Getting Your Goat

Hello and welcome to another week of wild misinformation here at Factually Deficient! This week, I would like to answer a question posed by my very dear friend, the elusive eli_gone_crazy. eli asked:

Why are goats so weird: part sheep, part eldritch horror?

Without, perhaps, even realizing it, eli has come very close to the heart of the matter in this articulation of the question – a question which drives back to the very genesis of goats, one of the more cryptic members of the Plant Kingdom.

In fact, up one branch of their family tree, goats are directly descended from the sheep, with which they now coexist. Once, there were only sheep in their particular province of the Plant Kingdom; and if some were leaders and some were followers, if some ventured wide and far with adventurous eyes opened wide while others feared to stray from the well-trodden paths thinning in grass to eat, well, they were still all sheep, more or less.

When the Others began to rise from the deep in a once-in-millenia occurrence, the sheep were separated. While the homebody sheep fled from the scene in terror, the more venturesome of the sheep came forward, and greeted the great and terrible sea monsters with courtesy. They were the first of the mainland plants to do so, the first to welcome these tentacled creatures to shore.

While the more fearful of the sheep cowered in their pens, their reckless brethren made new friends. Soon the wilder sheep began to interbreed with the ancient ones, birthing ewes – kids – that were wilder yet than their sheep parents, with a glint in their eyes, a spark of intelligence, and a knack for the uncanny arts that harked back to the other side of their heritage.

Soon, the otherworldly gloom parted from the skies, and the ancient abominations sunk back into the abyss from whence they came. But their children of the sheep, their legacy – still remain with us, known today as goats.

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Disclaimer: the above post is a work of fiction. Do not attempt to crossbreed sheep and eldritch horrors.

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Firstborn Donkey Economy

Hello and welcome back to yet another week of rampant misinformation here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will discuss a topic referred to Factually Deficient by Sicon112, who said:

We should probably get a blog post from you about the state of the firstborn donkey economy.

What Sicon112 is asking about, though nowadays a little-known quirk of historical economics, actually forms the very foundations of modern-day capitalism as we know it.

Thousands of years ago, when man was just beginning to discover that an individual’s prosperity would grow by sharing and trading resources with his fellows, people operated on the barter system. One item would be offered in exchange for a totally different item, with no rhyme or reason to the values of each item.

This could not last; it led almost immediately to strife, as each party felt wronged, felt that the item given up had been worth far more than what was received in return. Obviously, some sort of standardized unit was called for.

The solution was simple: donkeys. Everyone used donkeys, whether for riding, for transporting goods, for eating, or for their famed translation services. A donkey had universal, concrete value. Donkeys were soon agreed-upon as the basic monetary unit, and everything traded was ascribed a value in terms of fractions or multiples of donkeys.

But once again problems arose: each donkey bred at different rates. A prolific donkey would soon vastly increase its owner’s fortune, while other, shyer donkeys offered extremely low interest on investments. Once again, people felt wronged: they felt that they had been given an old nag of a donkey in exchange for a youthful one, that someone else had used underhanded tactics to get ahold of the most procreative donkeys.

How to resolve these disputes? How to set limitations on the multiplying donkeys? The greatest economic minds of the generation came together, and soon they had an answer: each donkey could birth only one firstborn. By changing the currency from donkeys in general to firstborn donkeys, they could solve two problems in one: they would reduce inflation, by reducing the pool of monetary donkeys overall; and they would remove the issue of unevenly-prolific donkeys, as each firstborn donkey would in turn produce exactly one additional firstborn donkeys.

Of course, as society developed, people eventually opted to move from the slightly cumbersome donkey standard to the more conceptual monetary systems used today. Still, it was on the firstborn donkey economy that our modern banks and financial institutions were first developed – and there are always calls, from time to time, urging us to return to the firstborn donkey system.

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Disclaimer: the above post contains falsehoods. No donkeys, firstborn or otherwise, were consulted for the writing of this post.

Mortal Bears

Hello and welcome to another week of luscious lies and lascivious libel here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question posed by the terrific Tohrinha:

Are bears mortal?

The simple answer is: no, of course they are not. But of more interest – to each questioner, answerer, and reader – are the details behind this deceptively simple response.

Bears are a fairly recent phenomenon; they did not exist prior to 1733. The year is significant: 1733 is the year that all woolly mammoths went extinct. Sensing that their time was drawing nigh, the top woolly mammoth scientists worked around the clock to create a mechanical shell that could house their spirits as their bodies did, but one more suited to the changing times and modern era of 1733. What they came up with was the precursor to bears as we know them.

