Poor Mojo's Almanac(k) Classics (2000-2011)
| HOME | FICTION | POETRY | SQUID | RANTS | archive | masthead |
Squid #284
(published June 29, 2006)
An Almanac(k) Item: Poplation and the Instantaneous Rate of Change
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
Dear Giant Squid,

What is the number of poplation of giant squid today?

Sunil Knud

My Dearest Sunil,

It is interesting that you should ask such a question, pose such a query, or interrogate such an interrogative, as I have found it to be the case that a distressingly low proportion of my readers seem to even know of poplation, let alone are able to track its rise and fall, its ebb and rip. Poplation is as unknown in our culture as the true nature of the Knights Templar or the chocolatey center of black holes or the hidden tetragrammaton of the Harold Potter novellas. You impress me, dear Sunil.

For the uninitiated—whom I fear to be in the majority in this case—"Poplation" is a portmanteaux noun formed of the Anglo-American words "popular" and "elation," and might be defined, colloquially, as "happiness caused by exposure to something with mass appeal, like kittens, iced creams or Scott the Bay-o."

For a more precise definition, I do defer to my dear Fritz, who quotes his most useful and catholic Encyclopedia Cephalopodica in noting:

Poplation: pop-lay-shun. noun. The effusive detonation of joy that comes from seeing your favorite pop star in concert. Most commonly associated with the exact emotional cadence of cheerleaders clapping, jumping and squealing at the precise instant that the members of New Kids on the Block run out on stage.

Poplation is often measured in whole numbers.

Specifically, poplation is defined as the instantaneous rate of change in serotonin re-uptake across neural membranes following the presentation of a popular stimulus, such as Scott the Bay-o stroking a kitten in a bowl of the iced creams. (His maw dripping with the adorable salivas common to you dry dust-apes.)

As Happiness is a measure of the average rate of uptake (in seconds) of serotonin (in micrograms) per gram of pineal gland (this concentration of micrograms of serotonin per gram brain tissue is often called Joy), f'(H) should be understood to be the rate of change of that rate, and is thus measured in micrograms of serotonin per gram of pineal gland per second, squared, or µgrams serotonin/grams pineal tissue * seconds2. As such, Poplation (or P) is the first derivative of Happiness, henceforth f'(H), and the second derivative of Joy, f'(J).

Clearly, as Poplation decreases, actual perceived Joy must increase.

Poplation is often derived experimentally.

In point of the fact, and as a medical aside, the average human pineal gland contains 3.14 to 3.52 µg of serotonin per gram of tissue. Diagnosed schizophrenics have been known to have Joy levels of up to 10 µg. I myself once vivisected a volunteer, at the time suffering the delirium tremens, whose pineal gland did contain 22.82 µg of serotonin. Additionally, serotonin imparts an umami savor to meats, which is all the more reason to carefully attend to the relative horror or joy of your foodstuffs prior to their processing.

Today the poplation is roughly -47 P, yesterday it was -23 P—which is to say that the Joy in response to me is greater today than yesterday. Tomorrow, unfortunately, is predicted to be quiet a bit higher, 5 P, which reflects a complete loss of those gains of Joy, and an acceleration into a species of terrible and all encompassing gloomy funk. One can only hope that the weekend will show a plateauing in Poplation, permitting the steady build-up of Joy.

(µg serotonin/g pineal tissue * s2)
Scott the Beo -13 smile with high refractive index coupled with spat of clear days
Ex-President George Double-Yew Bush 55 lack of mandate
tortures, Abu Ghraib 2 incite to vomitus, Geneva Conventions
tortures, tickle 2 incite to vomitus, Geneva Conventions
Iced Cream Kitten -77 high midday air temperatures throughout the Heartland americanum, Geneva Conventions
Your Giant Squid -47 generally pleasant demeanor, kind word for all, inadvertently frightened away roustabout teenagers, uncovered Friss-Bee's disc previously known to be "lost forever"

My hopes, Dear Sunil, is that this helps lend some little clarity to you.

I Remain,
Your Giant Squid

Got a Question? Contact the Giant Squid
or check the Squid FAQ

Love the Giant Squid? Buy his first book.

Share on Facebook
Tweet about this Piece

see other pieces by this author | Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid? Read his blog posts and enjoy his anthem (and the post-ironic mid-1990s Japanese cover of same)

Poor Mojo's Tip Jar:

The Next Squid piece (from Issue #285):

Notes from the Giant Squid: Inconsequential Errands Under the Auspices of Warring Robins

The Last few Squid pieces (from Issues #283 thru #279):

Tales of the Giant Squid: Be Free, My Orcish Slaves (the D20 of Destiny, part 4)

Ask the Giant Squid: For I Have Become Blane, Destroyer of Worlds

Ask the Giant Squid: Secondary Consumerism

Notes from the Giant Squid: The poisoning of Caltrops and the creation of the Scarecrow, (the D20 of Destiny continued)

Ask the Giant Squid: Our Nostalgia and Melancholia

Squid Archives

Contact Us

Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson

More Copyright Info