Executive summary

The Moon is a dick and we should get rid of it.

Why we should get rid of The Moon


The most obvious effect of The Moon on The Earth are the tides. Tides are a consequence of  how The Moon’s gravity affects our planet. Gravity is a force that attracts objects towards each other and its strength is dependent on the objects’ mass and the distance between the objects. The closer they are, the stronger the force of attraction.

The force of gravity follows an “inverse square law”, which means that it drops off rapidly with distance. Double the distance, the force of gravity is reduced to a quarter. At 10 times the distance, the force of gravity is reduced by a factor of 100.

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 18.39.31

This means, because we’re close to The Moon, that whichever side of The Earth is facing it experiences a noticeably stronger gravitational effect than the far side. This causes the sea to rise up at the side nearest to The Moon. It also pulls on The Earth more than it does the sea on the far side, so we have two high tides per day.

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 18.58.25.png

(This isn’t to scale – that would be a fairly catastrophic high tide if it were.)

Tides are rubbish and we should do without them. It’s annoying when you go to the beach and it’s high tide and there’s nowhere to sit. It’s also annoying if the sea is too far away. Get rid of The Moon and you have a happy medium and every beach is just right. Have you ever spent time and effort, erecting the perfect sand castle, only to have it destroyed by The Moon? Destroy The Moon and our sand castles live on forever.

The Moon is making days longer

The presence of The Moon is actually slowing The Earth’s rotation. This is because the bit of the Earth that is closest to the Moon, be it land or sea, bulges up due to The Moon’s gravity. The bulge goes back down slowly such that the bulge is always a little bit past where The Moon is. The Moon’s gravity pulls back on the bulge, slows The Earth’s rotation and makes days longer. Do you think when days are 30 hours long, we’ll still have an eight hour working day and be allowed six more hours in bed? Of course not:

The Moon’s plan is to increase the length of your working day.

Incidentally, if you have ever wondered why the same side of The Moon always faces The Earth, it is for the same reason. With our superior gravity we have already done this to The Moon to such an extent that we stopped its rotation altogether. Ha!

The Moon ruins the beauty of the night sky

When The Moon isn’t around, the night sky looks like this:

When The Moon is around, the night sky looks like this:

The Moon is arrogant

The Moon considers itself on a par with The Sun (no, not the newspaper – it is on a par with that). The Sun spends its time quietly fusing hydrogen together to make helium, which gives out heat and light. This makes our planet just the right temperature for life, allows plants to photosynthesise and, in short, allows all of the life on our planet to exist. In comparison, The Moon destroys sandcastles.

Further still, there are at least 176 moons in our solar system alone and an unimaginably huge number in the universe as a whole. As far as we know, NONE of these other moons have had the arrogance to call themselves “The Moon”. The Sun, despite all the great stuff it does, has never been arrogant enough to call itself, “The Star”. Donald Trump is the most arrogant human, but even he has never had the audacity to rename himself, “The Homo Sapien”.

The Moon is the most arrogant object in the known universe.


In addition to these arguments, we should also destroy The Moon because it would be a bit of a laugh.

How do we destroy The Moon?

I’ve had a look into this and it’s actually harder than you might think and the problem, again, is gravity.

Suppose we were to blow up the moon with enough energy to scatter out all the bits a few miles. Gravity would cause the expanding fragments to slow, then stop, then start coming back together and then stick together to make the moon again. This eventuality must be avoided at all costs, as it would be a significant blow to our morale.

So when we destroy the moon (and I think we’re all now in agreement that it’s a when, not an if) we need to supply sufficient energy for the fragments to overcome the force of gravity and never collapse back into The Moon again.

The energy we need to supply is called the gravitational binding energy and we can calculate it using the equation:

U = 3GM² / 5R

Where G is the gravitational constant (6.67 × 10-11 m3 kg-1 s-2), M is the mass of the moon (7.35 × 1022kg) and R is the radius of the moon (1,737,000m)

Plugging this into our equation tells us that we need 1.25 × 1029 Joules of energy to blow up the moon and stop it coming back together again. Great, now we know – what are our options?


According to Wikipedia, 1000kg of TNT releases 4.2 billion Joules of energy. Nice.

That means we just need… gimme a sec…

30 billion trillion kg of TNT.

