5 More Dumb Questions With Surprisingly Interesting Answers
It's good to let your mind wander away from the big scary questions of today, like "Where did humanity go so wrong?" and "What did we do to deserve this?" and "Is this Hell?" Take a load off and ask smaller, more fun questions, like "Where does the KKK get their robes?" or "Why is the McFlurry machine always broken?" or "Do Chickens Care That We Take Their Eggs?"
These random questions usually flee my mind before I can do anything about them. Every once in a while, though, I remember to actually look them up and share the answers with you.
Why Do Auctioneers Talk In That Rapid Stream Of Gibberish?
I'm not talking about the quiet, sedate auctions where people with fancy accents that match their fancy suits calmly place multi-million-dollar bids on treasured art, like when Edvard Munch's world-famous painting "The Scream" sold for $119.9 million during a Sotheby's auction in 2012.
I'm talking about the kind where a guy in a cowboy hat uses that weird, fast speech to sell pigs and tractors.
One style seems normal and orderly, while the other one sounds like a guy having a stroke, or perhaps a wizard trying to cast spells on full auto. At what point did American auctioneers decide incomprehensible garbled nonsense was the best way to handle the delicate nature of large sums of money exchanging hands for coveted items? And what exactly are they saying, if there actually are real words in there?
First, the innocent part of the explanation is that they have lots of items to get through and not much time, so talking fast is just about efficiency. But as for why they speed it up to the point where you can barely tell what they're goddamned saying, it's at least partly to shut down your brain's ability to think too hard. The executive director of the Ohio Auction School (one of a couple dozen schools that train auctioneers) thinks it has something to do with mindless compliance, rushing the decision and filling any possible moments of silent contemplation. That sounds more like an admission of guilt that an origin story, but I see that Slate got the same answer talking to a member of the National Auctioneers Association. Talking fast lends a (sometimes false) sense of urgency to paying $2,000 for prized horse cum.
As for what they're saying, auctioneers randomly throw in words like "dollar" or the phrase "would you give" or just the price repeated a bunch in succession, serving no real purpose other than to keep the rhythm going or to lull you into a kind of nervous trance so you won't think twice about buying a knife carved from the bones of a Confederate soldier.
Why Do Letter Grades Skip E And Go Straight To F?
The first four letters of the grading system make sense. We begin at the heights of the letter A, the shining trophy of excellence we all aspire to obtain. B, slightly less so, but still appreciated. C is where we're going to find our future comedy writers. D means the wheels have nearly come off the wagon, but luckily, disaster was averted. And then we skip E for no discernible reason and go directly to F, which people assume means "Failure," but that's idiotic if none of the other letters stand for anything.
Is there a reason we skip E, other than to teach our children a lesson in how you shouldn't expect too much from a poorly funded bureaucracy? Well, at one point, the American grading scales did in fact go A to E. The disappearance of the E and its replacement with F as if we're supposed to believe it's the same letter and don't try to tell me I've been imagining that little stick on the bottom this whole time, can be traced back to Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. In the late 1800s, the school's administration added an F so there'd be six levels (so E became what used to be around the D range).
The change caught on, but by 1930, most schools in America had eliminated the E altogether, because they thought six grades were too many and they were worried students and their parents would assume an E stood for "excellent." By the way, there's no record of any significant number of people misunderstanding the other letters. People could've just as easily assumed A stood for "Amazing," B stood for "Badass," C stood for "Crappy," D stood for "Dipshit," and F stood for "Fucking Idiot," but they didn't. Teachers were afraid people would see an E and assume they were geniuses, which I guess says a lot about why they were E students to begin with.
What Do Professional Athletes Do When They Have To Use The Bathroom During A Game?
The games last hours, the athletes are often in pads that are difficult to get off and on, and it's usually a lengthy walk to the locker room. When do these people use the bathroom? At that level, there's too much on the line to miss a down, an inning, or a few minutes of a quarter. And when's the last time you've heard the announcers say Tom Brady's backup is coming in for a drive because Tom had to take a massive shit?
