Those who seek answers in the night sky speak of a sign of power, ignored by those who
have forsaken ancient learning...A sign favored by the Sun, but now ignored...A thirteenth sign,
Ophiuchus, the Snake charmer, the forgotten sign of the Zodiac... Of course those who seek answers
in the night sky also tend to bet the Lotto based on lucky numbers in fortune cookies (Personally, I prefer
the "learn Chinese" fortune cookies better)...You know the sort, they think aromatherapy is an exact
science, and that they were all Charlemagne in a former life...While we're on the subject, I want to know
is how so many people could have been Charlemagne or Julius Caesar in their former lives?!? Now, I'm
not terribly good at math, but even I can figure out that there was only one Charlemagne and probably
several thousand who "were him in a past life", and that doesn't quite add up...If I had to make a guess
at it (and this is just a stab in the dark), I'd wager that it's all a giant steaming pile...But that's just my
take on the matter...What do I know...The apparent position of stellar fusion reactions hundreds and
thousands, and millions of light years away could determine the personality and destiny of individuals
(and by extension, all of human existence) through some undefined and unsubstantiated (and as far
as I know entirely unstated) connection with our terrestrial globe and its inhabitants...it just doesn't
seem terribly likely... ;)
This week we continue with our AUG-STRAVAGANZA bringing you illum-a-licious goodness every
Sunday in the month of August. The dog days of Summer are setting in (unless you're in the Southern
Hemisphere, and then it's winter...I'm not sure what animal goes with winter...Bears maybe...cause they
hibernate you see?...Well, I didn't say it was brilliant or anything...Oh, I'd like to see you do better...
*pause*...yeah, I thought not) and I'm running low on questions (as well as money, time, patience,
deodorant, tact, charm, class, and Pop-Tarts™), so if you've got any new questions send them to me.
Our first question this week (look Ma, no coughing!) comes from MadManMads who asks:
Alright, I'm guessing you're gonna have to do some research for this one - You know those
dead metal guys on horses..., Warheroes, I mean. Well, sometimes, the horse they sit on is standing
quitly. At other times, one of the horses front legs is lifted, and in 3rd times, the horse's got only 2 feet
on the ground, so to speak. Now, I know there is a system to this, I know what it means. But can you
give me the answer? (eg: What does it mean when a dead war heores horse has lifted both legs off the
ground?, what about 1, or none?)
One of my great pleasures in life is refuting widely-held, but entirely false ideas. Too often in our world
it seems that ideas are not judged upon the evidence or upon merit, but rather on a simple counting
heads...If four people say it's true and three say it's false, well then we know what the answer is, don't
we? The "system" that Mads is talking about is generally believed to be this:
No legs raised: Soldier was never hurt in battle
One leg raised: Soldier was injured in battle
Both legs raised: Soldier died in battle
This is what I thought for a very long time, and if you ask anyone, about the only answer you'll get is the
one that I just gave you (you're also likely to get a number of "huh?"s and "please go away...I mean it"s).
However, this "established tradition" does not seem to be supported by the facts...For instance, only
about 1/3 of all of the statues in Washington DC (a town littered with such statues) conform to these
"rules" (which is equal to chance...and don't write to tell me that chance is 1 in 9, not 1 in 3...instead
take a basic statistics course)...The place you'll find the most agreement is in the Gettysburg Memorial,
and even there you'll find those that do not conform...European statues of this sort in general follow
along with Washington's statues, roughly equaling chance...So, to answer the question, it means
nothing, except in the 1/3 of statues that conform to chance when it means that the sculptor happened
to match with the "code"...Ah well, we can still believe that Walt Disney had his head frozen after his
death if we want...That won't be true either, but what the hey...If we could only say that about Ted
Woohoo, nothing like a good de-bunking to get your juices flowing (and no, that's not dirty...but you
evidently are)...Moving on to slightly more substantiated information, our second question this week
comes from Aliera E'Keiron who asked:
Where in the ocean do Blue Whales go to, to breed? (Good luck on this one.)
