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Source: (consider it) Thread: Bafflegab
balaam

Making an ass of myself
# 4543

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In the Styx, Ohher wrote
quote:
very general essay questions like this tend to yield very general responses, padded with copious lashings of bafflegab.
So here is what happens. A very general question is posed, which is to be answered in the best bafflegab possible. The person answering then sets the next question.

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Question - How does the internal combustion engine work?

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To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin
blog

Posts: 9039 | From: Hen Ogledd | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
RooK

1 of 6
# 1852

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quote:
Originally posted by balaam:
Question - How does the internal combustion engine work?

Answer 1: SUCK SQUEEZE BANG BLOW
Specifically, that refers to the Otto Cycle internal combustion motor which uses a spark to initiate combustion. The full Otto Cycle in a typical swept piston engine encompasses two full rotations of the engine. First the piston moves down, drawing in the fuel-air mixture. Then the intake valves close and the piston moves up, compressing the volume to a high(er) pressure. Then the spark ignites the mixture, causing the eponymous internal combustion explosion, driving the piston down in the work stroke. Finally, the exhaust valves open and the piston moves up to push the spent exhaust gases out. Note that all motions of the piston rely on energy from the power stroke - either from other connected cylinders having a power stroke, or momentum imparted to a flywheel to keep the motor spinning.

Answer 2: CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG
OK, fine, there isn't a catchy way to describe compression ignition such as Diesel Cycle engines. Those don't use spark plugs, but instead rely on very high pressures to cause the mixture to self-detonate. Usually controlled by waiting to inject the fuel into the already-pressurized cylinder.

Answer 3: ICE ICE BABY
There's a bunch of other internal combustion variations, too. Atkins, Wankel, turbines, etcetera. They all involve making things explode in really exciting and moderately useful ways.

Shit, I forgot to use bafflegab. And I meant to, honestly. Oh well.

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Question - How does one cheat at a game without ruining it for other people?

Posts: 15249 | From: Portland, Oregon, USA, Earth | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
aliehs
Shipmate
# 18878

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As most of you in the audience will appreciate, being sharp eyed observers, masters of discernment, and conversant with all the methods of prestidigitation commonly practised by those who wish to deceive the eye by distraction whist substitution of an object is occurring; swiftness and skilful dexterity are the keys to a successful manipulation of the watcher's attention. That , accompanied by keeping a keen gaze of the observer's face. so that they are compelled despite themselves to look back at your smiling face, and be beguiled by your almost hypnotic voice; both appearing to focus solely on them and them alone. Hey Presto. The deed is done. They are left in a state of bewilderment, for they have concentrated on you, or so they think.

Please explain the chemistry and physics behind egg whites turning from a liquid into a solid.

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Now I see through a glass darkly. Maybe I should clean my specs.
sld2A

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MaryLouise
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# 18697

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Well, it’s all about albumen, isn’t it? Hundreds of proteins, IMO. You might also recall Operation Albumen, a series of sabotages against airfields on occupied Crete in 1942, a process not unrelated to albumen print, that devious but reliable method of producing a print on a paper base from a negative using egg white. [Not coincidentally, a far more interesting and justifiable process IIRR, and of some theological significance for post-Barthians. Not that many of these hang around the Ship or Old Boat, soon to become the NEW Ship. But I digress.]

The nitty-gritty then, as we know from acrimonious discussions on a thread I won’t mention here, is how the silver gets into albumen silver print and from years of research lab experience at Cambridge as well as a few years in the academic wilderness, ISTM that when less than altruistic scientists use egg white or albumen (spelled albumin for our friends across the Pond) to bind photographic chemicals to paper with sodium chloride, the inevitable result is a glossy sheet of paper. I should perhaps at this point note that sodium chloride is more commonly known as salt. The distractingly shiny sparkling object (in this case paper) is then dipped in silver nitrate and Hsupescript2O (water) and the operation goes pear-shaped.

It is a point of pride that I have not eaten a boiled egg since August 1982, for reasons I’d rather not discuss.

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“As regards plots I find real life no help at all. Real life seems to have no plots.”

-- Ivy Compton-Burnett

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balaam

Making an ass of myself
# 4543

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New topic please, MaryLouise.

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To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin
blog

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MaryLouise
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# 18697

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Sorry.

Question: what is cloud seeding?

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“As regards plots I find real life no help at all. Real life seems to have no plots.”

-- Ivy Compton-Burnett

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Bishops Finger
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Ah, now I'm glad you've asked this most important question, as it is vital to the Future of the World for every one of us to be fully alive, and acutely aware, of the benefits to be obtained from this simple process.

Cloud seeding is a form, type, or process, of weather modification, a way of changing, altering, or modifying, the amount, quantity, or type, of precipitation that falls, or descends vertically from clouds, by dispersing substances into the air, or atmosphere, that serve as cloud condensation or ice nuclei, which alter, change, or transmogrify, the microphysical processes within the cloud.

The usual intent is to increase precipitation (rain or snow), for purposes to do with improving, or transforming, Agriculture, Viticulture, Horticulture, and drinking-water, but hail and fog suppression are also widely practiced in airports, for reasons which become abundantly clear if you happen to be an unfortunate potential air-traveller during such periods of inclement weather.

