The Burning Questions Mailbag, pt. 3

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Welcome back to the Burning Questions Mailbag. Everyone’s favorite recurring segment has returned with a vengeance, and this is the biggest one yet. The people didn’t disappoint and submitted more Burning Questions than ever before, and I’m more than happy to answer all some of them. Let’s dive right in.

Jerry S. asks: What’s the deal with math?

I’ll be honest, this was my question, not Jerry’s. This is what prompted me to revive the BQMB. What’s up with math? Why do all these complex equations and formulas exist? Every single one of them is an arbitrary human construct designed to solve a problem that humans created. It’s all fake. What real world application does calculus have? When’s the last time algebra helped anyone? What’s the point of any mathematical function outside of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division? Who decided what pi is and who decided it’s infinite? Sine and cosine are the fakest, most pointless things ever. Like who gives a shit what the area of an isosceles triangle is? Why do we still teach our children this crap? If you want to spend the rest of your life playing make believe with all the other mathematicians, you should have to declare yourself a math loser in like, fourth grade so everyone else doesn’t have to waste valuable education time on such a nonsensical and impractical discipline. Like the math problem from Good Will Hunting? Why does that even exist? Why are there unsolvable math problems if math itself is 100000000% man-made? Why did we create something we couldn’t solve? Just proves my point that advanced math is illegitimate and clearly something that should be kept in Neverland where it belongs.

pestooneverything asks: Why would Tory Lanez use a stage name when his real name is Daystar Peterson and what would your stage name be?

That’s a great question. As for the first part, you’d have to ask Tory Lanez himself. I tried contacting him, but he’s not returning my calls at the moment. It’s a long story. As for my stage name, I’m not quite sure. It’s have to be something catchy, and probably short. Maybe I’ll just be Brian. I don’t know, needs workshopping. One thing I know for certain, though, is that my nickname would be Mr. Mistoffelees. The nickname to the nickname is arguably more important, and I need to let people know what I’m all about. I think Mr. Mistoffelees gets the point across.

WhiteKong asks: What’s the worst city in America?

There are a lot, and I mean a LOT, of contenders for this. There’s my hometown of Rutland, Vermont. There’s good ol’ St. Louis. There’s my new home of New York City. There’s probably ten thousand terrible cities across this great country. But, in my mind, the big three of terrible American cities are Reno, Nevada, Detroit, Michigan, and Tampa, Florida. Detroit is obvious and kind of sad, but Reno and Tampa are living monuments to the most reviled sect of the American population: white trash. Nevada opened itself up to cities like Reno getting so bad by making the entire state a lawless commune. If you have the opportunity to trick people into thinking you’re just like Vegas, you’re gonna do it. It’s just when you don’t have any of the allure and panache you’re left with a hellhole of epic proportions. And Tampa is like if every stereotype you have of white people in Florida was a city.

ConfusedReader asks: Can someone focus on their career and have a family without compromising on either end?

Welcome to the Dear Abby portion of the program. Friend, I don’t know if you’ve ever read this website before, but I’m about as close to having a family or fulfilling career as I am to curing cancer, and I can assure you I’m not particularly close to curing cancer.

Out of goodwill, though, I must answer. I’d say yes, because people have been wondering this since the dawn of time and nothing about the way we structure professional lives has ever changed, so I’m guessing people figure it out? If you’re super dedicated to your work, a workaholic, or just plain old obsessed with your career, good luck finding someone that puts up with that longterm, but if you’ve got a regular 40-hour-a-week position, I don’t see why not. As long as you make it to little Jimmy’s baseball games so he doesn’t resent you for not being there, I think you can, at the very least, trick your family into thinking you care more about them than that nice promotion on the horizon.

movieman asks: I’m a little late, but I should totally get MoviePass, right?

Totally. Love MoviePass. It’s how I can afford to see all these movies and live in New York at the same time. Really, if you go like, ten times in a year it pays for itself. Wait, what’s that? MoviePass literally ran out of money and had to get a $5 million loan and is now raising prices and restricting access to blockbusters? Yiiiiiiikeessssss. R.I.P. MoviePass. It was a good run that seemed too good to be true every time I used it. Turns out it was. A free tip for every fledgling business owner out there: make sure you have a way to make money. Hard to stick around if you don’t.

Brian asks: Who was the first underwear manufacturer to account for erections?

Wonderful question, Brian. I’m not sure the answer to that, but I do know who has the most comfortable underwear. That’s right, it’s MeUndies! Right now, my readers can get 10% off their first purchase. Just go to meundies.com and enter the promo code: Brian.

DesperateLover asks: What’s the most polite way to ask for nudes?

“Excuse me, can I please have some nudes?”

BlacktopLebron asks: What’s your current All-White NBA Team?

