Thursday, January 15, 2004

strange days part II

from the Weekly World News....

A leading physicist claims to have figured out why the U.S. Postal Service loses a lot of mail and delivers most of the rest late -- post offices are "architectural anomalies" that cause time warps, wreaking havoc with letters, packages, sorting machines . . . and sometimes even mail carriers themselves.

"Blueprints don't lie, and the science is solid," Dr. Elizabeth Palterman told reporters at the conclusion of the 22nd annual Conference for Physics in Arlington, Va.

"Post offices in every state are built on scale with the base of the Great Pyramid of Cheops, an architectural 'inside joke' that began with the design and construction of a branch office in Philadelphia in 1911 and has continued unquestioned -- and with cataclysmic results -- ever since.

"What nobody realized is that the Great Pyramid is no ordinary building, even if you square off the top.

"As long as you maintain its precise foundational dimensions, even in scale, the structure you erect will create an 'energy vortex' that is capable of bending, stretching and even slowing or speeding up the flow of time.

"In layman's terms, you create the potential for a time warp, which is why so much of the mail that moves through our post offices is lost or delayed. To the casual observer, and to the naked eye, a letter or package might appear to be moving through the system at a normal pace when, in fact, it is languishing in a distortion of the space-time continuum.

"Simply put, a letter that appears to be zipping down a conveyor belt at 20 feet per second might, in fact, be taking weeks to travel that distance -- or it might just flow into another time and place altogether.

"That's why the problem of lost and late mail has been so nagging and so mysterious. You need a wall-sized blackboard and a couple of boxes of chalk just to do the math to prove what is happening."

Dr. Palterman's theory both shocked and pleased Postal Service officials who have taken so much heat over lost and slow mail over the years that they simply started blaming any problem that cropped up on the union that protects the right of postal workers to move like snails and left it at that.

"This is good news no matter how you slice it," says one postmaster in a heavily populated northeastern state.

"It proves to people that our guys, slow and lazy as they might be, aren't to blame for all these mail problems we keep having. This seems to be a solid and thoroughly scientific explanation that takes us off the hook and shows that we aren't responsible after all."

Postmaster General John Potter is said to be "keenly interested" in Dr. Palterman's assessment but he won't address it in public until the Postal Service's time-and-motion experts check the math and make sure the theory will stand up to scrutiny.

"That could take years or even decades," says a postal insider with close ties to Potter. "Energy vortex or no energy vortex, we've still got that little problem called 'the union.' We can tell our guys what to do and then they're on their own.

"If they want to drag their feet, this could take some time."

In the meantime, Dr. Palterman has suggested what she calls "a simple solution" that will end the problem of lost and delayed mail once and for all.

"All you have to do is shorten or extend one corner of every post office by one inch," says the physicist. "By taking them off the scale of the Great Pyramid, the vortices will vanish -- and the mail will move as quickly and efficiently as it does through UPS and Federal Express."


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