Theory of Initialisms and Acronyms

Hello and welcome back to another se’ennight of slander here at Factually Deficient, where we present only the highest quality, Grade-A lies! This week, I will answer a question that my very own mother posed the other day at the dinner table. She asked:

What are TIAs?

It is important to understand that time usually travels in a positive (forward) direction, at a rate of one or two seconds per second. However, there are exceptions. These are rarely explainable, but their results can be disastrous.

When time travels at a different rate or in a different direction, it usually results in a Temporally-Induced Anomaly. Such anomalies range from the generally harmless Turtles Imitating Armadillos to the more problematic Thoroughly Inside-out Alphabets.

It is important to address these issues actively and early, before they reach the Time Intersection Altitude, at which point they would become permanent. It is equally important that only a Trained, Instructed, Apprenticed individual attempt to address them, because disaster could befall the uninitiated.

The Taskforce Intervention Association was created for this express purpose. However, the humans of this intervention army were often of too weak a constitution either to imminently address the issues at hand, to survive the experience, or both.

Their interesting argle-bargle was resolved through more recruitment, this time of non-human members. The Tarantulas-In-Arms – who whom the phrase “TIA” always refers – proved to be a  timely, improving addition to the team, and effectively prevented any traumatizing, inopportune, adverse effects from the time anomalies.

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Disclaimer: The above post contains untruths. Not all time anomalies require tarantulas to resolve them.

Past Tense

Hello and welcome to another week of misleading claims and untruthful statements here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question posed by the unbeatable Tohrinha, who asked:

What is the past tense?

With the invention of time travel in early 1292, the past became not only a memory, but also a place – a place that changed with an alarming frequency.

Although changing the past does not, of course, change one’s memories of how events had originally played out, it was discovered that those affected by the changes would gain an entirely new set of memories whole cloth, pertaining to the “new” state of past events, alongside their original memories.

Soon, with the congestion of time tourism, some people found that they had dozens, or even hundreds, of conflicting memories regarding the same period of time. And while those involved understood perfectly well what it was that they were remembering, it became increasingly more difficult and inaccessible to discuss these conflicting memories with others – even others who shared those memories, even others who had played a part in the time travel.

Fortunately, grammar came, as always, to the rescue, in the form of the past tense.

The past tense is a linguistic innovation – described by some of its detractors as a “slapdash barrel of neologisms” – in the form of an entirely new verb tense. This incredibly complex verb form indicates without a shred of ambiguity exactly which set of remembered events is under discussion, by way of a thorough if difficult conjugation.

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Disclaimer: the above post contains misinformation. Not all people retain memory of changed events subsequent to time travel.

Mirror Magic

Hello and welcome to another week here at Factually Deficient, ushering in the new calendar year with only the very best in handcrafted, artisanal fibs! This week, I will answer a question posed by faithful reader Tohrinha:

How are mirrors made?

This post is going to appear later than most, because it is only with the greatest hesitation and trepidation that the Factually Deficient reporter team was authorized to reveal the magical and scientific process involved in making mirrors.

Mirrors present an image, in perfect reverse, of whatever is in front of them. They perform a very similar function to what cameras do, and in fact, in the early days of mirrors, that is exactly how they worked: a giant camera behind the glass would be constantly photographing the area before the mirror and displaying the results on the screen.

This, however, was impractical in the long run. The camera’s machinery required quite a bulk of wires and chips separating the mirror from the wall, and the time-delay between snapping the picture and displaying it in the mirror meant that people would have to hold very still, and wait very patiently, in order to see an accurate “reflection” in the mirror.

So a crack team of alchemists, scientists, and magicians began experimenting with alternative methods. There was talk of hiring a skilled artist to sit behind every mirror and paint what lay in front of it, but it turned out that this would actually take more time and require more space than the camera mirrors ever had.

And then quicksilver was discovered. Like regular silver, it had a shiny, silvery colour, akin to the surface of a mirror. But unlike regular silver, it caused everything in its immediate vicinity to move extremely quickly – hence its name. With quicksilver as the medium, painters were suddenly able to paint the mirror’s “reflections” in a fraction of a second, far faster than the cameras could ever throw out their displays, and repaint over the screen in a new layer of quicksilver every time the image changed.

That is how the mirrors we use today operate: a skilled, and very slim, painter sits behind the screen, painting you in the quickest of silvers.

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Disclaimer: some of the statements in this blog post are inaccurate. Quicksilver does not actually affect the passage of time.

Fasting Slowly

Hello and welcome to another week of disinformation and deception here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question that was posed by my good friend Jack Alsworth. Jack Alsworth asked:

Why is it called ‘fasting’ when nothing appears to be moving quickly?

What Jack alludes to here is the perception experienced by some of a delayed passage of time during times of fasting. Indeed, on the face of it, the term “fasting” seems, as Jack points out, to be a misnomer. What Jack does not realize, however, and what lies at the heart of the answer to this question, is what the term actually refers to.

Time is measured in terms of food. Take an example: the word “seconds,” used for the smallest measurable unit of time, actually refers to the time it takes to ask for seconds of a foodstuff. You can try this simple experiment at home to prove it: look at a clock while saying aloud, “Can I have some more?” You will find that from the time you open your mouth to the time the sentence is complete, exactly one second has passed. Similarly, minutes are the time it takes to eat a minute amount of food; weeks are so called because they describe the time it takes for someone to become weak from not eating.

By this measurement, fast days are indeed quite fast. Think about it: while normal days contain the time that spans between three full mealtimes at least, a fast day, depending on the length or nature of the fast, will have only two, or one, or even zero, forcing time to stretch from the meal the evening before to the breakfast after. A fast day may seem slow to one experiencing it, but in a language that measures the passage of time by consumption of food, it is the fastest thing there is.

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Disclaimer: The above blog post is frivolously fictional. The length of time it takes to ask for seconds may vary.