Don’t know if you mean American white or Euros included, but I’m gonna include Euros just because.

Starters

G- Luka Doncic

G- Evan Fornier

F- Gordan Hayward

F- Kevin Love

C- Kristaps Porzingis

Bench

F- Dirk Nowitzki

F- Doug McDermott

G- Kyle Korver

C- Marc Gasol

C- Pau Gasol

G- Matthew Dellavedova

G- JJ Redick

We’re scoring a lot of points, buttttttt defense might be a bit of an issue.

X asks: Now that Dad Hats are back, what will be the next cool hat?

Cycling hats. Trust me, these things are gonna be huge.

AngryPerson asks: Why did you love Mamma Mia 2 so much? I hated it and loved the first one.

Well, you have my condolences. Being born with no taste must have been very hard for you. Mamma Mia 2 is better because it takes the best part about the first one (the music) and puts it front and center. Mamma Mia tried to have a real storyline, when, in reality, this is quite possibly the most far-fetched franchise plot-wise in history. Mamma Mia 2 embraces the absurdity and just gives the audience banger after banger, while Mamma Mia was caught trying to be both Les Mis and Grease, which didn’t work. 2 knows what it is, 1 didn’t. Both are still fire movies, though.

GuythatworksforXboxandisalegitimateInsiderwhothinksIhaveactualanswers asks: What’s going to be the next big technology that changes gaming? Better AI? 8K? Cloud computing?

Just going off my gut instinct, here, but the next big shift in gaming technology is going to be physical gaming. Imagine this- you have a representation of the game’s world in front of you (let’s call it a board), and a piece (or two, or three, etc.) that acts as a stand-in for the avatar, and, using things like random number generators and games of chance, you move your piece across the game board, fulfilling objectives, collecting loot, and competing against other players. I just think that’s where games are going.

Joseph asks: What’s the most annoying fan base?

I feel like I’ve touched on this before, but the five most annoying fan bases are 5. Patriots (I concede we can be very annoying and easily #triggered at times, but when the entire world makes it their mission to #trigger you, I’m sorry if I have a short fuse) 4. Star Wars (they hardcore fans that complain about everything and make me like the movies less) 3. St. Louis Cardinals (like Yankee fans but midwest) 2. Kobe (Kobe is not a top ten player of all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time) and, of course, 1. Yankees. I’m admittedly biased. But that stupid candle-light vigil for Aaron Judge (who hasn’t even Earned his Pinstripes, IMO) is why the entire country hates every single one of those mongoloid losers. There isn’t a more self-serious and self-aggrandizing group of people on the planet. Please @ me so I can tell you how stupid and detestable you all are.

DP asks: Why are you so soft on Kevin Durant?

Because everyone is so hard on him, and it makes me feel smart to go against public opinion, especially when the basis of most people’s argument is the imaginary concept of “loyalty.” Yes, it completely shattered the competitive balance of the league, but, I don’t know. I just don’t care.

FootballJunkie asks: Who’s your top ten skill position (non-QB) in the NFL?

God, just seeing the word football has me fiending something fierce. This is summer is last in my seasonal power rankings- training camp is the longest period of time ever. I just want some regular season action. Feed me Bengals-Colts on Thursday night. Anyway, top ten skill guys, non-QB.

  1. Healthy Rob Gronkowsi
  2. Antonio Brown
  3. Odell Beckham, Jr.
  4. Julio Jones
  5. Le’veon Bell
  6. A.J. Green
  7. Todd Gurley
  8. DeAndre Hopkins
  9. Travis Kelce
  10. David Johnson

Mr. Thoughtful asks: What’s a good first anniversary gift to give my girlfriend? She likes adventures and traveling but I have no money 😦

Ahh, the age old question. How to keep my significant other appeased despite the fact that I don’t have the necessary funds to shower them in lavish gifts? A true dilemma, if I’ve ever heard one. A love of adventures and traveling, you say? Hmmm. I think I know just the thing! How about a trip to lovely Reno, Nevada! It’s all some of the glitz and glamor of Las Vegas at half the price! It’s an adventure because you won’t know if you’ll get sick from the used needles on the side of the road or the extreme second-hand smoke inhalation, and it’s traveling because I’m assuming you’re a real person and don’t live in Nevada. It’s a win-win! Or, you could make a bunch of artistic renderings of the two of you in all the places you’d like to go and hide them throughout the house. She might appreciate the effort.

BlacktopGriffey asks: Who’s your top ten current MLB players?

A lot of lists this time, but I’m always game to give definitive player rankings that no one can possibly dispute. I’ll do top ten position players and top ten pitchers.

