remember: don't ever write a check with your mouth that you can't cash with your ass.
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Bears: Worst Mammal Ever

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I hate bears. They're fat, oversleeping, furry assholes. And can they leave a frickin' picnic basket alone for one minute? I don't think so. Bears have no emotional intelligence. None.

Try petting a bear. That's a no go. I mean, you can try, but that bear will claw your nads off like they were two blueberries in September. And they will not apologize for that. They'll just keep pawing through your trash like nothing even happened. Bears don't give a shit.

Speaking of shit, the forest is full of it. That bear you see is 10% bear skin and ninety percent intestines. When a bear eats your potato salad from the campsite, the salad barely has time to turn brown before it's getting pinched off on some innocent bush in the forest. And what did the bush do to deserve that? Nothing. You don't see humans do that sort of thing. No human ever says, "I think I'll drop a deuce on the cat." We humans respect nature. Bears don't. They pollute and they don't give a hoot.

And what does a bear do when it has an itchy ass? Does it buy some ointment and suffer silently like a proper mammal, or does it find some majestic redwood tree that is minding its own business and use it as an ass-scratcher? These questions answer themselves, folks.

Sometimes you hear of a trained bear in a Russian circus, riding a tiny bicycle, wearing an undersized hat, and you think how cute. But you only hear of those trained bears in Russia. Oh, there's a reason. It's because Russian men are not metrosexuals. That bear is actually a guy named Boris who hasn't trimmed his eyebrows or shaved his back in forty years. The circus doesn't even pay him. They just hand him a little hat, a little bicycle, and a pitcher of vodka. The rest just happens. So don't tell me how trainable bears are. While Boris is riding that tiny bike, bears are trying to break into your camper to eat your kids. Bears suck.

I'm afraid of anything that sleeps half the year without dying. Bears call it "hibernating" because it sounds better than lazy. That's nothing but good marketing. Those furry bastards even managed to become California's mascot, or state animal, or whatever-the-fuck. What kind of message does that send to our kids? If the state mammal can't get its furry ass out of its den for six months, how are we supposed to get the kids to school by 8 AM? I want my state animal to be a wise owl, or perhaps a porpoise that saves a surfer from a shark. I think I speak for all Californians when I say we don't want to be associated with bears. It makes the whole state look bad.

To make matters worse, after "hibernating," those lazy bastards spend the next six months, or whatever, eating shit that isn't even theirs. That's right: Bears are communists. They do not respect individual property rights. You think you own that ham sandwich on the picnic table? A bear doesn't think so.

I have never trusted bears, and now I hear they are recruiting humans to join their side. In San Francisco, for example, there are men with beards and leather clothing who identify themselves as bears. They act all nice, but after two drinks you won't believe what they suggest doing. It makes losing a picnic basket sound like a holiday. You might try it a few times just to be polite, but you always find yourself rubbing against a redwood tree afterwards just to make the itching stop.

There's a good reason that Wall Street calls a falling stock market a "bear market." And when you have a hard time accomplishing something you might say it was a "bear" of a time. You simply don't see bears associated with happy events.

Well, okay, there is one exception.

Someone once asked if I had ever had sex on a bearskin rug in front of a fireplace. So I tried it a few times, and I have to say it was great. I guess that's why the taxidermist keeps the bear's mouth open in the roaring position. Someday I plan to add a human to the mix and see how the threesome goes.

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jonjonnyp
2564 days ago
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I literally cannot!!!!!
Atlanta, Georgia
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Sunless Earth

7 Comments and 15 Shares

Sunless Earth

What would happen to the Earth if the Sun suddenly switched off?

—Many, many readers

This is probably the single most popular question submitted to What If.

Part of why I haven’t answered it is that it's been answered already. A Google search for what if the Sun went out turns up a lot of excellent articles thoroughly analyzing the situation.

However, since my recent articles on sunsets, the rate of submission of this question has risen even further, so I’ve decided to do my best to answer it.

If the Sun went out ...

We won’t worry about exactly how it happens. We'll just assume we figured out a way to fast-forward the Sun through its evolution so that it becomes a cold, inert sphere. What would the consequences be for us here on Earth?

Let's look at a few:

Reduced risk of solar flares: In 1859, a massive solar flare and geomagnetic storm hit the Earth.[1] Magnetic storms induce electric currents in wires. Unfortunately for us, by 1859 we had wrapped the Earth in telegraph wires. The storm caused powerful currents in those wires, knocking out communications and in some cases causing telegraph equipment to catch fire.[2]

Since 1859, we've wrapped the Earth in a lot more wires. If the 1859 storm hit us today, the Department of Homeland Security estimates the economic damage to the US alone would be several trillion dollars[3]—more than every hurricane which has ever hit the US combined.[4] If the Sun went out, this threat would be eliminated.