I’ll be honest, that sounds like a little more than I was hoping for. The maximum payload of a space shuttle was 25,000kg. So we need about 1.2 quintillion space shuttle missions to deliver the TNT to the moon. If we do one mission a day, we should be able to destroy The Moon in about 3.3 quadrillion years. That’s far too long for me – TNT is rubbish and we’re going to need something bigger.


Back to Wikipedia – the most powerful nuke ever detonated was the Tsar Bomba, which the Soviets detonated in a test in 1961. The resulting mushroom cloud was over seven times the height of Mount Everest (show offs).

The Tsar Bomba released the equivalent energy of 57 million tons of TNT. This means we only need… gimme a sec…

526 billion Tsar Bombas

That’s better but there is quite a big catch in that the Tsar Bomba weighed 27,000kg, which is over our max space shuttle payload. Let’s suppose that increasing the max payload of a shuttle from 25,000kg to 27,000kg is achievable. At one mission per day we are still looking at 1.4 billion years to blow up the moon. Better but still far too long – we’re going to need something bigger.

The Earth

How could The Earth possibly destroy The Moon? Yeah, it’s gravity again. If we were able to halt The Moon’s orbit it would plummet to Earth, and before it hit, it would move steeply up that gravity curve we mentioned before, such that the near side experienced a much stronger gravitational pull compared with its far side. At about 18,000km out, The Moon would be ripped apart by The Earth’s gravity! Go The Earth!

The problem here is how to stop the orbit, in order to make it fall down (I’ll neglect the problem that we have a destroyed Moon plummeting towards us at catastrophic speed). The kinetic energy of the moon can be calculated as:

E = GMm/2R

Where G is the gravitational constant, R, is the radius of the moon’s orbit around the earth (384,400,000m,) M is the mass of The Earth (5.972 × 1024 kg) and m is the mass of the moon (7.34767309 × 1022). (Do note that in the equation, the big M is given to the mass of the Earth and the little m is the mass of the moon. How do you like them apples, The Moon?)

So the kinetic energy of the moon is  4.8 × 1028J and we just need to apply as much energy in the opposite direction to The Moon’s motion in order for us to stop it in its tracks and let it plummet to Earth. Get the Tsar Bombas ready, we just need….

200 billion Tsar Bombas

We are getting closer but we’re still a long way off. We’re going to need something bigger.

The Sun

While the Tsar Bomba sounds scary, The Sun is on another scale. Through nuclear fusion, The Sun gives out a whopping 3.8 × 1026 Joules of energy every second. If we could direct all of that at The Moon we would reach our goal of 1.25 × 1029 Joules in less than six minutes! The Sun is a badass.

Now, we can’t easily focus all of The Sun’s energy on The Moon but we can do something that helps out a bit. You know that if you take a magnifying glass and focus The Sun’s rays on a small point, you can properly burn it? Imagine that on a bigger scale, that’s what we’re going to do – a giant lens in space.

The Moon is going to spend half of its time behind The Earth and we definitely do not want to be hitting The Earth with our giant sunbeam. So let’s say that we have a window of 14 days to do this. If we were to put a very big lens at around the orbit of Mercury and point it at The Moon, how big would it need to be to do the deed in 14 days?

The orbit of Mercury is, at its closest, 47 million km from The Sun. The surface area of a sphere is 4πr2, so the surface area of a sphere at this distance from The Sun is 2.8× 1022 m2. That means that we’re getting 13,700 J per m2 every second, or 1.2 billion Joules per day per m2. In order to shoot 1.25 × 1029 J at The Moon in 14 days, our lens needs to have a diameter of…

1.5 million km

… or approximately 121 times the size of The Earth.

Oh dear. What are we going to need to build that?

A “can do” attitude? …Most likely.

Glass? …Definitely.

But I think I might need to admit defeat here. I really thought that, given the circumstances, The Sun would be a little more help than this.

The Sun is a dick. Maybe we should get rid of it.



Crime Transference

Last week, after a fairly late night in the pub, a friend of mine (I’m going to call him Bill Smith) was making his way home across town. Bill Smith needed to catch the Piccadilly line from Hammersmith to Green Park, then transfer to the Victoria line to take him down to Brixton where he lives. It’s a simple enough journey in normal circumstances but unfortunately Bill Smith was a bit pissed up. Actually he really was quite pissed up indeed.

