March 26, 2008

The fractal theory of Canada

Ed Kupfer writes:

Your "X as the Y of Z" post reminded me of the semi-famous "Fractal Theory of Canada", posted to the Usenet group alt.religion.kibology by "Inflatable Space Bunny" many years ago.

Here's a reprint, to save you from having to follow the link:


Given a community A and an adjacent community C, such that A is prosperous and populous, and C is less populous and prosperous, and nonreciprocal interest of C in the internal affairs of A, often C will need ego compensation by occaisional noisy and noisome display of its superiority over A. In this case C is said to be the canada of A, C = canada(A).

For example, it has been previously established that

canada(California) = Oregon
canada(New York) = New Hampshire
canada(Australia) = New Zealand
canada(England) = Scotland

The Fractal Theory of Canada.

For all A there exists C such that

C = canada(A)

For example,
canada(USA) = Canada
canada(Canada) = Quebec
canada(Quebec) = Celine Dion

It would appear that the hierarchy would bottom out an individual. However an individual is actually a community of tissues, tissues of cells, cells of molecules, and so forth down into the quantuum froth.

canada(brain) = pineal gland
canada(intestines) = colon
canada(electron) = neutrino

and so on. There is no bottom.

"My God! It's full of Canadas!"

An early Language Log post discussed the fractal deconstruction of yankeehood ("It's Yankees all the way down", 9/12/2003), without however daring to take the process to the subatomic (or even anatomical) level.

Posted by Mark Liberman at March 26, 2008 07:03 AM