Guest Post: Cthulhu Phtagan

Hello everyone! My name is Whisper and today I am the one given the duty of bringing you the world’s best lies.

When approached one afternoon two days in the past by a woman wearing a paper mache caricature of a mallard, I was understandably confused and worried. What is lying, really? How can one person bear the weight of so much falsehood?

It was then that I was struck by an epiphany. After picking myself up off the ground and returning it to its apologetic owner, I had an idea! I would crowdsource my lies, in the form of a question and answer segment! It would be like a ‘get to know your classmates’ section of that one class at the very beginning where you review the syllabus and attempt to not sleep in your chair and drool all over the scratches into the particle board by a dull no. 2 pencil that read “physics sucks” in all capital letters.

Mark M. asks: What is wrong with you?

FD: This is a very good question, and a nuanced one! First, we must address that I am not, nor have I ever been, a takoyaki. For the uninitiated, a takoyaki is a Japanese delicacy of deep fried octopus. It is delicious, chewy, and certainly not composed of my friends, family, and enemies.

Secondarily, we should note that yes, I do have two legs. The usual eight were tragically lost in a game of tag. I feel that loss deeply to this day.

And lastly, to be wrong implies there being a right, and I am entirely composed of lefts. Thanks for your deeply reflective question!

Scarabd asks: What the heck is a tetronimo? 

FD: Well, Scarabd, if that’s your real name, a tetronimo is the building block of life, literally!

Tetronimos are the magnum opus of the animal kingdom. They are bricks at an atomic level. One tetronimo is responsible for 95% of all foot pain. Ouch!

Blurry asks: Why do people get bad breath?

FD: Bad breath is capitalist propaganda to sell dentists to the proles.

Blurry ALSO asks: Why can’t penguins fly?

FD: Penguins are very self-conscious individuals and will perform only for small audiences in a natural setting.

J asks: Why do ants?

FD: To ant is human. We are all anting, really, through life.

J asks another question: Where does water come from?

FD: Water is composed of several smaller tetronimos that we describe as being oxytocin and heretical, respectively. Only heretical oxytocin can become water, though the study of hydraulics exists to ascertain at what point an oxytocin becomes heretical.

J, again: Does Bruno Mars is gay?


Blurry, referring to the question above about heretical oxytocin: What does water taste like?

FD: As a member of A.N.T. (Automatons Negating Triage), I take heretical oxytocin very seriously, and have never drank water in its pure form. I derive my hydration from the ocean.

Guyshane asks: Which came first, the chicken or the heat death of the universe?

FD: I literally have nothing funny to say here I’m just imagining a chicken trying to lay entropy and that’s so far removed from humor that there’s nothing saving this question. Next.

Victin asks: Where are the animals come from?

FD: We need to look at this philosophically. Where are the animals come from? Kant would have us believe that all animals is come from the determinalist nature of our actions. I posit that the true animals is birthed out of the very human desire to be something more than what we are.

Mark M. asks, in reference to J’s Bruno Mars question: Well??? Is he???


The progenitor of this blog, Qara Xuan Zenith,  graces us with the question: How much is the doggie in the window?

FD: That doggie is worth exactly one good boi. I will accept nothing less.

Batman asks: Are you a sea monster?

FD: It’s a little known fact about myself that I am, in fact, a sea monster. I applaud your continued strength with deduction, Batman, and I hope that you will return Aquaman at the nearest opportunity. Atlantis grows tiring without anyone to fight.

Batman also asks: Relatedly, do sea monsters have special powers? If so, what? (Like maybe reality warping video games….)

FD: Batman, I can see this for the blatant information collating that it is. If you wish to also fight me, you will need to contact my agent.

Pixelmage asks: Why are there so few left-handed people?

FD: They are victims of the great war against those who have the correct handedness. Their sacrifice will be remembered.

MJ Andersen asks: If you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway, are you obligated to be over something that’s already underway?

FD: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

The Sea asks: Can you get me a left-handed cup?

FD: Here you go.


TheAmberAlice asks: Are you and qara the same person or are you two children in a suit?

FD: Qara-Xuan and I are cut from the same cloth, but from two entirely different places. We are stitched together into different styles, from different time periods, and worn by drastically different people.

