The Madwoman's Journal
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  Prev 8 October 98

  Dr. Schlambaugh of the University of Oklahoma asked this final exam question in May 1997: "Is Hell exothermic (releasing heat) or endothermic (absorbing heat)? Support your answer with proof."

This is one of the answers he got:

First, we postulate that if souls exist, they must have some mass. So, at what rate are souls moving into Hell and at what rate are souls leaving? I think we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it does not leave.

As for souls entering Hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Some religions say that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there are more than one of these religions, and people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all people and all souls go to Hell. Ergo, with the birth and death rates what they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially.

Now, we look at the rate of change in the volume of Hell. Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the ratio of the mass of the souls and volume needs to stay constant.

[A1] So, if Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

[A2] However, if Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase in souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it? If we accept the postulate given to me by Theresa Banyan during my freshman year, that "It will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you," and taking into account that I still have not succeeded in having sexual relations with her, then [A2] cannot be true; thus, Hell is exothermic.

The student, Tim Graham, got the only A.

In case you were wondering, the concept of all hell breaking loose is Milton's:
"But wherefore thou alone? Wherefore with thee Came not all hell broke loose?" -- Paradise Lost

I haven't discovered where the idea of the cold day in hell came from yet.

Over the years I have thought a bit about hell. I tend to think that Melville and Milton are both right:

"... hell is an idea first born on an undigested apple-dumpling..."
- Moby Dick

"The mind is its own place, and in itself Can make a heav'n of hell, a hell of Heav'n." -- Paradise Lost

But what if hell really does exist? Here's a frightening thought:
"I always pictured hell as a sort of Albanian Disneyland." -- Diana Trent

"And malt does more than Milton can
To justify God's ways to man.
Ale, man, ale's the stuff to drink
For fellows whom it hurts to think."
-- Houseman, A Shropshire Lad

Cheers, everyone!





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