Adventures in Ethics and Science

Friday Sprog Blogging: questions.

Today, the Free-Ride offspring have lots of questions. Maybe science can answer some of them.

Younger offspring: Why do the stars shine so bright?

Elder offspring: Why do snails come out on rainy days?

Younger offspring: Why does food taste so good?

Younger offspring: Why do humans think their voices are different than when you record your voice?

Elder offspring: Why does ice cream melt on Pluto?

Dr. Free-Ride: How did ice cream get on Pluto?

Younger offspring: Has anyone lived on Jupiter?

Dr. Free-Ride: I think I know the answer to that question, at least if “anyone” means terrestrial life forms like humans.

Younger offspring: I meant aliens. There might be an alien.

Dr. Free-Ride: Hmm. I think my question would be what kind of life form would you have to be for life on Jupiter to be plausible?

Younger offspring: You have to bring your own water and a toilet!

Dr. Free-Ride: Well, maybe you’d be a life form who didn’t need water, who needed some other substance instead.

Younger offspring: But needed a toilet!

Dr. Free-Ride: Maybe you’d be a really efficient life form who didn’t need a toilet.

Elder offspring: Maybe it could use its excrement for energy.

Super Sally: What makes you cry when you chop onions?

Younger offspring: The spice! We know the answer!

Dr. Free-Ride: No, it’s not the spice that makes you cry when you chop onions!

Younger offspring: The strongness!

Elder offspring: No, the acid!

Younger offspring: Why do pictures always win staring contests?

Elder offspring: Because they can’t blink.

Dr. Free-Ride: Why do people have to blink?

Elder offspring: Why do snakes usually have paler tongues than the color of their bodies?

Dr. Free-Ride: Is it true?

Elder offspring: Yeah.

Dr. Free-Ride: Do you know enough snakes to actually know that it’s true?

Elder offspring: Ziggy’s tongue is paler. And in the snake show at the California Academy of Sciences, the snakes’ tongues were paler than their bodies. Even in Pokemon the snakes’ tongues are paler than their bodies.

Dr. Free-Ride: OK, I have a question. Why do you take Pokemon as relevant to questions about real animals?

Elder offspring: Because they’re modeled after real animals! At least, this one is.

Younger offspring: How do people shred wheat so small?

Dr. Free-Ride: You mean in shredded wheat?

Younger offspring: Yeah.

Dr. Free-Ride: You mean, what’s the industrial process there?

Younger offspring: How does it do that?

Dr. Free-Ride: It might not be shredding so much as extruding.

Younger offspring: OooOOOOOOooooohhhhh.

Dr. Free-Ride: Why do you so enjoy seeing the waveform of your own voice on my computer screen?

Younger offspring: Because it’s BiiIIIIIIIiiiig!


  1. #1 Jerry
    November 27, 2009

    does that mean you’re recording these?

    I love the why phase, although it’s a challenge to pause long enough to actually answer the question before another question becomes more interesting.

  2. #2 Jim Thomerson
    November 29, 2009

    Question about onions–why do onions get sweet when sauteed? Do sweet onions or hot onions get sweeter when sauteed?

  3. #3 Gaythia
    November 30, 2009

    Grown-ups would be better off if they regarded “Why?” as one of the first step towards a lifetime of learning rather than just a passing phase.

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