display | more...

Coffee. Calculus. Spongebob. Apart, any one of these things would be inscrutable, having a fractal regression of possible meanings, fanning out from each other like a kaleidoscope, but together, they are so unknowable that understanding them as a unit might unlock the mysteries of the Universe. First, let us discuss Calculus, the one of these I unfortunately know the most about, which is to say little. Yeah, there's the calculus that comes to mind, derivatives and integrals, Newton, Leibniz, Riemann, Gauss. But there's also Lambda Calculus, as one of the most popular, and you can decide to make a "calculus" for basically anything. So I say here, now, let us make a calculus of coffee and Spongebob.

What is coffee?

That question isn't rhetorical; I seriously don't drink it. According to the Internet, coffee is made from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, which come from coffee cherries. It is apparently a significant part of the world's economy, being one of the "most traded agricultural commodities." There was some considerable information on the cultivation, harvesting, processing, and brewing, but I decided not to read it, as it seemed quite boring.

I had a dream last night that I was in Slumdog Millionaire, except I've never actually seen that movie, so it involved me sitting in some guy's house, gambling on something, flicking through these cards and maintaining the confidence that I'd win the million in the end, because that's probably how the movie ended, I think. He brought me some coffee, and I tried to make it taste good, because I didn't drink coffee, but I couldn't be rude, because he loaned me a lot of money. Then to pay it off, I agreed to be his servant, and I tried to make him some iced coffee.

I think this story highlights something very important. Coffee, while usually served hot, can be served cold, with ice, or even as part of a frozen beverage, mixed with chocolate and some kind of cream, where it becomes known as "mocha." (According to Wikipedia, this is because of the coffee being mixed with chocolate and cream, not because of it being frozen.) The point is, we are so used to thinking, "Coffee, HOT," that it seems like a paradox for it to be cold, even ice-like. Coffee is like an official morning drink in the U.S.A., but it can be enjoyed at noon, when it is generally expected to be cold, and probably stale, having sat out for five or six hours. It is ubiquitous, and American, but there are still relatively few people who purchase gourmet blends, much like with beer, and the humble career of barista is considered pretentious. Coffee is us, and not us.

Another interesting fact about coffee is that people used to brew it with eggs. Apparently, throwing one egg in with some coffee grounds helps hold them together and keep them from getting all in your cup and tasting nasty. That's the idea, but I haven't tried it. There has been exactly one visual joke regarding this in history that I am aware of, in Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid. If there are others, I'm sorry, but you're too old.

The point of all of this is to know our target well. Build a detailed Coffee Dossier. Breathe in the information, let it vibrate in your being a minute. It's one of the most consumed beverages in the world, and the nation, but quality doesn't matter to the majority of people. It is probably addictive. Like eggs, its erstwhile companion, it doesn't taste great without having its flavor completely masked. Tough guys drink it black. It shows that they have burned away their taste buds completely with years of rough cigarettes and homemade liquor that doubles as an engine cleaner. It's how you want to ask for your coffee in prison. (Bonus points if someone urinates in it. You're the toughest!) Once you understand the dynamics of coffee, the Why of Java, you will be able to start the next challenge.

What is Spongebob?


Oh! Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
Absorbent and yellow and porous is he!
If nautical nonsense be something you wish...
Then drop on the deck and flop like a fish!

From here.

Spongebob Squarepants is a long-running satire of underwater life, focusing especially on the relatively slothful plantimals: sponges and starfish. There's a lot of coral in the background, but I don't think it ever says anything. The eponymous talking sponge exemplifies the ideals of being laid back, carefree, slow to anger, and quick to make friends. He has a job as a fry cook, which he takes great pride in, never aspiring to more and instead elevating the craft. I'm fairly sure he does make money, and uses it to purchase some sort of commodities. Spongebob is probably the antithesis to the Smurfs. (If you don't understand that, you have to go read Modern Marxism, the Smurfs, and You. It is also worth noting, that while the Smurfs had a tribe of identical creatures with no means of procreation, the inhabitants of Spongebob's world are unique and diverse species. Squirrels intermingle with sponges, even.)

It is also an important fact that Spongebob is magic, and good at almost anything. Would he be good at math? Despite his childlike demeanor, clearly, yes. But Calculus? I don't see why not. Would he excel at the Calculus of Coffee and Spongebob? Ladies and gentlemen, I posit to you that indeed, he damn sure would.

The Calculus of Coffee and Spongebob

Being well versed in these three topics - especially coffee, for some reason - I submit that we can finally get down to the business of defining the characteristics of this calculus. First, coffee, as I may have forgotten to mention, is imbibed in fluid form by most people. There are also chocolate-covered coffee beans, but those are sold mainly for bird control. Our calculus must somehow involve fluid dynamics. Since Spongebob is a sponge, absorption also factors in, along with porosity (holy crap, that turned out to be a real word!) and the inflation of the sponge as it hydrates. Here is an example of that last trait for us to work with.

Again, according to the Internet, if we know the volume of the water that goes into Spongebob, we can determine the volume of his pores. Dividing this by his total volume will give us his porosity. There are some complications however, as you may notice that Spongebob was filled by a hose, meaning we need the diameter of the hose and its pressure, and possibly also its length. The astute have realized that this is one of the few times Spongebob is not entirely submersed in water, thus saving us that computational headache. Since coffee is a little denser than water, being a homogeneous solution with water, it will take slightly less coffee to fill Spongebob to maximum saturation. An interesting question is whether he would then suffer caffeine poisoning, but that is beyond the scope of this article. (For a full discussion, see Spongebob, Biochemistry, and Polemic Theology.)

What happens after Spongebob has been filled to maximum saturation? He then has a special ability to forcefully expel liquid from every orifice, of which he possesses very, very many. This brings up questions of flow, pressure, and decency. Just like what we have discussed earlier, this does not really differ from classical, non-Spongebobian physics much at all, aside from one simple caveat: Spongebob defeats the squash and stretch constant. All this means is that our measurements must be multiplied by a random seed each time we start a new calculation. In fact, we can solve the equation normally and multiply by a random value afterwards; thus, we can define the unit known as a Spongebob, but not in terms of any other existing units. As I am writing this, I weigh 130 Spongebobs, it is Spongebob after one, and the NASDAQ is down by 300 Spongebob.

Advanced Calculus of Coffee and Spongebob


The complete derivation of this calculus is an exercise left up to the reader, but consider the following. Brownian motion. Chaos theory. Are you getting what I'm saying? Attempt to predict events in Spongebob Squarepants, a controlled microcosm of our world, using analysis of the Brownian motion of the fine particulate in coffee. No tea. Considering the world of Spongebob Squarepants as perfectly modeling our own, only in miniature, we can use induction to extend its calculus to predict real world events.

Where do we go from here?


Congratulate yourselves, dear readers! You now have what it takes to break new ground in the field of Spongebobian Calculus, which as we have learned, is not much. Congratulations all the same. For today, we start with humble beginnings, a modest home with a foundation made of stacked cinder blocks, three rooms, and an 80-year-old furnace. But tomorrow, even literally tomorrow, we may have built up a mansion with the hopes, dreams, determination, and ingenuity of many bright young interns. This one is for you. And when I die a middle-aged man, I will look back fondly on this legacy, and the legacies that every one of you leave behind which also count as my legacy, and I will shed a single tear of joy at how awesome we were. Now go out there and make me proud of myself, and maybe even of you!

Love ya.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.