Volume 91, Issue 32

Friday, October 24, 1997

cliff hanger


Cliff conquers the universe and more

Cliff's mailbag is a weekly column which attempts to answer the myriad of questions inquiring Western students are going out of their minds trying to figure out. From Western questions, to science questions, to inane trivial nonsense – intrepid Cliff will ferret out the answer...or DIE TRYING!!! Send questions to UCC, Room 263 c/o Cliff or email gaznews@julian.uwo.ca

"Angela", Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's press secretary, has still not faxed Cliff the information she promised concerning the Big Apple. Cliff, incensed by this rude – but typically New Yorkian act – contacted her again. "I sent that to you last week," she said through clenched teeth. "I'll send it to you again. If you don't get it within 10 minutes, call me back." Well Cliff did not get the fax, called her back 10 minutes later and discovered "Angela" had left the office! That New York snob will soon discover she is not dealing with a small-town huckster, but BIG CITY CLIFF!

As to your questions, there are a lot of them. Cliff will answer them all, though not necessarily in the order they are received. However, some questions refuse to be answered. Case in point, Kristie Black and Stephanie Guay ask:

We have been wondering about this since we were only timid Frosh: What's with the random words above the date on the front page of each Gazette. Every day they are different and they don't seem to have anything to do with the news. Are they some sort of secret code?

Cliff contacted Karena Walter, Editor-in-chief of The Gazette, who blithely refused to answer the question, stating, "I refuse to answer that question." James Pugsley, Managing Editor, also had no comment for Cliff. Only Colin Dunne, Graphics Editor, offered any comment, stating loudly (and proudly), "Suck my ass." Brick-walled by this obnoxious staff, Cliff can only speculate. These "random words" must be some sort of subliminal message attempting to further The Gazette's conservative mandate.

Now to more scientific matters. R. Whitney Dodman asks:

How many atoms are there in the universe and how does anyone know this?

Good questions. For the answer, Cliff first contacted the National Aeronautic Space Agency, but did not make it past their voice mail. He then called some yokel in Alabama who, by accident, assured him, "we ain't got a single physics department here."Realizing he had dialed the wrong area code, Cliff finally reached Dr. David Hartwick of the University of Victoria, who told him this fabulous secret. We know the mean density of the universe and the volume of the observable universe. By dividing the two figures, we arrive at its mass. Since the universe consists mainly of hydrogen and we know its mass, we can divide and arrive at a number approximating 10 to the power of 80, which is a very big number.

To Contact The News Department: gaznews@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997