The Lite Side

Measuring the Reality Distortion Field

- 2002.02.14

The Reality Distortion Field (RDF) has been the subject of much public debate but little scientific inquiry. The RDF is supposedly a field capable of supressing skepticism or criticism in the intended subject regarding certain commercial projects, most notably in Apple™ computers and Pixar™ computer animated movies.

Some characteristics of the RDF's physical manifestations are easily inferred from past observations. The larger the field strength of the RDF, the more likely a Macworld audience is going to buy into the presentation. RDF energy is not conserved and must be replenished on a regular basis.

  1. Relationship to distance. As with the other forces of nature, the RDF weakens with distance. However, even though it is very strong near the source, it is remarkably robust over distances at least as large as the earth. The evidence for this is the strong market share Apple enjoys in countries such as Japan. Therefore it is unlikely to be a simple inverse square effect (such as gravity or light intensity). Since it falls off more slowly than a classic inverse square rule, it is either 1/d or 1/dn, where d is the distance and n is a positive number between 0 and 2. Until sufficient data are gathered to discriminate, it is our view that the RDF falls off as 1/d.
  2. Relationship to time. The longer the time from when an RDF burst is emitted to when it is no longer effective seems to be cyclical in nature with a period of approximately 0.5 year. It peaks after each Macworld keynote and falls off rather substantially after that. Therefore, it is probably a sinusoidal function.
  3. Prejudicial constants. Certain individuals seem immune to RDF phenomena, whereas others are more susceptible and may remain entranced for as long as six to eight weeks. There is an empirical constant W which expresses the individual's susceptibility to RDF phenomena. If W is small, the individual is not susceptible to RDF effects; if W is large, RDF effects linger for weeks, months, and sometimes years. Whatever the value of W, its relationship with RDF strength is direct.
  4. Rumormorphological effects. The greatest RDF field effects are seen when the major announcement of the show meets, exceeds, or trumps the expectation of rumor sites reporting on upcoming product prior to the keynote at Macworld. Therefore the difference between the RDF and the RMDF is the exponent of a constant; if the difference is positive, the RDF effects increase; if the difference is negative, the RDF effects decrease.

Summary: These well known effects constrain the behavior of the RDF force field to the following field equation:

RDF strength = W x (RmRMDF) x cos(2 x pi x T/0.5)/r

Where W is the Prejudicial Constant (Windows IT Professionals W = 0; Longtime Macolytes, W = 1),

Rm is the Rumormorphological Constant (which be defined to be equal to 1)

RMDF (the current value of the Rumormorphological effect; can equal -1 if rumors are conservative or lame or +2 if rumors are wildly speculative; equals +1 if they appear in mainstream press at midnight before Keynote)

T = time remaining until next Macworld

r = physical distance from Steve Jobs (in meters)


This mostly analytical approach can be complicated by various effects such as the so-called Seybold effect. The periodicity can be deflected temporarily by the Tokyo Skew Factor. And, of course, there are the well known Microsoft Binary Trigger (= 0 if Office is selling poorly, = 1 if Office is selling well) and Adobe Field Dampening Press Release effects. These are all under investigation at this time.

We are also investigating the effect of Artistic Advertising vs. Ads that Address the Real Issues (sometimes called Chiat-Day manifold space side effects) and the Woznian Background Radiation that permeates Apple space.

We find the lack of empirical data so great that claims of sensitivity to RDF phenomena documented on sites such as AtAT to be questionable at best. While humans are susceptible to the RDF field, it has yet to be conclusively demonstrated that wallets are susceptible to RDF field strength at any given time. Therefore we call for a great deal of empirical data and are currently seeking funding for a cluster of G4 Power Macintosh towers to create a parallel processor capable of dealing with the many variables involved in the problem.

This research was supported in part by the little heart-shaped valentine in Low End Mac's online store.

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