Stupid Questions

Ever heard the saying: There is no such thing as a stupid question?

Ever hugged those words to your secret self while your cheeks flame and your lips tremble, while you wish, fervently, that a bus would appear out of nowhere and mow you down?

No?

Rather than assume your imagination is a little less vivid than mine, I’ll go ahead and suggest you actually consider your questions before asking them.

I do, too. Sometimes. But odd questions keep dancing from my brain to the tip of my tongue and tripping through my lips before I can stop them. Thankfully, I have access to the internet.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t believe everything I read online and, trust me, I don’t. Even if the answers to my stupid questions seem utterly plausible and/or really cool. My bullshit sensor is finely tuned. I’m usually the one who points out the hoaxes to my friends. And when researching for a fictional project, I always check my sources.

But for a quick fix, for the answer to most questions, the internet is just the thing!

HadronTake my most recent question: What would happen to a man trapped inside a hadron collider?

(It was a story idea, all right?)

After tossing around a few ideas with a friend (who is not only amazingly tolerant, but used to my odd theories), I opened a browser window and went surfing. To my delight, I found a wonderful video answering a question just like mine. A find like that always deserves a moment of jubilation. Not only am I not the ONLY person to have asked such a weird (stupid?) question, but someone else was sufficiently interested in the answer that they traveled to CERN to interview scientists!

Imagine my thrill. Go on, I dare you.

The video is a thing of awesomeness. Not only does it answer my question, in full and gruesome detail, but the reaction of the scientists is just priceless. NONE of them had considered such a question before. They were surprised anyone would. WHY would you even think about putting your hand in a hadron collider? Why not, I say. Isn’t that what science is all about?

Here’s the video. Enjoy!

Ramble: Dumb Worries

I recently read an article highlighting the 150 or so things definitively smart people worry about. Actually, I didn’t finish reading it. I got bored by number thirty-one, mostly because I didn’t understand some of the answers and others seemed designed to make me feel stupid. Yet others questioned the question and a couple actually made me giggle. I started skimming after the reminder of small apocalypses. I worry about those all the time, I don’t need a reminder smart people are worrying about them as well.

The list, produced by an the online magazine called Edgewhich has been described as smartest website in the world–has been condensed for better digestibility by Vice and begins with: The proliferation of Chinese eugenics, the concern of evolutionary psychologist, Geoffrey Miller. In the first instance, I had never heard of evolutionary psychology. I think I can nut that one out, though. In the second instance, I had to look up eugenics. The word was familiar and in certain context, I might have caught the meaning. Here? No. Thankfully, I have the internet. Right, according to Wikipedia:

Eugenics is the applied science of the bio-social movement which advocates practices that improve the genetic composition of a population, usually a human population.[2][3]

So, wild guess: Mr. Miller is concerned about the (a) practice of genetic manipulation in China? I could be completely off the mark, but assuming I’ve hit the edge of the dart board, I sort of understand the concern. Genetic manipulation could produce some viable nightmares. There are moral issues, sure. It could also produce some pretty fascinating advances in health and medicine. From a writer’s perspective… There are too many ideas to write down. I’ll forget them all before Evernote opens. There is a full explanation of the answer available at Edge. Given I barely understand the concept, I’m not sure I’d understand the rest, however.

Am I being deliberately dumb? Not really, I’m just being lazy, and that’s another worry dictated by the list.

Continue reading “Ramble: Dumb Worries”