Republic of Shalampax
An Inane Island in an Insane World
 

Science: Communication

Because we are a small island and the acoustic qualities of our building are such that people can make themselves heard throughout Shalampax by simply opening their mouths, we have only three communication needs, namely we need to provide ways to: order stuff from foreign suppliers, notify waiting freighters that we've rebuilt our dock so it's safe to approach our island (see economy and transportation), and support our cult industry (see economy). All of our scientific research in the field of communication has focused on these three requirements.

Communicating with ships waiting to deliver goods was initially particularly problematic. As a first attempt at solving the problem, on one of our rare calm days our scientists tried stationing a buoy far enough offshore that boats could anchor beside it safely while waiting out our persistent gales (see climate). Our scientists then stretched a long string from the buoy to our building, pulled it taut, and attached tin cans to both ends.

This initial attempt at ship-to-shore communications failed as the string was too weak to stand up to the first gust of wind that came by. The scientists then used a stronger string. It held, but the sound quality was, to say the least, not up to snuff. Our message, "don't even consider about coming in, you'll get bashed to smithereens," was invariably heard as "no problems coming in, we're waiting to welcome you with a visit from the queen." Thirty-two ships were destroyed before we realized that this wasn't going to work.

Several years later, one of our scientists, Moldypalmleaf, read somewhere that all commercial ships have two-way radios. In the middle of another one of our rare calm nights, Moldypalmleaf took advantage of the hubbub involved in quickly unloading cargo before the next gale strikes to sneak onto a docked ship. Once onboard, she quietly ran to the bridge and stole the ship's radio. In the morning, she informed us that she had, all by herself, invented this fabulous device for communicating with waiting ships. Seeing her obviously well-worn radio, everyone realized that she was lying, but the men pretended to believe her because she was drop-dead gorgeous.

The next challenge our scientists had to overcome was the provision of communications that we could use to order things from the outside world and to support our cult industry. (See economy.) As soon as we learned about the Internet, we knew that it could fulfill both needs. The question was, how could be get exceptionally high-speed, broadband Internet onto the island?

Our scientists worked feverishly at schemes to commandeer satellite signals. They had no trouble breaking through the satellite company's security, but they weren't able to put up a satellite dish that could withstand our weather for more than a couple of days. Satellite communications were, therefore, deemed to be impractical.

Then one clever fellow, Couplecopulating, came up with a brilliant idea. He placed an order with an Australian firm for a tremendous amount of fiber optic cable designed for undersea use. He then slipped into Australia unnoticed. When he found the ship that was going to carry the cable to Shalampax, Couplecopulating snuck on board. (Sneaking onto ships is a Shalampaxian specialty.)

On the night before the ship was to set sail for Shalampax, he drilled a small hole in the ship's hull, just above the waterline and fed some of the cable through it. He then slinked off the ship and, using a small Kodiak speedboat he hid under the pier, he sped to a buoy located off the coast, near the small township of Wooyung in New South Wales, Australia's southeastern state, dragging cable behind him as he went.

After affixing the end of the cable to the buoy below the surface so no one would notice it he sped back to the ship, clambered onboard and hid himself in the ship's hold. As the ship sailed to Shalampax, Couplecopulating fed cable out through the hole, splicing on cable from a new reel when the one being played out was depleted.

When the ship reached the parking buoy off Shalampax to await weather safe enough for docking, Couplecopulating risked life and limb to slip off the ship, pull the remaining cable through the hole and affix it to the buoy. He then attached himself to the side of the ship with suction cups so it the ship would carry him to safety when it docked.

Once docked, the ship's crew went into the hold and, after an extensive search, declared that our shipment of cable was missing. The buyer, Couplecopulating, who by this time had swum ashore, changed into dry clothes and walked onto the pier, feigned indignation, called the vendor, cancelled the order and received a full refund of his deposit.

Couplecopulating and some co-conspirators then headed off in boats for Australia. In case they got caught, they agreed that they would say that they were partiers from Fiji whose party boats were blown off-course.

Once they reached the buoy off Wooyung, Couplecopulating and his co-conspirators fanned out to attach additional cables between that buoy and other buoys up and down the Australian coast.

At each buoy, a special modem was attached to the end of the cable. These modems were designed by our scientists specifically to hijack WiFi signals. The modems include sophisticated software, remotely upgradeable from Shalampax, that is able to crack any security that might be protecting onshore WiFi routers. The signals that we hijack in this way are multiplexed by the equipment we've attached to the bottom of the Wooyung buoy. The ultra-high bandwidth made available by aggregating the various WiFi connections is made freely available to Shalampaxians over the undersea cable strung between our two nations. Please don't tell the Australians about this.


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