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"Perils of Modern Living" is a poem written by the physicist Harold P. Furth inspired by a speech on antimatter by Edward Teller. (Hat-tip to our comrades at Worldbuilding SE for making me aware of this poem, although I'm pretty sure I'd heard of it, or at least the macassar part, before.)

Well up above the tropostrata
There is a region stark and stellar
Where, on a streak of anti-matter
Lived Dr. Edward Anti-Teller.

Remote from Fusion's origin,
He lived unguessed and unawares
With all his antikith and kin,
And kept macassars on his chairs.

One morning, idling by the sea,
He spied a tin of monstrous girth
That bore three letters: A. E. C.
Out stepped a visitor from Earth.

Then, shouting gladly o'er the sands,
Met two who in their alien ways
Were like as lentils. Their right hands
Clasped, and the rest was gamma rays.

What does A. E. C. represent? I'm guessing it's not just a made-up sci-fi acronym like Antimatter Energy Company, but probably refers to something real, perhaps associated with space exploration (as it was conceived of back in the 50s) or with Teller specifically.

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    Atomic Energy Commission, perhaps? – Mick Nov 4 '19 at 22:39
  • Mick is right. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oppenheimer_security_hearing for a description of the political events that motivated Furth. – kimchi lover Nov 4 '19 at 23:08
  • Mick and @kimchilover (can't ping both of you in one comment): thanks, that looks like it. Make it an answer maybe? :-) – Rand al'Thor Nov 5 '19 at 9:27
  • cc @Mick - it looks like you've found the right answer, and if you post it as an answer I can accept it and mark the question as solved. – Rand al'Thor Nov 17 '19 at 15:15
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It stands for Atomic Energy Commission, commonly known as A.E.C. In the real world, Edward Teller was an early member of the Manhattan Project, sometimes called "the father of the hydrogen bomb", and he was involved with the Atomic Energy Commission including proposing projects and testifying against Oppenheimer in their security clearance investigation. I looked into the history of this poem in high school over 2 decades ago and have only what facts have stuck in my brain over that time.

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  • Welcome to the site, and thanks for answering my question! I've added a few links to help improve this answer's sourcing, as it's always better to have a supported and verifiable answer than a brief one-liner without backup. – Rand al'Thor Jan 28 at 10:53

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