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Tuesday, May 22, 2007Unfolding Stories
A kindergarten pupil told his teacher he'd found a cat. She asked him if it was dead or alive.
"Dead." she was informed.
"How do you know?" she asked her pupil.
"Because I pissed in its ear and it didn't move" answered the child innocently.
"You did WHAT?!?" the teacher exclaimed in surprise.
"You know", explained the boy, "I leaned over and went 'Pssst!' and it didn't move."
A small boy is sent to bed by his father. Five minutes later.... "Da-d...."
"I'm thirsty. Can you bring a drink of water?"
"No. You had your chance. Lights out."
Five minutes later: "Da-aaaad....."
"I'm THIRSTY. Can I have a drink of water??"
"I told you NO! If you ask again, I'll have to spank you!!"
Five minutes later......"Daaaa-aaaad....."
"When you come in to spank me, can you bring a drink of water?"
An exasperated mother, whose son was always getting into mischief, finally asked him, "How do you expect to get into Heaven?"
The boy thought it over and said, "Well, I'll run in and out and in and out and keep slamming the door until St. Peter says, "For Heaven's sake, Dylan, come in or stay out!'"
One summer evening during a violent thunderstorm a mother was tucking her son into bed. She was about to turn off the light when he asked with a tremor in his voice, "Mommy, will you sleep with me tonight?".
The mother smiled and gave him a reassuring hug.
"I can't dear" she said. "I have to sleep in Daddy's room".
A long silence was broken at last by his shaky little voice: "The big sissy".
It was that time, during the Sunday morning service, for the children's sermon. All the children were invited to come forward. One little girl was wearing a particularly pretty dress and, as she sat down, the pastor leaned over and said, "That is a very pretty dress. Is it your Easter Dress?".
The little girl replied, directly into the pastor's clip-on microphone, "Yes, and my Mom says it's a bitch to iron.".
1. Save the whales. Collect the whole set
2. A day without sunshine is, like, night
3. On the other hand, you have different fingers.
4. I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.
5. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
6. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
7. I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe.
8. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be
misquoted, then used against you.
9. I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be without sponges.
10. Honk if you love peace and quiet.
11. Remember half the people you know are below average.
12. Despite the cost of living, have you noticed how popular it
13. Nothing is foolproof to a talented fool.
14. Atheism is a non-prophet organisation.
15. He who laughs last thinks slowest.
16. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
17. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
18. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the
19. I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.
20. I intend to live forever - so far so good.
1. Growing tomatoes in a bra
This is the first time I heard of anything like this…although, it seems to be well-known among folks who grow tomatoes (read this for example - look for the heading “Large tomatoes will require support”). Tomato plants don’t have a very strong stem and usually bend (sometimes break) under the weight of the growing tomatoes - especially due to the larger tomatoes. Generally, “stakes” are used to provide some support to the stem (see the image below) - so as to keep the tomatoes off the soil. The book goes a step further and suggests tying a used/worn-out bra between two stakes, in such a way that the cups supports large tomatoes. If that’s difficult to visualize, here is a quick schematic that I sketched in Powerpoint.
Now, imagine you are having an awesome BLT (bacon, lettuce, and tomato) sandwich and totally appreciating the juicy tomatoes - and then your host, very considerately, announces “Oh those?…those were grown in a bra“. I would love to see the expression on your face after that.
2. Getting your flowers from the dead
This comes under the heading “Even funerals have a bright side”. Flowers used in a funeral are usually dumped in the trash after the proceedings. It is illegal in most states for funeral homes and florists to resell or reuse these flowers (thankfully!). The book suggests that you get in touch with a funeral home and ask them if they can send the flowers to you instead of throwing them away. Now, I consider myself frugal as far as the conventional definition of “frugality” is concerned…but this thing goes beyond me.
3. Using diapers as water reservoirs for plants
This is again in the context of tomatoes (is tomato gardening so popular? - there are a lot of tips and tricks in the book about growing tomatoes). According to the book, you can reduce the frequency of watering tomato plants by placing the absorbent material from a disposable diaper underneath the soil, and then planting your tomato plant on the top. Whenever you water the the plant, some of the water will be absorbed by the soil and the rest will be absorbed by the diaper material. When the soil dries out, the roots can still suck up water from soaked diaper (scientifically, when the soil dries out, the soil itself sucks up the water from the diaper - which is analogous to how a candle wick draws up wax - by capillary action). This way you could probably get away with watering just a couple of times a week.
4. Cleaning a not-so-valuable painting with your spit
Don’t try this with valuable paintings - your saliva will devalue it (?). Here is what the book suggests:
“Moisten a swab in your mouth and use it to brush away the dirt from the paint (your saliva will work as a mild cleanser). Take a drink every so often to keep your mouth moist (in other words to generate more saliva!) ….and be careful not to put the used swab back in your mouth.“
A British Columbia teenager's dream trip to Africa turned into a nightmare when bacteria began eating her eyes.
Trasey Plouffe, 18, lost her sight three weeks ago and nearly had to have her right eye removed after bacteria destroyed both her corneas.
"I felt like someone had glass and was scraping away my eyes," she said.
It started when Plouffe flew to Nairobi, Kenya, in January, where she volunteered in an orphanage. During her 11-week stint, she met a Mexican woman named Maria and the pair decided to backpack to a remote beach on the island of Zanzibar.
"Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to go to Africa," Plouffe said this week after returning to her home in Kelowna, B.C.
At the end of March, Plouffe and Maria backpacked to the bustling Tanzanian community of Stone Town, and then to isolated Zanzibar -- famous for its beautiful white sand beaches. When Plouffe awoke the next morning, her eyes were burning.
"The veins in my eyelids started to pop out," she said. "I was hoping it would just fade away during the next night."
But the pain intensified, and she went to a local first-aid station for help.
"The guy didn't even speak English. He looked at my eyes and I didn't even know what he was saying," she said.
Pus started secreting from her eyes, making it difficult for her to close and open her eyelids. A small hole became visible in her eyeball.
"The bug eats away so fast," she said. "I went insane just from the pain."
Plouffe started rubbing her eyes, spreading the bacteria, which was later identified by doctors as pseudomonas aeruginosa -- an opportunistic pathogen that takes advantage of breaks in the body's defences and can strike soft tissue, the respiratory system, bones and joints.
It's not a secret that the general population hangs on to no end of non-scientific beliefs despite contrary evidence; the Nobel Intent forums have been visited by proponents of homeopathy and intelligent design, to give just two examples. Two developmental psychologists at Yale are now suggesting these and many other non-scientific beliefs—their list includes "unproven medical interventions; the mystical nature of out-of-body experiences; the existence of supernatural entities such as ghosts and fairies; and the legitimacy of astrology, ESP, and divination"—all originate in childhood. Becoming scientifically literate, in their view, requires overcoming our early mental development.
They argue that most resistance to scientific ideas derives from what children learn before they get exposed to science. They point out that children have some understanding of solids and gravity and recognize that people act with distinct goals in mind. These implicit understandings are enough to help them navigate the physical and social worlds successfully.
The problem is that many of these implicit understandings wind up being limited or misleading. As an example, they note that the early understanding of gravity keeps most children from comprehending the spherical nature of earth until they are over eight years old. Prior to that, they are apparently prone to coping with this conflict in creative ways: the authors note that some will draw the earth as a sphere with a flattened top and suggest that's where the people live.
For concepts that students are constantly exposed to, like a spherical earth, the scientific understanding will gradually prevail. But some of the less prevalent aspects of childhood's intuitive understanding can last well into adulthood. The authors cited a paper that showed that many college students erroneously believe that a ball traveling through a curved tube will continue to travel on a curved path once it exits.
The authors go into extensive details about two cases: rampant teleology and mind-body dualism. Children tend to believe that every object has a specific purpose or function, which fits in nicely with the teleological view of life espoused by many forms of creationism, such as intelligent design. They also view the mind and brain as operating on different levels and performing distinct functions. Among their examples, the authors note that preschoolers believe that the brain is involved in analytical tasks such as math but plays no role in behavioral activities like pretending to be a kangaroo. They suggest that this produces a tendency to accept various forms of mysticism, such as astrology and psychic powers.
So, is society hopelessly stuck in the grasp of our childhood intuitions? The authors argue not, as the age with which children can deal with a spherical earth varies by country, as do the rates of acceptance of evolution. They propose a few factors that contribute to these differences. For one, they emphasize the role of general cultural acceptance. Nobody argues about the existence of germs or electricity, and children are constantly warned against these invisible menaces. For the authors, it's no surprise then that the ultimate acceptance of the science behind them tends to be high.
But many scientific fields, like climate and evolution, a detailed understanding is impossible to generate through experience and is beyond the education of most people. To confuse matters further, people receive conflicting messages as they mature. For evolution, they may receive no message at all or have the scientific understanding of it presented as a belief. In these situations, scientific knowledge is often presented by assertion, and its acceptance depends on the level of trust in the people doing the asserting.
Twin brothers Raymon and Richard Miller are the father and uncle to a 3-year-old little girl. The problem is, they don't know which is which. Or who is who.
The identical Missouri twins say they were unknowingly having sex with the same woman. And according to the woman's testimony, she had sex with each man on the same day. Within hours of each other.
When the woman in question, Holly Marie Adams, got pregnant, she named Raymon the father, but he contested and demanded a paternity test, bringing his own brother Richard to court.
But a paternity test in this case could not help. The test showed that both brothers have over a 99.9 percent probability of being the daddy— and neither one wants to pay the child support. The result of the test has not only brought to light the limits of DNA evidence, it has also led to a three-year legal battle, a Miller family feud and a little girl who may never know who her real father is.
"'Did you sleep with him [Richard Miller] while in Sikeston for the rodeo?'," Cameron Parker, Richard's lawyer, said she asked Holly Marie Adams in 2003 court testimony, to which she answered "'Yes ma'am.'" "She then said she went to appellant's [Raymon Miller's]home where they had sex later that night or early the next morning," Parker said.
Asked if it is true that he did at one time formally date Adams, Richard Miller told ABC News, "Well, if you call that dating." Raymon confirms that he never dated Adams in any sense, but that they were "messing around."
Courtroom Double Trouble
As soon as Raymon was asked to pay child support, he demanded that he and his brother both take a paternity test. When the paternity test came back with the same results, he took the matter to the courts where Judge Fred Copeland ruled that even in light of the identical DNA tests and overlapping relationships, Raymon would remain the legal father of the child. Raymon hopes to continue appealing the decision.
"I want to go to the Supreme Court," Raymon told .