From the magazine “Naked Science” Lyle Crump’s questions column: ask me anything science related if you can manage that..
Q1) I phoned last week, to ask why we have dreams that we are falling. You know when you are sleeping and all of a sudden you wake up because you feel that you are falling off the edge of a cliff or something. The person I spoke to on the phone was very helpful, and gave me the answer I was looking for. I was wondering, if you could send the answer to this question to my E-Mail, so that I can keep it, as I have forgot[ten] the total explanation. Asks Clive (84) from and old folk’s home in
Well, Clive, it’s a good thing I’m a dreams expert (although any fool could figure it out). The falling is a metaphor. A metaphor for how your life is going: rapidly down hill. You fall past the depression and anxiety and you come to realise your own mortality. The empty blackness represents the life you’ve had and everything you’ll leave behind. Of course the dream wakes you up before you die as you’re not going to get any sneak previews of death. That’s for the best really as if you started babbling about meeting famous dead people they’d up your meds, killing you faster. That was the answer you were looking for wasn’t it?
Q2) I understand that it takes about 6 months to travel to Mars. What obstacles do a crew have to overcome travelling to Mars? Asks Somebody (someage) from Someplace.
Many. There are many problems when travelling to mars. The first of the many problems is that they have to exercise simply because we cannot send fat ugly people to Mars. We don’t want Martian bacteria thinking we’re all hideous farting skittles so exercise is top priority. Never mind if she can’t fly a spacecraft send Charlize Theron. The second of the many problems the crew will face is having sex in zero G. It’s much harder than it sounds, cos you’re floating and you can bump your head off things, like the air lock button. It’s just dangerous. But an even bigger (of the many) problems they’d face is not having sex. Imagine being cooped up in what amounts to a complicated flying cupboard and having nothing to screw for six months? You’d go mad and start killing everybody (blood is notoriously hard to clean up at the best of times but in zero G?) it may make a good movie and would ensure you were the first person on Mars but it is a little, how should I put it? Impractical. The last of the many problems (that I care to mention) would be giving birth to mutant Martian children.
P.S. if any movie writers are reading this I copyright that idea of sexually frustrated space murder.
Q3) In chemistry what is an active site in a catalyst? Asks Yaisha (not old enough to buy her own drink (not that I buy it for her as that would be illegal and I’d loose my job)).
You appear to be mistaken, Yaisha, active sites have nothing to do with chemistry and everything to do with biology. I hasten to add they have nothing to do with penises or vaginas either.
Q4) XD Nice one, I'm guessing this is going to become a series? Asks SysRq (too young to understand what he’s doing) from
How do you even pronounce that? For fucks sake, what is it with people and ridiculous names all of a sudden? At least “Yaisha” is pronounceable.
Readers may find it strange that I am including such a vague letter basically I’d just like to show, for future reference, how not to ask me a question (And I only got sent four letters this week). For a start, Siss-irk, has phrased the question in such a way that nobody but him understands it. I do not know what “this” is or in what way it could become sequentialised. Try again next week, Siss-irk. And, just as a further note, it’s not really polite to second guess people when you’re asking their advice.
Q) Can colour blindness be cured? A) Is the sky green?
Q) Is schizophrenia fun? A) I dunno what we think to be honest. I’d say yes, he’d say no.
Q) How does Ryhipnol work? A) Very well in my experience.
Q) Do you watch lost? A) May I refer you to the first answer?
This letter I thought I’d include just for comic value even though it must be a hoax (see last issue if you feel you’re missing something):
QX) After the amazing, hypothetical, advice you gave me in last weeks “Naked Science” I thought I’d e-mail you again with another hypothetical question: Supposing you are a stranded alien running around in a adolescent human skin, working in McDonalds and rebelling against his adopted parents. Supposing that and you’ve fallen in love with your new best earth friend, Dan, what would you do? Would you ask him on a date or just not ask him or tell him anything (he knows I’m alien but he doesn’t know about my feelings for him). Asks Cxsixz Smith (4 (Clome years)) from Planet Clome.
P.S. Dan tells me that my name isn’t pronounceable in your language so just feel free to call me C.X.
Well, C.X., it’s nice to hear that you’re settling in. About your problem though. I’m not certain how much help I can be. I’ve never been a refugee alien in a teenage skin suit that fancies his friend Dan. It’s a complex issue and I can’t say I know many people that have been through it before. I used to work in a McDonalds though, I wrote the menu.
From my limited experience with women though here’s my secret. Just the next time you’re hangin’ about somewhere and there’s a moment of silent universe contemplation. Turn to her and in a deadpan voice ask “you wanna fuck?” she may play along in which case you’ve scored. Congratulations. She may also scream “RAPE” in which case you probably should run.
Though I can’t be certain this’ll work for you, try ringing up the Samaritans and tell them your about to kill yourself (nothing gets their attention like a sleeping pill overdose) and then they’ll talk to you. That’s what I do when I have a problem.
Do you have a question for Lyle? Post it in a comment and I’ll make sure he gets a look at it. I’m really not joking; do you know how hard it is making up questions that you can answer?