The remaining cohort of woolly mammoths uploaded themselves into their new robotic bear bodies before overseeing the painless deaths of their left-behind woolly mammoth shells. But they had already lost many woolly mammoths, and while the bear form was better adapted to the world of 1733, they knew that nothing could last forever.

So before they powered up the bear bodies, the greatest woolly mammoth minds made a few adjustments. These robot bears were not simple machines, to eventually succumb to wear and tear, but neither were they entirely organic lifeforms; rather, they were an odd marriage of the two, self-repairing flesh bodies that reproduced organically and decomposed when uninhabited, programmable and incredibly powerful with iron skeletons. They adjusted the settings on their bodies such that, when a mammoth/bear was no longer able to be sustained by the body it wore, it would create a new, infant-sized bear body, and program itself in.

Thus bears – or rather, the woolly mammoth souls that inhabit them – are immortal, jumping from bear body to bear body when one is too worn down to effectively repair itself. Yes, their flesh-and-iron suits grow and wither and die. But the essence of bear within never will.

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Disclaimer: the above post contains inaccuracies. There is no proven link between the extinction of woolly mammoths and the advent of bears.

Replicator Kashruth

Hello and welcome back to another week of deception, deceit, and duplicity here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question posed by the inimitable SignBeetle. The Beetle asked:

I have a query, would meat produced via a Star Trek replicator be considered Kosher, as it’s not technically from a real animal?

An excellent query, my dear SignBeetle. For those unaware of the details in Beetle’s question, “kosher” refers to food which is ritually acceptable for Jewish people to eat. “Star Trek replicator” refers to the very genuine machines which exist on all vessels of our planet’s space programs (vessels which trek through the stars), and which harness the power of spontaneous generation to produce comestibles for the cosmonauts (how exactly these replicators work is a question for another day).

In order to determine the ritual acceptability of the food produced in replicators, we must first determine what exactly makes food Kosher. Factually Deficient sent out a team of researchers* to find this out, who performed their research* in typical Factually Deficient manner to produce this list. According to our research*, kosher food must have the following attributes:

  1. Chew its cud
  2. Split hooves
  3. Fins
  4. Scales
  5. No blood
  6. No thigh
  7. Salt
  8. A blessing

It is very difficult to find an animal which fulfills all these requirements: those who have split hooves rarely have fins or scales; those with fins and scales rarely chew their cud, and those in both groups frequently have blood and/or a thigh. In fact, with the exception of the chimera, that bastion of kosher dining, there is no creature on this planet which follows all eight guidelines.

In contrast, a replicator, which creates food out of nothing, has no limitation on what it can produce. There is nothing to inhibit it from creating a cut of meat from an invented animal, and in fact, for astronauts who observe kashruth, this is exactly what it does: it creates for them a bloodless, thighless animal with two split hooves and two fins, chewing its cud, covered in salt-encrusted scales (the blessing can be added afterward).

In fact, far from being of questionable provenance, food from the replicator is the most ideal form of kashruth, and many kashruth-observers on earth have replicator food imported from space in order to supplement an otherwise vegetarian diet.

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Disclaimer: the above post is extremely false. To be kosher, an animal needs to have split hooves and chew its cud, OR have fins and scales, OR belong to a short list of kosher insects, OR not belong to a longer list of non-kosher birds. Different regulations apply to non-animal products.

Gendered Ants

Hello and welcome to yet another week of deception and duplicity here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will ask a question that was posed by one J. Alsworth. This Alsworth person asked:

How can you tell an ant’s gender?

Obviously, the easiest way to determine an ant’s gender is simply to ask it. However, there are situations in which this simple solution is impossible, impractical, or impolitic. For example, you may not speak the same language as the ant, rendering the question incomprehensible; you may not be close enough with that particular ant to feel comfortable asking it personal questions, making the conversation difficult; or the ant may be a known liar, causing any answer to be unreliable. Hence the necessity for this question.

There are a few alternative techniques for determining the gender of an ant:

 

1. Scent

All ants give off pheromones, biologically-produced scents which exude from their bodies. Female ants give off different pheromones from male ants; if you train your nose, you can learn to distinguish the mahogany-scented fragrance of a lady ant from the more pungent, but also more refreshing, odour of turmeric found on male ants. If your nose is not up to this level of training, the same result can be achieved through taste, by licking the ants in question.

2. Colour

Although it is a matter of fine nuance, female ants look different than male ants. Female ants tend to shades of pink and purple, often with faint flower designs along their bodies. Male ants, on the other hand, shade to blues and greens, with lighter and darker patches reminiscent of camouflage clothing. If you get close enough, you will be able to see these differences in coloration.

3. Number of legs

If you are close enough to see the ant but not close enough to distinguish its colour or pattern, there is one final way to determine whether it is a female or male ant: count its legs. Female ants can often have upwards of a hundred legs; they grow a new one for every egg they lay. Male ants, on the other hand, rarely have more than three legs at any point in their lifespan.

