Posts Tagged "Scientist"

You Won’t Believe What Science Now Tells Us

Dear Kid,

I love it when scientists study the obvious (and by “love it” I mean I think it’s ridiculous).

There are all sorts of useful things for scientists to study, like how to cure cancer, how to save the environment, and why anyone would write such a bad ending for Grey’s Anatomy.

Once people figure those things out, we’ll have a much better understanding of the universe.

On the other hand, studying things like “Literacy Improves Chances of Employment” or whether watching Fox News makes you stupid seems like a waste of money because well, DUH.

Dear Scientists: Just to save you some time and effort, eating lots of fattening food makes people heavier, listening to extremely loud music (especially through headphones) for long periods of time does not improve people’s hearing, bathing regularly makes one less likely to smell like a cesspool, and Band-Aids cure boo-boos.

You’re welcome.

Scientists have once again ventured into the land of DUH because they have spent (presumably) valuable time and money studying whether dogs love their masters more than wolves love random strangers. (Seriously. There was a study. Published. And reported on NPR. I’m hoping they talked about it because it was a nice, uplifting, happy bit rather than because they thought it was news.)

Puppy love. Can it get any cuter?Turns out doggies have learned to stare into people’s eyes because that’s what people do, and to avoid eye contact with strange canines because that’s appropriate canine behavior. And it turns out your dog actually does love you as can now be proven scientifically.

Science therefore has now caught up with what every dog owner already knows. We love our dogs and our dogs love us.

Just to be clear—people have known this since the first dinosaur came home with a big eyed bronco-puppy and said, “But mom, he just followed me home! Can I keep him? He loves me!”

And scientists put effort into this.


Love, Mom

i shall take myself for a walk...would you like to accompany me?

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Unicorn on the Moon and the Great Moon Hoax

Dear Kid,

Why there are no unicorns on the moon. DearKidLoveMom.mOnce upon a time (and by “once upon a time,” I mean August 25, 1835), there was an article in the New York Sun (a newspaper) announcing that life had been discovered on the moon. It was the first in a series of six articles the paper ran.

The articles claimed to be reprints from articles written by Dr. Andrew Grant that were published in the Edinburgh Journal of Science (this was credible because Edinburgh is closer to the moon than New York).

In the articles, Dr. Grant described animals on the moon including unicorns, two-legged beavers, and furry, winged humanoids (that looked something like bats). He also described rushing rivers and lush vegetation (obviously the unicorns and beavers liked baths followed by a great veggie dinner).

People loved the stories and bought about a gazillion copies of the Sun. That was fantastic for everyone except Truth who felt ignored since the stories were completely made up. (There had been an Edinbugh Journal of Science, but it had been discontinued about a year earlier. Grant was complete fiction as were the furry, winged critters. The unicorns were fact, but generally overlooked since they blended so nicely with the ground.) Truth kicked a few people around for fun and then went off to cause problems elsewhere.

The Sun ran the articles partly because it seemed like fun (it was), partly in an effort to increase circulation (it did), and partly to make fun of earlier, serious speculations about extraterrestrial life (mission accomplished).

NOTE: While I adore fiction (especially fiction with furry creatures and two-legged beavers), “making things up” is not widely recognized as an accepted research methodology.

A committee of scientists from Yale (which makes them a Committee), went to New York to see the Edinburgh Journal articles. The Sun employees sent the Committee Members hither and yon, from office to office, from editor to printing area and basically bamboozled them. The Scientists never realized they’d been fooled. The Sun employees had an absolutely marvelous time.

NOTE: Misleading and bamboozling professors is not widely recognized as an accepted methodology for successfully defending research.

A few weeks later the Sun admitted they’d made the whole things up. No one seemed to mind very much except the unicorns, who (once they realized they’d been made up) vanished immediately.

Which is why, O Best Beloved, astronauts never found a trace of unicorns on the moon.

Love, Mom

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