October 2022

On August 17, 1976, an intelligence intercept was delivered to analysts working for the NSA at its facility in Fort Meade, Maryland. The intercept was from a Soviet military source, variously identified as Colonel [Redacted] of the Strategic Missile Forces or Major [Redacted] of the Eighth Chief Directorate of the KGB. The intercept details a recurring problem that had been noticed over the previous several weeks with the new Duga over-the-horizon radar system.

The contents of the intercept, which is only available as a summary of a translation, go into detail about radio interference caused by the Duga system—well-known by amateur radio operators at the time, who nicknamed Duga the “Russian Woodpecker” for its adverse effects on ham radio transmissions—but in an altogether novel way. Something was causing some of the signals to change in between their transmission in Chernihiv and their reception in Chernobyl. The 10hz signal would be returned as an 8hz signal, but only on certain transmissions, and only for certain signals within those transmissions.

Colonel [Redacted] (or Major [Redacted]) apparently noted that, since the Duga system used a consistent and repeating pattern of 10hz tones (the “woodpecker” of the “Russian Woodpecker”), it was possible to find a pattern in the altered tones. He apparently did so, reporting the following pattern: 2 3 5 7 11 13 17 19 23 29 31 37 41 43 47 53 59 61 67 71. The available information helpfully notes for non-mathematicians that these are the first 20 prime numbers.

Apparently, Colonel [Redacted] (or Major [Redacted]) requested official access to the Duga array at Cherniv in order to analyze and/or respond to the signal; this was apparently denied. A subsequent request to triangulate the source of the interference was apparently granted, but there is no information about what was discovered. Analysis of Soviet records following the collapse of the USSR have shown no trace of a Colonel [Redacted] or Major [Redacted]. The Duga arrays at Chernihiv and Chernobyl have both been inspected following the collapse of the USSR, but have offered no clues as to the signal or its origin.

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“It’s very impressive,” the visitor said, marveling at the whirlwind of birds all about them, perched on branches and eaves. “But how on earth do you afford to keep all of these birds?”

“Simple,” said Eames. “The government pays for everything.”

“The same government that will audit your taxes if you underpay by a single red cent?”

“No, not that government,” Eames smiled. “The government within the government, the one that sees inefficiency and waste as a sign that things are working as intended. The Department of Defense.”

“The DoD. It pays for a bird sanctuary?”

“In 1927, the government created the Strategic Pigeon Reserve, to be used as a stockpile of trained birds and breeding stock in case of a sudden need. This was after World War I, you understand, when there was quite the acute pidge shortage.”

“And we keep them because…?”

“Because no one ever repealed it,” laughed Eames. “When a government inspector comes by, I remind them that pidges require no electricity, have high bandwidth, and unlike radios, they can reproduce themselves in the event of a nuclear war or EMP.”

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The lab rat with the lava lamp on its back skittered around the corner on its augmented cybernetic legs and was gone, the glow gradually fading down the corridor.

“I get the robot legs,” Archer said. “But why the lava lamp on its back?”

“I gave the rat the choice of a lava lamp or a disco ball, and now it’s got to live with that choice,” replied Zeus.

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His apparatus destroyed, Dr. Narwhalius writhed helplessly as the immense cetacean slipped through the widening dimensional gate. firing varicolored rainbow lasers from its forehead.

“The prophecy…was all a lie…a sham…” Narwhalius croaked.

“That’s right,” the inter dimensional whale said in a psychic voice that rattled the heavens and loosened fillings. “You, our pawn, have played your role, and now you must be sacrificed.”

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“But why, Dr. Narwhalius? Why destroy the world?”

“Scientists have wondered for decades about the function of a narwhal’s horn. Well, now they are about to find out: once my brethren complete the Apocalypse Net, our horns will tear the planet asunder even as we ascend to a paradise ocean world on another plane!”

