Thursday, November 30, 2006


the truth behind the nazca lines

In the year 5632 scientists at New Jersey's Princeton University made two great discoveries that combined would forever shape the past. The first, by five weeks, was the fruit of the womb of that university's physics department - the backward forward time machine. In its earliest manifestation, the forward only machine, by 5632 some 3000 years old, allowed its users to gain several years by means of long space journeys at high velocity. Because of the the trips took so long, the machine never really caught on, except with the excessively vain. Backward time travel, invented in the late 2700s was equally lacking in popularity, since it stranded its users in the past, which would have been bad enough if the past of 5632 was the same as that of 5361, which it wasn't, since it had yet to benefit from the second great discovery of that prolific year: the practical joke.

The practical joke was discovered one afternoon in the laboratories of Princeton University's chemistry department when a careless researcher by the name of Tanya Rette slipped, shattering the test tubes she was carrying. Gasping for air, she inhaled the vapors of the mixture of chemicals on the floor. Minutes later, she was inspired to make the first practical joke in the history of the world of 5362. She laid out a banana skin from her uneaten lunch in the middle of the laboratory and waited for her coworker Olive Cola to walk in. Which she did. And she slipped on the carefully placed banana peel, much to the delight of Tanya Rette. Olive, at first, couldn't understand what had happened, and when she saw her friend of 17 years was laughing uncontrollably she was furious. She remained so until a few minutes after Tanya Rette had convinced her to breathe in the spilled mess on the floor, when she became only the second person in history to get a practical joke.

Meanwhile, in Princeton University's archeology department, nothing was happening. Nine of the world's most highly educated people were sitting in their offices, simply waiting. Since people had lived, up until 5362, such simple, uncomplicated lives governed only by rationality, very much the same way they did in 5632 in fact, there was very little for archaeologists to do. The mysteries of ancient people simply did not exit. The discipline had been invented by bored historians hoping that if they looked underground, something would emerge to challenge their capacity to explain. Nothing did. The archaeologists at Princeton still had jobs because the university thought it would keep them around, just in case. They didn't teach, research, or write; they just waited. The same was true of the history, sociology, anthropology, economics, and psychology departments; all the social scientists, in fact, were simply on hold.

This situation greatly irritated the university's scientists, who taught, researched, and wrote, as much as 16 hours a day. Olive and and Tanya were certainly no exceptions. With their new found sense of humor, they went straight to the abandoned part of campus reserve red for the idle social scientists. They spent the remainder of the day inventing a series of practical jokes that are considered the classics today. They pulled fire alarms when there was no fire, they knocked on doors and ran away, they tied shoelaces together, and glued pens to desks, they balanced buckets of water on door frames, and so on. By nightfall they were exhausted.

Soon enough, they conceived of a plan that would finally give the archaeologists something to do, and would, in the process, forever change the past. They soaked a towel in the chemical spill and broke into the physics department, heading straight for the time machine. They set the controls for the pacific coast of South America for exactly 5000 years earlier, the year 362. When they arrived, they found the Nazca people, living quite, orderly, and completely rational lives, just as the archaeologists had described. Seeing the giant rocky desert at the feet of the equally rocky hills Tanya and Olive realized that they could use the land as a canvas to create a completely meaningless pattern that would baffle researchers for centuries to come. Taking their towel to the first house they came to, they explained their plan to the people living there. At first, they were unenthusiastic: "why would we do that" they asked, "we are perfectly happy as we are." The Nazca people remained obstinate until a few minutes after Olive convinced them to inhale the scent on their towel, at which point they became the first people in the chronological history of the world to get a practical joke.

After a few days, enough people had been convinced to start work. Three weeks later, the desert floor was covered with an incomprehensible web of lines, shapes, and doodles representing animals, symbols, and anachronisms, like the famous Nazca Astronaut. Thrilled by the work, Olive and Tanya traveled all over the prehistoric world, convincing people to build and build, just for the sake of confusing future archaeologists. The direct products of their trip include Stonehenge, the pyramids of Mexico and Egypt, Great Zimbabwe, and so on. No part of the world escaped their mischief. They were so successful, that once they left each place the people continued playing pranks of the future social scientists. This initial fervour saw the creation of the family, the great world religions, government, art, sports, and cities. After a few generations however, people forgot all about the future archaeologists, but they never lost their habit of pulling large scale practical jokes. In the following era, known today as the pre-academic era, people invented all sorts of inexplicables, simply out of habit: clothing, inequality, fiction, violence, slavery, and so on.

The pre-academic era ended in the mid 1800s with the creation (another unknowing practical joke) of the social sciences. First came the historians, dedicated to finding out what had already happened. Soon, some though it would be easier to to find out what was actually going on, thus sociology, political science, anthropology and all the rest came to be. Finally, there was a group who thought the answers could be found by examining the oldest stuff around, the archaeologists. By the 22nd century they had all become quite good at what they did, and knew the 'whos' 'whats' 'wheres' 'whens' and 'hows' of almost everything. But the 'why' always eluded them. They trained an enormous group of people, called journalists, to write down everything that happened, this time for the benefit of future historians. But by then it was too late. The practice of doing things because of the habit of pracital jokes (on whom, no one would ever remember) was out of control. By the year 2000 for instance, people had invented all sorts of absurdities: weapons powerful enough to destroy the planet (more than once!), abstract art, music no one actually liked...people submitted themselves to the will of people of one particular skin tone, they walked about on the moon, they killed and died for all sorts of mythologies, they made products just to throw them away and so on.

So, by the year 5633, the social scientists were overwhelmed. Just one year after Olive and Tanya's great journey, they were the jealous ones, suffering from the unanswerable question 'why'. Those in the chemistry, physics, and engineering departments meanwhile dealt with 'hows'. How to build a taller building, how to make more powerful explosions, how to grow healthier foods, and so on, themselves having forgotten all they were doing was making more practical jokes for the future's archaeologists.

What the...?

Durrr, there's no mystery. Everyone knows the early Incas used to love wizzing around in their hot rods which lacked only wheels (by the way their name is pronounced In-Cars for this reason)and so they built these circuits and drag strips in the only flat land they had. With brilliant foresight, they called them the "Nascar lines" - since corrupted in the Southern Hemispher to "Nazca" by the Spanish invaders. Word spread and before long incredibly polite came all the way from Mexcio and used to ask the In-Cars for rides by saying "May I" and who then became the Maya.

If you're going to cut and paste, make sure you don't run the same para twice!!!!!

the grammar/spelling nazi
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