Somewhere between Hammersmith and Green Park he fell asleep and when he awoke he was in Cockfosters. I, like everyone in London, has heard the name Cockfosters spoken over a tube tannoy many times before – it’s the where the Piccadilly line goes. Until last week though, no one had ever actually been there; the temptation to get off the tube seemingly always overpowering the curiosity to find out what it might be like.

Last week though, aided by a full quota of booze, Bill Smith woke up in Cockfosters on an empty tube train. Not even the tube driver was still there, presumably having bailed out at Oakwood. It was at this point that Bill’s luck took a turn for the worse. Not only were there no more tubes back, but at some point while he’d soundly slept, a crook had reached inside his coat and taken his phone and wallet.

“So how did you get back home?” I asked, when he recounted his tale of woe.

“I had to walk,” Bill replied.

We checked the distance on Google Maps. According to Google Maps it’s 14.5 miles.

Cockfosters to Brixton on foot

Cockfosters to Brixton on foot

(Google Maps assumes he took the most direct route and had the ability to walk in a straight line, neither of which are likely in the circumstances.)

“You walked 15 miles in sub-zero temperatures? Are you insane?”

“What would you have done?”

It was a good question. He lives alone, so even if he found someone else who’d let him use their phone, who was he going to call in the early hours of the morning. Then a genius idea struck me:

“I’d steal someone else’s phone and wallet.”

Some of you may also just have been struck by the pure genius of this. In case you haven’t though, I will explain.

A crime has been committed. There is The Victim (Bill Smith) and The Crook, I’ll call him Jeffrey Archer. Jeffrey Archer is a wallet and a phone up. Bill Smith is a wallet and a phone down.

We can summarise this using maths:

NetCrimeJeffreyArcher = Wallet + Phone
NetCrimeBillSmith = – (Wallet + Phone)

Note in maths, negative crime = Victimhood

Bill Smith now cunningly steals a phone and wallet from an innocent passer by. I’ll call him Steve Davis. Bill lost a phone and wallet but now has replacements. He is now neutral in proceedings and is free to leave. Now the maths looks like this:

NetCrimeJeffreyArcher = Wallet + Phone

NetCrimeBillSmith = (Wallet – Wallet) + (Phone – Phone) = 0

NetCrimeSteveDavis = – (Wallet + Phone)

Note that Bill Smith’s net crime is zero and Steve’s and Jeffrey’s exactly offset each other. This demonstrates the First Law of Crime Transference:

“In a closed system, the sum of all crimes equals zero.”

This law is also known as The Conservation of Crime.

It is also important to note that Bill Smith is no longer referred to as The Victim. Having transferred the crime he is now The Intermediary and Steve Davis becomes The Victim.

Steve Davis can either choose to remain The Victim or cunningly steal the phone and wallet of another passer by in which case the victimhood is transferred once more and Steve becomes an Intermediary. Most importantly, however Jeffrey Archer remains The Crook.

This may proceed as many times as needed until Jeffrey Archer is caught. At that time Bill Smith’s wallet and phone are returned to whoever the current Victim happens to be and everyone is happy except for Jeffrey Archer and he shouldn’t be happy anyway because he is a Crook.

Let’s look at another situation. Imagine one morning you step outside your front door all prepared for your journey into work to find that your car has been stolen. You look up the road and see a car of equivalent value. Under my scheme, that’s yours!

Note it has to be of equivalent value. If your Nissan Micra got nicked you can’t steal your neighbour’s Ferrari. If you did that you would actually be a Net Crook for the theft of a car of the value of a Ferrari minus the value of a Nissan Micra:

NetCrimeJeffreyArcher = Nissan Micra

NetCrimeYou = (Ferrari – Nissan Micra) = Porsche

(Note in this scenario we are making the reasonable assumption that your car was stolen by Jeffrey Archer.)

This demonstrates The Second Law of Crime Transference:

“To finish criminally neutral, the sum of the crimes a Victim may commit be must exactly equivalent to the one which was inflicted upon him or her. Otherwise they will finish a net Crook or a net Victim.”

It is important to note it is the sum of the crimes. Therefore you could steal your neighbour’s Nissan Micra, or you could steal several things of lesser value which add up to the same overall amount e.g. two motorbikes.

