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Institute of Fuzzy Science (Todd A. Brun)
(original, science, smirk)

Last year I founded the Institute of Fuzzy Science here at Caltech, as a public
service for scientists everywhere.  This was my original announcement.  I
thought it might be of more general interest; there are several other bulletins
if this one is successful.

	-- Todd Brun

			New IFS Option

A new interdisciplinary option for graduate students has been 
instituted, in collaboration with the nearby Institute of Fuzzy 
Science.  IFS, for those who are not aware, is an institution to 
promote research in "unusual, spooky, or just plain off-the-wall" 
areas of modern science, generally not accepted by the mainstream 
of the academic community.  "We don't believe in discouraging a 
researcher," IFS president C.P. Diem commented in a recent 
interview, "just because 99% of the anal-retentive scientists in 
this country believe that conservation of energy holds, or that 
natural gas is a fossil fuel, or that antigravity is impossible.  It 
really annoys me when people invoke buzzwords like General 
Relativity or Quantum Mechanics,"  he added.  "Accepting things 
just because there is experimental evidence for them is poor 
science.  After all, tomorrow we might all fall off the surface of 
the earth into space.  Isn't it better to study what would happen if 
we did?  IFS is here," he declared, "to handle the 'if's."

Until quite recently, IFS was a pure research institution, staffed 
mainly by scientists who are extremely reluctant to give their 
names to reporters.  "We like to keep a low profile," said one IFS 
scientist, Dr. Mindy E. Mouse.  "We've got funding here, we do 
essentially anything we want to,  and nobody bothers us.  Why rock 
the boat?"  Due to this general philosophy, the decision to accept 
students was a controversial one.  The doubters were convinced, 
however, by a recent sociology study performed by an Institute 
physicist.  A handful of students were admitted, and fears that 
they would bring unwelcome publicity were quickly put to rest.  
Indeed, most of the students refused to admit that they'd gone to 
IFS at all, even when confronted with copies of their diplomas.

The Institute of Fuzzy Science is not organized on a traditional 
basis.  "We don't like to divide things up by fields of study, here," 
Diem explained.  "After all, half of us don't really know what field 
we're working in, most of the time.  One of our best researchers 
recently thought he'd developed a new cosmological model that had 
no need to invoke the concept of gravity.  Unfortunately, the model 
did not actually work; but with slight modifications, he was able 
to present it as a new Computer Science algorithm.  Serendipitous 
finds like that are extremely common here."  IFS is therefore 
divided into three departments based on degree of fuzziness.  The 
largest department, holding around half of the Institute scientists, 
is the Department of Slightly Fuzzy Science.  It is staffed mainly 
by scientists attempting to prove unpopular or dated theories, or 
trying to reproduce results observed once, late at night.  Another 
large group in the department are known as the SWOTS, or 
Scientists Working Outside Their Specialties.  "This is a time-
honored tradition, precedented by many famous scientists," laughed 
Diem.  "If a physical chemist wants to perform medical testing, or 
a physicist to dabble in eugenics, who are we to say no?"

The second department is the Department of Fairly Fuzzy Science.  
Here, Flat Earth proponents rub shoulders with conspiracy 
theorists and parapsychologists, each working on their various 
research projects.  "It gives us a real feeling of freedom," 
mentioned one worker in the department.  "I mean, mainstream 
science is just a result of the axioms that you choose.  If you 
choose different axioms, it's amazing what you can prove."  Another 
researcher agreed:  "Basically, we just chuck out modern theory and 
start over."  However, both the Departments of Slightly and Fairly 
Fuzzy Science tend to be cautious in assessing the results of the 
third and smallest department, the Department of Extremely Fuzzy 
Science, which is dominated by creation scientists and supply-side 
economists.  "Frankly, they're so fuzzy even we don't believe it," 
admitted President Diem.   "We don't let our students come into 
contact with the extremely fuzzy scientists.  At least, not at first.  
Young students tend to be very impressionable; early exposure to 
extremely fuzzy studies tends to make them what we call FTF:  Far 
Too Fuzzy."

Though IFS supplies consultants both for Hollywood moviemakers 
and the Department of Defense, many scientists feel that their 
work does not receive the recognition it deserves.  "Take all this 
controversy over the existence of magnetic monopoles," complained 
one IFS biologist.  "Why, we've had half-a-dozen detections here, 
but no one has taken any notice.  I myself detected two last week."  
A conspiracy theorist offered his explanation:  "I think it's 
essentially because the Communist party controls the government.  
Since they depend on federal grants, most universities lack the 
courage to accept results not dictated by the party line."  His 
colleagues agreed, though they differed on whether is was 
Communists, Fascists, Jews, or Catholics, or possibly an alliance 
of all four.

The new graduate option includes both a Master's program and a 
Doctorate of Advanced Fuzzy Studies.  All interested students 
should contact the Institute of Fuzzy Science directly, at their 
main office on Hollywood and Vine.  Further bulletins on progress 
in the Fuzzy Sciences may be forthcoming as new results are 

	-- A.E. Muss

(From the "Rest" of RHF)

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