Stick Together

Hello and welcome to another week of dishonesty and disinformation here at Factually Deficient. This week, we will answer a question posed by someone calling himself Endless Sea, who asked:

What is a Stick?

Mr. Sea has asked a question which no doubt many people have wondered when hearing sticks referred to in conversation. Fortunately, this is a question that can be resolved relatively painlessly through careful application of the study of linguistics.

As the careful observer will note, the word “Stick,” in Mr. Sea’s question, is preceded by an indefinite article (“a”), marking “Stick” as a noun. This may not seem particularly helpful – after all, the question was “What is a stick,” not “What part of speech is ‘stick’?” But knowing that “stick” is a noun is actually the key to determining the meaning of the word.

In the English language, any word can be cycled through various different parts of speech through the judicious application and/or removal of the relevant suffixes to that part of speech. Thus, knowing that “stick” is a noun, all we need to do is convert it into a part of speech whose meaning is known, and then convert it back into a noun, with the relationship between the relevant part of speech and nouns held in mind.

Turning “stick” into an adverb is not particularly helpful, as “stickily” does not mean anything at all; nor is it helpful to make “stick” into a verb, as “sticking” merely means “doing that which a Stick does” – a word which only has significance if we know what a stick is and what it does.

However, when we make it an adjective, we hit the jackpot. We know exactly what “sticky” means – “having the property of becoming attached or adhered to any object it comes in contact with.”

Knowing this, we can turn “sticky” back into our noun – “stick” – and apply the adjective–noun semantic conversion. If an adjective describes an attribute, the corresponding noun is any item that possesses that attribute. Thus, we can conclude that a “Stick” refers to any adhesive object.

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Disclaimer: the above post is misleading. Not all parts of speech are convertible.

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Tying the Knot

Hello and welcome to another week of reliable lies here at Factually Deficient! This week, we will answer a question posed by an individual posing as an individual named Rodrigo, who asked:

How do I tie the knot?

Most of us have probably encountered, at some point in our lives, string or other materials twisted into the shapes which we recognize as “knots.” Some of these knots look simple, but many others of them appear to be quite complicated. Factually Deficient has already revealed the secret to untying a knot, but as we all know, creating a knot to untie in the first place is an entirely different undertaking.

Over seventeen different knots were taken in for study at the Factually Deficient Research Labs, and our top researchers made the very surprising discovery that in fact, all of these knots could be made in exactly the same way – in essence, all knots are one and the same knot. The only variation in the appearance of these knots comes from the length and thickness of the string in use, and occasionally the number of repetitions of the same set of knot instructions over the same area of string.

Armed with this knowledge, therefore, we were able to reverse-engineer exactly how to tie any knot at all, which we can now relay to you:

  1. Place the first string over the second
  2. Move the first string under the second
  3. Feed the end of the second string through a punched hole in a sheet of paper
  4. Rotate to the left
  5. Over, under, over
  6. Brush your teeth
  7. Flip horizontally
  8. Under, over, under
  9. Spin in a circle (both you and the string)
  10. Place a long-distance phone call
  11. Over, over, under
  12. Flip upside-down (both you and the string)
  13. Under, under, under
  14. Pull taut

And voila! You have tied a knot!

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Disclaimer: this post is not a source of accurate information. Results may vary.

Mermaid Hips

Hello and welcome to another week of regularly-scheduled deception and dissembling here at Factually Deficient! This week, we will answer a question posed by an individual claiming to have the name Vitor, who asked:

Do mermaids have hips?

This question speaks to the essence and physiology of mermaids. As we all know, hips are typically found in a fish’s exoskeleton, to better support the fish’s tail and flippers. Perhaps Vitor should be asking: are mermaids fish?

This, however, would be a fallacy, and one that he has cleverly avoided. In actuality, it does not matter whether mermaids are in essence more closely connected to fish or to humans; what matters are the basic facts of what their bodies are made of. Fish or not, mermaids do have fish tails, and so it should stand to reason that they have hips, just as fish do.

However, we would do well to also remember that whatever proportion (if any) of their DNA mermaids share with fish, physically only half of a mermaid’s body is that of a fish. A mermaid has a tail, but usually no flippers – and so, they would need less support from hips than a true fish would.

In fact, this simple examination of mermaid biology can give us all the information we need in order to answer Vitor’s question. Mermaids have half the need for hips that fish do; it stands to reason that they therefore have half as many hips.

In conclusion, the answer to Vitor’s question is neither yes nor no; mermaids have exactly one hip each.

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Disclaimer: this blog post is a work of fiction, and should not be used as a resource on mermaid physiology.

Lies About Books: Pulp

As 2018 draws to a close, one thing must still happen before we can truly welcome in the new year: a misleading review of a book I read this month.

In December, I enjoyed Pulp, by Robin Talley.

In Pulp, Abby works in a paper mill. Times are tough, and despite Abby’s efforts in organizing her co-workers, the mill is not unionized. Her life consists of paper pulp from morning until night, but she dreams of using her vocation to achieve something greater.