The final law of crime transference deals with the type of crimes to which crime transference can be applied. Some crimes are non-transferable. If someone beats you up, simply beating someone else up does not make things neutral as you are still all beaten up.

Example. Jeffrey Archer beats up Jimmy Krankie. Jimmy Krankie then beats up Audley Harrison. Here are the maths:

NetCrimeJeffreyArcher = Beating Someone Up

NetCrimeJimmyKrankie = Beating Someone Up

NetCrimeAudleyHarrison = – (Beating Someone Up)

Note that because this crime is non-transferable, Jimmy can’t take the fact that he was beaten up into account – he is a Net Crook. This scenario is also an obvious violation of the First Law of Crime Transference.

(Note also that this refers to a standard beating up – if Jeffrey Archer had simply stolen a kidney from Jimmy Krankie and Jimmy then stole one from Audley Harrison then it would be classified a transferable crime and Jimmy Krankie could go free.)

Therefore The Third Law of Crime Transference is:

“A crime is only transferable if the state of the Intermediary will remain unchanged after transference.”

And so concludes the three laws of Crime Transference – “But wait!” I hear you cry, “Crime transference does NOT reduce overall crime!”

No. It doesn’t. I never claimed it did. Crime transference just makes our lives easier if we’re caught in a tricky situation and I’ll explain how. At each stage of the crime transfer the Intermediary can decide if:

  • The crime really inconvenienced them and they need to transfer it
  • They fucking hated their Micra anyway, have an excuse not to turn up to work and can get the insurance money and buy a Cinquecento instead

In Bill Smith’s case there would be a great benefit to him to transfer the crime. He transferred it onto Steve Davis. Perhaps Steve Davis lived a 5 minute walk away in which case he wouldn’t have bothered transferring it. If he too lived a 5 hour walk away then he would simply have transferred it and we’d have kept going until it landed on someone for whom it was a lesser inconvenience.

Government cuts are only going to push overall crime in one direction. In circumstances such as these, wouldn’t we all rather have this choice?


Homo Perfectus

I am an atheist. I believe in evolution. Some people aren’t atheists. Some people believe in something called “intelligent design”. Well I take issue with this theory. God or no God, there is nothing remotely intelligent about human design. The design of humans is crap. Look, here comes one now.

Homo Sapien

Hardly inspiring, is it? If I were God I would have designed something far better and I will now show you exactly what. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Homo Perfectus. Homo Perfectus is like Homo Sapien but with the following improvements:


Two arms is not enough. What about all those times when you need to carry three things? Homo Perfectus has four arms. In this way he or she can carry three things and still have an arm spare for mischief and petty crime.

Extra arms for carrying three or four things

Extra arms for carrying three or four things


With four arms comes four hands. The digits on the two new hands would be utility digits – each finger would perform its own special function, like the tools on a Swiss Army knife:

Left Hand

  • Fork
  • Corkscrew
  • Saw
  • Can opener

Right Hand

  • Knife
  • Bottle Opener
  • Fish Scaler
  • Screw Driver

(NB Homo Perfectus will never actually use the fish scaler.)

Utility fingers

Utility fingers

One of Homo Sapien’s most fundamental flaws becomes apparent when wanting to push a button which is more than four inches away from the end of their arm. Homo Perfectus would therefore have a metre long index finger on the upper left hand.

Extra long finger for pushing distant buttons

Extra long finger for pushing distant buttons


Homo Perfectus would have feet three times as long and five times as wide as Homo Sapien so that he or she could walk on snow without sinking into it.

Big feet to allow easy traversing of snowy ground


Homo Perfectus can shoot powerful laser beams from his or her eyes and uses this ability for cooking food and shooting cats and dogs for recreational purposes.

Laser eyes for shooting cats and dogs

Laser eyes for shooting cats and dogs


Homo Sapien’s ears are useless for eavesdropping. Homo Perfectus solves this problem by having ears on the end of extendable tentracles, a bit like Mr. Tickle’s arms. The tentracles can be controlled such that if a private conversation is occurring across the room, Homo Perfectus would simply extend one or both tentracles until the ear(s) are within a few centimetres of the conversation, thus catching all the juicy details while the eavesdroppees are none the wiser.

