Only surviving copy of The Confounding Variable front page, February 20, 1878
Entrepreneur Con Confudere, of Italian and Icelandic descent, had a dream to be a great writer. In 1868, after migrating from Rome to Tuvalu in search of power and wealth, became disillusioned by the growing disciplined precision of scientific reporting in the science column of the Tuvalu Herald. Thus began his pursuit for fame and fortune with total disregard for the truth and ethical standards of the day. The Confounding Variable newspaper was born in such humble circumstances that Confudere had considerable difficulty selling a single copy in Tuvalu, likely due to the fact that it was printed in Italian rather than the locally spoken English and Tuvaluan. After a decade of persistence Confudere had a breakthrough with his first English issue featuring an obscure article about the practicalities of walrus hunting in the South Pacific and his now famous “The theoretical basis of high speed spinning on the left foot and the perception of gravitational inconsistency”. There is but one remaining sample of these early English editions where Confudere himself writes a very personal headline about one of his many innovative ideas—the grandophone.
Today the incredible success of The Confounding Variable is deniable, with reporters across the globe covering important scientific and technological advances in La Rinconada, McMurdo Station, Ittoqqortoormiit, and of course some of the amazing breakthroughs happening in Pitcairn Island and Tristan de Cunha.
Matt Confudere, a distant relative of Con Confudere, the founding father of The Confounding Variable magazine, came on board as Chief Editor rather out of the blue. Matt had vast experience in failed ventures for many decades before discovering his flimsy tie to Con Confudere and was able to buy his way into the family business. Having discovered that solid and honest journalism was just too difficult and didn’t pay the bills, Matt turned to outright exploitation of people’s thirst for knowledge with a disregard for accuracy but rather a keen focus on maximising advertising revenue. This has not been that successful during his tenure as Chief Editor, but not being one to give up, Matt’s tenacious spirit continues to stretch him and The Confounding Variable for new ways to exploit the internet for profit.
Geoff Confudere, upon the knowledge that his brother Matt bought his way into the family business of The Counfouding Variable, threatened to go public with all manner of fabrications about Matt’s past unless he could be the Associate Editor of the world-renowned online source for science and technology news. His hands tied, Matt had no choice but to install Geoff as 2IC of what is now the world’s most trusted source of news for the scientific community, world leaders, and vacationers after a spot of light reading everywhere.
After 20 years of successful entrepreneurship in small-arms dealings mostly in and around the former Eastern Block, Steve had a yen to pursue a quieter life as a science journalist and part-time neurosurgeon. Steve is a direct relative of Con Confudere (or at least that’s what he said in his interview, brandishing a personalised Beretta ARX100 and flanked by two heavily armed bodyguards). The Confounded Variable holds Steve in high regard and is not precious about paying the inordinate amounts in protection money he asserts are necessary to avert the threat of sudden takeover by rival Ukrainian media groups with which he is familiar.
Young man of leisure Dan Confudere, who once famously said of his lottery winnings, “You look like a million bucks,” brings a defining lackadaisical air to “bored” meetings at The Confounding Variable. Dan overcame inner struggles and tinea to become the freewheeling, feet-on-the-desk executive he is sometimes mistaken for today. While toying with the idea of becoming a writer, Dan’s interests extend to volunteering at the local teen shelter as a Wii fitness instructor and speculating on conspiracies in the plot of Seinfeld episodes.
Son of Pablo Escobar and taking his father’s first name, Pablo led a nondescript existence in a lower middle-class Venezuelan family in Brussels before a 1993 epiphany that his native environment was not pralines, global warming activism and censure of Israel but violent drug crime. Lacking experience and having no former association with the Escobar family, he prepared to travel to Colombia but, on hearing of Escobar’s death, went back to bumming around until he joined The Confounding Variable in 2016.
Marie Confudere met with instant success on her debut at The Met at the age of 3 and went on to command vast audiences as opera diva, voice-over artist, and basket weaver in over 196 countries around the world. A watershed moment came in 2016, when Marie was hospitalized following an unfortunate incident with a tuna during the underwater extravaganza “Submerged: Opera in the Bikini Atolls”. Thoughts of family sustained her during this difficult time, and on recovery, Marie felt it her duty to continue the family tradition of scientific journalism despite her interest and experience in the field weighing in at next to zero. Marie has provided our copy editors with the most frustrating work of their entire careers, and the team is constantly on the lookout for operatic opportunities to palm her off to.
John Confudere’s youthful looks belie his near 49-year career as a participation award-winning reporter of cutting-edge science. The veteran journalist is frequently accosted with questions on the whereabouts of his mother while out in the field, when he is not being apprehended by police or Family Services. John has a keen sense of emerging technologies, flies kites, and appears regularly as an extra on Sesame Street.
Behind the bookish good looks and genial demeanor of Sam Confudere lies a story of uncommon courage and initiative. Originating from deep space, Sam negotiated an adjustment period with The Confounding Variable for recovery from cosmic radiation and assimilation with the local fauna. She learned the lingua franca and immediately set about her journalistic duties with gusto. Sam writes earnestly, and no one has yet had the courage to tell her the nature of the publication.
An ordinary guy driven by curiosity and the need to know and question everything, especially given there are so many confounding variables. Born in the novel 1984, now liberated to explore the 21st Century. He also has the disagreeable job of wrangling the motley crew of Confudere journalists in an attempt to get them to do some damn work!