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www.trust-me - I-know-everything.com

For people who need answers to answerless questions
  [vote for,

I keep hearing scientists on the radio being asked questions like "why do men have nipples?" etc.

Surely our nations keenest brains could use their time more beneficially by researching new stuff rather than solving populist stuff like this. It's a kind of intellectual spamming - slowing down important work - and for that reason I think the scientific community needs www.trust-me-I-know-everything.com

My theory is that people who ask quesions like "why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the tube" don't have any practical use for an explaination - they simply get pleasure from seeking the answer. The thrill is in the chase.

So my website would be hosted on the slowest, most cranky server in the world. Eventually it would load up a front page with an input box labeled "enter your question here", but before it finished loading, the visitor would be bombarded with pop-up ads which they'd have to battle through.

Of course, the connection would time out before an answer was ever given. Again and again. And again.

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;

The user would be left in a state of nirvana, able to enjoy constant seeking without having to worry about finding an answer. The thrill is in the chase.

Fishrat, Sep 23 2003

Inspiration http://www.bartleby.com/101/625.html
Ode on a Grecian Urn [Fishrat, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Like this except it works. http://www.newscientist.com/lastword/
Browse through using the links on the left. [squeak, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

The Straight Dope http://www.straightdope.com/
"Fighting Ignorance Since 1973" [Laughs Last, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Science Line http://www.sciencenet.org.uk/
closing due to lack of funds... [hazel, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Do penguins have knees? http://www.adelie.p...o.uk/FAQs/knees.htm
[Fishrat, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

The Guardian's "Notes & Queries" column http://www.guardian...uk/notesandqueries/
A slightly more eclectic mix than the New Scientist's:
- Do I need a mobile phone?
- Should I live by a moral code?
- Which deadly sin is most prevalent?
- In an area vulnerable to earthquakes, given a house on two floors, is it safer to sleep on the ground floor or on the upper floor?
- ...
etc. [hippo, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Why do men have nipples? http://www.guardian...,5753,-7531,00.html
(From the Guardian's "Notes & Queries" column) [hippo, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Dr Karl! http://www.abc.net....ence/k2/default.htm
He doesn't know everything, but he knows people who do. [Detly, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Imponderable Questions http://www.imponderables.com/
I love these books :) [ghillie, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Sun cream shocker http://news.bbc.co..../health/3142386.stm
Slightly off topic, see suncream anno... [Fishrat, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

The Great Bellybutton Lint Survey http://www.abc.net....k2/lint/results.htm
2002 Interdisciplinary winner of... [Detly, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

The IgNobel Prizes http://www.improbable.com/ig/ig-top.html
"The Igs honor people whose achievements 'cannot or should not be reproduced.' " [Detly, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Graham Barker's Navel Fluff Page (this is getting silly now) http://www.feargod.net/fluff.html
"Featuring the world's biggest collection of one person's navel fluff (lint), as certified by Guinness World Records." [Detly, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       I dunno. There are questions that niggle away for ages in the back of your mind that I *would* like the answers to. Linked is the "Last Word" section of the online New Scientist which is a kind of forum thingy for questions like this. There are so many readers (many of them scientists of some ilk)that someone is bound to know the answer or at least a bit of it without having to waste any research time. The best ones get printed in the paper version.
squeak, Sep 23 2003

       speak for your elf :)
po, Sep 23 2003

       [UniBubba] Your information is sufficiantly useless, but far too expeditious. Maybe you could leave it with your elf for a while before publishing it?
Fishrat, Sep 23 2003

       OR... the website could answer the question with a convincing answer that will satisfy the visitor's curiosity, even if it's not true.   

       Plus, I read somewhere on this website about male breastfeeding. That might answer your question about why men have nipples.
Pericles, Sep 23 2003

       I did. So there.
Fishrat, Sep 24 2003

       We had a service in the UK called Science Line where you could ring up and pose any science related questions. These would be passed to relevant experts and they would contact you with an answer. Apparently the most commonly asked question was "Do penguins have knees".
hazel, Sep 24 2003

       So you want a knowledge site that doesn't work? What's to stop people from just going to knowledge sites that do work instead?
waugsqueke, Sep 24 2003

       [Hazel] Well, do penguins have knees or not? Suddenly, I NEED to know this. [link] I tried to get an answer from www.trust-me-I-know-everything.com but the damn thing just blasted me with pop-ups.   

       [waugsqueke] It depends on whether you buy into my theory that some people enjoy searching for the answer more than actually finding the answer. If you look at it that way, the a site which actually answers your question is annoying because a) it stops you enjoying your search and b) means you have to go through the palaver of finding a new damn question.
Fishrat, Sep 24 2003

       2 year old: Wot dat, Mummy?
Mummy: Well I won't spoil your fun, keep asking though.
Same 2 year old 30 years on: Wot dat, Mummy?
squeak, Sep 24 2003

       <<I keep hearing scientists on the radio being asked questions like "why do men have nipples?">>   

       Quick survey of the women in the house: all else equal, would you prefer to fuck a man with a) 0, b) 1, c) 2, or d) >2 nipples? Assume maximal bilateral symmetry for all possibilities.   

       My hunch: male nipples are under fairly strong sexual selection, based on their putative indication of their sporters' health and ability to father nicely fertile daughters.   

       I do agree with [Fishrat] that many such 'imponderables' are actually quite ponderable, but their posers may not sincerely -want- to know their answers.   

