Hobart, Tasmania -- Beneath the equator you'd think the sky was falling. All across the southern hemisphere, from Hobart to Adelaide to Auckland, Valparaiso to Johannesburg, angry mobs shake fists at the sky, while millions refuse to look up for fear of learning something about the miracle of radio without benefit of batteries or mains voltage.

It all began when a remarkable new constellation mysteriously appeared smack dab in the middle in their night skies. Designated the Crystal Set by astronomers, the constellation is notable both for its size and its dead-on namesake likeness, including its most mysterious member, Capacitor -- a variable supergiant recently captured close-up by the Hubble Space Telescope.

 

 

“Most constellations don’t look much like anything but stars,” said one frustrated Queenslander. "You don't see the connecting lines or nothin', mate. But this bloody thing is plain as day and ugly as bloomin' sin -- right out of some old library book, big as the Milky Way!”  Other observers compare it to a cheesy science experiment fashioned from common household objects, as might be featured in a musty back number of a very tedious children’s magazine. Recoiling in disgust, many recall as youngsters being forced to think about how things work and experience hands-on the nutritious joy of hobby technology.

Amateur wireless organizations around the world have enthusiastically hailed the new constellation as a sign that radio will be the “brand new bag” of the coming generation. In an effort to spread the fever, ham groups are lobbying hard for mandatory “Build-Ins,” using the vivid, enormous constellation as a wiring guide so large and easy to follow that failure to complete construction of a crystal set would be serve as a convenient marker for early detection of individuals prone to recalcitrance and in need of more intense mandatory fun instruction.

Crystal radio enthusiasts have taken the opportunity to address angry crowds directly, dodging stones and other missiles while reminding the mob that crystal sets use no power but that of radio waves themselves. Sadly, such incessant gratuitous reminders have served only to incite rioting and further outrage, driving these the well-meaning radio buffs into deepening isolation.