Jumpstart Pandatoe first noticed the phenomenon that has come to bear her name at quite a young age. Back then, she used to pay attention to the news programmes whenever they came on TV, which was unusual in a youngster, as people only really start paying attention to the news when they are too old to do anything about it.
Of course, as a young person, most of the news seemed irrelevant or unimportant to her. After all, the TV news mostly consists of short video shots of middle-aged men in suits entering or leaving buildings with a sense of purpose intended to convey that they both knew what was going on, and that they could and should do something about it. Of course, as Pandatoe got older she realised that this was like almost everything on the TV – including the news, documentaries and – most obviously – ‘reality’ TV shows – all fiction.
As she recently said in an interview, she now knows, like the rest of us, that no-one has a clue what is going on, and no-one would know how to fix it even if they did. In fact, Pandatoe has gone as far as to say that the very people who claim they know what is going on and – worst of all – they know how to fix it are the very last people that should be allowed anywhere near the levers of power.
After all, as Pandatoe points out, things did seem to go much better when people ignored what they couldn’t change and blamed it all on the gods.
However, it was the Pandatoe Conundrum that first brought Jumpstart Pandatoe herself into the world’s media limelight. It was while watching those TV news programmes at that early age she noticed a phenomenon that has become one of the greatest mysteries of the universe. It is a phenomenon that has puzzled confused and confounded most of the greatest scientific minds of the last few generations. Even Einstein, Feynman, Sagan and Bruce Forsyth all claimed they had no explanation for the phenomenon whatsoever.
What Pandatoe found was that in every TV news programme, for no discernible reason that she or anyone else could understand, the newsreader would cut to a live feed of some reporter standing outside and then ask them questions about what was going on. The reporter, especially in the later bulletins would be standing outside on a cold, windswept street outside a building that had apparently been closed so long that even the cleaners had gone home.
The reporter would then tell the newsreader more or less everything the newsreader had just already told the viewers, adding nothing substantial or interesting to the report. Meanwhile, often drunken revellers would make weird faces, obscene gestures, or pretend they were just walking past in the background as they rushed home to see themselves on TV.
At scientific conferences afterwards, no-one could understand why they broadcasters and the – especially – the TV news editors thought it was a good idea to have someone standing out in the street for no discernible reason. Especially since those reports invariably suffered from lousy sound and poor visual quality. Thus adding nothing substantial whatsoever to the news report, except making the viewer wonder how cold and miserable the reporter actually was and if they ever realised the sheer pointlessness of what they were doing.
But, as Pandatoe herself said, maybe there are some mysteries that mankind will never solve, and her conundrum could be one of them.