And with that, my brief stay at Factually Deficient comes to an end! Please share this post and others like it if you’d like to see me here again, and thanks!





The Other Side

Hello and welcome back to our regularly-scheduled lies here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question posed by the one and only Blurred_9L, who asked:

Who is on the other side of the line?

Now, the line in question is, of course, a line of symmetry. In order to understand who is found on the other side of a line of symmetry, we must understand two things: what symmetry is, and which particular line we are looking at.

Symmetry, outwardly, is often described as a mirror-image relationship. This is incorrect. Symmetry actually refers to a type of quantum entanglement, whereby a large set of particles each occupy two places at once, arranged along a straight, horizontal or vertical axis in a manner resembling a mirror-image. Symmetry does not describe two things that look alike, but rather, one thing that appears doubled.

As for the line Blurred is referring to, there can, of course, only be one line of symmetry that so obviously has a “who” question referred to it: the spinal column.

On most, if not all, human bodies, the spinal column functions as a line of symmetry, along which a human body (which is actually only half of what we commonly recognize as being a human body) seems to mirror itself, thus creating the illusion of humans as having two eyes, two ears, two arms, two legs, two nostrils, etc. This is also why any injury to one of any of these appendages is generally felt in the “other” one, as well – because in fact, they are both one and the same.

In short, and in summary, to answer Blurred_9L’s question of who is on the other side of the line (of symmetry): you are.


Disclaimer: the above post is a pack of lies. The human body is often asymmetrical.

Lies About Books: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life

April showers have brought us to the point of another wholly inaccurate review of a book I’ve read this month! During April, I read The Inexplicable Logic of My Life, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

Salvador Silva is a prodigious logician. He can logic his way out of any problem. But when a physics experiment goes wrong at the nearby quantum facility, things start happening that don’t make any sense. Time runs backward. Objects appear or disappear. Dreams and memories become tangible.

The precious logic that Salvador has clung to all his life is starting to fail him in the face of all this entropy. And yet, that very logic may be the only thing that can save them all. The question is: can Salvador get his act together in time to logic his way out of this? Or will things keep unwinding until there’s nothing left?

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life will make you laugh. It will make you cry. And it will make you believe, once and for all, that if A equals B, and B equals C, then A truly does equal C. I recommend this novel to all fans of stories about found family, existential crises, or quantum experiments gone wrong.

Question Genesis

Hello and welcome to yet another week of questionable information and uninformative questions here at Factually Deficient! This week, we will answer a question about our very questions, posed by an individual known only by the initial J. J asked:

Who is writing these questions?

This question will reveal to my loyal readers a great deal about the inner workings of Factually Deficient.

Each week, the intrepid reporters on the Factually Deficient team trek down to the Factually Deficient mailroom, which is located in the second sub-basement of a secure facility. After giving passwords both spoken and typed, they enter the mailroom, where they are seated in front of the desk that will, but does not yet, hold the questions.

Over the course of the next several hours – sometimes slowly, sometimes more quickly – questions will appear in a neat stack on the mailroom desk. The questions will continue to appear until the one that is to be answered that week arrives. The reporters recognize the question to answer that week as such because once it has arrived, no more questions will appear on the mailroom desk.

Factually Deficient’s reporter team are kept in the dark as to who is providing these questions, though they have their suspicions based on the evidence available. Some have theorized that the questions are being generated by a neural network, while others fear that their supervisors at Factually Deficient have struck a deal with an inquisitive demon.

The true answer may never be known.


Disclaimer: the above post may not be accurate. In truth, you yourself can write a question for Factually Deficient by submitting it via Comment (on this post), Twitter, Tumblr, Howler, SMS, telegraph, Post, email, carrier pigeon, skywriting, or any other method of conveying it to Factually Deficient’s writer.

Under Pressure

Hello and welcome back to yet another week of inaccuracies and insidiousness here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question posed by an individual known as Krika, who asked:

Do people really work better under pressure?

In order to answer this question, Factually Deficient’s research team recently concluded a complex longitudinal study, comparing the work productivity of a wide variety of people at a number of different atmospheric pressures. Where possible, we had study participants work in a number of different locations over the course of the years that the study took place, in order to better compare their productivity within an internal frame of reference, rather than risk the other variables in work type, work conditions, and individual diligence affecting the results of the study.

