Hello all you Hamsters of Curiosity, perpetually running in the Plastic Wheel of Knowledge, overcoming the Muscle Fatigue of Obfuscation, trying to obtain the elusive Sunflower Seed of Truth!
I have a few more questions from you, my dedicated readers, and rather than let you all get into a huff about waiting months before I answer your very important inquiries, I'll put up a few more answers in yet another edition of the
Baba Doodlius Reader Mailbag
There are a couple that have been sitting there in the "unanswered" queue for quite a while, but I also have an easy one offered up in a comment to the last post, and as I've said before I'm a lazy bastard, so when somebody lobs me a softball I'll very eagerly whack it out of the park. So anyway, here we go with today's questions and answers!
Once again, Azzy's little sister Lil'Sis gets the first question, since she comes up with so many of them. This one's been sitting there getting stale, so sorry about the delay. To paraphrase her question:
"Zero = nothing, right? Why is it, then, that when you add a zero to the end of a number the value goes way up? And so, if I had six bank accounts with a zero balance and one account with 1 pound, and I transferred those six zeros to the account with the one pound, would that make the total in that account 1,000,000? That's a 1 with six zeros added to it, isn't it?"
She's pretty good at this Mystery stuff, ain't she?
In asking this question, Lil'Sis has made an observation of one aspect of a very important Law of Nature. This law has long been known, but was first articulated by Warren Buffett back in 1982. In brief, this is Buffett's Law of Monetary Relativity:
"Under normal observable everyday conditions, people usually have small balances in their bank accounts, like, say, $25.50 USD. Adding zero balances to this initial microscopic balance will result in no change in value whatsoever. However, this result turns out to be relative to the starting balance: When the account starts with a large value, such as $1,000,000 USD, adding a bunch of zero balances will increase the end total by many orders of magnitude, thus effectively turning millionaires into billionaires. As a side effect, changing said millionaire in to a billionaire will simultaneously remove some fraction of the net amount from a great many of those accounts with the aforementioned $25.50 USD."
In other words, it is a scientific fact that when the rich get richer, the poor get poorer.
(An unfortunate corrollary to this law is that when the rich get poorer, the poor, you guessed it, get poorer anyway.)
Cathy, quite a while ago (so I hope she's still interested in the answer), asked the folowing:
"Why is it easier to apply mascara with your mouth open?"
One of the reasons that I have not been quicker with an answer to this one is that I have never personally been one to use mascara. In fact, I had to look it up to make sure I was thinking about the right product:
- Mascara: a cosmetic used to darken, thicken and define eyelashes
OK, yeah, that's what I thought. (Well, I knew it had something to do with eyes.) Anyway, like I said, I never use the stuff, so I didn't know the answer off the top of my head.
So I tried some on.
Whaddaya think? Is this a good look for me? It's a good thing the question didn't involve lipstick, because I lack lips and nobody sells beakstick.
All artistic, philosophical, and religious significance of this picture aside, my brief dip into the world of cosmetics really didn't help solve this Mystery. So I did what I should have done from the beginning: Consult the Highest Authority!
That, naturally, would be Mrs. Doodlius.
Here's what she told me:
"You open your mouth when you apply mascara for the same reason singers close their eyes when they sing, except in reverse."
Ah, that's pure genius! I hereby name this "Mrs. Doodlius' Law of Eye-Mouth Artistic Inverse Dependency":
The eyes and the mouth are inversely dependent upon each other when dealing with matters of artistic expression. When applying mascara, which is essentially "painting" one's eyes, the mouth must open; conversely, while singing, which is artistic expression by voice, the eyes must close.
Wow! That Mrs. Doodlius is just great! Thanks to her, we now have a whole new Law of the Universe based on a reader question! And don't you fellows get any ideas now, she's already spoken for!
Cathy, thanks for waiting so patiently!
Mr. Moooog of the varying number of "o's" wants to know:
"What does 'transcendental' mean? I'm assuming it has something to do with cross-dressing dentists."
Well Moooog, I'm known more for my encyclopedic knowledge than my dictionariosity, but I'll give this a shot.
The first thing to do when trying to figure out the meaning of a difficult word, according to my old grammar school teachers (and I do mean old - that was a looooong time ago), is to break the word up into its component parts. In this case we have:
tran - scend - ent - al
The next thing we do to find our word's meaning is, naturally, to look up all these component pieces on the internet. I used dictionary.com and reference.com (which are wholly owned subsidiaries of Ask.com). The meanings of these word components are:
tran: a brand of Norwegian cod liver oil
scend: to heave in a swell
ent: medical acronym for "Ear, Nose, and Throat"
al: other things (from the Latin alia)
So the meaning of the word "transcendental", therefore, must be: "The heaving of the ear, nose, throat, and other things in a swell of Norwegian cod liver oil"
See there Mooooog? Learning the meaning of new, big words can be easy and fun!
Well, that will have to do it for today's answers. Apologies to Alex the Cat - the research on your question about the bathing habits of humans is incomplete, so I cannot yet offer the answer. Don't worry, I'll get to it!
Until next time, have a nice day!