Position Players

  1. Mike Trout
  2. Mookie Betts
  3. Jose Ramirez
  4. Nolan Arenado
  5. J.D. Martinez
  6. Francisco Lindor
  7. Manny Machado
  8. Jose Altuve
  9. Aaron Judge
  10. Joey Votto

Pitchers

  1. Chris Sale
  2. Max Scherzer
  3. Clayton Kershaw
  4. Jacob deGrom
  5. Justin Verlander
  6. Aaron Nola
  7. Gerrit Cole
  8. Corey Kluber
  9. Luis Severino
  10. Zack Greinke

Briansden69 asks: Remember when you went to the Denver Airport and became indoctrinated by the Illuminati? Whatever happe-

Well, I think that’ll about do it for this edition of the Burning Questions Mailbag. Always good to hear from readers and ease their troubled minds. I’ll keep my brain churning to come up with some more Burning Questions as long as you all do, too. Remember, if you have a question, I have the answer.

 

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Real Headline: Sexual Competition Among Ducks Wreaks Havoc on Penis Size

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Please, have some decency

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source– Male ducks respond to sexual competition by growing either an extra-long penis or a nub of flesh, a new study finds. The unusual phenomena occurred in two species studied: the lesser scaup (Aythya affinis) and the ruddy duck (Oxyura jamaicensis). It suggests that penis size — in line with many traits and behaviours meant to impress or allow impregnation of the opposite sex — involves a trade-off between the potential to reproduce and to survive.

Patricia Brennan, an evolutionary biologist at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, compared the penises of ducks kept in male–female pairs to those housed with multiple males per female.

“If they were alone with a female, the males just grew a normal-sized penis, but if there were other males around, they had the ability to change dramatically,” Brennan says. “So evolution must be acting on the ability to be plastic — the ability to invest only in what is needed in your current circumstance.”

Because evolutionary success relies on reproduction, genitals are adapted to meet the varied circumstances that every animal faces. Some male ducks, for example, have penises in the shape of corkscrews to navigate the labyrinth-like vaginas of their female counterparts. An earlier study by Brennan found that females’ anatomy evolved to prevent access to undesirable males who force copulation. To mate successfully with their chosen partners, Brennan says, female ducks assume a posture that allows males to enter them fully and deposit sperm near eggs.

However, evolutionary changes in the size of body parts are generally thought to happen over generations, not within an individual’s lifetime. Brennan wondered whether ducks might buck this trend because some species’ penises emerge anew every breeding season and degenerate afterwards. Similarly, acorn barnacles (Semibalanus balanoides) — hermaphroditic, shelled sea creatures cemented to rocks — generate their penises only when it’s time to mate. Because they use their penises to grope for other barnacles to inseminate, the organ’s length depends on the proximity of a barnacle’s neighbours.

Brennan and her colleagues fenced off habitats so that ducks would live either in pairs or in groups with almost twice as many males as females for two breeding seasons over the course of two years. The lesser scaups grew longer penises when they were forced to compete for females than when they were coupled up. A larger reproductive organ likely improves their chances of fertilizing an egg.

But the results of the social environment on ruddy ducks were more complicated. During the first year, only the largest males in the groups grew long penises (about 18 centimetres each), whereas smaller males developed half-centimetre stubs. In the second year, smaller males grew normal-sized penises, but they lasted for just five weeks, whereas the largest males kept their penises for three months.

Clues may lie in the drama of ruddy-duck life. The birds have some of the largest penis-to-body ratios found in nature — with penises sometimes longer than their bodies. “I can’t imagine they could grow any longer,” Brennan says. The birds have also been known to fight to the death, which suggests that smaller ruddy ducks might be too stressed to develop penises normally. “Bullying may increase stress hormones, and those could counteract the effects of androgen hormones” that control penis growth, Brennan says.

This response to stress could be adaptive. The same androgen hormones that trigger penis growth every season in birds also underlie colouration. They cause the duck’s feathers to turn from dull brown to chestnut when it’s time to breed, and their bills to go from grey to bright blue. To females, the wardrobe change signals a male’s readiness. To neighbouring males, it foreshadows a fight. “I think the small ones go through it quickly so that there’s less danger of getting beaten up,” Brennan says.

The study is “really interesting”, says Charlie Cornwallis, an evolutionary biologist at Lund University in Sweden. “This suggests there is a cost to having a large penis because individuals are investing according to the competition they face from other males.” Cornwallis says that few studies have investigated the effect of environmental and social conditions on penis size, and that these evolutionary trade-offs could be more common than imagined.

(I know I posted pretty much the whole article but it was too good not to)

Oh, man. What world we live in. There’s really not a lot to add to this headline, but I’m going to fight my better instincts and do it anyway. First off, who’s idea was it to do this study in the first place? What kind of messed up penis was that duck working with that triggered someone to be like, “wow, that’s way different than what everyone else has, I should do a study to find out everything I can about two specific species of ducks’ penis sizes?” Like what the hell? I thought size didn’t matter? She told me it was fine and that I shouldn’t be embarrassed about it, but I guess not. Looks like I’ll have to start watching my back (or front, I suppose) to make sure I’m not the one who sets off the study about human penis size. That would be pretty mortifying.

