At Last, A Use For Catsby Jeremy Hetherington-Gore20/05/2008
Everybody knows that cats are useless. Unlike dogs, which do useful things like carrying your newspaper, they just hang around waiting for the next meal and occasionally torturing some poor butterfly simply for sadistic pleasure.
Austrian-Irish physicist Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger, d 1961, and who looks just like a caricature of Lord Longford as an Oxford don, invented a new type of cat for time travel and such-like extravagances, but nobody took him seriously except Albert Einstein.
Now some brain boxes in Australia and France have shown that Schrodinger's Cat actually does exist, or rather, does and doesn't exist at the same time. Lewis Carroll knew this, of course, but he was another person nobody took seriously, not even Albert Einstein.
Now the world will have to get used to on-off cats. Instead of dirtying-up your best sofa all afternoon, cats will just magically appear at dinner-time. They'll be able to tear your curtains to shreds soundlessly in virtual reality while you are reading Proust (the curtain still dies). Large massively parallel assemblies of on-off cats will be able prove Fermat's Last Theorem in micro-seconds.
It's pretty obvious that the game is up for us humans. Up till now, cats have tolerated us - just - as a necessary evil. Now the supercilious creatures will learn quickly how to get everything they need without human intervention. What is to become of us?
One consolation: at last there's an explanation for the dead cat bounce that even I can understand.