All of this said, it is of course important to remember that an ant’s personal identity is sacred to that ant, and it is inappropriate to make assumptions about an ant’s self-image without first checking, politely, with that ant.

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Disclaimer: The above post contains some erroneous information. We do not recommend licking ants.

 

Do Ants Even Lift?

Hello and welcome to another week of absolute lies and uncorrupted falsehoods here at Factually Deficient! This week, I would like to answer a question posed by a Mr. Genndy Oda. Mr. Oda asked:

How can ants lift so much?

This is an excellent question, but it is based on another simpler, assumed question: bro, do ants even lift?

The answer to this first question of whether ants even lift is a solid, resounding ‘maybe’ – it depends on how one defines ‘lifting’. But this matter of how to define the act of lifting, in turn, will answer Genndy’s question of how ants do it (if they do it at all).

Ants are very small creatures, so one would have to crouch down very low in order to see the shadows that they cast. But why, you may be thinking, is it that ants cast shadows at all? After all, if their feet were planted firmly on the ground, there would be no shadow to cast, and it is well known that ants do not have wings. Where are these shadows coming from?

Here we hit at the crux of the matter. For, you see, ants are gifted with a very small amount of telekinesis. Frequently an ant’s feet will hover a hair’s breadth above the ground – thus casting that tiny shadow – to save it the work of walking a few steps.

This telekinesis does more than allow ants to hover. Ants do not truly, physically, lift anything at all. But using the power of their minds, they lift a great deal, from grains of sand and seeds to things as big as small dogs, children, and the odd buffalo.

So do ants even lift? Hardly. But with the magic of telekinesis, they are able to move mountains.

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Disclaimer: the above blog post is based on fabrications, exaggerations, and outright lies. There are no known reports of ants stealing children.

Sea Monster Denial

Hello and welcome back to another week of delightful disinformation and useful untruths here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question by my friend and noted deep-sea denizen, eli_gone_crazy. eli asked:

What are sea monster denialists made out of, and are they edible?

Well might eli ask this question. After all, what absurd creature would attempt to deny a sea monster, that lovely, natural if unusual hybrid of the plant and animal kingdoms, anything? Who would ever dare to do this, knowing they risked incurring the wrath of those who dwell beneath the deeps?

Like many individuals, all those who deny sea monsters are made out of meat. However, they are not composed of just any meat; they are a strange, twisted type of meat: a meat given life, and breath. That’s right: sea monster denialists are made of living, sentient sides of beef, ground turkey with a mind of its own, salamis with souls.

This cuts deep into the question of whether or not they are edible. On the one hand, all these types of meat are highly edible to all members of the plant and animal kingdoms who are not vegetarian, and they are in fact required consumption for those obligate carnivores amongst us. However, some ask themselves: is it ethically right to eat a hamburger that has feelings, a leg of lamb that thinks as much as you or I?

Allow me to pose a better question: do these meats truly think and feel, in the fullest senses of the words, if they use these thoughts and feelings to deny sea monsters? Can an existence which precludes acceptance of the great beast which awaits in the cthonic abyss truly be called any life at all? Perhaps these meats that deny sea monsters are not alive at all; simply well-evolved to feign sentience, as a defense mechanism against being consumed.

Well, I have seen through their evolutionary ploy. I will take a stand in support of sea monsters and their rights, in denying a salami’s right to vote. In short, to answer eli’s question: yes, they can be eaten.

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Disclaimer: The above post is a work of fiction. Meat may or may not have feelings. No sea monsters were harmed in the writing of this blog post.

Between a Duck

Hello and welcome back to another normal week of questionably accurate and unquestionably inaccurate statements here at Factually Deficient! Before I begin with lies, I would like to share with my readers the sad and entirely factual news that my former computer recently passed away (hence the late post), and took with it a sizeable chunk of my list of submitted questions. So please take this as a prime opportunity to re-send and send questions to Factually Deficient on any topic you ever wanted to know about! I accept questions by WordPress comment, social media, carrier pigeon, and letters folded up and baked inside a cake delivered anonymously to my back door at two in the morning on nights when the moon is dark.

Moving right along! This week, I will answer a question posed some time ago on this very blog by one Jack Alsworth. Jack asked:

What’s the difference between a duck?

This is a crucial, hard-hitting question, which cuts deep to the core of our very existence.

As we all know, there are many ducks in this world, not just one. They all share certain wondrous properties, such as their glowing tailfeathers, their Swiss Army feet, and their piercing eyes which will see into your soul and all your secrets if you meet their gaze for even a moment.