I came out of this really feeling for duck men. Sounds like they live in some kind of eternal hell. They grow a new penis every year during mating season only to have it deteriorate and decay until it falls off? No thank you. I mean, sure it might be nice to play the penis lottery if you’re sick of the one you have, but talk about a terrible feeling to have. Just knowing you’ve only got a penis for one season out of the year. Not a great position to be in.

And then I’ve got to call out this article a little bit, too. They were penis-shaming everyone. The ones with penises longer than their bodies. The ones with fleshy nubs. The ones with corkscrew penises. How else are my duck friends supposed to navigate the “labyrinth-like vaginas of their female counterparts?” Everything can’t be irregular. You can’t point and laugh at everybody. Duck penises are like snowflakes- no two are the same, and that’s perfectly okay. I’d like to see the duck they based their concept of normalcy on. What kind of penis did he have that mating season? Something perfectly shaped and pliable but is also the ideal size? Cool. Not everyone can be Superman. Sorry, but I’m here to stick up for the little guys (and the irregular shaped guys). Have some empathy, here. Imagine being a duck and seeing this walk by:

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What choice do you have but to grow an irregularly shaped penis? Sorry, but I refuse to throw dirt on duck males’ good name. To all the haters: lay off. It’s not the size of the boat, it’s the motion of the ocean. Sorry not everyone has a cookie-cutter penis. To all the duck males reading this: you’re not alone. You may be catching heat from all sides, including from your own potential mates, but you’ve got at least one friend out there. I’ll stand by you through your darkest days, because sometimes in times of penis-related stress, all you need is a shoulder to cry on.

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I’m Going to my First Wedding Tonight

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Ahh, Wedding Season. Love is in the air, immaculate suits and dresses are being tailored, and many, many, many dollars are exchanging hands because Sarah just has to have a bouquet of white roses at every table, she doesn’t care about shortages and inflated prices. Not many better times of year. This will be my first time experiencing it firsthand. I’m a nuptial neophyte, if you will. After years and years of courtship, some of my friends from college (yeah, I have friends, nbd) are tying the knot, and I couldn’t be happier for them. I can’t wait to sit through the ceremony and revel all night long. There’s nothing else going on, tonight, anyway. Wait, what’s that? Game 4 of the NBA Finals is on? And the Warriors could both finish the sweep and finish a 16-0 postseason? Ughhhh. What’s the NBA doing scheduling a Finals game on a Friday night? Don’t they know people (besides me) always have fun plans Friday night? Who has time to stay and watch a basketball game? Just move it to tomorrow night. It’s just basketball, right? And, no offense to the lovely couple, but who gets married on Friday? Don’t they know people have jobs? Very annoying!

And, of course, the entire thing is at a nice beachfront venue that’s ideal for romantic pictures and outdoor dancing, but very un-ideal for those of us who care more about sports than the people they actually know (mostly just me). Not a TV in the place. Considering I can stream the game on the handy ESPN App™, I’m praying there’s some WiFi. After all, you only get to see LeBron lose in the Finals once a year. But if I have to watch the game on my phone, how am I supposed to tweet my way through it at the same time? Didn’t anyone think about how inconvenient this wedding was for me? Apparently not. Talk about inconsiderate. I was kind of hoping the Cavs would win Wednesday night to avoid this exact scenario. Unfortunately for me, they completely laid down in the last few minutes and were handed one of the most crushing basketball losses I’ve ever seen. There’s no chance whatsoever the Cavs can pick themselves up and win this game. They’re done. They’re broken. The role players had already quit, but know Kyrie and LeBron have, too. At this point, nothing is going to keep Tristan Thompson from making his Saturday morning flight to Barbados. This is over. Warriors might win by 40. So, obviously, no big deal that I’m missing it, right? Well, I live for NBA Finals clinching blowouts. Seeing players like LeBron, Kobe, Durant, or LeBron again sit on the bench dejectedly as the winning team runs it up is great. They produce so many great pictures, videos, and memes. It shapes who the internet will make fun of for the next week. When someone online says that LeBron is probably the most skilled and versatile player ever, instead of considering the facts and forming legitimate arguments for or against, we can all just post a picture of him looking sad on the bench because the rest of his team stinks. And I have to miss that in real time. I pretty much can’t contribute to anything online for the next few days. I have to wait until the next Thing happens. I might as well be 100 years old, unable to figure out this new-fangled telephone my grandkids gave me. What a bummer. At least the couple is happy.