Football players (the American brain trauma kind) are in fact monsters when it comes to mid-game waste disposal. Some guys piss into Gatorade cups on the sidelines, hidden behind makeshift tents made of towels held by trainers who aren't paid enough to put up with that shit. Some players stuff their crotches with towels that they'll piss into like improvised diapers. Others don't even have the decency to deposit their piss into anything other than their own pants, and let loose all over themselves during games. Watch former Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder gleefully tell an interviewer that he used to piss himself every single game.
Did you see the smile on his face? That's the face of a grown man who got paid millions to piss himself on TV every Sunday.
Meanwhile, former Los Angeles Angels pitcher Jered Weaver ran from the mound to the locker room toilets when he was only three outs away from a no-hitter. If he didn't, he was going to piss his pants during what could be the greatest moment of his professional life. It was probably for the best, since holding in an urgent need to pee can impair cognitive function as much as not sleeping for 24 hours (he got the no-hitter). It's actually surprising that this doesn't happen more often, considering top-level athletes are chugging enough water to fill a kiddie pool and eat so much protein that each of their poops can drive a normal person into madness on sight.
The constant peering eye of the army of cameras capturing every inch of the field is what makes former New England Patriots linebacker Larry Izzo a sideline soiling legend. Coach Bill Belichick supposedly gave Izzo the game ball for taking a shit on the sidelines with no one noticing. These are the kind of heroes we need right now.
Why Does It Take A Dog So Long To Decide Where To Poop?
I walk my dog two or three times a day, which means I get annoyed with her two or three times a day. I know it's not smart to wonder why an animal doesn't have the same instincts I do, but when I want to shit, I go directly to the nearest toilet. Humans can be finicky poopers. Some people can't shit in a public restroom or a restroom that's too dirty or a toilet that isn't theirs. But we're not as finicky as dogs.
Dogs will sniff miles of grass, judging each individual blade in search of that one perfect patch that they can just dump all over. Why are they so picky? Just take your shit so I can pick it up, already.
Along with the basic need to evacuate their bowels, dogs shit for the same reason humans Tweet: It's about communication. A pooping dog is sending a message to any other creature who communicates through olfactory senses. Where they shit plays a big role in what they're trying to say at that moment. When wolves in the wild poop in a large circle around their territory, they're basically posting "Beware of Dog" signs around their property. Dogs spend a lot of time looking for the right spot to deliver their message. To us, it's a pile of dog shit; to them, it's an RSVP to a party at their place next Saturday, BYOB.
When a dog sniffs around, they're reading a community forum of what's been happening in the neighborhood and wondering what they have to add to the conversation. Who's sick? Who's looking for sex? Who's an asshole and who's pretty cool? Who's been sneaking human food? Every sniff is a rub of the chin and a contemplative stare as they ponder whether this is the spot where they're going to shit out an autobiography.
Is Cow Tipping Really A Thing?
A cow standing in a field asleep in the dead of night becomes the foil in a drunken person's mischief. They'll quietly sneak up to the cow and tip the great beast over with a mighty shove in an odd rural attempt at fun. According to lots of movies and TV shows about teenagers, this used to be all the rage. Yet I have never once heard of anyone actually going cow tipping in real life, either in the news or anecdotally. Why don't we hear about real-life rural areas experiencing cow tipping epidemics? Or even just one cow being tipped?
Because it's fake. It's actually almost impossible for a person to tip over a cow with a shove. Someone did the math to prove it.
Two researchers from the University of British Columbia ran the numbers and discovered that no one person can tip a cow. The chances increase when more people help out, but that's assuming the cow is just going to stand there and accept its fate. It won't. It will do the same thing you'd do if somebody tried to tip you over -- brace itself and shift its balance, maybe leaning into the force to counteract it. If you're thinking it won't have time to react because it's sleeping, well, cows actually sleep lying down. You're thinking of horses. And if you try to tip over a sleeping horse, it will kick you in the head hard enough to wipe away your childhood memories.
That's not to say it's absolutely impossible. The research concludes that a cow could theoretically be pushed over; it would just take at least five people working in tandem and doing it quickly, before the cow has a chance to react. This team of backwoods weirdos would need to function as a human battering ram, moving their force in unison at an upward angle. In other words, they'd need to have gotten a ton of practice and/or had extensive training. I supposed the fact that nobody has actually done that is a bit of good news you can take away from this article. You're welcome.
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