UK paperback

Atom thefts

Pity the poor sub

From the print edition of the IHT, October 29, p3:

Atom thefts increasing, watchdog informs UN

How can they tell?

  1. 1  Tom  October 30, 2008, 2:25 am 

    Surely if regular thefts go up even slightly, atom thefts simultaneously go through the freaking roof.

    That’s the good thing about all this intellectual-property malarkey*: no atom theft is involved in music piracy.

    * Please do not mistake this for an eagerness to talk about intellectual-property malarkey.

  2. 2  redpesto  October 30, 2008, 12:12 pm 

    How can they tell? When the lead turns into gold?

  3. 3  RobWeaver  October 30, 2008, 12:42 pm 

    Don’t think so, redpesto. Wouldn’t that be sub-atom theft?

    Of course, the problem with electron theft is – until you nab the thief with the goods in custody he exists in a state of simultaneous criminality and non-criminality. It’s a lawyer’s field day!

  4. 4  Steven  October 30, 2008, 1:55 pm 

    But the electron thief, upon being apprehended, could quickly measure the momentum of his swag and then the cops could never tell if it was actually in his possession or not.

  5. 5  richard  October 30, 2008, 4:04 pm 

    Downside: neither could he.

    Upside: potential for tunneling.

  6. 6  hey zeus  October 30, 2008, 5:00 pm 

    you guys don’t want to hear how the guards get electrons into the prison system. seriously.

  7. 7  Steven  October 30, 2008, 5:05 pm 

    Despite Tom’s excellent point at #1, I’m intrigued by the idea of atom theft as a kind of reverse sorites paradox. If a thief comes along and steals one atom at a time of my laptop, at what point can I say he has stolen something of value to me? After all, there ought to be no point at which the removal of just one atom would render it useless.

  8. 8  abb1  October 30, 2008, 8:07 pm 

    I know they were doing some atom smashing ’round here, but I hear the thing broke down and there will be no smashing until next summer.

  9. 9  Steven  October 30, 2008, 11:13 pm 

    It broke down because someone stole the atoms?

  10. 10  redpesto  October 31, 2008, 3:48 pm 

    – Don’t think so, redpesto. Wouldn’t that be sub-atom theft?

    Curses – foiled again!

  11. 11  Sagredo  November 3, 2008, 5:28 am 

    Steven: I think an electron thief would be charged.

  12. 12  Hey Zeus  November 3, 2008, 4:35 pm 

    possession is nine tenths of the law.
    -but aren’t electrons nine tenths empty space?

hit parade

    guardian articles

    older posts