The Great Wikipedia teaches us that
Parallel universe or alternative reality is a self-contained separate reality coexisting with one's own. A specific group of parallel universes is called a multiverse, although this term can also be used to describe the possible parallel universes that constitute physical reality. While the terms "parallel universe" and "alternative reality" are generally synonymous and can be used interchangeably in most cases, there is sometimes an additional connotation implied with the term "alternative reality" that implies that the reality is a variant of our own. The term "parallel universe" is more general, without any connotations implying a relationship, or lack of relationship, with our own universe. A universe where the very laws of nature are different — for example, one in which there are no relativistic limitations and the speed of light can be exceeded — would in general count as a parallel universe but not an alternative reality. The correct quantum mechanical definition of parallel universes is "universes that are separated from each other by a single quantum event."
Without benefit of 3-D glasses, Tom Tomorrow takes us to an alternative reality where Sarah Palin is an assistant manager of the Wal-Mart in Wasilla, AK and Glenn Dreck (aka Beck) is actually sane. Further in Tom Tomorrow's parallel universe, Sparky the Wonder Penguin becomes Spunky the Sarcastic Talking Penguin and a Blank Slate is the best possible appointee to the SCOTUS. If this is a (fair & balanced) quantum of male bovine excrement, so be it (except for the Walmart scenario).
[Dan Perkins is an editorial cartoonist better known by the pen name "Tom Tomorrow". His weekly comic strip, "This Modern World," which comments on current events from a strong liberal perspective, appears regularly in approximately 150 papers across the U.S., as well as on Salon and Working for Change. The strip debuted in 1990 in SF Weekly.
Perkins, a long time resident of Brooklyn, New York, currently lives in Connecticut. He received the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Journalism in both 1998 and 2002.
When he is not working on projects related to his comic strip, Perkins writes a daily political weblog, also entitled "This Modern World," which he began in December 2001.]
Copyright © 2010 Salon Media Group, Inc.
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