ask a scientist



name: Jay
query: I want to fake a fever.. o any other illness.. i heard that sleeping with onions under ur armpits will make u sweat and will look like u have a fever.. is it right? any sugestions


To be honest we're not completely sure what effect sleeping with onions under your armpits will have, because, weirdly, we've never slept with them in the armpit area. If it's anything like sleeping with cole slaw under your armpits, though, trust us when we say it's not worth the trouble. No, there are easier ways to fake illness, methods that will just as effectively get you out of attending the next congressional voting session (how did we know? call it a hunch).

One old but effective approach is to say your leg is gangrenous. It's just exotic enough to make verification difficult (most people don't really know what gangrene looks like), and when you roll into the office with the "problem" leg amputated mid-thigh, suspicion will melt away.

Along similar lines there's the classic fake cough, which involves coughing a lot, but not because any illness is actually making your throat scratchy -- rather, you're deliberately coughing to make people think your throat is scratchy. It works great.


name: god
query: I am my own god, i'am my dogs gog i think, ask him, his name is Boo Boo could i be your god too?


Oh, God, you funny, funny God. You keep asking us this question at night, your deep, reverby, almost robotic voice echoing off the canyon walls of our dreams. And we keep hedging, telling you we're not sure about any of this, and so now you've gone and written to us on our Advice page -- cornered us, essentially -- because now we really do have to answer you.

So here's the thing. We'd rather not have you as our god, but are willing to accept you as our gog, as Boo Boo has (we asked and he confirmed this). If that's cool. Really, we're not looking to piss you off -- the last thing we need is for our brakes to fail as we're descending some mountain road, or for an ibis to have a heart attack mid-flight and fall hundreds of feet and skewer one of our eyes with his bill. But it's our sense that having you as our gog will be a more laid back arrangement than the alternative. Our impression is that having you as our gog will involve your teaching us to catch frisbees in our mouths, which is something we've been sucking at teaching ourselves. It's very hard to do. Looks easy -- Boo Boo makes it look REALLY easy -- but it really couldn't be any harder.

Do we have a deal?


name: meg
query: How can I convince my parents to let me see my boyfriend all the time? because I only get to see once every weekend!! and they make me super mad if I don't get to see him.


You should be thankful. Seeing someone only once a week keeps things fresh. If your parents let you see your boyfriend every day -- and I think they know this -- you and your boyfriend would be looking at each other as the most boring fucking people on or just below the face of the earth.You would loathe the tedium, the sapping fatigue, that would have come to characterize time spent with each other. You would think of your boyfriend as a lead suit that you had to wear, a lead suit that made almost everything you did more difficult, more tiring. He would think of you as a straightjacket that smelled like Pine-Sol.


name: sarah
query: how do i let my mom to let me get my belly button pierced?

Get it done on her birthday. Tell her it's your gift to her. What can she say? All she can do is show you a tight-lipped smile as her organs cook in a boiling broth.


name: don't you know who i'm not?
query: what's your opinion on the fishbowl lives of the olsen twins?

We could talk all day about the Olsen twins -- several times a week we do just that -- but all the theories, all the enthusiastic speculation, amounts to one question: Is there really just one of them? And she dresses in two different distinct ways and uses two names and pretends to be her own twin? And every time you see a picture of them together it's airbrush chicanery? And when they appear on television debriefing Barbara Walters or Katie Couric that's actually done through the high-tech intervention of aliens?

Okay but forget about that. Here's another question that's been fevering our very minds and fueling many a late-night gab sesh: Have MK and Ashley ever had sex? Not that we think they're lesbians, but do you think they've ever fucked each other just to do it? Just to be able to say they did it? Just to see what it would be like to essentially make hot athletic sweat-slicked love to yourself? We're guessing they probably have. If you think about it for five seconds, you realize they must have. They must have had sex with each other.

Another one of our opinions on this issue is that it's really unfair that people are always gossiping about MK and Ashley, as though their private lives are fair territory for public speculation. Stop it, people! Leave these girls alone! Get a life! Stop spending so much time on the phone or the internet spinning crazy theories about these two excellent entertainers! Or one entertainer pretending to be two!


name: PWINKy
query: Dear Master of Scientific Awesome:

According to you, I am dead. What should I do?

-PWINKy in the A-T-L

Test your powers. If you are dead, you'll have a new relationship with the physical world. We're not sure what that relationship will entail, but it's bound to contrast sharply with what being alive accustomed you to. For one thing, you almost certainly can't be hurt. Try chopping off your hand. Nothing, right? Okay, now smash a mason jar and chew up the shards. Not too bad, eh? Try going to this website. If you don't feel compelled to flee almost instantly, compelled by pangs of agony, then you're unquestionably dead. As to what you should do, well, enjoy it! Take advantage! Explore the benefits! Watch Beetlejuice for inspiration! Find a girl you really love, one who makes you smile every time you think about her, and haunt her for the rest of your days!


name: chantelle
query: how can i get my mum to get me a dog

Tell her you feel like you've been going blind lately and that you need a seeing-eye dog. Or! Or, tell her you want to find out which of your friends are on the weed and you need a drug dog to help sniff them out. Or tell her you're so lonely that if she doesn't get you a dog your only recourse will be to let your American History teacher touch you but not just through the clothes as has been the dominant paradigm thus far this school year.


query: Should i have a turkey or peanutbutter and jelly sandwich?

You shall have neither, for you possess neither turkey nor peanut butter nor jelly nor bread. If you're going to have a sandwich, you'll have to settle for some lint sandwiched between two mouse turds.



name: Shin
query: i though this section was advice from US to the band BOO...oh well wants some anyway?