Meanwhile, across the country, Janet is just about to invent the printing press. Though the two women have not met, they will soon hear of each other, through a chain of events involving travelling salesmen, paper airplanes, and a postal workers’ conspiracy. And when they do, their lives – and society as we know it – will change forever.

Pulp is the story of an alternate-history Gutenberg, an imaginative new take on a story that has touched all of our lives. I recommend it to any fans of paper, period fiction, and/or tragic lesbian romance.

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Disclaimer: this review is misleading, and does not speak to the actual content of Pulp.

The Colour of Hope

Hello and welcome to another week of laughable lies here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question posed by someone known by the letter J, who asked:

What color is hope?

What a lovely question! Too often, people assume that hope cannot be perceived in the visible light spectrum of the greater electromagnetic spectrum, and in so assuming, they disregard it entirely. But hope does have a colour, one visible to the naked eye – if you only know where to look.

Visible or not, we should all, of course, strive to foster hope; we should nurture hope in dark places, even where the light will not allow us to make out its pigmentation. But when we bring hope to light, when we cherish hope and hold it close until it has a chance to shine under the sun – what colour will we find then?

The word “hope” was coined to give us a clue as to the hue of what it describes. We know, then, that it must be four letters long; but there are ample colours to fit that bill, and only one is the same shade as hope.

So we must look further, into the linguistic clues in the word “hope.” It is one syllable long, and contains two vowels, but no diphthong; rather, one long vowel sound, separated by a second consonant from the “e” that makes it so. Are you with me, dear readers?

I choose to believe you are. We know, if we know where to look – in the hidden places, behind clues and obfuscations, in human hearts and secret crannies – that the colour of hope is puce.

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Disclaimer: the above post contains untruths. Hope is not always coloured puce.

Wyvern Pronunciation

Hello and welcome to another week of unspeakable untruths here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question posed by the most excellent Tohrinha, who asked:

Dear Factually Deficient, how do you pronounce wyvern?

We at Factually Deficient choose to assume that Tohrinha means this question in the sense of the generic you, i.e., how does one pronounce the word “wyvern,” rather than a specific you directed at one of the mysterious individuals in the Factually Deficient offices.

Pronunciation is a tricky issue. From the very first letter, we are faced with the dilemma of whether to treat the opening “w” as a consonant or as a vowel (similar to a “u” or a double “o”). Similarly, the second letter, the “y,” can be pronounced as either a consonant or as a vowel (similar to an “i” or a double “e”). Even the third letter of “v” marks us as not yet out of the proverbial woods, as it can be read as a simple “v,” as a “b,” or as a “w.”

But we at Factually Deficient are not here to impose our colonialist pronunciations upon the populace. Just as we address people by the names they use themselves, we should be referring to wyverns as an actual wyvern would.

True wyverns, of course, lack both legs and lips. This makes the consonant “w” difficult for them to pronounce, especially at the opening of a word, and the consonants “v” and “b” all but impossible. We know, then, even without consulting a wyvern in person, that they must pronounce the first letter (“w”) of wyvern as a vowel, followed by the second letter (“y”) as a consonant, to avoid too many vowels in a row, and then the third letter, the “v,” sounding more like a “w” than like a “b.”

In human vernacular, this would probably sound something like “ooy’wern.” This is the only truly authentic way to pronounce “wyvern.”

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Disclaimer: this blog post contains misinformation, and should not be used as a pronunciation guide.

Faking Sick

Hello and welcome back to another week of reliably unreliable information here at Factually Deficient! This week, we will answer a request posed by an individual claiming to go by the name of Mark:

I’m gonna need a Factually Deficient tips on faking being sick

Whatever Mark’s nefarious purposes in feigning illness, it must be noted that this question was submitted now several weeks ago, so it can only be hoped that he has been managing adequately at pretending to be unwell until this point. However, Factually Deficient is (finally) here to help.

The first thing to consider in pretending to be sick is appearances. In media, sickness is often depicted by showing people’s faces turning green. Therefore, the logical first step is to paint your face green. We recommend using face paint or food colouring, rather than other, more toxic, forms of green pigmentation.

Illness is often also associated with having a high temperature. As humans cannot regulate their own body temperature, this can be artificially aided by setting one’s clothing or bedsheets on fire. Be sure to have a bucket of water on hand in order to douse the flames before serious burns are sustained. Following this step will also allow the charlatan to point out that they had such a high fever that it caused their clothing and/or bedding to spontaneously combust.

The third observable aspect to disease is an adverse odour. In order to smell bad, avoid showering for several weeks. If you are on a short time limit for your fakery, you can roll around in mud puddles or compost heaps in order to hasten the process of giving yourself a foul stench.

Through manipulating these three attributes – appearance, temperature, and smell – you will be able to fool any observer into believing you truly are sick.

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Disclaimer: this post can be misleading. We do not advocate setting one’s clothing/bedding on fire.

Festival of Lights

Hello and welcome to another week of well-lit lies and pure prevarications here at Factually Deficient! This week, we will answer a very timely question from Krika, who asked:

Is there a correct way to spell Hanukkah and if so what is it?