Ears on tentracles for easy eavesdropping

Ears on tentracles for easy eavesdropping


Homo Perfectus has an elephant’s nose as elephants have the best noses.

Elephants clearly have the best noses

Elephants clearly have the best noses


Homo Sapien has hair in all of the wrong places. How often do you hear one say, “Brrrr, my armpit is cold!” Never!! But Homo Sapien continually suffers with cold ears, nose, fingers and toes. Homo Perfectus has hair on all of these, but nowhere else.

Hair in all the right places

Hair in all the right places


Homo Perfectus has wings on its head, thus making aeroplanes obsolete and thereby solving global warming problems.

Homo Perfectus takes to the skies

Homo Perfectus solves global warming


Lastly, Homo Perfectus is blue so he or she is camouflaged from sharks when swimming in the sea.

Homo Perfectus

Homo Perfectus


This thought experiment is more important than it first seems. If Homo Sapien is the design masterpiece of the greatest intellect in the universe then how did I improve upon it with such ease? It blows the whole intelligent design theory out of the water! I have disproved intelligent design! What a moment in our existence!

Oh wait. That’s been done a billion times already.


P.S. If you have other suggestions for the design of Homo Perfectus, I would love to hear them.

The Jazz Sushi Survey

When I was just a young rabbit, I was taken, as a treat, to see the National Youth Jazz Orchestra who happened to be playing in my village. It was an epiphany and I was transfixed. Never in my life had I imagined music could be made so utterly awful. Equally shocking was that a good many people around me seemed to be enjoying it, and not just a little bit either. A ginger man a couple of seats away with his eyes closed looked for all the world like he was having an orgasm for the entire concert and for all I know he was.

Years later, I was having a pint with a mate in our local pub, The King of Toss, near Marble Arch. Above the King of Toss was a restaurant to which neither of us had paid any attention in the years since we’d been drinking there. Seemingly no one else had been paying it any attention because on that night a member of the waiting staff came into the pub with a plate of sushi, offering free samples in a bid to entice some drinkers upstairs. So I tried some. This, ladies and gentlemen, was my second epiphany. Never in my life had I imagined food could be made so utterly awful. How could it possibly have been that bad? After all, I like rice, I like fish. In fact given the same ingredients I could probably have made something quite nice. This was anything but. The rice has a texture like it had been cooked the day before, left in the pan to dry then scraped off. It was topped with little red things which seemed to have been sprayed with essence of unwashed genitalia and it was wrapped in one of those unbreakable plastic ribbons that bind up telephone directories. Bizarrely my mate liked it.

At some point in the years since, it occurred to me that I thought about jazz and sushi in pretty much the same way. Not simply in my dislike for them but in the way that I just didn’t get them. I knew plenty of people who were enjoying these pleasures and I would never be able to understand why.
I don’t like Crufts but I can understand why people like it. They get to see the most classically beautiful dogs all standing in a row. I just prefer dogs when they’re fetching sticks and eating slippers but that’s just my preference and I understand theirs.

Jazz and sushi were incomprehensible to me though and the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if these two seemingly unconnected things were in fact connected through people’s preferences. i.e. was there a correlation between people who liked jazz and people who liked sushi? Were these two things completely unrelated or was there a disproportionately high proportion of us who liked both or disliked both compared with the proportion of people who liked one or the other?

This previously unidentified correlation has been an untested theory of mine in the years since but then came Twitter and suddenly I had the perfect opportunity to test it out.

Last week I asked people two Yes/No questions:

  • Do you like jazz?
  • Do you like sushi?

And thanks to those who responded and retweeted it I ended up with 112 responses.

And so to the numbers. Firstly, I worked out the proportion of people who like jazz and the proportion of people who like sushi. The results were:

Using these numbers, I worked out my ‘null hypothesis’. i.e. what the results would be if there is no correlation.
i.e. of the 112 respondents, if there is no correlation between liking jazz and liking sushi then the proportion of people who like sushi and like jazz is:

112 x (64.6% x 54.87%) = 40.41 people.

The full results of this are:

Then I compared this with what the 112 people actually said:

Interesting… there are more people in the like both and like neither than there should be if the null hypothesis is true. Sure enough when I calculated the correlation it came out at 0.17.