Now, from the way that the question was asked, I may not be giving an answer specific enough to
satisfy Aliera, but here goes...Blue Whales, the largest animal currently on the earth (to the best of our
knowledge), the largest mammal to ever inhabit the earth (to the best of our knowledge), and perhaps
the largest animal to ever inhabit the earth (to the best of our knowledge), spend the year moving
in between the chilly waters of the arctic and antarctic regions. During this course of this journey the
whales, generally between 60-100 feet long and up to 100 tons, move through the oh-so-comfy tropical
waters near places like Hawaii and the Marianas (were that we were all so lucky!). It is in these warm
tropical waters that blue whales mate and calf (i.e., alternately get it on and give birth). Beyond this
whales don't seems to have any "specific" place that they go, and beyond the slightest pattern there
doesn't even seem to be a preference among individual whales for any specific place...So, the answer
would be "tropical waters"...If you're looking for something along the lines of "the Club Med in Cancun",
sorry, can't help, they don't plan that well...they have a really bad travel agent...plus, the last few
years they've used Expedia.com to get those stand-by tickets, and you never know where you're going
to lay over with those...
Nevertheless, I did have to research that (which was pretty cool, whales rock), and for the challenge
you have provided, I salute you!
Our smartass this week (soooo good to get rid of that cough) is Stuart Wright, who has a few mildly
annoying questions for us this week...Rather than deal with them one by one, they're all so similar, I
figured that I'd address all of them at once...Stuart asks:
What is my girlfriends name? What temperature is reached in a particle accelerator when
molecules achieve light speed? Which came first the chicken or the egg?
The answer is sir Isaac Newton...all three questions...Sir Isaac Newton...at first I was thinking Richard
Burton, but once I thought about it, it became crystal clear...yep, Sir Isaac Newton...*pause*...moving
Boys and girls, it's time for the GET SOME FREAKIN' CULTURE CORNER...This week we have
an item of historical significance, history being a essential component to the liberal arts (the body of
knowledge and skills that free men possess...what sets the free apart from the bound). Part of the
history of the United States is a relatively shameful tradition of racial segregation and discrimination...
This is not a uniquely American tendency, and most societies have some history of this inequity...In
US history a wide variety of individuals, both famous and unknown, dedicated their lives to resolving
this inequity, to eliminating this ill...One such man was the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who
eventually gave up his life to see human equality realized...We've got a .wav file of his most famous "I
Have a Dream" speech...If you have never heard this speech in its entirety, you should...It speaks to
ideas still valid and unfortunately necessary today...Hear it here
It's difficult to get goofy after such a serious subject like that, but we're gonna try anyway...Last week
we began a new section, and once again this week we bring you some more COMPLETE AND UTTER
GIBBERISH AND ENTIRELY USELESS CARP!!! This week's carp comes from Atlantic Monthly.com
I give you the "Table of Rejected Elements"
I love the fact that there could be a Byzantium Bosporide...of course I'm a history geek, so I could just
be me...in any case, let's move on to this week's quote contest...I'm not sure if it was
the difficulty of the quote or the short time period for entries but I only got a few correct answers, but
one's all it takes (just like with pregnancy) and this week's winner is Gabriel Syme (which also assists
in the "making the article actually be about the game" quest) who correctly identified the Philosopher-
Emperor Marcus Aurelius as the man who said "The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing"
Congratulations Mr. Syme, are we still on for lunch Thursday?...*pause*...waiting for people to get the
reference...*pause*...Okay, this week I really was working on a new title for the quote contest, but uh,
something happened...I'm not exactly sure (it happened really fast), but I'm sure it was one of these
My dog ate the title...
My cat ate the title...
Gwog ate the title...
My dog ate Gwog...
The title ate Gwog...
Eight Gwogs ate eight dog's eight cats...
Like I said...one of those...any way, the results the same as it always is...
**INSERT CONTEST NAME HERE**
Like a warm blanket of routine and unchanging stagnancy...lovely...Here's this week's quote:
"Great Moments in Literature: In 1936, Ernest Hemingway, while trout fishing, caught a carp and
decided not to write about it."
This one's pretty tough, and I'll be impressed if more than a few people get it...If you do know who said
that, let me know.