ask a scientist



name: Robin
query: should i leave skool and not take my exams all in the name of love?


Only you can answer that question for yourself. Your answer is 'yes'.


name: Anon
query: if you were going to tell a guy you really really liked him and wanted him to respond in a good way, like being happy about it, how would you do it? what do I say to him?

It's crucial that the guy be into you as well. The methods you use to reveal your ardor almost become irrelevant if the guy to whom the revelation is made dislikes or even despises you. That's because if he finds you repellent, there's not going to be anything positive for him in learning of your affection. At best, your announcement will strike him as irrelevant. But it stands a good chance of really grossing him out.

In sum, before you expend too many nights slugging Red Bull, fine-tuning blue prints, blurting equations out onto the chalkboard in an illegible scrawl, anxiously flicking the propeller on your thinking cap -- before you do too much more of that, maybe confirm that this guy even likes you, you know? For all you know, this guy hate hate hates you. Hates you. And your loathsome ways.


name: Tania
query: Hi sooooooo my story is like this : this guy, Raymond he's in my grade and i like him very very much since LAST year. He is very attractive, friendlycute, handsome, sexy, damn hot......oh well! u know i cant figure it out if he feels the same way as i do.well he does give me his attractive,naughty looks in the classroom as if he feels the same way n so do i.but we hardly talk to each other mayb bcoz we're jus shy or too attracted to talk.Besides he's already got a girlfriend from some other grade. m wanna hold him,kiss him,talk 2 him,jus look at him.But d problem is HOW?how do i talk 2 him,how do i tell him my feelings besides wat if he says that he doesnt like me or he's got a galfriend of course,that would be embarrasing!


You owe it to yourSELF to go after this guy. If you don't you'll spend the rest of your life wishing you had, wondering what might have been, cursing those chromosomal threads that resulted in the tableau of cowardice that is you. You say he gives you attractive, naughty looks? Well that's a great sign. That the two of you have never spoken is less great, as is the pre-existing girlfriend from another grade. But goddamnit, Tania, you know what you want and it's time to go get it. Right now you're a child in her bedroom gazing out the window at the beautiful weather, wanting to go out and play with the bees and the sunrays and the petulant muskrats, but worried about whether Mom will let her out before her homework's done and not really wanting to walk down all those stairs and knowing anyway that the muskrats might be off knocking rocks into the river somewhere, and what we're telling you here is to slide open the window and get the hell out there.


name: Kirsty
query: Right i play guitar, i bit crapply but hey i play guitar, do u have any advice on how to get a band considering i live in the middle of nowhere and i'm a girl and all the musicians i know are sexist bout girls being in rock bands! HELP


Our advice is to engage the classic comic film trope where you disguise yourself as a boy and show up at school as the new (male) kid who just moved to town and wants to start an awesome rock band. Let it get out that your dad is a star soccer player and that your older brother is under consideration to be the new James Bond and that your uncle was in the Kinks. Your cred will instantly rocket to a dizzying height, and you should have no trouble recruiting a crack team of preteen thrashers. You get the band together, you develop a secret crush on Johnny the rhythm guitarist (who is caught off guard by how much more empathetic you are than the other dudes he knows), you lead the crew to victory at the regional battle of the bands, then, the night before the national battle of the bands, you reveal to Johnny your true identity. Johnny initially balks at the revelation, feeling betrayed because you've been lying to him, but then he realizes that you're right, there's no fuckin' way he'd have ever joined a band with a chick in it, and then the two of you share a red-hot PG kiss on the lips and head off to the national BOTB where you perform as a girl and your band (The Gift Horses) triumphs, winning you a half-set on the mainstage at Glastonbury and the admiration of your peers and respect of your parents and even a pejorative comment from Liam Gallagher in the following week's NME.


name: Kirsty
query: I really need to knoe about chinese firedrill etiquette but the link won't work. HELP please and if u could help me with the fact that every year my bloody family drags me camping to the New Forest. Thus i have no guitar and eventually my mp3 runs out of batteries again Help Me Please

The link has been restored; feast your yearning mind. As to your family's annual retreat, has it occurred to you that if you spent less time bemoaning your situation and more time discovering the magical offerings of J.R.R. Tolkien's The New Forest, you'd go all year anticipating the trip instead of dreading it? Come on, Kirsty! You've got your guitar 51 weeks out of 52! Take just a handful of days out of your summer to appreciate the New Forest's proud unicorns, roving manticores, friendly giant caterpillars; its two-headed brown bears and French-speaking bats; its rivers full of jewel-eyed fish and the tiger-striped serpents that feed on them. For chrissakes, even you should be able to enjoy an afternoon of light hallucination in the Meadow of Reflection on Past and Future! Our suggestion, Kirsty, is that you adjust your attitude. Do you realize there are people all over the world who've never played gin rummy with a werewolf?


name: Inmate #314159265
query: i've been wondering about this for about 15 minutes now, and was wondering if maybe you could help me out. why is water wet? also, what is the origin of dirt? finally, any advice for a guy doing time for a crime he may not have been sober enough to commit looking to break out of the pen?