Cloud seeding also occurs due to ice nucleators in nature, most of which are bacterial in origin, but I will have to deal with this subject in my next ess.....er.....enquiry.

Now, why are daffodils yellow?

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

Posts: 10124 | From: Behind The Wheel Again! | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
balaam

Making an ass of myself
# 4543

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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Now, why are daffodils yellow?

Daffodils also known as daffadowndillys are part of the group of flowers called narcissi, though where the lines are drawn between daffodils, narcissi and jonquils is not an exact science, there being considerable overlap between the categories. But generally speaking daffodils have the trumpet part of the flower longer than the petals. Except when they don't. It would be easy to assume that such a large showy flower as the daffodil would have it's colour to attract insects, but pollinating insect often shun the daffodil, visiting smaller blooms. Honey bees will only visit daffodils when there are few other sources of nectar around. The daffodils shape however catches the wind, and like all narcissi they are far more likely to be wind pollinated than from a visit from a passing insect. Blooming in early spring is advantageous to a wind pollinated flower, taking advantage of vernal air currents rather than the calms of the summer. narcissus flowers come in a range of colours, from white through pale yellow to bright yellow and through to pale green on the one hand to red on the other, a red tipped daffodil is a particularly stunning flower. The brightest colours though have been produced by selective breeding, a painstaking process as it takes several years to get from seed to flowering bulb. So the reason that the daffodils you buy in the shop are yellow is that someone designed it to be that colour. As for wild daffodils, with no advantage in being coloured as they do not attract insects, the short answer is it is because they are.

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What keeps an aircraft from falling out of the sky?

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To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin
blog

Posts: 9039 | From: Hen Ogledd | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Ohher
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# 18607

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As to what keeps aircraft from falling out of the sky, the answer (as any casual observer can tell) is nothing. Aircraft fall out of the sky with tragic and distressing regularity.

Of course, the objection inevitably arises: why, then, do not all aircraft fall from the sky, when some verifiably do? This question takes us into complicated territory. Do doomed aircraft differ in some significant characteristic from nondoomed aircraft? Do the piloting practices of fallen aircraft differ from those in unfallen (or, perhaps more precisely), from not-yet-fallen aircraft? Are differing cargo loads, passenger weights, or numbers of attendants a factor in distinguishing fallen from not-yet-fallen aircraft? What role or roles do atmospheric conditions, cruising altitudes, weather events, bird flocks, propulsion systems and other variables play in keeping aircraft aloft?

The simple answer, of course, is the only factor which cross all these categories, and that is the common expectation, bordering on actual belief, among human beings aboard aircraft that the craft will, upon command, accelerate and lift sufficiently to achieve flight, will remain in uninterrupted flight between departure point and destination, and will reliably respond to pilot direction until all propulsion systems are extinguished. Thus we can observe that belief -- or lack thereof -- is the unifying common factor we find in craft remaining airborne. For it is also the case that, when aircraft experience turbulence sufficient to discombobulate passengers, cries of dismay, descending oxygen masks, and abrupt reductions of belief that aircraft will remain aloft, all too frequently occur and likely interfere with the ability of the craft to remain airborne.

QUESTION: What evidence can you offer supporting the proposition that contemporary humanity is the product of evolutionary forces?

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From the Land of the Native American Brave and the Home of the Buy-One-Get-One-Free

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simontoad
Ship's Amphibian
# 18096

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Like most of us, I can only offer myself as evidence that contemporary humans are the product of evolutionary forces. My facade is striking and elegant, an invitation to explore. My light-filled entrance leads to a beautiful modern space with furnishings complementing the vision of the Creator. Look closely though and you can see this is not an original work, but one built on ancient foundations. Scattered about the premises are markings of previous lives: an interest in politics, a style that is still there if a little sloppy, bourgeois taste in music and art. Yes, this human has been built on history.

Is there life on Mars?

[ 30. January 2018, 01:31: Message edited by: simontoad ]

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Human

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aliehs
Shipmate
# 18878

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[QUOTE] B]Is there life on Mars?[/B]/QUOTE]
well may you ask young person. There is evidence from learned astrologers, or do I mean astronomers that life did exist on Mars, but whether in microbial form it still exists is a moot point. Television series have posited that there is, as have novels for centuries, but in one in particular , Mars looked remarkably like England in the 50's. There were comical "Martians" in series from beyond the pond, and countless invasions reputed to be coming from Mars. "The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one", they said, " but still they come".[H.G. Wells] Of course we are ignoring the very obvious evidence that Martians are already in the world slaving away in confectionery factories, making Mars Bars. In the Slough [of Despond ?]I am told. All this begs the very essential question: "Does Mars exist?" Is it a product of our imagination or like Pluto , not really there at all, just an amorphous mass of red dust. If I have not experienced it myself, are all the so called scientific facts merely a cunning plot to divert us away from a more immediate situation that confronts us?
Did Man really walk on the moon or did they- the mysterious they- merely fool the world.Shades of Penn and Teller.

The definitive ultimate test of course would be the Attenborough verdict. Until then, Does life exist on Mars? What is Mars? What definition do you have for life? What do you mean by exist? These are profound philosophical questions beyond our ken [ or those of Douglas, Arthur, Isaac,Jules or Herbert].


