Post Apocalyptic Guide


A+ for this Chem Student

Hell Explained


The following is an actual question given on a University of Arizona chemistry mid-term, and an actual answer turned in by a student.


The answer by one student was so ‘profound’ that the professor shared it with colleagues via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well:


Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?


Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle’s Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant.


One student, however, wrote the following:

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving, which is unlikely. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let’s look at the different religions that exist in the world today.

> Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle’s Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.


This gives two possibilities:

> 1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it?

If we accept the postulate given to me by Anabella during my Freshman year that, ‘It will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you,’ and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number two must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over. The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct….. ….leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Anabella kept shouting ‘Oh my God.’


The CDC plan for Zombie Apocalypse

Enigma – a short space film


ABC Story

At last, finally happy, she gaily jitterbugged with her bitten, juicy apple.

Before, her dancing had always been repressed by the painful memories coursing through her grey matter, remembering all the times she lay in the sickbed, watching her sisters ride over the meadows out the window of her room.

Cascading like water over a falls, she remembered the teardrops she had cried at the thought of never feeling the wind blow through her hair quite like that ever again.

Desmond was his name, from her English great grandfather, who owned the old stables where the foal had been born.

Equestrians flocked to the track to watch Desmond run, as he was a thrilling steed to witness when loping at a full canter.

Flying a mane of silvery charcoal, he was the finest horse she had ever ridden, and he was hers.

Given to her by her father, it was his parting gift before he set sail for Africa that morning months back, on a mission for the Queen, one from which he might never return.

His last words to her had been harsh, berating her for neglecting to properly care for the horses she had ridden the previous day, and his admonishment had stuck with her to this day.

In the ensuing weeks, she had taken great care to brush the horses, picking there hooves, and tidying up each stall to make them safe and comfortable.

Just as they had been when he left, the stalls in the stable would be in perfect order when her father did return.

Kicking her heels deep into Desmond’s side as she watched the sun sink between the hills, she had galloped across the fields, turning back towards the stables to begin shutting them up for the evening.

Little did she know, Mr. Higginbotham was watching her, eyeing the magnificent horse.

Mr. Higginbotham was a petty horse racer, never one to shrink from bending the rules a bit to take the roses at the yearly horse race in Darlingshire, where owners brought their finest from all over England to race for the Queen’s cup, in late June.

Never had he seen a finer horse, he muttered, rubbing his greedy palms together in wicked contemplation.

“Oh, we shall see who races him this year!” he mewled.

“Perhaps while father is away, I can find a way to loose his reins from the young mistress’s grip.”

Quite suddenly, he burst into the stable, overturning the bushel of ripe, red apples inside the door.

Redolently, he beamed at Sarah, mustering his most benevolent smile, asking for a few minutes to speak with her about her horse.

Stuttering, she said tersely that her father was away, and he would have to speak with him upon his return from abroad.

Tentatively, he motioned to the bushel of apples, spilled over on the ground by the stable doors, saying, “The rats will get in here and make the horses sick, if you leave those lying about, young lady!”

Understanding that he was stalling, she dismissed him haughtily, and he stalked away angrily as she began brushing Desmond down.

Very late that evening, Higginbotham’s stable boy Pepito crept into the Darcy’s stables with a vial of toxic rat poison, remembering the master’s shaking fist as he spat, “If I can’t run that horse, no one will!”

When the vet came out of the stall the next afternoon with a grave look on his face, Sarah shuddered as he said, “The horse will make it, but he came very close to dying, were it not for his size, but I am not quite sure what he got into, so keep an eye on what he eats.”

Xing the spot where she needed to sign the release form, he commented, “Your father has a beautiful stable here, and don’t worry Miss Darcy, I will tell him that you are doing a fine job taking care of things while he is gone!”

Yelling excitedly, Sarah ran out of the barn, snatching an apple off the bushel by the door, crunching into it and kicking up her heels as she thought about how proud her father would be when he found out.

Zooming up the hill, she wondered why this apple was not as sweet as the one she had munched on yesterday, and was, in fact, a little bitter.

That’s What the Book Says

Laurel Ridge Elementary was a short walk from my house on Spicer Lane. Halfway there, I ducked behind the neighbor’s house and changed out of my stiff Toughskins and into my favorite pants. They were light blue, a little too tight, frayed at the knees, and soft as a second skin. No sixth grader wants to be uncomfortable all day long in a brand-new pair of unforgiving Toughskins from Sears, no matter how rugged they are. I tra-la-la’ed into homeroom a few minutes late. Mr. Anders was already nodding off with his feet up on the desk. The folded Journal/Constitution he was pretending to read rested against his chest, and his eyes were blissfully closed behind the thick, cloudy lenses of his square black frames. He only stirred from his slumber long enough to call the roll. The bell rang, desks clattered, and sneakers squeaked on the polished stone floors as students hurried off to the first class of the day. A few fearful bodies meandered slowly towards Room 205. No one wanted to be the first to cross the threshold, but once someone did break that membrane, a mad dash ensued, as you certainly did not want to be the last. Heaven help the poor soul who happened to arrive after the tardy bell had sounded its final echoing peal.