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On the shore of a lake not far from here
A little fawn trailed a herd of deer
They wanted to take the grass for a spin
But then the fawn just fell right in
A nearby seabird, a gannet by name
Moved in quickly to stake its claim
An eater of seafood it was, by trade
Surely deer be fish if in water they stayed
The gannet moved in to claim its prize
And the deer could not believe their eyes
A bird trying to nibble on their young
That sort of thing was simply not done
Mother deer charged into the drink
Hooves caused the gannet to stop and think
Sullenly the bird pecked no more
And fallen fawn climbed grassy shore
Though the gannet swore upon its crest
That its next catch would not be wrest
It was forced to reflect upon that vow
When next plunged in moose calf and cow

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“We designed a sophisticated biological computer that requires only a circulatory system and nutrients to function,” Dr. Pullen said. “It doesn’t have as much raw computing ability as an inorganic machine, but it runs for far cheaper and, when networked together, is currently on the verge of achieving supercomputer status.”

“They look like goats,” said Ace Rogers, cub reporter for the State Online News.

“The goats are keeping the supercomputer parts alive,” Dr. Pullen said. “They eat grass, convert it to energy, and sustain the supercomputer nodes, which we network together using a wet/dry interface we’re very-”

“Are they just goats?” asked Shenika Daniels, tech reporter for the Campus Digital Gazette.

“They are organic supercomputers grafted to a goat,” Pullen said, visibly annoyed.

“So they are goats that are also computers but also goats?” asked Ali Farouk, sports and medicine correspondent for the Sri-State Sillicon Tribune 3.0.

“Sure, whatever,” Pullen sighed. “Can we move beyond the goats please?”

Dr. K. Harrison Noguma, faculty correspondent for the National Association of Tenured Professors, made a dismissive gesture. “Bah,” he said.

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With the shadowy, looming form in the distance, suddenly breaking into the zoo to steal drugs didn’t seem like such a brilliant idea after all.

“Dude, it’s just a giraffe,” said Denny.

“The giraffes are over there,” replied Will, his knowledge of the zoo undiminished from childhood visits. “That’s the boneyard.”

“Boneyard?” Denny said.

“They leave dead animals there to feed scavengers and dry out the bones for display,” Will said. “There shouldn’t be anything alive over there.”

And as the shape advanced toward them, quickly gaining speed despite its massive height and bulk, it soon became apparent that Will was right: there was nothing alive over there, and it was coming straight at them.

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The iconic image of the El Tigre blaze was the evacuation of the Rio Negrito Refuge, a rehabilitation center for endangered and vulnerable animals run by the International Wildlife Organization. As the flames bore down in the refuge, and the government pulled its firefighters back rather than attempting a firebreak, local volunteers worked frantically the evacuate the animals after most of the international staff deserted or were evacuated.

The image of Carmen Martinez y Garcia, tears visibly streaming down her face, evacuating a three-toed sloth in a saucepan as an apocalyptic column of flame and smoke rose behind them instantly became iconic. While 60% of the animals at the refuge were successfully evacuated, the remainder perished in the flames along with two volunteers, one of whom was Ms. Martinez. In the aftermath, the IWO and the newly-elected right-wing government both blamed each other for the debacle, with the IWO closing all its refuges while the government seized and nationalized those belonging to other organizations or independent entities. One bright spot was the saucepan sloth itself, a pregnant female soon nicknamed Saucy, who was taken in by the San Juan Zoological Gardens in Costa Rica and added to their breeding program.

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Hey hey, welcome back sun-spiders! Just a quick one today, but a fan of the channel over on ClipClop sent us the perfect gift as we move into spooky season: sofiugae
skins! They are just the cutest little costumes that we can put on our gerrymanders to make them the most dapper pet camel spiders out there. See, there’s a ghost, a bear, a barbershop quartet, and even a little zombie! Don’t worry: the costume stays on with friction and is made of inert natural fabrics, the little guys can take them off anytime they want. But they seem to love them! See, here’s Jerry VIII in the bear costume, and Y’Rrej IX as a teenie weenie ghost! Stay tuned for a full video costume review on both OurTube and ClipClop.

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