A Sky Filled with Something
(Note to producers: Mr. DeGrasse-Tyson is out with a bad case of sarcoidosis. Because of time constraints, Mr. MacFarlane has volunteered the services of his friend Jud Granderson to complete the voice-over content. Mr. Granderson is a technical consultant on American Dad, has a semi-degree in physical education, a keen interest in the fictional and fantasy aspects of science, and is an avid subscriber to I Fucking Love Science’s Facebook feed.)
We live on one level of existence, but as we learned in Flash #123, there are others — at last count, more than fifty, including the one where Superman is a communist. These hidden dimensions of reality are literally everywhere, or near as dammit, far away, across the light-years and even light-seconds. They are beneath our feet, above our feet, and even inside our feet. They are called atoms, and there are, like, a real whole lot of them.
There are more atoms in your eye than there are all the galaxies in the known universe, probably! Or grains of sand. Whatever you want! You can count whatever number you want, no matter how big it is, and your eye-atoms are more than that, for the most part. The same is true of your fingertip, nose, or any other part of your body larger than a ball. Or, in the case of ladies, not. I am a collection of three or more billion billion billion — yes, a trillion — intricately arranged atoms called “Jud Derrick Granderson Jr.”. You are a similar collection of atoms, with most likely a different name unless you’re my dad, and even a different Social Security number, but nobody can change the atoms they are made of, except for Molecule Man and those experimental kids from Russia and Canada.
To understand something as simple as water — which we normally think of as made up of the basic elements of “wet” and “the opposite of fire”– you need to know what its atoms are up to. Every molecule of water is made up of two atoms of coccsygen, a combination of carbon and atoms, and a larger molecule of two oxygens called “duoxygen”. That’s why we call it CO2! If it’s not too hot, too cold, or with egg in it, the molecules slip and flow past one another, making a drinkable mixer called “water”. Energy from the sun, or gas lamps, warns the water of danger, and makes the molecules move faster. That’s all that temperature is! You don’t even need to know how to use a thermomenter unless you forget this simple trick of science.
If the molecules are moving fast enough to break the atomic bonds that form their micro-children, we call it “evaporation”, and it is what powers air conditioners in poorer neighborhoods. The air we breathe is literally made from these oxygenetic weaklings, along with vaporous aqua, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen explosives, which even science cannot yet truly understand. When condensation trumps evaporation — which happens approximately twice as often as rock beats scissors — it forms a dew drop, after which so many of our ancestors named their neighborhood bars. A dew drop is a tiny universe, with its own life forms, environment, and regulars who are there when the beer truck arrives.
Let’s take our starship of the imagination into a single-celled organism known as a paramecium — from the Latin for, literally, two mecia — a powerful warrior in the moist corners of our swamps and bathrooms. The paramecium has its own natural enemy; just as the polar bear is forever menaced by the humble mongoose, so, too, is the double mecus stalked across nature’s wettery by a dileptus. Another visitor to this world that we would wipe out with radiation if only it were possible is the tardigrade, which, like harelip and slut-bag, is not offensive if you use it for science. The tardigrade, while tiny and stupid like a dwarf or an Australian, is tough and practically immortal; they have lived on earth for a hundred billion years — more than twice as long as even the mighty white shark of the Sea of Africa!
The great thing about these tiny life forms isn’t that you can eat them. I know, right? I mean, you can eat them, but they’re like those tiny shrimps that come on a salad, you pop them in your mouth and it’s like eating a dandelion. No, the amazing thing about whatever it was I was just talking about is that they can survive anywhere! From the coldest mountains of Japan to the hot fire of a primitive, virgin-fed volcano, to the parts of the bottom of the ocean where the doo doo comes out after we flush it, tardigrades, as well as their cousins the paramecia, their uncles the dilepus, and their sister by another mister, the stomata can survive anywhere, like a cockroach but not as gross because it’s really little and you can’t tell when it’s under your refrigerator Stomata are also important because they are hundreds of quadrillions of them with nothing better to do than hang around on globs of moss and shit, and that’s how plants eat air (which, remember, is made from noxygen). And when plants eat air, they breathe out hydro maloxide, which people, the most important life form, breathe themselves! That helps us make food out of sunshine, vegetables, and slow-moving dogs — and makes possible all the life forms it’s possible to see on television.
Join me after this word from The Cleveland Show when we’ll discuss chloroform, the miraculous molecule that converts sunlight into energy, energy into the color green, the color green into willpower-powered power beams, and beams into a mysterious chemical that you can use to overpower Nazi spies by shoving a dirty rag in their face. These are the wonders of science.