Dear 314159265,

Very nice, very cute, the way you threw in two diversionary questions that don't really mean anything to you, maybe just to get yourself talking, until you could bring yourself to write about what's really on your mind: what is the origin of dirt? Well, it's a damn respectable question, and there's no reason you needed to be shy about posing it. The fact is most people wonder where dirt came from, and if they had the good common sense you do to ask us, well then, like you, they'd find out the answer! You see, it's an age-old question, yes, and it has the tenor of something almost philosophical in nature, something like 'why is space so big?' But actually the mystery of dirt's origin is pretty simple: basically, it's from rocks; rocks erode over time, crumble, and form dirt.


name: Emily
query: Did you enjoy our humble island.

If you're talking about the Island of Contemplation, which we were visiting just a moment ago, staring off into nowhere for ten or twenty minutes as though in a waking dream, then yes, we enjoyed your humble island very much.


name: Keith, Michael, and Chris
query: Thanks for the watermelon. I am you... is that funny? Seriously, though, why?

What is this, some kind of freaking joke? We know damn well we didn't write that question. Who do you think you're fooling? Seriously, who? You think you're a big legendary prankster because you lied when you filled out the form to submit an advice question? You think that makes you smart? Hardly, dude. You know what? Your friends are laughing at you right now. Behind your back. They're joking around about how your personality is the perfect blend of fucking liar and guy with a tiny dick. One of your friends just spit out a bite of pizza because he was laughing so hard; specifically, he was laughing because your other friend put his hand down his pants and stuck his pinky finger out his zipper and started telling big fat lies in a near-flawless impersonation of you, their so-called good buddy the liar.


name: Eman. That's name backwards.
query: I am thirty-seven, she is fifty-eight. That means nothing, does it not? I thought you guys made sense, then I bought an ironing board. Perhaps another enrollment fee would be helpful worthy of upside down pop/rock? It's almost, like, cylindrical...

I'll tell you what's cylindrical is a glossy doob. Tip one into relapse and it's Frère Jacque on repeat, your hat leather, the other fella floating down the Ganges.


name: Justin Rudder and Christian Rice
query: We do not exist. Why do we not exist? Is it because we are useless hybrids of otherwise awesome people?

That's not the reason, no. There are many useless hybrids of otherwise awesome people alive and kicking. Take Skeet Ulrich. He's a useless hybrid of Johnny Depp and a dead Johnny Depp. Or chihuahuas. They are useless hybrids of dogs and cats.

Who knows why you don't exist. Are you sure you don't? Try buying something. If you're able to buy something then you absolutely do exist. This may be the only valid test of existence in today's world.


name: anonymous man-person
query: Why am I not as good-looking as, say, Dave Lowensohn?

Proportionally, your nose is almost bizarrely small, yet with very large, upward-tilted nostrils, like a hyena's. Your teeth are straight and everything, but, like, too straight; they're small, obsessively aligned, sharp-looking, and bleached-bone white. And christ, your ears. Perennially red, swollen -- do you box or something? Do you get hit in the ears all the time? Or do you maybe keep falling on your ears? Your eyes are icy blue, really far apart, really big, really fucking scary -- two lakes of glacial emptiness with evil fish swimming around occasionally catching the light. Your jaw is a horseshoe, your forehead a car bumper, your cheek bones 64-sided dice; your hair is a hat made of sea urchins.

Dave Lowensohn, on the other hand, is simply "ugly".


name: ian
query: I don't want any advice, please?

That's a shame, because you desperately need it. How 'bout a story, then. Once there was this kid named Ian who had a bad habit that he couldn't seem to kick: he liked to fire his gun in malls. Often people got hurt when he went shooting in malls, and even when people didn't get hurt Ian got into big trouble for reckless endangerment. And of course whenever people died, as they sometimes did, there would be loads of complications for Ian. So one day Ian was sitting there rotting in jail when one of the guards appeared at the bars. "Is it true that you never wanted to hurt anybody, you just love to shoot your gun in malls?" said the guard. "Not even necessarily in malls," said Ian. "I just love to shoot my gun." Then the guard said, "I think I may have a solution for you," and he told Ian about firing ranges. "It's where a person can go and shoot at a target in a safe environment," said the guard. "Don't you still sometimes hit the people standing around at the firing range?" asked Ian. "No," said the guard, "because there's a specific area for shooting where you shoot in a specific direction, and nobody's allowed to be hanging around in that direction." Ian thanked the guard for his advice and said if he ever got out he'd clean up his act, but he never did get out because of all the folks that got shot before he heard about firing ranges.

Ian, we know you don't want any advice, but we're giving it anyway: Stop having unprotected sex! To do so with all the viruses you have in your blood is terribly irresponsible!

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