Centimetre" To Be Added To The Length Of The
Metre In 2012
The International Bureau of
Weights and Measures in Paris today announced
that a leap centimetre would be added
to the length of the metre at midnight on 28th
February 2012, to coincide with the addition of
an extra day to the year.
People are familiar
with the time correction that occurs in leap
years, explained the Bureaus Director,
Professeur de lHorloge, to BBC News,
but many are less aware of the periodic
corrections required for the other three space-time
Time and space came
into existence 13.75 billion years ago with the
Big Bang, explained Professor Brian Cox,
barging past the elderly Professeur de
lHorloge and knocking him to the ground at
the sight of a TV camera. Space and time
have been expanding ever since. Many people
incorrectly believe, continued Professor
Cox, keeping a foot firmly on the spasming
windpipe of Professeur de lHorloge,
that objects in the Universe are
accelerating away from each other due to the
explosion of the Big Bang - rather like shrapnel
travelling away from the site of an exploding
grenade. In fact, objects in the Universe stay
relatively still. It is space-time, itself, that
We add an extra day
in leap years to compensate for the additional
time that has appeared during the previous four
years, continued Professor Cox. We
increase the length of the metre whenever space
has expanded by one centimetre per metre.
Health officials on both
sides of the Atlantic have expressed relief at
news of the recalibration of the metre.
There is a lot of space inside the human
body, explained UK Secretary of State for
Health, Andrew Lansley, and we now realise
that much of the, so called, obesity epidemic has
been due to the expansion of that space in
accordance with Einsteins and Hubbles
predictions. People simply appear to be
getting fatter due to the expansion of the
Universe. The recalibration will correct this.
however, have expressed concern about the
recalibration. We expect it to result in a
reduction of four dress sizes for a typical woman,
admitted a spokesperson for Weight Watchers.
Mr Einsteins and Mr Hubbles
interference could result in the closure of many
slimming clubs due to members feeling satisfied
with their new measurements.
Bon viveurs have been
heartened to learn that there are cosmological
and quantum mechanical formulae that explain
their paunches. Some now even sport tee-shirts
proudly proclaiming these equations. I am
really a slim participant in an expanding
universe reads a slogan on a typical, extra
Homeowners have generally
reacted positively to the change. Now that
my front room is larger, explained a
typical UK householder, I can fit a bigger
TV in. Also, that extra floor space in the garage
makes it much easier to park the car. The
downside, he added is that council
tax rates are based on floor area, and my house
has been put into a higher rating band as a
result of its increase in size.
There have been some
complaints from homeowners, admitted UK
Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, about
council tax rate increases that have resulted
from the Universe expanding, rather than from
traditional property extensions. However,
he continued, in a recent High Court
judgement, it was concluded that rateable values could
be increased on those grounds. The judges
reasoned that, although the extra floor area
caused by the expansion of space-time was not the
fault of the homeowner, that person still
benefited from increased room sizes. It must also
be remembered, he concluded, that the
self same cosmic phenomenon has given
householders additional time to pay
Businessmen and holiday
makers have also noticed increased costs.
Due to the expansion of space,
explained a spokeswoman for American Airlines,
it is now further to fly to destinations.
For example, she clarified, from
America, flying east, Spain is where Italy used
to be. That has led to increased fuel costs, and
hence an increase in the price of tickets.
Also she concluded, we have had to
serve additional in-flight meals.
certainly comes at the wrong time for the 2012
Olympics, admitted Mayor of London, Boris
Johnson. We will still be able to see who
wins Olympic events, he said, but
whether or not a winning time constitutes a world
record in comparison with past winning times will
require complex mathematical analysis with
reference to general relativity and quantum
mechanics. Most horrific, he noted,
will be that all records must be formally
announced on television by Professor Brian Cox.
Thankfully, he concluded, whenever he
appears on screen, the phone number of the
Samaritans will be prominently displayed.
Another group thrown into
confusion by the expansion of the universe has
been traffic police. We used to be able to
raise thousands of pounds for the Traffic
Officers' Social Club by stalking innocent
motorists and awaiting minor speed infringements,
confessed a traffic police spokesman. Now
defence solicitors call astrophysicists as
witnesses, who cast doubt upon any evidence
related to distance or time, and hence speed.
Indeed, only last week, Professor Brian Cox
argued, in a case at Winchester Crown Court, that
a drink driving offence should be dismissed due
to uncertainties about true blood alcohol content
following from the local effect of universal
space-time expansion on the volume of the
defendants veins. Nobody else knew enough
maths to challenge him, and so his view prevailed.
Most people benefit
from the expansion of space-time, confirmed
a spokesperson for the International Bureau of
Weights and Measures. We are able to enjoy
everything from wider roads and bigger beaches,
to improved sex lives for those who have believed
a certain anatomical feature to be too short.
There is also more time to get things done.
Finally, she concluded, people worry
about what will happen to us all when space has
expanded to the point where, for example, the
refrigerator in the kitchen might be miles away
from the microwave. Rest assured that this will
not happen for many millions of years.