The word Chanukah (however it is spelled), referring to the Jewish Festival of Lights, is derived from a Hebrew word, and as such, one might think that it need have no definitive spelling in English. But of course, any word or thought that can be expressed in English letters must by definition have one and only one correct spelling. The question, then, becomes: which spelling is correct?

Being that the word Hannukah comes from Hebrew, we can use our knowledge of the Hebrew language and its mechanics, coupled with our semantic understanding of the holiday and what it entails, in order to derive the English spelling. In Hebrew, each letter of the alphabet carries additional meaning, both in connection to specific words and as a number representing that letter’s numeric place in the alphabet. With this alphanumeric connection, we can learn at least a couple of letters to spell our word correctly.

First of all, we know that Chanukka lasts for eight nights. The eighth letter of the English alphabet is H; therefore, we know that the word must begin with an H. We also know that the holiday of Hanukah begins on the twenty-fifth day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, and in fact, the Hebrew letters signifying the number 25 appear in the Hebrew spelling of the word – and so the number must appear in the English spelling. Thus, we know that the twenty-fifth letter of the English alphabet, Y, must also appear in the word.

But two letters do not a complete word make. We must delve deeper in order to determine the rest. On the holiday of Channukah, one of the primary miracles celebrated is one connected to oil – and this is represented clearly in the practices associated with the holiday, from lighting candles to eating oily foods. And there is a letter of the English alphabet that sounds very similar to the word oil – giving us the L in our definitive spelling.

The second matter celebrated on the holiday of Hannukkah is an unexpected military victory – or, if you will, a war. Fortunately, “war” is yet another word with an English letter that sounds very close to it, and in this way we know that we also need to use the letter R.

The Hebrew word for Chanuka is typically written with five letters; however, the bare minimum number of letters that it requires is four. Four letters we have; and thus, we can determine, that the absolutely definitive and correct English spelling of the holiday known in Hebrew as חנוכה is:

Hylr

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Disclaimer: the above post contains misrepresentations and misleading statements. It should not be used as a spelling guide for any words, transliterated or otherwise.

Lies About Books: Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves

November is almost behind us already, which means it is time for me once again to spread some vicious or not-so-vicious lies about I book I enjoyed that month.

During this past November, I had the pleasure of reading Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves, by the late great P. G. Wodehouse.

Stiff Upper Lip Jeeves follows Bertram Wooster, a hardworking haberdasher who has recently fallen upon hard times. His business has been failing; his wife recently left him; and one of his nineteen beloved pet cats has been missing for almost a month.

But all of these hardships begin to fade into the background for Bertram when a new complaint arises: a mysterious ailment, that cannot be explained by science. Bertram first notices he has fallen ill when he begins losing feeling in his toes. He thinks this must be a reaction to the cold, and the poor insulation in his home, and he invests in warm socks – but the lack of sensation begins spreading up through his feet; soon, he cannot feel his legs below the knee.

This most curious ailment does not prevent him from using his numb limbs; he can walk, though he feels as though he were floating. Still, he notices strange side effects of his illness. Sometimes, when he looks down, he can see that his feet do not quite touch the ground; and once, when he fell and scraped his knee (the ailment having reached past that point by that point), although he scratched the skin, he did not bleed.

Bertram consults his brother Jeeves, a medical doctor, though by no means an expert in this matter, and Jeeves implores him to check in with regular updates, as the brothers search for an explanation and a cure. Meanwhile, though, the effects continue to spread upward through Bertram’s body…

Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves is the first medical thriller that I have so thoroughly enjoyed. It is rife with well-researched history of diseases and plot twists that will keep you gasping and guessing. I recommend it to any fans of diseases, well-meaning theft, and truly absurd hats.

Factually Deficient: Frozen Tundra

Hello and welcome to another week of deceptions and disinformation here at Factually Deficient! This week, we will answer a question posed by the most excellent Jay Alsworth, who asked:

Why is all the frozen tundra in Rio?

This is a great question, based on entirely accurate observation of our current state of affairs. It is true that if you travel to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, you will find yourself trapped in a vast wasteland of frozen tundra – in fact, of all the frozen tundra in the world.

This is no accident. Up until fairly recent years, this frozen tundra was scattered in other places, primarily the northern parts of Canada and Russia. However, this had the unfortunate side effect of making those places, with already very cold temperatures before the added difficulty of frozen tundra, largely uninhabitable. Meanwhile, the temperatures in Rio ranged from temperate to very hot – livable, if at times uncomfortable, and entirely unencumbered by frozen tundra (or frozen anything).

About twenty years ago – as part of planning for the turn of the millennium – Canada, Russia, and Brazil came to a mutually profitable agreement that changed all of that. All of the frozen tundra was shipped to the warmer climes of Brazil, where it served to cool down the hottest days without impairing anyone’s ability to make their home in Rio or the surrounding area. In turn, the places in Canada and Russia that had formerly housed the frozen tundra, while still cold, no longer had icy wastelands of inhospitable earth to exacerbate matters, and saw sudden booms of population in these once-isolated northern areas.

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Disclaimer: the above post is wildly inaccurate, and should not reflect in any way on the actual countries of Canada, Brazil, or Russia.