Okay, so the basic paradox is this. Two immutable laws of the universe can, under certain circumstances, contradict each other. For instance. Law 67: Toast always lands butter side down. Law 139: Cats always land feet first. So what happens when you strap buttered toast (butter side up) to a cat’s back?
There are several possible outcomes to such an experiment. However, the dangerous nature of messing with the laws of the universe has discouraged mankind from making any attempt. Therefore, these outcomes are purely hypothetical.
Outcome A: Antigravity.
One theory is that the cat would fall, then as it nears the ground, begin to rotate, so its feet face down, in order to avoid breaking Law 139. Then, so Law 67 is not broken, the cat would rotate again so the toast could land butter side down. The cat would rotate faster and faster and never end up touching the ground, thus creating an antigravity effect.
This is the most popular theory, although there are many variations. For example, cats are flexible. What if the cat managed to lick the butter from the toast? Would it go crashing to the ground? That or the cat could be spinning at such a high speed that the butter, bit by bit, flies off the toast, leaving it butterless and freeing the cat from its enternal nausea.
Another variation of the paradox is a cat with toast strapped butter-side-down to it’s paws. Hypothetically this would cause the cat to hover, but how far above the ground? If you dropped the cat from a height, would it simply remain stationary in mid-air, or would it drop until it is a short distance from the ground, then stop? Is Murphy’s Law only recognised before the cat hits the ground? How far above the ground would it cease to fall? Until there is a person brave enough to test this out, we can never know. Or can we?
A buttered cat will, when released, quickly move to a height to where the forces of cat-twisting and butter repulsion are in equilibrium. This equilibrium point can be modified by scraping off some of the butter, providing lift, or removing some of the cat’s limbs, allowing descent.
Also, if the rotation hypothesis were true, this would require the energy that keeps the cat rotating to come from the gravitational energy expended in it’s fall; otherwise it would violate the Law of Conservation of Energy. Therefore the rotation occurs near the end of the fall, a short distance from the ground.
And it has to be true, after all, Macgyver successfully did this in an episode. The prop engine he was on stopped working, so he removed the engine, tied four slices of toast to the back of a puma which did indeed result in the constant spinning effect, then stuck the propeller shaft in the pumas mouth and flew away.
Outcome B: The end of the universe.
Another lesser-known theory is that, with two laws of the universe found to be in direct contradiction, the universe itself would begin to self-destruct, with multitudes of immutable laws simply evapourating into thin air. Friction? Gone. Gravity? Gone. Quantum mechanics? Gone! The last remaining law of the universe will, of course, be Murphy’s Law.
This has not been proven (obviously) and most of the civilized species of the universe already use this priciple to drive their ships while within a planetary system. The loud humming heard by most sighters of UFOs is, in fact, the purring of several hundred tabbies.
The one obvious danger is, of course, if the cats manage to eat the bread off their backs they will instantly plummet. Of course the cats will land on their feet, but this usually doesn’t do them much good, since right after they make their graceful landing several tons of red-hot starship and ticked-off aliens crash on top of them.
However we must question the scientifical legitimacy of laws 67 and 139. Just how kosher are they, really?
Law 139: A cat will always land upon it’s feet. But how? The ‘cat righting reflex’ is a cat’s innate ability to orient itself as it falls in order to land on its feet, often uninjured. They are able to do this as they have an unusually flexible backbone and no functional collarbone or clavicle. After determining up from down visually or with their vestibular apparatus, cats manage to twist themselves face downwards without ever changing their net angular momentum. Cats also have many additional features that decrease their terminal velocity and slow the fall to some extent.
However, according to PetPalace.com (we are crazy about pets) cats do not always land on their feet. But who are we going to believe? PetPalace.com (we are crazy about pets) or an immutable law of the universe?
Then there’s Law 67: A slice of buttered toast will always land butter side down. But will it? Mythbusters tested this theory in an episode, and found that the toast is actually less likely to land butter side down due to the indentation of the toast when the buttered is applied. Sadly I am unable to rant about spray-on butter as the Mythbusters tested the idea many times and found the ratio of butter-side-up to butter-side-down landings more or less 50/50. Myth busted.
The Mythbusters team are always shooting down my best ideas.
P.S. This was originally written as my 4th form speech, so please ignore the awful grammar & punctuation.