There are lean weeks for humor columnists, when Congress is on vacation, the president is (temporarily) behaving himself and the nation’s criminals are getting caught without doing anything funny. But then comes the week when scientists find diamonds on Uranus.
Diamonds became humorists’ best friends last week as a study in the journal Nature Astrophysics proved it rains diamonds on Uranus. And also on Neptune, but Neptune isn’t funny.
Scientists had long held suspicions about Uranus. They speculated that extreme pressures transform the hydrocarbon-rich oceans of slush around the planets, splitting those molecules into atoms of hydrogen and carbon, the latter of which might crystallize to form diamonds. Diamonds were thought to sink like rain through the ocean until they hit the gas giants’ solid cores.
But no one could prove it, until scientists figured out how to replicate the conditions on Uranus. Researchers used plastic and high-powered lasers — the latter of which must cause considerable discomfort in the vicinity Uranus — to make it rain diamonds.
This had been attempted before, but no one had managed to re-create the incredible pressure exerted on Uranus. Neptune and Uranus are 17 and 15 times the mass of Earth, respectively, and their oceans are crushed by pressures millions of times more intense than the air pressure we feel, even when exiting a hotel lobby through revolving doors in January. To match this intensity, scientists used lasers to produce shock waves, which were driven through a block of plastic made of hydrogen and carbon, just like the ocean ringing Uranus. Diamonds began to form. Suddenly the scientific community had a much better understanding of Uranus.
It was a glorious week for humorists, as diamonds weren’t the only valuables found around Uranus. A Florida inmate became the butt of jokes after attempting to stash $1,000 in cash in his rectum.
Let me back this up: When Pattreon Stokes was pulled over for speeding, a deputy smelled marijuana coming from inside the car and initiated a search. Cops found methamphetamine, rock cocaine and heroin. You might think they’d hit the drug dealer trifecta, but there was more: a small scale, a small amount of marijuana and a large amount of cash. Plus, a 7-month-old child.
As they rounded up the evidence, cops found the cash was missing. That’s when they noticed a couple $20 bills spilling out of his buttocks. Taking on a task worthy of hazard pay, jail deputies retrieved $1,090 from Stokes’ rectum and passed it along to jail cashiers. And you thought your job was crappy.
Work is hardly crappy this week for the nation’s humorists, with news of rectums stuffed with cash and diamonds covering Uranus. It can be feast or famine in this line of work. Into each life some rain must fall, but it’s a beautiful thing when it’s raining diamonds on Uranus.