Surprisingly for an island that you can leisurely stroll across in less than 15 minutes, scientific research in the Republic of Shalampax is focused primarily on transportation. Our scientists tell us that this was historically due to their patriotic desire to, as they eloquently put it, "get the hell off this wretched, cesspit of an island."
This motivation lost its punch when our scientists realized that, because of our film, music and literature piracy traditions (see the arts
) and because of our cult industry (see economy
), which many anal-retentive countries view harshly under their mail fraud laws, "getting the hell off this wretched cesspit of an island," would quickly land them in jail in the first country they set foot in.
We won't lie; other countries don't exactly look favorably on our practices, but don't get the wrong idea. It's not as if outsiders' attitudes toward our offenses come anywhere close to that old curse, "throw them in jail, lock the door and throw away the key." It's more a case of "throw them in jail, lock the door, melt the key in a blast furnace, encase the resulting blob of metal in a six-foot cube of concrete, bury it ten-feet underground and protect it with heavily armed guards and cruise missiles."
Given the inadvisability of leaving the island, it's fortunate that early transportation research was fruitless. The most novel of these failed experiments were performed by an eccentric scientist, Birddroppingonnose, who read on the Internet that particles without mass travel naturally at the speed of light, without the need for outside help. After confirming this in other scientific publications and thinking the notion through to its logical conclusion, Birddroppingonnose immediately went on a starvation diet hoping to eliminate his mass and, therefore, achieve light speed.
Needless to say, Birddroppingonnose died of starvation before he could lose enough weight to overcome his natural lethargy and get off his lab stool, let alone achieve anything close to light speed.
It wasn't long before our scientists became much more practical. Recognizing that we live on a small island and we need transportation only to bring goods here, not carry ourselves away, they turned their research toward ships.
You might say, that's silly, ships have been sailing the oceans for centuries, exactly what aspect do you think you need to research? That's good question unless you know something about our climate
, in which case it's an incredibly stupid question. Our island is surrounded by extremely jagged rocks and the winds blow fiercely. Docks never survive more than a couple of days under these conditions and boats that try to get close to our island without the aid of a dock invariably rip gaping holes in their hulls and sink quickly.
To overcome this problem, our scientists tried to build ships with ultra-strong hulls. Unfortunately, anything thick enough and solid enough to stand up to our jagged rocks and massive gales was far too heavy to float.
Giving up on this line of research, our scientists turned their attention to docks. Building a permanent structure that could withstand our weather proved to be impossible. Instead, our scientists specialized in designing prefabricated docks that can be assembled quickly. The parts are stored in our building, close to the door. As soon as we experience a calm period, the dock is rapidly assembled and any waiting freighters, which anchor far enough offshore to stay safe while the fierce winds blow, rush to the dock and unload their cargo before the gales return to smash everything in their paths.
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Shalampax and Shalampaxian are trademarks of Klebanoff Associates, Inc.