Sunday, September 26, 2004

Transmuting metals into laws

Common parlance speaks of the principle of the "iron law" of necessity. This principle could be extended. True, there is such a thing as the Golden Rule, but this does not purport to be a law. We can speak of persons being "mercurial," but this adjective stems from the planet, not the metal.

What if we extend the device to the entire periodic table? Here are a few examples.

1) There is the helium law of frivolity. According to this principle any new factoid about Laci Peterson will immediately oust new massacres in Darfur.

2) Then there is the platinum law of luxury. People commonly seek to upgrade their taste preferences, extending them upwards into levels of expenditure they cannot afford. (Thus leading toe the plastic law of credit card debt--except that plastic is not an element in the periodic table.)

3) There follows the leaden law of the quotidian. Most days are fairly dull, part of what Germans call "der graue Alltag."

4) The uranium law of instability indicates that some delicate undertakings may blow up on us. Fortunately the effects of this law are rarely encountered.,