       And btw, the egg came first. The rooster may have too, but that's another story.
n-pearson, Sep 24 2003

       Yep [Fishrat]. They have knees. Interestingly you have found a website of a lecturer at the Uni where I work. He is obsessed with penguins but also makes icecream with liquid nitrogen. Nice.
hazel, Sep 24 2003

       Small world wide web, eh [hazel]? Does he make liquid nitrogen ice cream specifically for the penguins? Or... oh God... tell me he doesn't make penguin flavoured ice cream?
Fishrat, Sep 24 2003

       I hate to think what Physics lecturers get up to in their spare time...
hazel, Sep 24 2003

       [n-p] I'm now treating you as the official Oracle. Any idea why the sky is blue, or why water ... plughole... hemisphere... losing the will to live...
Fishrat, Sep 24 2003

       I've wondered for a couple of days now... do male penguins have nipples?
Fishrat, Sep 25 2003

       Dr Karl!
Detly, Sep 25 2003

       You miss the point of WHY people like to search for answers. I agree, it's often the searching that's the most intersting part, if you are finding things along the way that add to your knowledge. Nobody I know enjoys the punishment of a crashed connection, but if the site were to offer more complex answers to similar questons, but never quite the right answer to the one you have, then you might have something. Or then again, maybe not. But it would be more than you have now, which is nothing.
oxen crossing, Sep 26 2003

       [Detly] Dr Karl, or rather some of his listeners, were a starting point for this idea. [hippo]'s link is a great example of the primary point of this idea, [oxen], which is to free up our nation's fine scientists to work on more important stuff. I agree the website is not a *perfect* solution. Dr Karl could have turned his considerable talents to curing cancer (let's say) if he wasn't so bogged down explaining the kind of stuff in [hippo]'s link.
Fishrat, Sep 26 2003

       <the primary point of this idea [...] is to free up our nation's fine scientists to work on more important stuff.>   

       If that's the aim, we should start by shutting down halfbakery.
n-pearson, Sep 26 2003

       [Fishrat] I disagree for two reasons :   

       1) Scientists have to keep their mind active, much like athletes have to train every day. Answering questions like these doesn't detract from your time, nor is it a burden... I think you'll find that the scientists that you hear on the radio do other sciency things, but...   

       2) ...what they can do when they're not curing cancer is entertain people and show that science is still interesting and relevant, not dry, academic and arcane. And I believe that this is just as important as curing disease or getting back to my home planet. Because when the $2 billion proposal is presented to parliament/congress for a new shiny atom smasher, we want people to be interested in it.   

       So while Dr Karl isn't probing the intricacies of immunology, he's on the radio, letting the country know that science is actually not so obscure.   

       And, dammit, once again I've taken something too seriously. :P
Detly, Sep 28 2003

       Well, “It’s not the kill, it's the thrill of the chase”.
Shz, Sep 28 2003

       [UB] //I would rather see money and resources go towards education of people, to prevent diseases, rather than to research to cure preventable disease.// It's a shame we have to choose between the two, but I echo your sentiment.
Fishrat, Sep 29 2003

       My geographic location is possibly my only piece of exclusive knowledge in this entire place. You think I'm going to surrender it that easily? ;)   

       On the subject of prevention, I saw a report in here in the UK today (oh, bugger) which said we may be mistrusting sunblock according to new research, so we're not quite there yet. [link]
Fishrat, Sep 29 2003

       //we may be mistrusting sunblock //   

       I don’t trust it at all. Here’s a rhetorical question: What is it that you can absorb into your skin transparently and prevent the exposure of melanin to UV? - Scary stuff.   

       Amongst other hobbies I perform magic (amateur, for the kids). I used to perform with fire, but have (now being older and hopefully wiser) ceased using fire as I’m convinced that the concoctions I used to prevent skin from burning are more harmful than burning skin.   

       I view sunblock in the same light (no pun intended). Read the ingredients; The stuff isn’t much different than what I used to make, except that it now contains paba, aloe, vitamin E, yada, yada, yada. - Whatever the people want to hear.
Shz, Sep 29 2003

       [UB]Isn't "curing cancer" a euphemism for "do gooder" science? That's what I thought, anyway. "Curing cancer" is good and bad, but that essay is about 600 years long.   

       But I agree with your sentiment (about the lookout fence). IMGO, it would be far, far better for money to go towards (1) Education (2) Education and (3) Palliative care research. Number 3 is an often overlooked subset of medical/disease research, but the one that currently makes the most difference in terms of quality of life.</ot rant>
Detly, Sep 29 2003

       [Detly] In this case, "curing cancer" was a euphemism for "do gooder" science. But to get back on topic, does anyone know why fluff appears in my navel?
Fishrat, Sep 30 2003

       Because it can. You should contemplate it.   

       It's my understanding that penguins do have nipples, from time to time.   

       These would be Snapple® brand, vegemite flavoured, icicle teat-treats, cultivated for the penguins by research scientists in Antarctica when they have extra time on their hands...   

       Well, I guess I would do silly stuff like this also if I lived there and didn't have a hotline to the halfbakery.   

       Fishrat, could this navel fluff of yours be, instead, a rogue speck of fur?
Tiger Lily, Sep 30 2003

       Dr Karl again! (That was deliberate, right? Link to page and IgNobel prizes).
Detly, Sep 30 2003

       [Detly] yup. There's a website somewhere about a bloke who has collected jars of his own navel fluff for the last 20 years, but I can't find it. [Tiger Lily] Certainly not! It's the only bit I'm still shaving. A boy has to maintain *some* standards!
Fishrat, Oct 01 2003

       Collection? *shudder*   

       Link to Graham Barker.
Detly, Oct 01 2003

       [Lint], surely?
Fishrat, Oct 02 2003


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