A Call for More Scientific Truth in Product Warning Labels
by Susan Hewitt and Edward Subitzky
Volume 36, Number 1 of The Journal of Irreproducible Results.
Copyright 1991 Blackwell Scientific Publications Inc.
As scientists and concerned citizens, we applaud the recent trend
towards legislation that requires the prominent placing of warnings
on products that present hazards to the general public. Yet we must
also offer the cautionary thought that such warnings, however well-
intentioned, merely scratch the surface of what is really necessary
in this important area. This is especially true in light of the
findings of 20th century physics.
We are therefore proposing that, as responsible scientists, we
join together in an intensive push for new laws that will mandate
the conspicuous placement of suitably informative warnings on the
packaging of every product offered for sale in the United States of
America. Our suggested list of warnings appears below.
- WARNING: This Product Warps Space and Time in Its Vicinity.
- WARNING: This Product Attracts Every Other Piece of Matter in the
Universe, Including the Products of Other Manufacturers, with a Force
Proportional to the Product of the Masses and Inversely Proportional
to the Distance Between Them.
- CAUTION: The Mass of This Product Contains the Energy Equivalent of 85
Million Tons of TNT per Net Ounce of Weight.
- HANDLE WITH EXTREME CARE: This Product Contains Minute Electrically
Charged Particles Moving at Velocities in Excess of Five Hundred
Million Miles Per Hour.
- CONSUMER NOTICE: Because of the "Uncertainty Principle," It Is
Impossible for the Consumer to Find Out at the Same Time Both
Precisely Where This Product Is and How Fast It Is Moving.
- ADVISORY: There is an Extremely Small but Nonzero Chance That, Through
a Process Know as "Tunneling," This Product May Spon- taneously
Disappear from Its Present Location and Reappear at Any Random Place
in the Universe, Including Your Neighbor's Domicile. The Manufacturer
Will Not Be Responsible for Any Damages or Inconvenience That May
- READ THIS BEFORE OPENING PACKAGE: According to Certain Suggested
Versions of the Grand Unified Theory, the Primary Particles
Constituting this Product May Decay to Nothingness Within the Next
Four Hundred Million Years.
- THIS IS A 100% MATTER PRODUCT: In the Unlikely Event That This
Merchandise Should Contact Antimatter in Any Form, a Catastrophic
Explosion Will Result.
- PUBLIC NOTICE AS REQUIRED BY LAW: Any Use of This Product, in Any
Manner Whatsoever, Will Increase the Amount of Disorder in the
Universe. Although No Liability Is Implied Herein, the Consumer Is
Warned That This Process Will Ultimately Lead to the Heat Death of the
- NOTE: The Most Fundamental Particles in This Product Are Held Together
by a "Gluing" Force About Which Little is Currently Known and Whose
Adhesive Power Can Therefore Not Be Permanently Guaranteed.
- ATTENTION: Despite Any Other Listing of Product Contents Found Hereon,
the Consumer is Advised That, in Actuality, This Product Consists Of
99.9999999999% Empty Space.
- NEW GRAND UNIFIED THEORY DISCLAIMER: The Manufacturer May Technically
Be Entitled to Claim That This Product Is Ten- Dimensional. However,
the Consumer Is Reminded That This Confers No Legal Rights Above and
Beyond Those Applicable to Three-Dimensional Objects, Since the Seven
New Dimensions Are "Rolled Up" into Such a Small "Area" That They
Cannot Be Detected.
- PLEASE NOTE: Some Quantum Physics Theories Suggest That When the
Consumer Is Not Directly Observing This Product, It May Cease to Exist
or Will Exist Only in a Vague and Undetermined State.
- COMPONENT EQUIVALENCY NOTICE: The Subatomic Particles (Electrons,
Protons, etc.) Comprising This Product Are Exactly the Same in Every
Measurable Respect as Those Used in the Products of Other
Manufacturers, and No Claim to the Contrary May Legitimately Be
Expressed or Implied.
- HEALTH WARNING: Care Should Be Taken When Lifting This Product, Since
Its Mass, and Thus Its Weight, Is Dependent on Its Velocity Relative
to the User.
- IMPORTANT NOTICE TO PURCHASERS: The Entire Physical Universe,
Including This Product, May One Day Collapse Back into an
Infinitesimally Small Space. Should Another Universe Subsequently
Re-emerge, the Existence of This Product in That Universe Cannot Be