Cuts to Australian research funding have begun to take effect this month, with the axing of several unique and promising Australian research projects, including the Todd Carney Perpetual Motion Scheme. The Perpetual Motion Scheme, operated out of a state-of-the-art laboratory in Cronulla, is the latest victim of a roll-back of government funding for scientific research in Australia. The project was undergoing its final round of testing when its funding was suddenly withdrawn, with reportedly the only problem remaining with the design being intermittent inaccuracies in the linkage between the intake/outlet junctures (see technical diagram, right of page).1 The ultimate aim of this rather cryptic project has not been fully explained, with the chief spokesman for the research team refusing to answer reporters’ questions, on the grounds that, at the present time, “my mouth tastes like pith,” a state of affairs that is expected to continue at least into the foreseeable future. However, other important sources from within the project have, under the condition of anonymity, been reported as confirming that the project was originally envisioned as a pioneering piece of green energy-generation technology, using the violation of the First Law of Thermodynamics as a cost-effective source of electrical energy for Australian households and businesses. “The only real challenge was finding a way to mount a smallish hydroelectric dam on Todd’s face, in the path of the constant circular flow of pungent, salty brine, which the team were proud to have managed to coax into following a reasonably smooth recursive loop,” the same source went on to say.
At this time, it is not clear whether or not Joe Hockey had targeted the project specifically when laying down his budget. Considering Hockey infamously stated earlier in the year that he found the Lake George windmills “utterly offensive,” it would not be beyond the realms of probability that opponents will claim that the Treasurer has once more jeopardised the future energy security of this country on trivial aesthetic grounds.
In fact, some have already lashed out, characterising the notion that the Treasurer is offended by any of the so-called ‘aesthetic defects’ of the project as mere dog-whistling, and claiming that it is the noble aim of this clean-energy project which has caused the real offence. This opinion is further reinforced by the attempts of some within the Todd Carney Perpetual Motion Scheme to gain funding for the project via other avenues, most notably the government’s funding for the arts in Australia, claiming in their submission “Well, it’s kinda beautiful, isn’t it? I mean, when you think about it… all of those tiny little lost water atoms, desperately trying to get out of Carney’s bladder, but unable to fight against the flow, and just going round and around and around, passing the same bladder day in and day out- it’s a real comment on the potentialities of alienation inherent in the life of the post-fordian middle class. Also, it’s just kinda pretty. Like a perpetual tinkly yellow fountain.” Sadly, however, the project has not yet received any funding through federal arts projects at this point in time.
When asked for comment as to whether such an innovative research project would be able to find a place within the ANU, the Vice-Chancellor, Ian Young, declined to comment. However, it would seem that the Todd Carney Perpetual Motion Scheme represents exactly the sort of project that the Vice-Chancellor is currently seeking to court, as part of the new ‘research-intensive’ culture he hopes to bring to the university.2
In fact, rumour suggests that trials of the project have already begun, in a well-tiled but barely sanitary new laboratory located somewhere at the end of the line in Bottom Moose.
Stay tuned for more developments in this tortuous and one-line toilet joke next week.
Pictured Above: The Todd Carney Perpetual Motion Scheme
1 The technical term for this being, of course, ‘splash-back’. 2 A copy of the manifesto underpinning this paradigm-shift in university administration is currently being recorded as an audio-book by the Vice-Chancellor himself, according to anonymous and mostly non-existent sources. The working title for this magnum opus is reported to be I Once Talked To Brian Schmidt Once, You Know, And He Said…