Physicists disappointed at discovery of dark mattress

By Ed Yong | December 18, 2009 10:58 am

Exciting hints that scientists had finally discovered the existence of dark matter – the mysterious substance thought to make up a quarter of the Universe – were dashed last night as researchers realised their equipment had detected a dark mattress instead.

The premature announcement was blamed on faulty software. “Apparently, someone left an errant ampersand in our code,” said an embarrassed physicist, before weeping slowly into a whisky glass.

The Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS) laboratory, buried half a mile underground in an iron mine, announced last night that they had found traces of the weakly-interacting massive particles (or WIMPs) that are thought to make up dark matter.

Instead, they had actually detected a dirty poorly-sprung mattress, left in the cave by a weakly-inebriated, noxious old-timer (or WINO).

“We thought there was around a one in four chance that we had found nothing,” said one of the lead researchers, “but we now know there is a one in one chance that we have found the former sleeping materials of a sheltering vagrant.”

Laboratory technicians were saddened that the most important advance in recent physics had not come to pass, but noted that the dark mattress was really rather comfortable, if not a bit wet.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Not Exactly Rocket Satire
MORE ABOUT: dark matter, mattress

Comments (15)

  1. Was the dark mattress where the big bang took place?

  2. Ed Yong

    And now t’is my turn to lol.

  3. Awesome. Thanks for the Friday afternoon chuckle.

  4. Good one, Ed. WINO…heh heh…

  5. Arabian Stallion
  6. Mike Olson

    I’m still trying to figure out how the ships-boson can go back in time….

  7. aimeemax

    Then I read the article and they said dark matter might consist of …”weakly interacting massive particles (Wimps) and massive compact halo objects (Machos)”. heehee

  8. Did the mattress have black hole in it? If so, then the whole thing doesn’t matter anyway.

  9. Paul Sunstone

    Thanks for the chuckle! :)

  10. IanW

    LoL! That was choice!

  11. Briana

    lol, Ed. I bet the WINO is hiding the REAL dark matter under his dark mattress.

  12. Emily

    Nice and Onion-y.

  13. william e emba

    For the record, wino really is the name for the hypothesized supersymmetric partner to the W boson.

  14. Ken Creten

    That made me laugh. I’m trying to come up with a joke including the obelisk from 2001, but there’s nothing but screaming voices in my head….


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