When dealing with a recalcitrant bottle of tomato sauce, why do the contents immediately fly to the ceiling on release?

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Now I see through a glass darkly. Maybe I should clean my specs.
sld2A

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Bishops Finger
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# 5430

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So, dear Friend, you have encountered the soul-blasting behaviour of flying tomato Sauce? I shall endeavour to give you the benefit of my wisdom and experience with this Phenomenon.

My first Duty is to instruct you that the Tomato itself is the very spawn of Satan, and that, therefore, by its very nature, the Tomato possesses the characteristics of its evil Master. This means, as you have yourself found, that the Sauce derived from this Satanic vegetable (or fruit) instinctively disobeys the law of Almighty God appertaining to Gravity, and, on being agitated, hies itself towards the ceiling in a vain attempt to regain the Heaven from which the Evil One was himself thrown down.

However, do not give yourself up to Despair, for there is yet Hope, and herein lies my second Point. It is this.

For many years, I have given up time, effort, and money, to find a Solution to the behaviour of this reprehensible fruit (or vegetable), and I am overjoyed to inform the World that my prayers have been answered, and Success achieved! The idea was passed to me, in my youth, by an aged Alchemist (who, alas, perished miserably in an experiment involving an early form of nuclear fission), and requires the use of a certain amount of Lead. This is employed as an additive to the Sauce, thereby causing it to obey the law of God, and descend gently from the bottle to the Fried Fish, or to whatever culinary delight you are partaking of at the time.

It is, however, necessary for you to purchase the additive (marketed by me, as sole Agent, as 'The Acme Jollop', price £100 per tube), and to insert it into the freshly-purchased bottle of sauce by means of a hypodermic Syringe (price £5 each, single use only).

So, I trust that the above is of service to you, dear Friend, and assure you of my best Attention, should you decide to employ 'The Acme Jollop'.

Why does GIN first make you happy, and then sad?

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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balaam

Making an ass of myself
# 4543

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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Why does GIN first make you happy, and then sad?

The simple answer is because it contains alcohol. However, in order to give a more scientific answer I decided to look at this scientifically.

On reading the contents on my GIN bottle, I discovered that it was favoured with juniper berries, but also pepper, lemon peel, lemon grass, liquorice, orris, almonds and angelica. All these plants mean that GIN can be classified as salad, and is therefore good for you.

My research led me to experiment with different garnishes. At the end of my research I was feeling happy, but as I had spent so much money on different flavours of tonic water plus oranges lemons, limes and pink grapefruit for garnish, not to mention more exotic garnishes such as cucumber, liquorice tablets, star anise and hibiscus flowers, so I won't, that I was now completely broke, the bottle of GIN was empty and I had no funds to buy another.

In the end, the sight of the empty bottle made me sad.

QUESTION - why does water feel wet?

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To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin
blog

Posts: 9039 | From: Hen Ogledd | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
aliehs
Shipmate
# 18878

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WHY DOES WATER FEEL WET?
It really depends on your point of view.
If you are for instance, a water dweller or even addicted to water sports, water would not seem wet in the sense of it being an unnatural damp environment; but rather a pleasant and comfortable home, with plants and flowers. Coral does not ask why water is wet. It has no concept of "wetness".
And what degree of wetness are you querying?
Should you be an inhabitant of the desert, or an arid area, then ANY water is wet. Even if it is a few drops, as relief from the interminable dryness of the air. If, however you are accustomed to constant precipitation, you will have developed in your lingua franca numerous words for wetness. Somewhat like the Inuits' 22+ words for snow.
So what makes water wet? You will not be surprised that the liquefaction of Oxygen and Hydrogen at certain temperatures produces through amalgamation the liquid water. It is the feeling of lubrication by an non-oily substance that gives the perception of wetness. But as it evaporates, that liquid turns into air, and it is no longer wet. Lower the temperature, and the liquid turns sold , and at sufficiently low temperatures, that which was liquid, and wet, becomes solid ice; not wet-hence "Dry Ice" ,or to be used as solid building blocks by the wise Inuit in igloos. Now, you have never heard of igloos melting, have you? Even when a fire is lit inside them. So the wetness of water is dependent on the temperature.

what is the moon really made of

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Now I see through a glass darkly. Maybe I should clean my specs.
sld2A

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Bishops Finger
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So, you have decided to occupy your mind with one of the most important questions of this age of Space Travel That Never Really Happened!

It was, as you know, believed for generations uncounted that the moon was made of green cheese, though the question arises as to exactly why it was thought to be green, when the observable colour is often not green, but silver, red, or (very occasionally) blue.

However, the eventual landing of Man (or perhaps I should say men)on the surface of our satellite body revealed quite clearly that the part on which they landed was not made of cheese at all (or, at any rate, an edible form of cheese), but of an egregiously unpleasant dusty substance, rather resembling some type of rock.

The inescapable conclusion, therefore, is that the moon is constructed partly of a sort of concrete or cement, which, due to the peculiar weather conditions on the surface, is tending to spall and crack, leading to the presence of the aforesaid dust and general grittiness.

On the other hand, some of a less enquiring mind might simply conclude that the moon is made of moon.

Next Question: Why are whales so large?