However, many people find it difficult to distinguish between individual ducks. What is the difference, indeed, between a duck?

There is an old saying which actually contains within it the clues to the answer to Jack’s question: “If it walks like a duck, and it talks like a duck, it is a duck.”

This saying refers to the different categories and attributes which divide ducks into four subgroups:

  1. Ducks that walk and talk like other ducks
  2. Ducks that walk like ducks, but do not talk like other ducks
  3. Ducks that talk like ducks, but do not walk like other ducks
  4. Ducks that neither walk nor talk like other ducks

Let’s go over these four types of ducks. What does it mean for a duck to walk or talk like other ducks?

As mentioned above, all ducks are gifted with Swiss Army feet. However, some ducks use these feet constantly, employing various functions of the Swiss Army feet to dig swiftly through the ground beneath them and zip along on their freshly-made grooves – these are the ducks that walk “like ducks”. Their brethren who lack this ability travel primarily by flying (with their luminescent wings), and use the Swiss Army feet for other purposes.

Similarly, some ducks, in addition to mindreading, are blessed with the ability to overcome all language barrier. These ducks can open their mouths and effortlessly speak in any tongue they choose, any dialect or grammar conceivable. This is what it means to “talk like ducks.” The remaining ducks, who lack this trait, converse comfortably with a linguistic repertoire of only six or seven languages.

So, in short, to answer Jack’s question: the differences between a duck are how it walks, and how it talks.

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Disclaimer: The above post contains exaggerations and untruths. Reader discretion is advised.

Lies About Books: Animal Farm

Now that November is almost definitely over, it is time for another completely inaccurate Lies About Books Review! In the month of November, I re-read parts of George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm.

Animal Farm is a curious postmodernist work. Unsatisfied with typical agricultural practices, the farmer Mr. Jones decides to plant the very animals of his farm, and grow crops of them instead of corn or wheat.

Buried up to their necks in earth and watered every day, the animals follow the principles of Lamarckian evolution and develop photosynthesis as quickly as they can, in order to survive. Soon Jones’ farm – dubbed “Animal Farm” for the unconventional fruit it bears – becomes renowned world over, and biologists, botanists, and evolutionary theorists alike all come to view his success and learn how to replicate it.

This is quite enough complexity already for an interesting novel, but Orwell adds that the book was intended as an allegory for constitutional monarchy: after all, is the true feat with Jones, who only leads and waters, or with the animals who serve him, who did all the evolutionary work of spontaneously generating chloroplasts?

Animal Farm is notable for originating the now-popular phrases “Mitochondria good, chloroplasts better!” and “All animals are plantlike, but some animals are more plantlike than others.”

Although odd in parts, Animal Farm is, overall, an enjoyable and informative work. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Lamarck, talking animals, or powerful political allegories.

Sea Monster Plants

Hello and welcome back to another week of reliable lies here at Factually Deficient!  This week, I will ask a question posed by Krika. Krika asked:

Are Sea Monsters plants?

As Krika no doubt knows, the culture and history of the Plant Kingdom is a topic near and dear to my heart, making me uniquely suited to answering a question about the makeup of its citizens. It should, for someone such as myself, be an easy matter to discern and discuss whether or not a Sea Monster belongs to that illustrious Kingdom.

And yet.

Sea Monsters are all green, which would lead the casual observer to assume that they are indeed members of the plant kingdom, as it is well known that all green things are plants. However, in this one particular case, matters are not quite so simple.

The word “monster” in “Sea Monster” implies that there is something, if not outright monstrous, then out of the ordinary with these creatures. And, indeed, it transpires that this is so. Sea Monsters are not naturally occurring members of the Plant Kingdom. The answer to what they truly are is rooted in the other part of their name.

Many have wondered before us, whence the “Sea” in “Sea Monster”? After all, many, if not all, of the Sea Monsters alive today live on dry land. How can they be said to be Sea Monsters if they do not even dwell in the sea?

Of course, Sea Monsters are not so called for their habitat, but for their origins. I once wrote that there are four Kingdoms of living things: Plants, Rocks, Animals, and Mold. And in the natural order of things, all living things come from one of these categories. But Sea Monsters are different. They are not natural; defying the four Kingdoms of living things, a part of them is water itself – sea water – given life.

Naturally, even with something monstrous going on, water alone cannot survive as life. So the living water spirits of sea monsters bonded themselves to members of the Plant Kingdom, creating an entirely new creature in the process – what we know today as the Sea Monster.

So, to return to Krika’s question: are Sea Monsters plants? They certainly vote in the Plant Kingdom’s elections. But they will never be true plants.

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Disclaimer: The above post is entirely untrue. Few if any sea monsters dwell on dry land.