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Reaching the Americas:
One Mad Scientist's Approach


Professor Emeritus Jeff Vogel, PhD

Abstract: A variety of potential techniques for sending a person to the Americas are given. Results of attempted use of these techniques are described. Blame is assigned.

The question of how to send a person across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas in a content, sentient, whole state is a heavily discussed open question in the contemporary literature. We have attempted to do so in a variety of ways, with results of varying effectiveness and horror.

Methodology: The state allocated a pool of Convicts for our attempts. Each convict was a male Caucasian weighing between 60 and 100 kg. Each had a swarthy complexion, a beard, a foul disposition, and a gruff, pirate-like voice. The Convicts were each offered a substantial reward if they made the journey to the Americas successfully. Unwilling Convicts were heavily sedated with Rum.

Attempt 1: Swallowed By Whale
Following long-established Biblical precedent, we believed that a Convict might be able to successfully cross the ocean in the belly of a whale. With some difficulty, we were able to convince a westward-bound whale to swallow a Convict.
Result: Stomach acids dissolved Convict.
Estimated Chance of Technique Succeeding In Future: %0.000

Attempt 2: Swallowed By Whale, Revision 1
Exactly the same as previous technique, but this time we pumped the whale's stomach first.
Result: Convict suffocated.
Estimated Chance of Success: %0.000

Attempt 3: Swallowed By Whale, Revision 2
Exactly the same as previous technique, but this time we gave the convict scuba gear and a tank of oxygen.
Result: Whale swam off. Not seen again. We wish Convict the best of luck.
Estimated Chance of Success: %0.003

Attempt 4: Dolphin Transport
We located a group of friendly dolphins and convinced them, with gifts of fish, to drag Convict across to the Americas. Convict would cling to dolphin's fin.
Result: Shortly after journey began, Convict was eaten by a whale.
Estimated Chance of Success: %0.000

Attempt 5: Catapult
We built a large catapult, pointed it west, and flung the convict towards the Americas.
Result: Catapult was nowhere near powerful enough. Convict landed in ocean, at which point h:e was eaten by a whale.
Estimated Chance of Success: %0.000

Attempt 6: Catapult, Revision 1
Following long calculations, we constructed a catapult powerful enough to fling one of the lighter Convicts across the ocean to the Americas.
Result: Convict was flung with such force that air friction caused him to burst into flames. Newly charred state increased air resistance. Convict fell into ocean, where he was eaten by a whale.
Estimated Chance of Success: %0.002

It was clear at this point that the local whales had developed an unsavory taste for human flesh. We were thus forced to devise more creative solutions for attempting the crossing.

Attempt 7: Teleportation
Teleportation, in this case, would be the difficult technique of transporting a Convict to the Americas by disintegrating him here and reintegrating him there. With great expense, we constructed a teleportation device and stuck a Convict inside.
Result: Convict did not so much "Disintegrate" as "Melt."
Estimated Chance of Success: %0.000

Attempt 8: Teleportation,Revision 1

With great difficulty and expense, we reworked our teleportation device. Then, again with great difficulty and expense, we managed to get the Convict to get inside.
Result: Convict disintegrated successfully. Reintegration, however, turned out to be difficulty. Perhaps he reappeared safely on the other side of the ocean. In an infinite universe, anything is possible.
Estimated Chance of Success: %0.002

Attempt 9:Carried By Birds
Convict was placed on a deck chair. One hundred pigeons were tied to deck chair with long strings, so that they could carry it aloft.
Result: Pigeons lifted chair fifty feet in the air and attempted, unsuccessfully, to fly in different directions. An hour later, they grew fatigued, and the experiment ended very, very quickly.
Estimated Chance of Success: %0.000

Attempt 10: Carried By Birds, Revision 1
Control of one hundred pigeons being very difficult, we decided to instead genetically engineer one very large bird of prey which could be more easily steered. We tethered the resulting giant raptor to the deck chair with the Convict.
Result: Convict eaten by bird.
Estimated Chance of Success: %0.000

Attempt 11: Carried By Birds, Revision 2
Exactly the same as previous attempt, but convict was covered with a thick, very unappetizing sauce.
Result: Convict eaten by bird.
Estimated Chance of Success: %0.000

Attempt 12: Combination of Previous Techniques
Science has shown us that, if several techniques fail, a combination of all of them has a much higher chance of succeeding. Therefore, we covered a Convict with unappetizing sauce, gave him an aqualung, put him in the belly of a stomach-pumped whale, tethered the whale to a half dozen giant raptors, and fired the whole mess westward from an enormous catapult.
Result: Unrecorded, as our funding ran out just before the screaming started.
Estimated Chance of Success: %0.005

Sadly, at this point, the combined lack of funding and Convicts brought a sad end to our experiments.

Assignation of Blame for Failure: First, we blame the Atlantic Ocean, for its size, its ferocity, and the uncooperative nature of its whales. Second, we blame the laws of physics for being so cruel to the elegant theories we devised. Finally, we blame our convicts for their lack of faith in us and the experiments we used them in. Their bad attitudes were very harmful to the morale of the good men and women who wanted only to advance the cause of Science.

Conclusion: The problem of how to send someone to the Americas is sadly, still open. Fortunately, we have a number of new ideas for how the crossing might be completed, and we will begin to test them out as soon as the next load of Convicts arrives.

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