Monday, July 24, 2006

Short Story

Some things are so funny they must be is said this question and answer actually appeared on a University of Washington chemistry mid-term:

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

Most students answered the question using Boyle's Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant thereof. One student, however, wrote the following:

“First, we must know how the mass of Hell is changing over time, or in other words, the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. 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, consider the different religions that exist in the world today. Most religions believe if you are not a member of that particular religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one religion and people do not belong to morethan 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. 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 us 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 rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa, Cheerleader Captain and Class Valedictorian) 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 and again this morning, then number 2 must be true, Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over.”

An urban legend maybe, but funny all the same.

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