originally published November 5, 2012
Once every month or so I like to sift through my ever-ballooning roster of potential article ideas and flush out the ones I find interesting, but which would require so much filler to puff out to a thousand words, I might as well not bother. Not everything can inspire a day’s worth of bacon jokes and forced references to Arrested Development; some items are just too puny.
For example, this:
Is… is that dirty? I had to ask a half-dozen people before I could be certain that my mind wasn’t simply barfing its pretzel-twisted imagination all over something innocuous. This is Don Juan Pond, a hyper-saline lake in the Wright Valley in Antarctica. The lake is only a foot deep, but there’s so much salt squirming around in that water that it never freezes, despite its temperature of -22 ˚F (-30 ˚C).
There’s not a lot of information about Don Juan Pond, and certainly no mention of the irony of its name. You know, because it looks like… well… if you can’t see it, I’m not going to explain it.
I’d like to introduce you to Herbert Dingle. You have probably never heard of Herbert Dingle, but that’s not from his lack of trying. Herb was a scientist, best known for devoting a sizeable chunk of his life to pouring the bleach of truth upon the sullied walls of academia, hoping to wash away the spray-can scribes of bogus theories and erroneous conclusions.
Like Einstein’s theory of special relativity. According to Einstein, if one twin flies off in a rocket, he’d return years later to find his other twin significantly older, not to mention somewhat ornery because his brother got to fly through friggin’ space while he had to show up and work nine hours at the car wash every goddamn day for the last twenty-three years. Dingle didn’t buy it. He argued that the well-known reciprocity of the Lorentz transformation is self-evidently impossible. To put that in layman’s terms, he called bullshit.
Dingle spent decades writing letters to scientific publications, arguing his case like a hungry wildebeest. I’m sure it got to the point where “We got another letter from Dingle” was the eye-rolling sigh most often repeated in the hallways of Science Quarterly (if that’s an actual thing).
Dingle never received the triumphant hails of scientific validity he’d been yearning for. Physicists repeatedly quashed his outcries point by point, and the community’s consensus is that Einstein was right. Dingle remains best-known for being wrong and rather loud about it.
Okay, enough science crap. Let’s talk a little porn.
That’s right, panda porn.
I had to write this particular article on a weekend; typing ‘panda pornography’ into a Google Image search at work might get me either fired or possibly criminally investigated.
Zoologists at the Chiang Mai Zoo in Thailand were having trouble getting their pandas to copulate. It’s a tragic fact of nature that the world’s cutest bears, while still capable of mauling a human to death, don’t like to get it on whilst in captivity. The catch being that they’ll probably die off if we don’t keep a few locked up behind electrified fences.
These zoologists took a hint from human behavior. First they tried some Barry White music. When that failed (somehow) to set their panda-juices on ‘over-boil’, they set up a screen and found some footage of other pandas getting busy. This experiment was launched all over China, and while other zoologists may have started writing letters, trying to Dingle the shit out of the panda-porn idea, within ten months Chinese zoos were stocked with 31 new cubs.
If the San Fernando Valley adult film industry is looking for a new source of revenue, this might be it.
This next snippet of factiness is more a question than a strict reporting of what the Internet is calling ‘truth’. I randomed onto Select Comfort, the company that makes that Sleep Number bed that allows for the adjustment of a mattress’s firmness by the use of air bubbles, liquid nitrogen and voodoo magic.
The list of celebrities who have endorsed this company’s products include conservative talk show hosts Glenn Beck, Paul Harvey, Laura Ingraham and Rush Limbaugh. They pulled their Limbaugh spots after Rush accused a law student of being a slut and a prostitute because she complained about the high cost of contraceptive devices. I guess that makes sense – if a guy is this clueless about the realities of bedroom activity, how can we trust him to endorse the right mattress?
My question is this: why do they target the sales of the Sleep Number beds only at Fox-Newsish conservatives? Okay, they did employ Lindsay “The Bionic Woman” Wagner for a while, but she appears to be the exception. Do far-right conservatives need more specific firmness than their centrist or liberal counterparts? Is there a magical setting within this bed which somehow erases nightmarish visions of 47% of Americans clawing precious money from the government just so they can wallow in undeserved luxuries like food and health care?
Next I’m giving a little credit to the Electric Time Company of Boston, Massachusetts. Somebody has to build those large-to-gigantic clocks we see on the street, atop buildings and perched in stadiums. These guys are the biggest such somebody in the country.
Their products stand beside street-lanterns on Main Street, USA in Disneyland and Disneyworld, atop Atlas’s shoulders outside Tiffany & Company, and above the scoreboard at Wrigley Field. Their website has a swath of funky outdoor clockery; it’s an architectural tweak that too often goes unnoticed.
That’s all, just a little plug for these guys. You can see how this wouldn’t make it as a full article.
One more, and this is a weird one.
Meet Gao Ning. If you ravenously follow Singapore male table-tennis competitions (and really, who doesn’t?), you’ll know this guy. He was ranked #16 in the world last year, and snagged himself first place in the 2007 Asian Cup. His shining moment came a year later, at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Gao’s coach was sick before the match, so the athlete… wait, is that the right word for it? He plays ping pong. I feel weird calling someone an athlete if they play a game that I, in my current near-gelatinous state of physical perfection, can play.
Anyway, Gao had no one to guide him through the match. I would think “hit the little white ball so that it lands on the other side of the table” would be all the guidance the guy would need, but hey, I’m no athlete. Gao lost, and proceeded to cry. The shots of him crying were broadcast back in Singapore, and the head coach of their table tennis team was promptly fired because of it.
Sounds reasonable: get sick, lie down, make a guy cry, lose your job.
Maybe he got distracted by his Sleep Number bed.
Or some panda porn.