MURFREESBORO, TENN.— Scientists at Middle Tennessee State University have uncovered a new element that they say exhibits an unusual variety of properties. Tentatively dubbed “Ketronium,” the substance has the potential to ward off fiscal problems facing governments, to act as a powerful agent against terrorism, and to form the basis for an entirely new monetary system.
Scott Sims, an assistant professor of macro-chemistry, on Tuesday said that until now the non-metallic solid has remained hidden just out of view since its formation in the mid-20th Century. “We always had a feeling there was something there,” he said between bites of peanut brittle. “You could say we smelled it, because it was right under our noses.” Sims noted the element’s potential for replacing teachers in the traditional public school classroom, given its bizarre power to transmit answer patterns for state achievement tests directly into students’ memory.
“We brought a chunk of it into a class at Oakland [High School], just to give them a glimpse of a new discovery. All of the sudden, they started making little ovals on their desks.” Further investigation found that the ovals matched a set of answers that would produce a passing, if mediocre, grade on an upcoming Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) test. “Think about the ramifications,” continued Sims, with a nervous chuckle.
Other researchers say Ketronium holds a great deal of promise in fighting international terrorism, such as that fomented by adherents to radical Islamic sects. “The glittering light that it throws off distracts even the most ardent suicide bomber from carrying out his mission,” said Ray Covington, professor of religion and homeland security at Johnson Bible College, citing preliminary tests. “You flash a little Ketronium, and suddenly the desire to control everyone via Shariah Law dissipates.” Covington dismissed early findings that the raw element also boosts emotions related to fundamentalist Christianity. “We don’t believe in ascribing powers to the physical realm that belong only to God,” he said.
Still another theory about the unclassified element is that its rarity may offer a much-needed respite to a looming currency crisis. Davé Chiffon, a business and musical theater major at Nashville’s Belmont University, made it clear that he plans to cash-in on the discovery. “You know that [U.S. Rep.] Ron [Paul] and [U.S. Sen.] Rand [Paul] are going to abolish the Fed, right? Well I’ve got something better than the gold standard to back up a new currency,” Chiffon said, snapping his fingers for emphasis. “I’m writing a thesis that outlines a new banking and currency paradigm based on an isotope of Ketronium. And then I’m turning it into a musical called Trade That Dollar!”
Analysts are not sure of the details, but believe that the newly discovered element’s unique set of characteristics could, in fact, provide a financially stable monetary solution to replace the crumbling Federal Reserve System.
A fourth team of researchers is trying to determine the veracity of reports that Ketronium acts as a kind of chastity device when worn by female high school prom-goers. A new organization, Tennessee Angry Dads for Awareness, says it will be conducting an experiment this spring as prom season approaches.
In its natural state, Ketronium has a single neutron, one hundred thirty-five protons, and the ability to attract hundreds, if not thousands, of individual morons.