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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balaam

Making an ass of myself
# 4543

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Question: Why are whales so large?

Whales are large to make room for their brains. The largest brain of any living creature belongs to a sperm whale, though which sperm whale I do not know as it is hard to keep track of them, what with the size of the oceans and differing ocean currents. (Ocean currants, on the other hand are a result of trees of the genus ribes, growing in coastal areas, dropping their fruit.)

If whales have such large brains, you may ask me, them why have they not invented anything significant or developed space flight? I shall tell you. Being intelligent, whales intrinsically know the folly of sitting in front of the television all night, or hiding your face in video games or on smart phones, and so have refused to invent them, taking their spare time in community singing, behaviour that once could also be observed in humans before their intelligence declined through having such technology. As for space flight, as there is no surface liquid water on any other object in our solar system there is nowhere else but our blue and green planet where cetacean life could thrive. It would be stupid for whales to go into space, so being intelligent, they have not tried.

So the answer is that whales are super intelligent and need to be large to make room for their enormous brains.

Anyone fancy a sing song?

---

Question: How does a sat-nav work?

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To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin
blog

Posts: 9039 | From: Hen Ogledd | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Firenze

Ordinary decent pagan
# 619

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quote:
Question: How does a sat-nav work?
The sat-nav - so called, by the way, because you can use it from a sitting position instead of having to stand up and find enough room in which to unfold a 1:25,000 OS map. Moreover, you are frequently doing this sitting in a moving car, which makes the whole map business even more untenable as I’m sure those of us who’ve ended up in a ditch owing to a windscreen totally obscured by the billowing expanse of Carmarthen & Kidwelly will totally agree. ‘Nav’ is short for ‘navigation’ or the art of being able to find an Irishman with a shovel on a dark night. Chances are he is building a road and will therefore be able to tell you where you can get to. Or will be able to get to, once he’s put down this couple of million tons of tarmac.

But by the miracle of technology all this is available to your in the comfort of your own Morris Minor, via a network of satellites hovering in space and peering down at what’s going on down below, particularly where roads are concerned. Obviously, from that distance, the detail is a bit lost, which is why you find yourself driving a double-decker along a bridle path from time to time.

—�—�—�—�

Question: How does watching 22 people kicking a ball round a field for an hour and a half constitute entertainment?

[ 01. February 2018, 22:26: Message edited by: Firenze ]

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aliehs
Shipmate
# 18878

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The question of the number 22 at the root of this problem. Why 22? Well, dear reader. of course we know. don't we, that the ultimate answer to the Universe and everything is 42, but it is plainly impossible to have that number of players on the field. There would be no room for the trainers, first aiders, assistant coaches coming out with messages, the orange boys at quarter time, and that necessity for all matches : the umpires or referees, whose numbers can be elastic. And as a matter of curiosity, the fields can be oval or round, or even rectangular. Odd, though that 11 seems to be the number of players in so many team sports; of course there are games with 5, or 4 or 18. But when one looks at team lists, there are frequently sighs from the cognoscenti bemoaning the lack of "depth" in those from whom to choose.11 seems to have evolved as an optimal number; one recognises that it is a Prime Number, which gives it some advantages, though what they are I can not possibly explain. As to why people choose to be mesmerised by either flannelled fools, or striped warriors on a filed of battle, it comes down to mass hypnosis on the one hand, or a tribal instinct on the other. Chivalry had knights in armour, we have players in protective gear to carry our dreams and satisfy our longings for victory. So called connoisseurs of each type of game, will expatiate at length about the game plans, strategies, and moves of individuals or a team in toto. The real conclusion is that each games is a blood sport substitute. Do we want to go back to pig sticking, duck shooting, fox hunting, deer stalking, cock fighting, boar and bear bating, and dog fighting? The evidence is that unfortunately some do. For the rest of us, 22 men or women but never both together, on a field is a substitute addiction.

NEXT QUESTION: : LIQUID GO ONE WAY DOWN A DRAIN IN THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE, AND REVERSES IN THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE. IS THERE A POINT WHEN LIQUID GOES STRAIGHT DOWN[LIKE ON THE EQUATOR]

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Now I see through a glass darkly. Maybe I should clean my specs.
sld2A

Posts: 136 | From: Australia | Registered: Dec 2017  |  IP: Logged
ACK
Shipmate
# 16756

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One could investigate this empirically by finding a bath on the Equator and pulling the plug. However, since I have no desire to fly or sail there, and it would be rather a long walk, this would involve inventing some form of transmat and I still have the dishes to wash.

About 30 years ago I asked a physics teacher a similar question on water going down the plughole in space. He made some comment about lack of gravity, and when I suggested artificial gravity, he said the only way to generate that would be through centripetal acceleration from spinning your space vehicle, which would cause a similar effect to the spin of the Earth on your bathwater.
When I mentioned gravity in the Tardis, he said the Tardis is not real. [Eek!]

He was wrong on another count as well, since if you accelerate through space in a straight line at 1g, it creates a force indistiguishable from the effect of gravity on Earth.
I believe water goes down the plughole on the Equator the same way it does in such a circumstance.

And thus this can be empirically solved by dragging your bathtub through space in a straight line with 1g acceleration and pulling out the plug.

