Tag Archives: mad science

How to run indefinitely and breathe underwater in three easy steps

Disclaimer: I am neither a doctor nor a professional theologian, and all information is from Wikipedia. I’m not even Catholic.

Let’s assume you’re a distance runner or some other kind of endurance athlete, and also the Pope. Since low oxygen is the limiting factor on how long you can keep running—even if you’re Pope—increasing the amount of oxygen in your blood when it gets low will increase your endurance.

Here’s how.

Step zero: Become Pope.
Several people have accomplished this throughout history. It is therefore doable.

Step one: Water to wine.
As Pope, you get to abuse your power. One of the better-known possible miracles is turning water into wine. Nowhere in Catholic theology does it say that the Pope can do miracles at will, but come on. Just look at that hat.

As it happens, slightly under half your blood usefully carries oxygen. The rest is water. That’s what you’re going to turn into wine.

Warning: This will kill you. You’ll wind up with a BAC of five. Not 0.05. 5. It’ll depend on the wine, but we’re somewhere in the territory of “legally intoxicated, and multiply that by sixty.” Some lucky people have been known to survive a BAC of 1, but you’re way past that. So you’d better do the next step quickly.

Step two: Transubstantiate.

To do this, it is necessary and sufficient to say “this is my body, this is my blood.” The alcohol poisoning would kill you, of course, but it probably won’t kill you instantly. So you can squeak out a couple words and the wine goes away. This is where the good part happens.

The blood of Jesus is often described as “scarlet” or “crimson.” Those are both bright red colors, and bright red means highly oxygenated. Neither of those is applied to the relevant blood by the Bible, but scarlet is the official color according to the Catholic Church. So if it’s the Pope doing it, then by golly the blood is going to be oxygenated.

According to the best source in the world, if you run until you’re exhausted your blood may contain as little as 15% of its maximum oxygen. You just transubstantiated a bunch of fully oxygenated arterial blood already in your body. Adding more arterial blood won’t change the saturation of oxygen in your arteries much (that stays above 95% anyway), but it will in your veins. So, for purposes of numbers, all oxygen percentages from here on out refer to its saturation in venous blood. (To clarify, the percentage is relative to how much oxygen the blood can hold. It’s not saying that scarlet blood is literally made of 99% oxygen.)

The blood in your veins isn’t normally that oxygenated. Having just come from dropping the oxygen off where it needs to be, it’s typically down to 75% at rest. In your case, half your venous blood is even lower than that and the other half, which normally contains none because it’s water, is instead at 98-99% because it’s the scarlet blood of Christ.

Your venous blood is at 55% oxygen saturation, which isn’t great but it’s far better than before you did the miracle. Unfortunately, that’s still dangerously low over the long term. Luckily, there are still some tricks up your sleeve.

What you’re doing is called blood doping and is banned from most sporting events. Of course, usually people do this by giving themselves transfusions of their own blood so they can hold more oxygen on game day. Simply creating the blood has not yet been banned. Technically.

Doing this has some obvious problems. Your blood is half water for a reason, and if you’re turning that half into regular blood, and the quarter that’s still watery into blood, and the remaining eighth and so on, then you will 1) eventually run out, and not have any water left in your bloodstream to turn into oxygen-bearing blood, and 2) die. It’ll get thick and unwatery enough that your heart won’t be able to pump it. The trick we need is a miracle to turn blood back into water.

Surprisingly, this is never explicitly done by any Biblical prophet or, as far as I know, Catholic saint. But we can sort of infer that Moses did it: In Exodus 4, God gives him the at-will abilities (for purposes of proving he’s a prophet) to turn his staff into a snake and back, his hand leprous and back, and water into blood. There’s no “and back” stated, but, you know, parallelism. Therefore you the Pope, as Keeper of God’s Authority on Earth and Wearer of the Really Cool Hat, ought to be able to turn blood into water.

(You may ask why, if Moses could do the transformation both ways, we’re bothering with the wine step at all. The answer is that he had to pour it out to turn it to blood and you’re not in a position to pour out the water you want to transmogrify. Also I didn’t think of him in time. MOVING ON.)

Step three: Blood to water.

Use this on two thirds of the blood in your body. After you’ve done the transubstantiation thing once, your blood is ¾ water where it’s supposed to be ½. This just resets it to normal thickness, but it doesn’t change the fact that you tripled the concentration of useful oxygen in your veins. You have now completed a cycle.

In order:

Regular blood: 50% water, 75% of venous oxygen capacity.
After running as long as you can: 50% water, ≥15% oxygen.
Water to wine: 50% wine, 15% oxygen.
Wine to blood (remember, blood is half water and half useful stuff): 25% water, 55% oxygen.
Blood to water: 50% water, 55% oxygen.

The other problem is that this amount of oxygen, while high enough that you’re not about to collapse, is low enough that over the long term you’d need medical intervention.

So you do another cycle: 50% wine, 55% oxygen saturation.
Wine to blood: 25% water, .5*55+.5*98.5=76.75% oxygen.
Two thirds of the blood to water: 50% water, about 75% oxygen.

That means if you run until a marathon runner would drop and then you do two cycles of this, you’ve got as much oxygen going to your muscles and organs and things as you would while sitting in an armchair. And there’s no reason you have to wait that long. You’ll get less extra oxygen per cycle if you do it more often, but you don’t exactly have a limit on how many times you can do it.

Let’s go to the extreme. If you do this continuously, you can replace breathing.

