1067: Pressures

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Everyone's caught by surprise when a theory of quantum gravity is developed by a sound technician wearing patent leather shoes while editing Clerks II.
Title text: Everyone's caught by surprise when a theory of quantum gravity is developed by a sound technician wearing patent leather shoes while editing Clerks II.


This comic is a reference to revolutionary physicist Albert Einstein, who got his first big ideas about physics while he was working as a Swiss patent clerk. Hence, Randall jokes that there is pressure on other Swiss patent clerks to come up with genius ideas while they are working there. The Zen Pencil comic "Albert Einstein: Life is a mystery" gives some background about Einstein's choice to work at the Swiss patent office. The fact that he was turned down by several universities was beneficial to the science of physics, as the duties as a patent clerk were not challenging to him, paid enough, and allowed him to work on his theories without any pressures.

The title text refers to quantum gravity, a highly anticipated theory that would unify quantum mechanics with the current model of gravity, general relativity. Such a theory would be very useful to understanding how space behaves at high energies and high densities, such as black holes and the very early universe. The joke is that instead of a patent clerk making this theory, as everyone is supposedly expecting, it's instead made by someone wearing "patent" leather shoes and working on a movie called "Clerks" II, thereby suggesting that anytime something called a "patent" crosses with anything called a "clerk", radical breakthroughs in physics result. Clerks II is the second movie in the Clerks series by Kevin Smith, widely regarded as not nearly as good as the first — which could be said about most sequels, but you get the point.


[Ponytail walks up to Megan examining documents]
Ponytail: So... what've you been up to?
Megan: Handling patent applications.
Ponytail: Yeah, but... besides that?
Megan: That's about it.
Ponytail: You're not, like, thinking about any cool stuff? Just curious.
For the last hundred years, Swiss patent clerks have been under some weird pressures.

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I think the alt-text is a play on words, where you have someone wearing "patent" shoes working on the movie "clerks II". So "patent" "clerk" if you will. Which is why everyone is surprised because they were looking for "patent clerks" with brilliant ideas, not someone wearing "patent" shoes working on a movie called "clerks..." It also seems to be sort of a jab at the absurdity of assuming there is something special about a "patent clerk". Like is it the job that is important? Just the name? 23:51, 20 September 2012 (UTC)Someone who should be working. (TJ)

"Much of" Einstein's patent work revolved around those arcane topics? Sounds like revisionist bullsh*t to me.

I had just started work on the idea that small adjacent (geographically and chronologically) earthquakes not only signal the demise of tropical storms (as I had posited a long time ago) but that (as more recently noted) medium sized earthquakes signal their advent when I was attracted to the ancient ideas leading to the discovery of steel which was concurrent to my watching videos on Thorium Reactors which indirectly led me to the idea that fusion can take place (I had assumed fusion most unlikely) only under the auspices of the three phases in a Deep Hot Biosphere (only of course there is no need for the bio) when I was diverted by the idea of reworking The Tempest. Maybe I should get a job? I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 19:48, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

Doc Brown was a patent clerk in Back To The Future: The Game (Telltale Games) when he was young. Not sure though. -Cye from #team cyeborg on yt -- Comment Police (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Are Clerks or Clerks II a real movie? “That Guy from the Netherlands” (talk) 14:22, 9 April 2019 (UTC)

Yes and yes. (See also View Askewniverse.) – Yfmcpxpj (talk) 04:43, 27 September 2020 (UTC)

... why sound technician? Is there a pun here?