I remember shrinking into my wooden desk, running my fingers over the initials carved into the arm by sixth graders from ancient times. How happy and carefree they must have been, not having to face the demon and her wicked diatribes. Like a vulture, she peered up from behind her desk, cutting her eyes across us all as we sat with baited breath, waiting for her to call her next victim up to the front for the daily humiliation ritual at the blackboard. I silently prayed to the gods of algebra that she would not call out my last name, as I had foolishly neglected to do my homework problems, choosing instead to while away the evening blasting asteroids on the Atari. Today, however, my prayers would go unheard.

“POWELL!” she screamed, as her rasp echoed, shaking the glass in the windows. She rose from her chair, crooked finger beckoning me toward the dusty board at the front, stage center. She seemed to stretch out in all directions as she closed in on me, straining the royal blue polyester pantsuit to the limit in its efforts to hold back the tide of her sinister flesh. Sweat broke out across my brow as I rifled through the things in my backpack, desperately fumbling for something, anything that vaguely resembled a page of math problems. There, crumpled and wrinkled in the bottom of a side pocket, lay my savior, a page of notes from three weeks ago or more, with a hastily cribbed mess of digits and symbols.

“Yessssss,” I whispered softly, “This will work!” I flashed a triumphant grin at the class, hearing the hiss as most of them let out the breath they had been holding in, for fear of my impending doom. I sauntered bravely up the row, noticing how closely the shade of Ms. Younger’s turtleneck resembled a plump, overripe pumpkin, quite in keeping with her frumpy, bumpous shape. As I approached her, I suppressed the wicked urge to pluck off all the small, fuzzy balls of pilling from her sweater. She glowered at me like I was an insect, cutting a withering glance at the tattered paper I was fraudulently clutching in my fist.

“Today, “she claxoned, “We will not be doing the usual problems from the homework assignment. Instead, we will review the vocabulary from chapter six.” I felt a cold, hollow wind pass through my threadbare jeans with her knowing look, chilling me to the marrow, and I shivered slightly. “Tell us, Mr. Powell, what is the definition of a line?” A look of panic momentarily crossed my face, but I quickly recovered, knowing the correct answer.

“A line,” I confidently proclaimed, recalling from math teachers of old, “Is the shortest distance between two points!”

“WRONG!” Ms. Younger clamored in judgment, “The textbook definition states that a line is a straight curve!” She stood there with her arms crossed in disdain, a look of wry satisfaction on her meaty visage. I was confounded. I looked pleadingly into the faces of the brainy kids sitting in the front rows for some sign of solidarity, but I found only puzzled concern. They seemed as flabbergasted as I was concerning this new explanation of the once familiar term. Looks of bewilderment were, in fact, materializing on the faces of all the students in Room 205.

“Surely, this couldn’t be?” I stammered to myself, “A straight curve? That doesn’t even make sense!” I frantically wracked my brain, scrambling to find a way to stop reeling and wipe that smug look from her face. Thinking back, I remembered all of the vocabulary lessons from before. Ms. Younger was, if anything, regimented in her practices, and had always taken her definitions verbatim from the textbook. “I have her now!” I smiled to myself, rubbing my hands together in anticipation. I put a tremulous quaver in my voice and meekly stuttered, “C-Can we look it up?”

She turned away quickly with a sharp intake of breath, not believing my gall, blubbering, “But of course, of course!” I strode to my desk to retrieve my shiny blue textbook, its spine still glossy from rarely being cracked open. The other students sat, stock-still, jaws agape in disbelief at my shocking, rebellious display. I opened my book with a cracking flourish, proud of my imminent vindication, shuffling pages casually as I flipped to the back of the book.

“Everyone listen closely… Mr. Powell, whenever you are ready, please read the textbook definition.” I found the correct page in the glossary and ran my finger down the page: “Least common denominator, like fractions, line…” I moved to the right across the page and stared, dumbfounded, my mouth hanging open. I ran my finger up and down again, making certain I was looking in the right place.

“It…can’t…be…,” I spluttered.

“Read it aloud, Mr. Powell!” Ms. Younger said, glowing an infuriatingly pumpkin orange. She was smiling so hard that her gums were showing. I couldn’t have despised her more.

I clenched my teeth together, knowing it must be a lie, a conspiracy of the grandest order, an impossible ruse designed to make a complete fool of me. I knew any minute, they would all burst out in fits of laughter. My helpless comrades just sat there speechless, however, looking from me to the printed page in front of them all. I spat out the words as if they were poison: “A line is…a…straight…curve.”

“Thank you, Mr. Powell. You may sit down.”


back in the hallowed halls of academe

laughing in the morning meeting

at the administrative acronyms.

passed down policies don’t prepare one

for the fickle, flim-flam finagling necessary

to negate the nebulous never-ending onslaught

of stupid

and lazy.

these wide-eyed wonders

often make magic in their mixed-up make-believe madnesses.

I read, reflect, and respond,

hoping to dust the crops.

Watching, waiting, for a seed to germinate,

crack the husk and burst forth,

in a sparkling menagerie of color, stem, petal, leaf, bulb.

Wondering what orchids lie dormant in the weeds?

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