"when pruning leaves, always were gloves"

No, this isn't advice from you to us; we have nothing to learn from you. Do we want some advice anyway? Sure. Pruning leaves... gloves... right, got it. There's just one problem: we don't prune leaves. On our estate, which is vast and home to entire species of trees, we employ two foreign men to care for each tree -- two foreign men per tree, in total hundreds of thousands of men from other countries. We'll be happy to pass along your insight to our army of foreign pruners, but there's just one problem: those guys, the foreign gentlemen, don't even prune the leaves -- not by hand anyway. No, they are all given expensive, sophisticated pruning droids which they operate by remote control as they sit poolside and slurp vibrantly colored tropical cocktails, as tasty as they are expensive, which is to say terrifically so.

So thanks for trying to help, Shin, but as you can see we're doing JUST FINE on our own, and now we need to resume assisting the poor bastards who write in to this site, bastards whose only hope in the miserable sub-basement of life which they inhabit happens to be us, the we are scientists.


name: Girls 4 President
query: Dear W.A.S.,
All this quarter I have been taking Biology 131 as required as part of my fine art degree. Problem is my professor could quite possibly be the worst teacher in the history of biological studies. Although my professor is very knowledgeable in his area of study, he is very bad at teaching what he knows to others. Most days I think skewering my eyeballs with my pencil would be less painful then haivng to sit in that class listening to him drone on for an hour (2 on Thursdays) in a class I am more than likely going to fail. Do you think I should stick the class out for the rest of the quarter and risk a massive drop in my GPA and my dream to go to the NYU School of Figuritive Art in the pursuit of vast scientific knowledge or drop the class now and waste the hours I've spent in that class?


Sounds like you're forgetting one very important thing: Learning is fun! No, just kidding, that sounds like a shitty situation. So if you have to take Biology 131 to get your fine art degree, doesn't that mean if you drop this course you'll just have to take it again? Is there a different section taught by a different teacher you're eyeing? If so, that's not a bad way to go. Otherwise, if the NYU School of Figurative Art is your dream, then you've got to make it happen for yourself, girl! You've got to study the living shit out of that Bio material and ace the final! Cue the all-nighter montage! The music? Jimmy Eat World's 'The Middle'! Here's a shot of you scrutinizing a life-size cross-sectional chart of the human body! Now here's a shot of you sitting at a study table in the library, half a dozen books open in front of you, scribbling notes as another student in the background packs up his stuff, yawns, and heads home! And now a shot of you in bed with your boyfriend! We see the two of you share a shivering simultaneous orgasm after which, heaving breaths, your b.f. looks at you with amazement, as if to say, "Where did that come from?!" You point to the night stand, where your Bio textbook lies open to a profile schematic of the male human pelvis! Next is the shot of you taking the test! We see two or three time lapses -- each time fewer and fewer students remain at their desks! Finally time is called and you hand the essay book to your teacher, who kind of smirks at you derisively! And now here's the payoff shot of everybody huddled around the sheet of scores posted on the door right outside Professor Scumbottom's office! Your name is at the top of the list! Above the names of all the science nerds who are now eyeing you with wonder and respect! Then as an epilogue shot we see you walk into a building in Manhattan! Above the doors it says "Baruch School of Figurative Art"! It's no NYU, but it's still pretty good! You're smiling and holding hands with this hunky multi-pierced art guy who is definitely not the guy you were in bed with before! You've moved on and found extreme happiness, even though stuff didn't unfold exactly as you had envisioned it!


name: shelly fucking murder
query: i cam across your website, idk what the hee it is, but i want a lip pircing :( but my mom wont let me, how can i get her to let me!? i want to shoot someone. :D

And thank god you did come across our website, because have we got a plan for you. You should tell your mom that you agree with her, that lip piercings are gay and that you would never in a million years get one now that you've realized this. Then go get a lip piercing. She'll be so confused and weirded out by your adolescent flippancy that she won't really know how to deal. She'll probably just tell you it looks nice.

Other people whose lives we've touched:

Why Don't Guys Dig Chicks w. Glasses?/I'm 13 & Not a Virgin/Bird Got Off w. My Buddy/How Many Scientists Does It Take to Change a Lightbulb?/Grandma's Lingo
How to Pull Birds/What to Do with Invisibility/Secret Bandmate Dustin/Santa Secular or Non?/WAS in Seattle/Pygmy Goats Compatible w. Rabbits?/Bad Taste in Shirts/In Search of Teen GF
"Nerd" vs. "Geek"/How I score hot guy?/Ethics of Spork/Hair Xtensions in Miami/Flouting parental career interference/Insanity/Tree for Halloween
Don't wanna visit doctor/How to nourish an efflorescing relationship/Dealing with a friend's bad taste/Life sucks/Negotiating office politics/Physics vs. Psychology
Mom won't let me live with Dad/Advanced bullshit theory/Which instrument should I play?
Convince mom to get a dog/Which shampoo/What's with Keith/Taking candy from Meekham
Lied about being a virgin/Can short fat guy get a girl?
I need help with my penis/my hoes/directions/a girl...
How does one get over a girl with whom he was once involved?
I'm falling for a girl...
I'm 13 and have been asked to a boy-girl sleepover...
I write to seek your cooperation as my foreign partner...
Me and my sister are trying to convince my mom...
I am trying to find out what something is made of.
I just woke up from an awfully bizarre dream about you...
In less than 72 hours I will be on a plane for tanzania...
We are confused about Chinese Firedrill etiquette...
I've been having dreams featuring a particular member of the band...
I'm a college student taking a science class...
I have a favor to ask...
I've been more or less completely miserable...
I am seeking celebrity opinions on a conundrum.



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