This is left as an exercise for the reader: I've still got the pots to wash.

Why are slugs slimy?

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'It's the only thing that worries me about going to Heaven. Would I ever get used to the height.' Norman Clegg

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Firenze

Ordinary decent pagan
# 619

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You know what the slug said to the snail? No? ‘Big Issue, sir?’

Obviously, being the butt of jokes like that, stigmatising them as homeless wastrels has had a deep effect on the slug community. Many have concentrated on raising their profile as vegans, some have found work as Jabba the Hut impersonaters at Star War conventions, others have formed SlugItOut, a pressure group for slug rights.

However, a number of wealthy slugs find the status quo perfectly acceptable and continue a lifestyle in which they participate in ‘charity’ events which allow them to harass female staff with impunity. Since they are the most publically visible of their kind, they perpetuate the reputation of all slugs as slimy. (The preferred term in Slug Pride circles is ‘silvery’)

———


Why the Eurovision Song Contest?

Posts: 17296 | From: Edinburgh | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
aliehs
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# 18878

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You may well ask. Why is it Eurovision, when it has Middle Eastern countries competing;
why include us Australians who are patently not part of the continent of Europe. {I know we enter for commercial reasons, and many of our population come from other places, so they cheer on their old compatriots, thus adding divisiveness to our moderately accepting land of cultural diversity.]
And will GB be automatically banned as a result of Brexit?
It raises many questions in itself, but ultimately the answer is that, it is so kitsch, that it is amusing, like the world's worst films. Any one remember Cobra Woman - a late 40s classically appalling film with Maria Moreno[ I think]
you might as well ask
WHY THE COMMONWEALTH GAMES?

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Now I see through a glass darkly. Maybe I should clean my specs.
sld2A

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jacobsen

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quote:
Originally posted by aliehs:
WHY THE COMMONWEALTH GAMES?

Short answer: Why not the Commonwealth Games?

Bafflegab answer: The CG were devised as a consolation prize for the loss of the British Empire. They exploit the pattern of setting various countries at each others' sporting throats in order to perpetuate the myth that ENGLAND rules the world (forget Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland.)Also, ENGLAND makes the rules, sets the boundaries, and it's OUR party, so you do what we say. To quote my nine-year-old cousin on his birthday. Thus we find that what remains of the BE, i.e. the Commonwealth, is enhanced in cohesiveness, cooperation and mutual defensiveness. One for all and all for - well - ENGLAND. We hope.

Which brings us to the question:
Why the United Kingdom?

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But God, holding a candle, looks for all who wander, all who search. - Shifra Alon
Beauty fades, dumb is forever-Judge Judy
The man who made time, made plenty.

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MaryLouise
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Why the United Kingdom?

Well, it's united, isn't it? [See preceding post for more on UNITY.] Everyone so happy to belong together, to know that Britons never ever ever shall be slaves. Just like the United States or former United Soviet Socialist Republics thingy. Or United Arab Emirates, a place nobody knows anything about. No disunity to be found anywhere.

Here's a fun fact: Everyone from England, Scotland and Wales is also British, but not people from Northern Ireland who are Irish (despite also being UK citizens). People from the Republic of Ireland are just Irish. And, none of these groups, except for people from England, should be referred to as English.

And sooner or later, you'll have an actual male king again and it'll feel more like a kingdom. United under royalty, divine right of kings restored, scepter'd isle, black spider memos, post-modern architecture demolished, homeopathy for all, beheading brought back and not a moment too soon.

Why is London the capital of the UK?

[ 08. February 2018, 07:37: Message edited by: MaryLouise ]

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“As regards plots I find real life no help at all. Real life seems to have no plots.”

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aliehs
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Couple of questions before I tackle Mary Louise's question : WHY IS LONDON THE CAPITAL OF THE UNITED KINGDOM
I'll come back to that later in a second post if the Powers that be let me.
Firstly: Are you familiar with the Flanders and Swann song: The English are best. I think it's official title is a Song of National Patriotism[or similar].
Secondly , please enlighten me: what is a black spider memo?

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MaryLouise
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Flanders and Swann had a song for any occasion, didn't they?

Aliehs, I was making fun about Prince Charles turning into an unconstitutional monarch and his reputation as a meddling prince writing secret memos to senior politicians and influential figures.

Black spider memos

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“As regards plots I find real life no help at all. Real life seems to have no plots.”

-- Ivy Compton-Burnett

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ACK
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Why is London the Capital of the UK?

How you answer that question depends on what the term 'capital' means to you.
The way my mind works, I see the UK as having two capitals.
'U' and 'K'
But then the question: 'What is the capital of Scotland?' produces 'S' from me, long ahead of 'Edinburgh'.

Question:
Why is London the Capital City of the UK?

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'It's the only thing that worries me about going to Heaven. Would I ever get used to the height.' Norman Clegg

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aliehs
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Mary Louise, thank you for the enlightenment.
I hadn't known he did all that.[or was reported to- do we now take Wikipedia as a fount of all reliable information?] So returning to our original question,
" Why is London the capital of the United Kingdom?"
Personally I blame it on the confluence of maritime traffic coming up into a convenient spot for off loading wares from the countries that are not so fortunate as to be British, the need for a place to be ceremonial, and handy for foreigners { i.e. the non British] to visit. The intention was to give them so much to see that they would not attempt to invade England's green and pleasant land[ o, alright, and we can include Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland] and a preference by the survivors of the wars of the Roses, to have somewhere that was neutral, and could be used for dalliances away from York and Lancaster. If everyone had their drothers, the middle of England is Meriden, and we wouldn't want Warwickshire spoilt, would we?
Actually it all comes back to the Romans and their insistence on centralisation. [and baths].

