Take, for instance, a wombat. A perfectly normal, everyday wombat, apparently unaware of his future place in the Annals of History as part of the most important animal-based experiment since we discovered the joys of thalidomide. Place this wombat on a reasonable flat, reasonably solid surface. Take another, seemingly innocuous wombat. He will need to be somewhat smaller than the previous wombat, for as we are about to see, you must now place this second wombat on top of the first. Amazing as this may seem to you, please, stop gawking. The really clever part is next.
Now, do this with an infinite amount of wombats. I say infinite, but in actuality the number needed is finite, only inversely proportional to the speed of the actual wombats.
I should probably also head off the PETA activists right now and say that since this is a hypothetical situation, my concern is not with the treatment of these wombats. Let us assume that they are perfectly happy wombats, well rested, and fed on the finest wombat food money can buy. In a real world scenario, you would obviously have some manner of wombat wrangler to look after the creatures, protect them from rabies, and generally keep them in a state fit to be stacked. They would not even be needed for any large amount of time; as you shall see, the experiment, bar stacking time, is over very quickly, and thus the animals can be sent back to their happy wombat lives secure in the knowledge that their intrinsically comedic appearance and ease-of-stack quotient has helped mankind break the final barrier to finding other civilizations, subjugating them under our ruthless expansionist principles, and sending them blankets covered in smallpox.
Right. Now. Once we have this infinite, or at least variably random (based on external wombat movement speed) amount of stacked wombats, we need to make them move forward at exactly the same time. This can be achieved through the use of
cattle prods tear gas provocative pictures of lady wombats as incentive.
At this crucial stage in the hypothesis, one must imagine the scene: one average, albeit well built and gourmet-fed wombat, moving forward at a rate of, let's say, 10 km per hour. The second wombat, moving forward on top of the first, also moving at the hypothetically maximum wombat speed of 10 km per hour. Ditto the third. And the fourth. Thus, if we call the first wombat's speed x, the speed of any given wombat in the stack (k) can be deduced with the formula yx = k, where y is the number of the wombat's position in the stack. Therefore, the 10th wombat in the stack in the above example would, at a certain point in time in the wombat-stack's forward motion, be moving at a speed of 10(10) = 100 km per hour. Since we have our finite, but undeniably tall stack of wombats, eventually we shall reach a point in this stack where a particular wombat reaches, and then exceeds, the speed of light. If the speed of light is at or around 1,071,360,000 kilometers per hour, we can judge that this would be the wombat approximately 107,136,000 wombats up.
Obviously, we must give or take a couple of wombats due to what is scientifically termed 'wombat error', or, in applied thermodynamics, 'dumbass goddamn wombats'. This term applies to the phenomenon whereby some of the wombats will do one or more of the following:
- Fall off the stack during the stacking process. This is less common after actually being stacked, as it is somewhat difficult to hurl yourself to the ground when there are 100,000,000 other wombats above you.
- Slip, lose footing, and therefore speed. This can be solved with the use of special wombat-shaped running shoes. I would recommend those with rubber soles, not spikes, so as to preserve the beautiful coat of the wombat below, and maintain our PETA-friendly status.
- Need the bathroom. You're on your own here.
Now, I understand that there are those who put forward Einstein's Theory of Relativity, which dictates that the faster an object travels, the larger its mass becomes, and therefore our top wombat would, before reaching the speed of light, collapse into itself, reach infinite mass, and destroy the stack, the wombat wranglers, and a large part of our solar system. I think I speak for all of us when I say that these amateur physicists are nothing but godless heathens, and should be ignored. Besides which, if he really was as cool as these people think, why haven't we heard more about this 'Einstein' fellow? What has he ever done for the realm of theoretical physics?
To other nay Sayers, who dispute the lowly wombat's ability to hold the weight of an infinite amount of other wombats on his or her well-groomed back, I also have plans for a complicated harness/pulley system, the details of which I shall not bore you with, only to reassure you that not only does it render these wombats weightless, but also performs calculus equations, advocates the widespread promotion of world peace, and can sort underwear into lights and darks.
This experiment also then answers the question of 'What is faster than the speed of light?': a wombat, running on the back of a wombat already going at the speed of light.
The maths and physics used in this writeup may seem dodgy, to say the least. I agree.