Correlation is expressed as a number between -1 and 1. A correlation of 1 means that the correlation is perfect i.e. for me to get a correlation of 1 everybody who liked sushi would have to like jazz and everybody who disliked sushi would have to dislike jazz. A correlation of -1 represents a perfect negative correlation. In my case this would have meant that everyone who liked jazz disliked sushi and everyone who disliked jazz liked sushi. A correlation of 0 would mean there was no correlation at all between the data. My correlation looked like this:

So I had a correlation and better still it was a positive one, but although my figures had a correlation could it just have been I got lucky?

To determine this I needed to work out what the probability of this happening by chance would be if the null hypothesis were true.
I decided to use a fairly standard way of testing significance – that the probability of such an outcome would have to be less than or equal to 1 in 20. i.e. if there is no correlation then results as convincing as mine could come up no more than 1 in every 20 repeats of such an experiment – a significance level of 0.05.

Therefore, if the probability of my set of results coming up is greater than 0.05 then the probability of it having happened by chance is too great, my correlation is not significant and my results are inconclusive. If the probability is less than 0.05 then the chances of this having happened by chance are negligible and my correlation is statistically significant.

Are you ready? Drum roll, please. The probability of a correlation as pronounced as mine having happened by chance is……..0.045!!

That’s right, I really did it. I really did find a correlation between liking jazz and liking sushi. The theory I have held for ages has at last been proven.

I am not going to call it RedEaredRabbit’s Law. After all it is too important to be just mine – it should belong to all of us. I am instead going to call it Cole’s Law. (Nothing to do with Cole Porter  – I’ve just always wanted to call a law that.)

At some point I’ll explain why my method of gathering the data wasn’t perfect but for now I’m just going to bask in my glory.


P.S. I didn’t mean to imply that jazz and sushi were awful in absolute terms. Just that I dislike them and am personally unable to appreciate them. Don’t lynch me, please.

P.P.S. Please also read the follow up post to this survey here.

The Future of Office Furniture

Over the past few weeks I have been closely monitoring my bathroom habits at work. On average I do 4.6 wees and half a poo at work every day.

A round trip for a wee takes 107 seconds. A round trip for a poo takes 343 seconds*. This means every day I lose 11m 4s of valuable work time going to the bathroom. I work about 225 days a year but 5 of them, a full work week, is spend going to the bathroom.

The number of people employed in the UK is 28.82m so we are losing around 664,000 years of work time every year by people going to the toilet. Imagine if somehow we could get this time back. Imagine the boost to the economy if overnight we added 664,000 person-years of work to the economy annually.

I have a solution. Office furniture.

Specifically, I have designed a new chair. For the most part it is the same as a standard office chair with variable height, arms and lumbar adjustment. However it has one key, built-in feature not found in the current generation of office chairs – a toilet.

Just take a moment to behold the beauty of this suggestion. Office chairs with built-in toilets.

There are two key benefits:

  • 664,000 person-years of work extra in the economy every year
  • Cheaper office space (since you don’t need to pay for floor-space for bathrooms)

There is one down-side however:

  • Someone in the office might do a smelly poo

I have thought about this problem at length and have solved it by making a small adjustment to the chair design. I would have one of these built into the arm on every chair so any worker could quickly avoid embarrassment with a simple press of the button.

The chairs would not be cheap but given the boost in productivity they would easily pay for themselves in a few months.

Although the office is the most obvious place for such a device there are many more applications. A couple of years ago on a flight to New York, I sank a few mini-bottles of wine and just as my bladder told me it was time to go to the toilet, we hit turbulence and the seat belt light came on. I spent the next hour in agony – unnecessarily in my opinion. The simple installation of toilets into aeroplane seats would have completely removed this problem. It would also mean that airlines could remove bathrooms from the plane and therefore fit in more seats. Again – they pay for themselves.

Our fragile economy needs a boost now more than ever. No party has shown us a policy which comes close to instantly add 664,000 person-years of work to the economy annually. Our nation’s financial ills will not be solved overnight by national insurance hikes or inheritance tax cuts. The solution is far more simple. The solution is office furniture.


* Note I did not count today’s disaster in the time keeping as it would have skewed the figures

P.S. Since writing this article I have trade marked The Stool Stool as the brand name for this product.