So, having completely ignored the seriousness of the query, time for the next[ and I did warn you:
"SHOULD WE TAKE WIKIPEDIA AS THE FOUNT OF AALL INFORMATION , HOLUS-BOLUS?"

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jacobsen

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"SHOULD WE TAKE WIKIPEDIA AS THE FOUNT OF AALL INFORMATION , HOLUS-BOLUS?"

Or was that HOCUS-POCUS?

Not all information, but it's at least as reliable as fake news and some pronouncements of the Boris/Donald variety. Donald, as we know, can only string 40 characters together, so he at least can't "contribute" to Wikipedia. Boris strings far too many, but the generally staid style of Wiki seems to imply that he is not involved. This boosts the potential reliability of Wiki by several hundred percent.

It should also be remembered that history is written by the survivors, so even the non-Wiki books of knowledge could themselves turn out to be less than reliable. What to believe? Wiki is sooooo convenient.

Why do cats lie, insisting that they haven't been fed a for a month, when their little stomachs are bursting (metaphorically)?

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But God, holding a candle, looks for all who wander, all who search. - Shifra Alon
Beauty fades, dumb is forever-Judge Judy
The man who made time, made plenty.

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L'organist
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posted by aliehs
quote:
Are you familiar with the Flanders and Swann song: The English are best. I think it's official title is a Song of National Patriotism
Almost: it is A Song of Patriotic Prejudice

Black spider memo is the term used by some politicians and civil (!) servants to describe notes and letters from The Prince of Wales on subjects of concern to him which they consider to be outside his
remit of being a member of the royal family.

IMO the pejorative is rather unfair since in many instances he is only seeking information about affairs and concerns which arise through his charitable work or from having extensive landholdings in areas of deprivation, both rural and urban.

But there you go: our civil service (the correct descriptive for whom is that they are Crown Servants) is always self-described as apolitical but having known some fairly high-flying mandarins over the years I know this is an in-joke.

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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jacobsen

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Just in case the thread goes badly astray:-

Why do cats lie, insisting that they haven't been fed a for a month, when their little stomachs are bursting (metaphorically)?

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But God, holding a candle, looks for all who wander, all who search. - Shifra Alon
Beauty fades, dumb is forever-Judge Judy
The man who made time, made plenty.

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aliehs
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The best answer would be that it is an inherited gene,springing from their primeval development, to never allow sources of food to be ignored; that there is always a spare mouthful to be taken advantage of, which might be the difference between starvation and survival. A second reason is of course to demonstrate that they are the masters/mistresses of the household, and having graced an establishment with their favour, they deserve recompense, recognition, and rewards, preferably edible.
Isn't it a popular saying that a cat owns a human, not the other way round? Not for the feline to be a slavish adherent as dogs are.

now to a different topic:
WHY ARE URBAN MYTHS SO POPULAR?

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Firenze

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When we look at population distribution maps of the UK, there are a lot more people living in urbs than rus as the Romans would have said, when they were here. Indeed, they did much to popularize the city what with houses where the roof was more than four feet from the floor and public baths with hot and cold running water. This last puzzled the Anglo-saxons (as witness the Old English poem ‘The Ruin’) whose grasp of plumbing, and indeed washing generally, was rudimentary. Indeed the Normans may have been so keen on building castles just to get away from the smell of the locals. The Middle Ages did see the reintroduction of the bath, though even on a good day you would likely be about the fourteenth crusader to have used that particular tub of water. By the 16th century people were looking askance at water (Fish fuck in it, you know) and by the 18th were covering themselves in flour to avoid washing. By the next century it was bear grease and being sewn into flannel every autumn. But on the other hand, all education was based on The Classics. So while everyone smelt like fortnight-old fish guts, they could recite Hesiod’s Theogony by heart.

Hence, as you can clearly see, the rise of urban myths.


We have waterboarding and snowboarding, but why no iceboarding?

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aliehs
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The answer , dear friends is simple. I will not try to be obscurantist, obfuscate, or bewilder, but explain in the simplest "Noddy" terms I may find.
You are all intelligent people, and you all know that Ice is but one form of water. It is ephemeral. It melts. Boarding it would mean the application of friction to the ice, thus melting it in the process, there is, thus no ice to board.
Snow boarding of course, requires less contact for the solidified water [ I believe with a different molecular structure] with the said board, whilst the aerialist is performing his/her acrobatics. It is usually conducted on a down hill run, so that prolonged contact is averted.

Water boarding is a completely different matter, involving torture of poor benighted prisoners, and I would not recommend its implementation to any soul.In fact we should take a stand against waterboarding and the bullies who use it. But in the spirit of forgiveness, perhaps they are in torment themselves. And if not now, they will be.

