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The Essay
Show #145
The Suction Algorithm
David Gunn
What research scientists like most about the natural laws of physics is their inherent consistency. While other scientific principles with confusing subject matter often get all discombobulatory at the slightest provocation, such as a sudden decrease in project funding or an increase in the amount of time mandated to be spent away from business luncheons, the laws of physics -- well, some of them, anyway -- remain rooted in warm and fuzzy invariables. Motion is always motion, gravity is happy to be gravity, levity, if not levity, doesn't know what to make of itself. Not so their friends, the chemical standards. Their universality is corrupted each time some wiener in the pharmaceutical industry releases a new pill whose accompanying medication guidesheet blithely lists hundreds of contra-indications such as Hansen's Disease and chronic blepharospasms in five-point type. Allegiance to fundamental precepts is not a watermark of the valence trade.

Not surprisingly, some laws of physics play key roles in the field of music. One of the more abstruse principles, the suction algorithm, was theorized by Tjalling Koopmans, a Nobel prize winning Netherlandic economist. While working in the League of Nations' Finance Department in the late 1930s, Koopmans saw literally zillions of guilders get sucked out of the League's treasury and disappear into unregulated coffers from, as far as he could tell, outer space. Their unauthorized absquatulation, he reported, was invariably accompanied by a mellifluous sucking sound. By monkeying around with fiduciary quadratic equations, Koopmans eventually linked the suction algorithm to a fundamental law of science: humidity.

Brass players know first hand how the algorithm works. After spitting into their mouthpieces for an hour and a half wailing away on John Cage's "Music for Valved Combatants," an amount of fluid equal to the Fibonacci cosine of the quantity spewed from the player's mouth, but which looks like a whole lot more, has collected in glutinous pools that smell of Certs at their feet. Depending on the force of external pressure at the point of impact, the liquid will either remain in a kind of salivary stasis or be algorithmically sucked into what musicologists term an Algonquin Hole, where aficionados of wet-lipped horn players fawn at their feet, at least until the spit hits the fan. At that point, the sub-axiom known as the flambeau oriange principle kicks in and kicks out the horn player, his supporters, and most moist mouth morsels, leaving the Algonquin Hole free to go bother other fundamental laws of the cosmos.

The humidity-driven suction algorithm works in radio, too. In fact, it has recently reared its nettling head to cause discombobulisms at Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, this 145th episode's sesquintro of which has been asked to explain the dilemma. The company known as AudioNet which had archived over a hundred K&D radio shows recently turned off the free tap, and the accompanying sucking sound was their immediate exile from their internet site. Without a nominal $2,000 monthly fee, that's where they'll remain in algorithmic stasis. As Tjalling Koopmans would readily admit were he not pushing up fiduciary daisies in a New Haven necropolis ... well, we're not sure what he'd admit. Suffice it to say that this is an untenable situation and one which we hope our listening audient can address. So please send your tax-deductible RealAudio server together with a fast connection to this station. And now, here with the address, is the especially nettled Kalvos.