A given blood cell, if it’s going all the way down to your toes, can take 20 seconds to leave the heart and lungs and come back. Let’s give you ten, since most blood doesn’t have that far to go. If you completely replenish the oxygen every ten seconds, it will be every bit as effective as the usual situation with lungs and everything.

The only one of these that takes actual time is the transubstantiation step. You need to say “this is my body” and “this is my blood,” but the Church has placed no limit on how long you need to take to do that. Or in what language: If you’re underwater and don’t want to have to exhale, you could use any of various sign languages.

That would allow you to stay alive and active, without breathing, as long as you want to. Of course, there has to be a catch. The catch is blood type. You’re turning the wine in your bloodstream into blood, but it’s Jesus’ blood. According to the Catholic Church, Jesus’ blood type was AB. (Seriously! They have an opinion!) So if you have a different type, this will kill you.

Of course, you’d need the ability to perform miracles in the first place. And if you’re Pope, you’re probably surrounded by devout and vigilant people who would frown on the idea of using it to give yourself superpowers. You’d have to get away from the spotlight before going out to fight crime as Aquaman, and has anyone seen Benedict?

Hoverboard for Sale

I’m not actively into villainy these days, at least not until that lab gets replaced. That means, some of my old equipment is up for grabs. If you’re the sort of person whose garage door opener is a gigantic knife switch, if your Tesla coils are used for both style and functionality, if people often ask you why your car has a self-destruct button, contact me about buying my hoverboard.

You’ve always known you needed transportation more befitting your genius. When you’re walking across the immaculate floors in your evil lab, no amount of maniacal laughter can make up for the fact that you’re walking. Simple, yes; effective, yes; but image? No. You need something that won’t be an embarrassment to the name of villain.

Enter the hoverboard, a small personal-sized hovercraft. I designed it for the user to stand on, but it can also be used to transport death ray parts or high-voltage traveling arcs, or whatever else you need to move around your lair. And take it from me, maniacal laughter sounds awesome from on top of this thing.

I should warn you, though; it’s not easy to learn to operate. If the first time you try it out is in a high-pressure situation, you WILL mess up and you WILL fall over and you WILL get swarmed by a herd of your own cyber-roaches. Do not get swarmed by a herd of your own cyber-roaches. Whenever you’re working with someone else’s mad science, make sure to take the time to familiarize yourself with how it works before your next climactic showdown.

Better villains than either of us sometimes have to evacuate at the last possible moment, and it never hurts to be prepared. This hoverboard can help with that. This hoverboard isn’t for sliding across your kitchen floor or showing off to your easily impressed friends. This hoverboard is for riding in from behind your enemy wielding a perfectly executed evil laugh and an energy field generator bigger than your arm.

This hoverboard is for making a quick and stylish exit when some superhumanly unmemorable meddler breaks into your lair, gives a predictable “halt, evildoer,” speech, and tries to use one of your sonic vortex cannons against you. (I will never forget the look on that guy’s face when I went gliding out of range on this very hovercraft, then switched the lab’s fusion reactor from “cold” to “very very hot.” The lab can be replaced, but moments like that are priceless.)

If you absolutely can’t find any sufficiently incredible use for a device that tells friction to shut up and shut down, then this hoverboard is for carting around the products of your mad engineering. Use it to emphasize that you’re at such a level of awesomeness that hovercraft are literally more available than wheels and a comparison to Star Wars would be insulting.

The attached pictures are not current. They are the fault of a minion who briefly stole the board before it was finished. (Well, former minion now; I fired him but gave him a glowing recommendation to a rival of mine with less tolerance for that sort of thing. Last I heard, my ex-minion had either fooled around with another bit of equipment and subsequently been used in an experiment to give a carnivorous plant a taste for human flesh, or else gone on to start a successful career as an accountant. I forget which.) Anyway, the pictures are from before I added a second motor on the other end. So that means that the board you’re buying is significantly better than the version pictured here. You’ll need that when you’re standing on it riding an explosion away from the spot where your rival’s antimatter containment field used to be.

In exchange for the hoverboard, I’m asking for $140. If your daily existence involves phrases like “incomprehensibly vast” or “more powerful than any mere explosion,” then contact me and be prepared to convince me that you’re the sort of person I should sell this to.

The hoverboard came out of the lab explosion all right, but ever since then it’s been being gradually affected by Entropy, an old enemy of mine. Some parts need to be outright rebuilt, and I haven’t gotten around to doing that. (If you want to do that yourself, I’ll knock $20 off the price). If you don’t want to do that yourself, give me some advance notice and I’ll check it over, charge it up, and make sure it’s ready to dramatically pass through any intradimensional portal as long as both sides involve a nice flat floor.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why would you pay $140 for a hoverboard? You can build your own for that! Well, I should hope so! If you weren’t mad enough to make one, you wouldn’t be mad enough to own one. But if you happen to be looking for a personal hovercraft and lack the time or the inclination to make your own, you can get this one and get right back to working on your lasersharks or clockwork zeppelins.

So go look in a mirror. If what you see is some boring regular person who’s never so much as thought of a quark-gluon plasma let alone weaponized it, then don’t even bother. Go meaninglessly exist or something, or whatever it is people who aren’t mad scientists do. But maybe you’re a lab-coat-wearing maniacal genius capable of changing the world or destroying it. Maybe when you look in a mirror you don’t see anything but the infinite blackness of the void because you replaced your mirror with a wormhole to the empty universe where you keep your toothpaste. If that’s you, then you just might be mad enough to own this hoverboard.


The previous version of the hoverboard

Pictured with useless minion.