So:Onward to the next question:

wHAT DOES THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE IN TERMS OF WORLD CO-OPERATION?

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Boogie

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Cooperation is a process by which the components of a system work together to achieve the global properties. In other words, individual components that appear to be self contained and independent work together to create a highly complex, greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts system. The phenomenon is generally known as 'emergence' and is considered an outcome of self-organisation. Co-operation is a much mooted idea, main one specific form of cooperation in animals is kin selection, which can be defined in order to enhance fitness for the work ahead.

Why does coffee taste so goooood?

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Sioni Sais
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Coffee tastes good for the same reason that cake, chocolate, cheese, good red meat, bacon and the finest beers, wines and spirits do.

None of them are especially good for us. Not in the quantity that we might like to consume them in anyway. Quite a few are addictive or cause some degree of dependency.

My question is:

What is it with Pulled Pork? I don't recall seeing or hearing anything about it until recently and now it's everywhere.

(Note I'm a Brit: Americans have probably known all about it since the days of Davy Crockett).

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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aliehs
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Or , for that matter, "pulled" anything?
And what relation does it have to beef jerky, or any of the other jerkies?
Are they the same? or are they different techniques of preserving meat? Except that Pulled meats seem to be soft rather than tough like jerkies. And dogs eat treats called jerkies.

Who pulls them? And with what? Is there a wringer out there somewhere? Is it pulled cooked or raw?
And who jerks?

I have no answers, but am pleased you raised the issue.

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sld2A

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jacobsen

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quote:
Originally posted by aliehs:
Or , for that matter, "pulled" anything?
And what relation does it have to beef jerky, or any of the other jerkies?
Are they the same? or are they different techniques of preserving meat? Except that Pulled meats seem to be soft rather than tough like jerkies. And dogs eat treats called jerkies.

Who pulls them? And with what? Is there a wringer out there somewhere? Is it pulled cooked or raw?
And who jerks?


I have no answers, but am pleased you raised the issue.

It's a no-brainer, aliehs. They are pulled on a pulley, by the person or person operating the barbeque. This is clearly a development of the system whereby a dog turned the roasting spit in the medieval kitchen. Early mechanisation involving animal/human effort leading eventually to full mechanisation involving water or electricity.
turnspit dog

Why do people with cream coloured carpets drink red wine?

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But God, holding a candle, looks for all who wander, all who search. - Shifra Alon
Beauty fades, dumb is forever-Judge Judy
The man who made time, made plenty.

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Bishops Finger
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The owners of the said carpets are far too sensible to drink red wine, however wholesome, godly, and in accordance with Bible teaching, such wine-bibbing may be.

No, alas - it is the Stupid Guest, who brings with him (or her - one must remain Impartial) to the dinner party a bottle of the said red wine, who then proceeds to look upon it to such an extent that he (or she) becomes befuddled, and even more Stupid, spilling (!) the otherwise innocuous beverage upon the cream carpets of their Host's otherwise and heretofore unsullied dining room.

It is that this point that the Host will summon the Butler to remove the agonisingly obvious and, indeed, awful stains, and the Hostess will call for the house copy of Mr. Bradshaw's Railway Guide, in order to ascertain the time of the Next Train.

The Stupid Guest will then be shown (oh-so-politely) the Door, and asked, when next passing the House, to continue to so pass.

Why are cows not yellow?

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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Firenze

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It’s probably widely known that the reason gentlemen wear black evening dress was in imitation of the hero of a popular novel of the 1st half of the 19th century by either Disraeli or Bulwer-Lytton. People were much more influenced by literature in those days. As were cows. By virtue of a kind of morphic reasonance (since cows didn’t read much) it got about that either b/w or beige were the only acceptable bovine liveries. Cattle were also much influenced in their view on modern art by Sir Alfred Munnings whose disparagement of Picasso is too well know to need repeating here. Hence Kandinsky’s representations of, say, blue cows was deeply resisted.

Why is the handbasket the most popular Hellward conveyance?

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Firenze:
Why is the handbasket the most popular Hellward conveyance?

A handbasket is in fact not the same as a handsaw which Hamlet is famously able to tell from a hawk, although some readers think that Shakespeare in fact wrote herneshaw, which is an archaic word for a young heron. Others suppose that Hamlet meant instead of hawk, hulk, which some have supposed to be derived from an ancient Germanic word cognate with Hell. There are supposed to be many ways to hell mostly paved with good intentions. As to why a handbasket should be particularly concerned with good intentions, good intentions are earnest. It may be conjectured that Earnest in Wilde's eponymous play was originally to be found in a handbasket, which would indeed be a better fit for a baby, before the original actor playing Lady Bracknell insisted on 'handbag' to raise a greater laugh from the now well-known line.

Why are there wasps?

[ 17. February 2018, 22:32: Message edited by: Dafyd ]

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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jacobsen

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Why are there wasps?

Whereas the bee is a wise and noble insect, prepared to lose its life in stinging off an intruder to the hive, the wasp is a sneaky, predatory Bill Sykes of an insect with no sense of responsibility and certainly no conscience. The bee will lay down its life for its hive-mates, but the wasp stings malice aforethought and passes on regardless. It is the underworld of the insect hierarchy, as the sneak thief, bag snatcher and random murderer are of the human world. They practise free will, and we can only hope that they will come to a sticky end on the edge of a jam jar which they are doomed eternally to try and enter without success. Look upon the wasp, ye sinners, and repent before it is too late. The wasp's function is to stand as an Awful Warning to the unregenerate.

