more from Maximum Fun
Interesting that DeLaplante assumes a biological creature which has ‘evolved’ for the purpose of survival can know truth. Certainly our adapted faculties will help us to survive better than those of our predecessors, but is in no way our evolved brain a guarantor of known truth. In fact, since we are ‘evolved,’ we should not think that we actually can know anything.Welcome to the world of internet rationality geekage. It’s got its own customs. One of its customs is to always try to appear more rational than the other fellow, even if the other fellow does a podcast about critical thinking. Even if you have to resort to scorched-earth type lines about how human brains can’t get truth.
Shakespeare versus Tom Clancy, eh? I admire you, Mark. You're a bozo, but you're a bozo with brass. What's more, you raise a question that deserves an answer. Fact is, neglecting the handful of fey creatures who claim they grokked Shakespeare upon first hearing "to be or not to be," few people get him right out of the box. The obstacle is his lofty language, much of which can only be grasped with footnotes, and sometimes not then.Here’s his opener to a column addressing a question about what kind of fart it would take a 180-pound man to achieve liftoff:
You realize, K., that this question is idiotic. However, that's never stopped us before, and there's no doubt that from a scientific perspective the subject has its points of interest. So I assigned the job to my assistant Una, a professional engineer, who quickly obtained the relevant thrust equations from NASA and got to work computing the necessary forces. While Una and I found the results enlightening, for you — assuming you're the 180-pound man here — it wasn't such a good day.It came as no surprise when I found out The Straight Dope, like many originally text-based internet things, now has a podcast [RSS] [iTunes]. On purely formal grounds, I can’t in good conscience recommend it: it’s just some guy — not, needless to say, the mysterious Adams — reading Adams’ words out loud. (Given infinity more resources, though, I imagine it could make a killer Radio Lab-type audio spectacle.) But if you’re not much for the written word, by all means, don’t hesitate consume a column this delightful ear-style. You even still get “Slug” Signorino’s accompanying goofy illustrations — which, say what you will, I actually find really funny — albeit squished to the dimensions of your mobile audio device’s screen.