Friday, May 20, 2011

Incredible questions - cough

An email in one of those amusing ones from a friend listing a set of questions exploring bizarre circumstances in reality. Well they would be if I couldn't answer them all.

Why do supermarkets make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while 'healthy' people can buy cigarettes at the front?
Supermarkets make money off incidentals and impulse buys. You walk in for a packet of crisps and walk out with crisps, dips, coke and the latest release on DVD. It's in the supermarket's interest to make you walk past as much stuff as possible. Except in one case - smokers. They're addicts. If you have a smoker popping into a supermarket just for a pack of cigarettes chances are they need that pack; they're blinkered. They're going to find those cigarettes and then get the hell out so they can smoke them and they want to do that as quickly as possible. If you make them jump through hoops to get their fix and your neighbour doesn't; they'll go to your neighbour.
Why do people order double cheeseburgers, large fires and a diet coke?
Because they're diabetic? The trick here is to associate all the food items with 'things that make you gain weight' except they do so in different ways - the cheeseburger and fries with fat; the drink with sugar. Also taste?
Why do banks leave vault doors open and then chain the pens to the counters?
Because you're unlikely to either walk off with the vault or even gain access to it. If on a mass order each of the pens cost 1p and a branch lost five unchained pens a day (less than one an hour for most opening times) a bank with 500 branches would be out around £9,000 a year. You'd stick chains on them too.
Why do we leave cars worth thousands of [currency] in our driveways and put our useless junk in the garage?
Because the car is weatherproof; the junk isn't. Also as a general rule the car is less easy to steal than loose junk.
Why do we buy hot dog sausages/hamburgers in packs of ten and buns in packages of six?
Maths! Meat is sold by weight. A hot dog sausage weighs about a tenth of a pound; pack ten and you have an even pound weight. A meat packer with X lbs of meat knows they have X packages. Baked goods are sold by quantity. Lay out the dough and for ten you need to have either 1x10 or 2x5. Given our tendency to think in tens results in either a 2x3 (one more than five) or a 3x4 (two more than ten).

While a 2x2 or 3x3 is possible psychologically they appear 'less' to us each being one less than five or ten. Why not a 5x4 and split into into two packs? The same reason as the meat producer - one mould equals one package. That said there are some areas that have recognised this and sell buns in packs of ten.

Next on the list "Ever wonder..."
Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?
The sun is attacking us. Skin, being alive, defends itself by darkening; hair, being dead, can't.
Why can't women put on mascara with their mouth closed?
Because they're tilting back their heads (or are in a similar posture) which restricts the nasal passages reducing air intake. [Update - 'But I/my wife don't/doesn't do this' It depends on how much air is needed and being inhaled. If there's enough there's no need to open the mouth]
Why don't you see the headline 'Psychic wins Lottery'?
Possibly because 'psychic' doesn't necessarily equate to precognition; why would an aura reader be more likely to win the lottery? Possibly because they're dedicated to not using their powers for personal gain? Possibly because there's no proven existence of any psychics? Amusingly enough in January this year a 'psychic' did win the Euromillions lottery.
Why is abbreviated such a long word?
Hah de har. Because it's not one word it's three; well a prefix, word and suffix. Brevis meaning short; ab (from ad) meaning towards and -tion to express action. The full meaning "to make short" or with -ed "something that was made short".
Why is it that doctors call what they do 'practice'?
Because that's what they "do" it's derived from work or "to do". So this is my practice means this is what I do. As with all languages meaning has allowed it to also refer to the area/building in which they 'do' too and turned into something you "do" a lot of to get better at it. It can also mean habit.
Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavours, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?
Because you don't drink dishwashing fluid; or at least I hope you don't. This is a little like the cheeseburger and diet coke question. Both items have different properties. In dishwashing liquid the cleaning acidic qualities of lemons are required; in the drink just the taste. If artificial flavours are cheaper, but produce the same effect go with the artificial. [Update - IOW if you need the smell and action of lemons use lemons; if you just want the taste of lemons use a cheaper artificial substitute]
Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?
Because we can't pronounce other languages correctly; or just mishear them; or spell them wrongly and get stuck with a phonetic rendition. They should be broachers - a seller of wine casks; as in the person who broaches (opens) them.
Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?
Because that's when everyone has rushed. Like a Gold Rush has a sudden influx of people to one area.
Why isn't there mouse-flavoured cat food?
Because unless they have to cats don't eat mice; they use them as hunting practice.
Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes?
[Sigh] Well assuming the Biblical story to be correct a) Because God told him to; or b) they can fly so who said he let them on board.
Why do they sterilise the needle for lethal injections?
Because they're professionals, but mostly because for a certain time after injection the condemned is still revivable. Be embarrassing to be pardoned a death sentence only to die from an infection caused by a dirty needle.
You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?
You mean stainless steel? Perhaps they could make it stronger by lining it with lead too? The plane wouldn't leave the ground.
Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?
How do you know they don't? Ever been chasing sheep in the rain... okay don't answer that I don't want to know. Rain isn't that warm and sheep are alive exuding a natural oil that coats the wool. Kill a sheep and stick it in the washing machine a few times on a hot cycle and I bet it'll shrink too... no don't do that either.
Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?
This is another change of use in language. Apartment does mean to separate, but in this instance is used to mean separating a larger space into multiple spaces. The word was then attached to the newly created object.
If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?
Because terminal just means end or end of. With flights and rail journeys the implication is end of the journey.

And that's it... damn I'm a know-it-all :-)


Tory said...

haha, awesome.

Anonymous said...

Be intersting to know if anyone has actually been given the lethal injection and then revived!

I'm betting no

FlipC said...

Probably not but it is possible. Another thought is preparing the prisoner for injection and then having them reprieved.