Why is the end of the day used as a clincher to an argument?

[ 17. February 2018, 23:21: Message edited by: jacobsen ]

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But God, holding a candle, looks for all who wander, all who search. - Shifra Alon
Beauty fades, dumb is forever-Judge Judy
The man who made time, made plenty.

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Bishops Finger
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Yours is an excellent question, O Dear Enquirer after Truth, and I shall do my best to elucidate, for your edification.

The incontrovertible and unassailable fact is that there is simply no time available after the end of the day in which to take any argument, be it ever so humble, or ever so vast, to its logical end.

Any opposing assumption is entirely erroneous, nay, egregious, as the human mind and body, at the end of the natural, waking day, must, by Almighty God's benign design, be composed for rest and sleep.

On the other hand, unfortunately, there are, in this Vale of Tears, far too many people who simply cannot - or, through sheer bloodymindedness, will not - accept that the setting of the sun is a sign from God that all wrath, malice, wickedness, disagreements, dissensions, arguments, and general nastiness, MUST be set aside to allow the mind and body to take the natural rest and repose to which I have already alluded.

What is truth?

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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Whereas it may be readily assumed that truth is the natural negation of untruth, lying or mendacity, in point of fact it could commonly be regarded as the telling of alleged or so-called “facts” which, although accepted as veracious by the majority of the populace, may or may not prove amenable to the rigorous inspection of supposedly independent and hypothetically objective observers who, both by their selection and their potential influence on the events being witnessed, may be have their reliability questioned to a greater or lesser extent, notwithstanding the credulity (or lack of it) which may be discerned within the aforementioned populace.

Who killed Cock Robin?

[ 18. February 2018, 13:22: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Firenze

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Avian Noir is set to be this season’s must-see TV. Scandanavian psychopaths and hand-knitted jumpers have reached saturation. Now it’s time for arboreal detection, hedgerow forensics and the international pursuit of migratory malefactors.

I could tell you who killed Cock Robin, but I won’t. Watch it for yourself.

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?

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jacobsen

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Are you kidding? At this time of year I'd have icicles projecting from every - um - promontory.
No-one who has ever visited Scarborough in winter would dream of repeating the experiment.

Anyway, the fair only runs from May till September. Consult my agent.

Who was the grandmother of invention?

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But God, holding a candle, looks for all who wander, all who search. - Shifra Alon
Beauty fades, dumb is forever-Judge Judy
The man who made time, made plenty.

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aliehs
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Nowt wrong with Scarborough.
[QUOTE] Who were the grandmothers of invention [QUOTE]
Might one suggest that the grandmothers of invention were the grandmothers of inventors. The nurturing of enquiring minds by solicitous attention to their offspring's off spring, with applause for every step in their development, naturally encourages minds to experiment and create.

So

WHY SHOULD WE THINK OUTSIDE THE SQUARE?

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sld2A

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jacobsen

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WHY SHOULD WE THINK OUTSIDE THE SQUARE?

Thinking inside the square has a nasty habit of being two-dimensional and therefor vertically restricted. A box could at least allow us to stand, besides being wind-proof and a shelter from light pollution.

To whom do I have the honour of speaking?

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But God, holding a candle, looks for all who wander, all who search. - Shifra Alon
Beauty fades, dumb is forever-Judge Judy
The man who made time, made plenty.

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Bishops Finger
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Well, first of all, one could say that you have the great and high honour of speaking (in a sense) to Me, as it is I who deign to take the time and trouble to reply to your question.

Further to that, however, it might be supposed that you also have the great and high honour of speaking to the other denizens of the Ship, however many (or few) of them may be reading this latest effusion of bafflegab.

The number of denizens so reading may well be known only to Almighty God, but possibly also to our much-loved Captain Simon (on whom be peace).

Quite what we all (many or few) are to do with the honour bestowed upon us is a secret known only to the angels in Heaven.

What is the point of rats?

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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jacobsen

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What is the point of rats?

Teeth. And claws.


Where, and oh where has my Highland laddie gone?

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But God, holding a candle, looks for all who wander, all who search. - Shifra Alon
Beauty fades, dumb is forever-Judge Judy
The man who made time, made plenty.

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Bishops Finger
Shipmate
# 5430

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This is indeed an important question, at least for the Highland lassie (one presumes, but should not assume) asking it.

Latest reports (unconfirmed) indicate that he's gone wi' streaming banners where noble deeds are done, but this, I regret to inform you, simply raises further questions, to wit:

1. Whose streaming banners are they?
2. Why, and how, are they 'streaming'?
3. Is he perhaps in breezy, but inhospitable, purlieus somewhere?
4. What are the 'noble deeds' referred to?

One hopes and prays that this sad affair does not involve sharp implements...or the Highland lassie (or laddie, if applicable) may well have cause to regret his (or her) absence from his (or her) native heath.

What is the meaning of wood?

IJ

--------------------
Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

Posts: 10124 | From: Behind The Wheel Again! | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged



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