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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Breaking: Some Hummingbirds Mix in a Twist to their Mating Rituals

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source– In most North American hummingbirds, males court females by diving at them head on — but Costa’s hummingbirds (Calypte costae) perform their courtship dives off to the side. Researchers now find that this strategy allows the males to aim sounds at potential mates as if they were using a megaphone.

During high-speed courtship dives, males fan their tails at the last second to create a high-pitched chirp. The faster the dive, the more those tail feathers vibrate and the higher the pitch created by the would-be Romeos. Researchers suspect that females prefer higher-pitched dives, which results in various strategies to boost the frequency of the noise a male makes.

A study published on 12 April in Current Biology finds that male Costa’s hummingbirds can twist half of their tail feathers in the direction of the female, manipulating the volume and pitch of their chirps …. The researchers suspect that the targeted noise also masks audio cues that the females can use to judge how fast the males are diving.

“You can think of the feather as being like a flashlight,” says Chris Clark, an ornithologist at the University of California, Riverside. “If you point the flashlight straight at something, the light is much brighter. And if you look at it from the side, at a 90-degree angle, there’s still some light but not nearly as much.”

Using high-speed cameras and a specialized wind tunnel that measures sound levels and direction, Clark found that male Costa’s hummingbirds are able to boost their dive sounds by as much as 11 decibels — compared to straight-tailed dives — by aiming the chirps at females. “Eleven decibels would be quite noticeable to a human,” he says. “A 10-decibel difference is the difference between a fairly quiet room and a somewhat noisy room.”

“I never could have predicted any of this,” says Doug Altshuler, an integrative biologist who studies hummingbird flight at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. The tail-turning paper is just the latest in a long line of surprising discoveries Clark has added to the literature, he says. “I think it is very likely to wind up in textbooks as an exemplary case of sexual selection.”

Folks, when I say this study comes as a huge relief, you better believe I’m not exaggerating. Considering how slow science typically moves, I was beginning to think I would die before I found out the intricacies of the Costa’s hummingbird mating technique. Well, let me tell you, this is the biggest news to cross my desk in a long time.

I totally get where the Costa’s hummingbird is coming from, here. Talking to girls face to face is scary. Talking to any stranger face to face is tough, that’s why I just live online. There’s no pressure in interacting with someone through the Internet. Just like there’s no pressure directing your chirps at a lovely lady from an odd angle. The Costa’s hummingbird pretty much invented bird sexting. All parties involved know that the chirp isn’t a realistic depiction of the bird himself. Like the hummingbird with the highest pitch chirp isn’t necessarily the most handsome hummingbird. He’s just the best at manipulating his environment to create an exaggerated image of himself that makes him seem like an adequate partner. I respect that. I respect that a lot, actually.

Now, I can’t be 100% in on the Costa’s hummingbird’s vibe. If you’ve got those feathers you can’t be the insecure guy who has to doctor their chirp. That’s just a slap in the face to God. You either look good or have personality. You can’t have both. Leave these kind of theatrics and deception to the ugly birds out there. You know how needs to trick females into mating with him? This guy:

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You know who needs to spend hours agonizing over the correct angles and when to break off their dive and when to chirp, because they know without a perfectly executed mating ritual, their looks enough aren’t enough? Him:

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You know who can roll out of bed and pick up females left and right? The Costa’s hummingbird.

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So while I appreciate the average Costa’s hummingbird male’s struggle and latent insecurity, maybe just take a look in the mirror or something. Believe me, things could be a lot worse.