Improved satellite service: When a communications satellite passes in front of the Sun, the Sun can drown out the satellite's radio signal, causing an interruption in service.[5] Deactivating the Sun would solve this problem.

Better astronomy: Without the Sun, ground-based observatories would be able to operate around the clock. The cooler air would create less atmospheric noise, which would reduce the load on adaptive optics systems and allow for sharper images.

Stable dust: Without sunlight, there would be no Poynting–Robertson drag, which means we would finally be able to place dust into a stable orbit around the Sun without the orbits decaying. I’m not sure whether anyone wants to do that, but you never know.

Reduced infrastructure costs: The Department of Transportation estimates that it would cost $20 billion per year over the next 20 years to repair and maintain all US bridges.[6] Most US bridges are over water; without the Sun, we could save money by simply driving on a strip of asphalt laid across the ice.

Cheaper trade: Time zones make trade more expensive; it's harder to do business with someone if their office hours don't overlap with yours.[7] If the Sun went out, it would eliminate the need for time zones, allowing us to switch to UTC and give a boost to the global economy.

Safer Children: According to the North Dakota Department of Health, babies younger than six months should be kept out of direct sunlight.[8] Without sunlight, our children would be safer.

Safer combat pilots: Many people sneeze when exposed to bright sunlight. The reasons for this reflex are unknown, and it may pose a danger to fighter pilots during flight.[9] If the Sun went dark, it would mitigate this danger to our pilots.

Safer parsnip: Wild parsnip is a surprisingly nasty plant. Its leaves contain chemicals called furocoumarins, which can be absorbed by human skin without causing symptoms ... at first. However, when the skin is then exposed to sunlight (even days or weeks later), the furocoumarins cause a nasty chemical burn. This is called phytophotodermatitis.[10] A darkened Sun would liberate us from the parsnip threat.

In conclusion, if the Sun went out, we would see a variety of benefits across many areas of our lives.

Are there any downsides to this scenario?

We would all freeze and die.

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jonjonnyp
2613 days ago
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Safer Children: According to the North Dakota Department of Health, babies younger than six months should be kept out of direct sunlight.[8] Without sunlight, our children would be safer.
Atlanta, Georgia
ripdog
2612 days ago
Yes, we read the article too.
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5 public comments
Almajbary
2607 days ago
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What would happen to the Earth if the Sun suddenly switched off?
Benghazi, Libya
Alpha_Cluster
2611 days ago
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Yeah in the end not a good idea.
grammargirl
2614 days ago
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Phytophotodermatitis can also be caused by, I swear to Maude, drinking a margarita outside on a summer day and splashing some on your skin. My coworker got it that way.
Brooklyn, NY
rclatterbuck
2616 days ago
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Battle-axe to the stalk is also my preferred method of chopping wood.
expatpaul
2616 days ago
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10 benefits and only one disadvantage. What are we waiting for?
Belgium

Pastime

8 Comments and 42 Shares
Good thing we're too smart to spend all day being uselessly frustrated with ourselves. I mean, that'd be a hell of a waste, right?
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jonjonnyp
2620 days ago
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basically.
Atlanta, Georgia
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7 public comments
AndyG1128
2620 days ago
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Me neither
Nashville, TN
sleepwalker
2619 days ago
Likewise.
smarkwell
2620 days ago
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Touche
rgsunico
2620 days ago
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Zing!
Quezon City
adamgurri
2620 days ago
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welp
New York, NY
bronzehedwick
2620 days ago
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Man that's good.
Astoria NY
JayM
2620 days ago
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Ha!
Atlanta, GA

Hipsters

7 Comments and 25 Shares
You may point out that this very retreat into ironic detachment while still clearly participating in the thing in question is the very definition of contemporary hipsterdom. But on the other hand, wait, you're in an empty room. Who are you talking to?
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jonjonnyp
2624 days ago
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👍
Atlanta, Georgia
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6 public comments
Roy
2621 days ago
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Oh hipsters, can't wait to see more of you awesome people when I move to Williamsburg!
San Francisco
8bithack
2624 days ago
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<3
C-Bus
adamgurri
2624 days ago
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welp
New York, NY
Martin_English
2624 days ago
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This arrived in my RSS the day after a Dilbert about Hipsters (is it capitalised ?).
Coincidence or proof ?
Martin English, NSW, Australia
mithrandir
2625 days ago
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XKCD: Drawing graph-comics since before they were cool.
joelbitar
2625 days ago
:D