Posts Tagged Studies

Rollin’ Hogwarts Like a Wizard.

Or: Sorting Your Way to a More Successful Tomorrow

So you got your acceptance letter to magic school.  Congratulations.  You may think the program is so easy a kid with no prior knowledge of the subject could just roll in there and become the best at everything.

You’re probably right.  But with that road comes angst and pain and constant mockery from a smarmy kid who had Miley Cyrus’ look down pat long before Miley Cyrus got into whatever the heck she’s been doing for the past few years.

Real wizards plan ahead.  And there’s really only one subject in which you must be well-versed.

Houses.

There are four of them.  Slytherin, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Gryffindor.  And when you arrive, you will be assigned to one by a hat.

That’s right, your future rests with a piece of clothing, and if you’re not prepared, you could end up doomed to seven years (or eight movies) of studies with the wizard equivalent of Scrappy Doo, or the kids from Full House.  As you can tell, this is a serious matter.  But if you play the game correctly, you could win the easiest seven years of your life.

“How?” you ask, in your squeaky, ten-year-old voice.  Simple.  Go Slytherin, and look socially acceptable by comparison.

Here’s what you face in each of the four houses.

Ravenclaw: Emos and goths.  Too broody, plus you could probably use the sun.
Hufflepuff:  Theater majors.  This is not Rent.  You are an aspiring wizard.
Gryffindor:  Brown nosers and nerds.  Their life is school.  Memorizing herbology to stay even with everyone else is lame.  And do you really want coursework in sycophancy?
Slytherin:  Sociopaths and morons–the brown ring of scum around the fixture that is Hogwarts.

Essentially, if you choose Slytherin, you commit yourself to a popularity contest against a bunch of disgruntled miscreants who would struggle to match wits with Marmaduke were they allowed an extra seventy or eighty IQ points and a favorable wind.

So go for it.  You can thank me later when you’re Minister of Magic.

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Maybe It’s the Weather?

According to this article (which will be embedded when I’m not using a phone) a few people at MIT have developed the Hardest Tongue Twister Ever.

“Pad kid poured curd pulled cod.”  (You could probably find a similar article by searching that-just a thought)

Except so far I’m not seeing the difficulty.  It’s not difficult at all, and I don’t get it.

So I tried talking like Kennedy, because they’re in Massachusetts.  It’s no harder, although it sounds as weird as ever.

My guess is that either the article is a misprint, they used the wrong group of guinea pigs, or (most likely) that this is just one giant prank/experiment to see how long it takes for the internet to disseminate total gibberish.

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One-eyed, One-horned Eater of Flying Purple People
-or-
The Necessity of Clarity in Nomenclature
-or-
How to Profit from Uncle Sam’s Dissipation and Survive on Marginal Writing Ability

So I’ve been back to Popular Politics and Such Science again, in part because there are still occasional science-like updates despite their best efforts.

Article one: Government Should Fund Unpopular Science

Article two: Imposing Restrictions on What Gets Funding Is Bad

The fiscally conservative part of me thinks the idea of cementing the continuation of funding for studies of duck genitals for the sake of whatever it is that studies like that will do for the common good (or for the sake of science, and as we all know part of America has a massive science-related inferiority complex entirely due to us #&$% creationists trying to make children hate all science and entirely not because of one or more systemic problems with America’s education system)–securing funding for that sort of thing seems, to put it quite mildly, frivolous.   Both the government and the American scientific machine have much more important problems to deal with; in the case of the government, funding studies of duck parts might be exacerbating (if only slightly) an increasingly problematic budget issue.

The rest of me has decided that funding that kind of silt is awesome, because I can make money from it.

How, you ask?  Simple.  By writing a grant proposal that somehow manages to stand above research on anatid anatomy.  I don’t foresee much difficulty.

So I will propose an expedition to Bora Bora to answer a pressing scientific question:  Are there suitable ways to distinguish between the varieties of one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eaters? 
As you may well know, in the song from decades ago the eponymous creature happens to eat purple people.  For most of us, this would not present any major trouble.  I am not purple, and I do not know any purple people.

(Why undertake the study in Bora Bora, you ask, though the answer should be quite obvious?
Because it’s for science, and science says exotic things seem to hang out in the tropics.  Also, coincidentally, Bora Bora is what happens when love gets landscaping priviliges.)

However…  The title of the aforementioned song suggests the existence of as many as five different creatures, all essentially indistinguishable by common name.   (I’m unaware of any scientific names for any of them-this would be rectified by the end of the study.   Everyone knows that scientific names for animals are nothing more than a couple of keyboard accidents with –us added to the end.  Unless you’re a toad, or a gorilla, or a bison, or never mind shut up.)

The creature could be:

1.  Purple, having one eye and one horn, known to fly and eat people.
2. One-eyed and one-horned, known to fly and eat purple people.
3. One-eyed and one-horned, known to eat flying purple people.
4. One-eyed, known to eat one-horned, flying purple people.
5. Completely unidentified, possibly amorphous, and known to eat one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people.

Clearly, the last four are unlikely to pose a danger to the general public.  Following the suggestion of Popular Science, however, this fact alone does not render further studies undeserving of public funds.

In fact, such a study could prove useful to society anyway.

A creature known to eat violet, airborne, cyclopean humans with keratin production disorders would have a great deal of trouble locating food.  Any child born in a developed nation with all of these genetic mutations would be sold to the circus; a counterpart in a developing country would likely be removed from the village and burned under a full moon.
The chances that one of these creatures (the specific subspecies of flying purple people eater) would be in the right location at the right time to feed on said child are ludicrously small.   A possible explanation for the creatures’ survival (that doesn’t involve ridiculous odds or the need to feed once every three-and-a-half millenia) would be an innate ability to smell genetic mutations over great distances.  This ability, if harnessed, could be used medically, to provide early cancer warnings or screen for late-onset genetic disorders.

On a separate note, imagine you’re a purple person with two horns.  If one of them is removed and you hop onto a Qantas jet and head to Sydney, are you then vulnerable to attack?
Maybe you’re simply a purple person, and your feet leave the ground.  Is this enough to provoke an eater of flying purple people?  ICBMs operate similarly, leaving under their own power and following a ballistic path back to earth, and I doubt anyone would argue against calling it flight.

Mind you, if that proposal falls through, I have more.

Is it possible to go back in time by standing at the north pole and spinning clockwise?  Would the south pole behave similarly, spun in an unnatural counterclockwise circle?

Maybe you’re still awake at this point.  You’ve no doubt concluded that these are all valid questions meriting public monetary support.
Maybe you’re busy scheming to write grant proposals of your own.   By all means, do so!  Share the idea with your friends!  Write until your hands wear thin from rubbing against so much tree matter or poking all of those keys.

I only expect a place on your expedition if you get funded.

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