Ask an idiot – archive 7

Date: April 18th 2005

From: that nice english girl

Question: I’d like to know how flies land on ceilings.

Do they fly along upside down and then land, or do they fly along the right way up and then flip over at the last moment?

Hey there ‘that nice english girl’, thanks for your question! Here’s how that fly/ceiling thing works: Flies are small, really really small: So small in fact that they have trouble avoiding atoms while they fly about, that’s why their flight patterns are so erratic. While this may seem like a problem with no up-side (pardon the pun), they do use it to their advantage:

As we all know atoms spin.. so, when a fly sees a bit of ceiling that it would like to land on – it simply lands (upright) on an atom which is loitering close to the ceiling and lets the ‘spin’ of the atom, flip it upside over and onto the ceiling.. simple!

Well, while that certainly is an interesting theory there elroy – it’s also complete and utter tiddly winks! You see, it’s really like this:

Have you ever gotten really really close to a fly that has landed on the ceiling? No, of course not – they fly away before you even get the ladder in place. The thing is, flies don’t actually ‘flip’ at all, they fly up, get real close to the landing zone, and simply reach up behind themselves and grab on.

Is your blood sugar low or something? I mean, really! How do you come up with this stuff? The idea that flies reach up and grab hold of the ceiling is preposterous! Next you’ll be suggesting that they ‘reverse’ up to a wall when they want to land on it! However I will admit that your theory could explain why their legs are so easy to pull off!
Yeah, that’s true actually and I don’t recall ever hearing a fly’s reverse indicator ‘beep’. All in all however, I think the more plausible reason for flies walking on the ceiling is they were bitten by Radioactive Spiders when they were young.
Actually, I think you’re on to something there Simon! However, while your theory appears to be completely sound, it does pose one question… Who would win in a fight between one of your spider-flies (fly-spiders?) and the Green Goblin?

Date: April 18th 2005

From: dennis

Question: If you put setup two mirrors perfectly parallel to each other, what do they reflect?

Neither elroy nor myself actually knew how to answer this question, but as we are both fans of the ‘Mythbusters’ show, we decided to try some experimenting ourselves. So while here in the e-Shack Labs™, we went about constructing the eMirrortron 3000 pro™ (patent pending).
Now, for obvious reasons we can’t divulge the actual methods or materials that we used in the construction of the eMirrortron 3000 pro™ (patent pending) – But what I can tell you, gentle readers, is that approximately 94.7% of it’s construction involves the use of two mirrors.

When these two mirrors had been perfectly aligned, using technical methods (involving several chair legs and a disturbing quantity of adhesive tape) developed expressly for the purposes of aligning mirrors, the experiments began.

It was a difficult choice, deciding who to ‘volunteer’ to first enter the eMirrortron 3000 pro™ (patent pending), but clearly Skooter was the most qualified. After being strapped into the ‘launch device’ which we ‘failed’ to ‘return’ to the ‘supermarket’, Skooter slowly crossed the border between our reality and the one inside the event horizon of the eMirrortron 3000 pro™ (patent pending). It was then we noticed erratic behavior on our monitoring equipment.
What followed from this point cannot be explained with mere words.. suffice it to say that, based on Skooter’s reaction to the experiment we can only conclude that placing two mirrors in perfect parallel results in either:

The opening of a gateway between this world and one of the upper dimensions of Hell!


Perfectly clear reception of The Reba McIntyre Show.

Either way – it’s not pretty.

Given the horrific nature of the results, it was decided (2 for and 1 against) that the eMirrortron 3000 pro™ (patent pending) was to be shipped off to the Official Idiots Warehouse, locked in the "Never to be Mentioned Again" section, together with a retail box of MarkOS v1 and a crate marked iBrett – Songs I wrote for my girlfriend’.

Date: April 18th 2005

From: Coombs

Question: What is with licking your finger and sticking it in the air to test for wind? Is it supposed to tell you how strong the wind is, where it’s coming from, or does it just plain not make sense?

See this it the problem with people today.. fancy having to ask this question at all. I mean it’s all about you isn’t it – no one ever thinks about ‘the other guy’!

So, let me ask YOU a question, if you were the wind would YOU want someone sticking a dirty finger up in you!??

Yeah, see, I didn’t think you’d like it… licking your finger first is the polite thing to do.

Now see, that’s what I thought too, no one appreciates being stuck with a dirty finger. It’s the same for "Wet-Willies" – you have to clean and lubricate your finger with saliva before sticking it in someone’s ear. Go try giving someone a "Wet-Willy" the ‘normal’ way – licking your finger first, ok? Then dry yout finger, and stick it in their ear, and I can guarentee that they will appreciate a dry finger less than a wet one. It’s just rude.
EXACTLY! I bet if you try that whole ear jamming thing and then ask them how strong the wind is you’ll get a very curt reply indeed! And even that will be more than a rude bastard like you deserves!
Although, sticking a saliva-sodden finger in someone’s ear wouldn’t get the wind strength OR direction. That’s why people stick their finger in the wind instead. It’s more likely to reply with an accurate answer.
See Simon, I told you all that time you spent in cub scouts would pay off one day!
When next you come to Adelaide, I’ll show you my Saliva Merit Badge.