October 0001

A Hitherto Unforeseen Danger, and a Writer Of Slim Volumes, Also, When Politics Go Bad, and a little known

aspect of London local history.


We’ve all heard of black holes, but how many of you know that the same effect threatens the internet?

The web is growing exponentially, and it is only a matter of time before it contains fifteen billion web sites, at which point scientists have calculated that cyberspace will have become so densely crowded that it will collapse in on itself, much like a black hole. Due to the quantum effect, it is quite likely that anyone who is on line at the time will have their consciousness separated from their body, or wherever it actually resides. It will be sucked in via the monitor, and they will perceive the last few nanoseconds of the existence of the web as an infinity confined within whatever website they were viewing at the time.

What can you do to avoid this danger? No one knows for certain, but here are some ideas:

Subscribe to a web filtering service (e.g. Net Nanny) and put it on the most cautious setting possible.

Make sure your family and friends have your current e-mail address.

Have a cup of strongly sweetened tea available at all times – it is believed to have a buffering effect.

Use Opera or Firefox instead of Internet Explorer (they don’t “suck” so much).



The world’s least prolific published writer was Hercule Poiraud of Ghent. Awarded a contract by Castermans, the Belgian publishers, as a young poet of promise at the early age of 19, he was successful in stalling his editor to the extent that, at his death 67 years later, a slim volume of only 14 lines, “Les Syrenes de Bruxelles”, was all that was available for publication. Romantic and elegiac in nature, these poems – there are two of them, of 6 and 8 lines respectively - are recognized as being among the finest examples of verse from the Low Countries in the nineteenth century, but their prestige scarcely compensated Castermans for the enormous accumulatedadvances they had paid out.

Agatha Christie, of course, named her famous detective after Poiraud, changing his surname slightly



Thankfully the most violent political party in the world only has sixteen members. It is called Organisacion NO NO NO, and is based in Los Charcos, Ecuador. We sent our reporter, Ropkind Scharf, to interview Commandant-Assassin Emiliano Testosterone, their leader.

Scharf: So what do you believe, what’s your programme?

E.T. Normally we shoot people for asking that question.

Scharf: What’s that stiletto between your teeth for?

E.T.: To symbolize our ideology, and in case I meet an oppressor.

Scharf: I was looking at your website, and was disturbed to see it consisted mostly of appeals for guns and


E.T.: The central committee has forced through a change of policy. We now require poisons as well. As a result of this dialectical episode, we now have only thirteen members.

Scharf: Do you believe in elections?

E.T.: The only use for a ballot box is as a place to conceal bombs.

Scharf: Does your organization have a hit list?

E.T.: Naturally. It contains everyone who is not a member of our organization, and any member of it who

disagrees with me on any matter whatever.

Scharf: What do you want for your next birthday?

E.T.: Some Molotov cocktails would be nice.

Scharf: Thank you. Can I go now?






Many Londoners, and visitors to that city, are perplexed by Onslow Square, which is nothing like a square inshape. It is actually more like a number 3. Some of the confusion arises from the word “square” which in this case does not mean a piazza shaped thoroughfare, but in fact is a surname. Onslow Square is named after Sir Onslow Square, a Victorian financier. Some time after it was named, he went spectacularly bankrupt. His financial collapse was so disastrous that he suffered the uncommon fate of being expunged from history. This seldom-used procedure came into being with the Expungement Act of 1827. This law is used when someone is held to have set such a bad example that they must be forgotten. No reference to them or their deeds is permitted. An unusual feature of this act, which is still in force, is that the penalty for breaking it is still transportation. This penalty was last enforced in 1976, when an individual, who cannot be named as he has himself been expunged, mentioned Sir Onslow Square in a conversation in a pub. He now survives on social security in a caravan 10 km. from Cairns, Australia.

All London policemen are required to memorize a list of expunged individuals, so they may know who cannot be talked about.

The legal consultant for this article was Wentman Tarpaulin, of Slugsby Chambers, to whom we are indebted.  He would like to point out that if you are worried about the Expungement Act, it only applies in the United Kingdom.

A correspondent was kind enough to send us an e-mail in response to this article:

Dear Dr. Scharf,

Thank you so much for the article on Onslow Square. I am an official London Guide, and I had never quite understood the story behind this fascinating part of London. Could your researcher provide some more information on other places in this city. I’d particularly like to see something about somewhere in the east of London.

Oliphant Smeaton, White City.

Of course, Oliphant. There should be something next month.