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Five is a sufficiently close approximation to infinity.
-- Robert Firth
"One, two, five."
-- Monty Python and the Holy Grail
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Florence Flask was ... dressing for the opera when she turned to her
husband and screamed, "Erlenmeyer! My joules! Someone has stolen my
"Now, now, my dear," replied her husband, "keep your balance and reflux
a moment. Perhaps they're mislead."
"No, I know they're stolen," cried Florence. "I remember putting them
in my burette ... We must call a copper."
Erlenmeyer did so, and the flatfoot who turned up, one Sherlock Ohms,
said the outrage looked like the work of an arch-criminal by the name
of Lawrence Ium.
"We must be careful -- he's a free radical, ultraviolet, and
dangerous. His girlfriend is a chlorine at the Palladium. Maybe I can
catch him there." With that, he jumped on his carbon cycle in an
activated state and sped off along the reaction pathway ...
-- Daniel B. Murphy, "Precipitations"
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For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.
-- H. L. Mencken
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For God's sake, stop researching for a while and begin to think!
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For large values of one, one equals two, for small values of two.
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Fortunately, the responsibility for providing evidence is on the part of
the person making the claim, not the critic. It is not the responsibility
of UFO skeptics to prove that a UFO has never existed, nor is it the
responsibility of paranormal-health-claims skeptics to prove that crystals
or colored lights never healed anyone. The skeptic's role is to point out
claims that are not adequately supported by acceptable evidcence and to
provide plausible alternative explanations that are more in keeping with
the accepted body of scientific evidence.
-- Thomas L. Creed, The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. XII,
No. 2, pg. 215
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FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: #1
A guinea pig is not from Guinea but a rodent from South America.
A firefly is not a fly, but a beetle.
A giant panda bear is really a member of the racoon family.
A black panther is really a leopard that has a solid black coat
rather then a spotted one.
Peanuts are not really nuts. The majority of nuts grow on trees
while peauts grow underground. They are classified as a
legume -- part of the pea family.
A cucumber is not a vegetable but a fruit.
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FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: #44
Zebras are colored with dark stripes on a light background.
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FORTUNE'S GUIDE TO DEALING WITH REAL-LIFE SCIENCE FICTION: #14
What to do...
if reality disappears?
Hope this one doesn't happen to you. There isn't much that you
can do about it. It will probably be quite unpleasant.
if you meet an older version of yourself who has invented a time
traveling machine, and has come from the future to meet you?
Play this one by the book. Ask about the stock market and cash in.
Don't forget to invent a time traveling machine and visit your
younger self before you die, or you will create a paradox. If you
expect this to be tricky, make sure to ask for the principles
behind time travel, and possibly schematics. Never, NEVER, ask
when you'll die, or if you'll marry your current SO.
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FORTUNE'S GUIDE TO DEALING WITH REAL-LIFE SCIENCE FICTION: #2
What to do...
if you get a phone call from Mars:
Speak slowly and be sure to enunciate your words properly. Limit
your vocabulary to simple words. Try to determine if you are
speaking to someone in a leadership capacity, or an ordinary citizen.
if he, she or it doesn't speak English?
Hang up. There's no sense in trying to learn Martian over the phone.
If your Martian really had something important to say to you, he, she
or it would have taken the trouble to learn the language before
if you get a phone call from Jupiter?
Explain to your caller, politely but firmly, that being from Jupiter,
he, she or it is not "life as we know it". Try to terminate the
conversation as soon as possible. It will not profit you, and the
charges may have been reversed.