.
"Well," James admits, "it did extend the validity of Moore's Law another generation. It was thought that Moore's Law would asymptotically level out at a 'quantum limit,' but it was shown otherwise by coding the hypercube of the P3C."