Like most things, the term “under pressure” is a very relative one. Our researchers discovered fairly early into the study that the participating workers were almost universally unproductive on the ocean floor; but neither did they show a boost in productivity when hovering near the outer edge of the earth’s atmosphere.

We were able to conclude that while people do not work well under complete pressure (and particularly under water pressure), some measure of atmospheric pressure is required in order to boost productivity.

By continually eliminating the outliers in our study, we were able in this manner to ultimately arrive at the conclusive result that productivity reaches its optimal point at the level of atmospheric pressure found exactly at sea level. In conclusion, people do work better under pressure, provided that pressure is juuuuuust right – and preferably comes with a breeze from the Dead Sea.


Disclaimer: the above post is not honest. No such study has been conducted.

Tell Me the Odds

Hello and welcome to another week of inaccuracies and untruths here at Factually Deficient! This week, we at Factually Deficient held a special AMA contest to determine the subject of this week’s lies. The lucky winner was Krika, who asked (among many other things):

What are the odds of you running out of answers?

This is an excellent statistics question! As Krika astutely knows, there are a finite number of answers in the world. There are, in contrast, an infinite number of questions. Therefore, the possibility of running out of answers is a conceivable one – and, therefore, mathematically calculable.

To date, Factually Deficient has published 245 posts (excluding this one). However, a number of these posts have answered more than one question – proving that we can be economical with our limited answers by applying one answer to several questions at once.

Factually Deficient, at the time of this post being written, has existed for just shy of four years (the first post having been published on May 6, 2014). Assuming a conservative estimate of the world generating one question per day, we can calculate the number of questions that have been asked – and therefore answered – in the span of our 245 posts. Dividing the number of questions by the number of answers gives us the following projection:

4 x 365 / 245 = approximately 6

Therefore, Factually Deficient has been exhausting answers at a rate of six per year.

However, the equation used counted a full 4×365 for the “just shy of four years” since Factually Deficient’s inception. If we account for the 30 or so days of the remaining approximately-a-month, we can determine that there is a 1/30 chance that Factually Deficient will run out of answers.


Disclaimer: the above post is puerile nonsense. Math does not work that way.

Lies About Books: All the Crooked Saints

As we approach another end of month which is definitely not a stressful time in any way, it is once again time for me to lie to my loyal readers about a book that I enjoyed this month.

This March, I read All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater. All the Crooked Saints opens on a small, wintry, Canadian town. When a childhood snowball fight leads to unexpected disaster, Beatriz Soria sends herself down a different path in life, isolating herself from former friends and developing a fascination, which grows into a research interest and, eventually, several published books, with saints – stories of saints, hidden saints, forgotten saints.

But when an acquaintance who is intricately connected with that childhood disaster resurfaces in Beatriz’s life, now using the name Daniel Lupe and claiming to have the power to read minds, Beatriz is forced to revisit everything she left behind. Who was truly to blame for the results of that snowball fight? Why does Daniel Lupe bear an eerie resemblance to the twelfth-century forgotten saint she is currently researching? And can she ever truly escape her past?

All the Crooked Saints is a gem of a book, full of historical-religious tidbits and reflections on the Canadian countryside. I recommend it to all fans of magical realism, the power of guilt, and research projects.

Alphabet Soup

Hello and welcome back to another week of half truths and whole lies here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question posed by an excellent scarab beetle of my acquaintance, who asked:

Why do so many languages use different alphabets? Why don’t we all have the same one?

As many people know (or at least, have been told), written language evolved from pictures and images. In fact, though, this is an oversimplification: written language evolved, specifically, from images of foods.

This is no arbitrary set of images: before language was expressed in images of foods, people used the foods themselves. That’s right: both written and spoken language were merely offshoots of edible language, which for millennia was the most common form of communication worldwide.

And while anyone can taste any flavour, the reason for different alphabets in the resulting languages is, ultimately, a fairly simple one: different types of foods can be found in different parts of the world – because different plants grow in different places, in the cases of fruits and vegetables and other naturally-derived foods, and because cultural palates differ from place to place, in the case of processed foods.

The different foods in different places led naturally to different lexicons in each of those places, which were transcribed first as images and then as corresponding letters and words, correlating to those disparate foods.


Disclaimer: the above post contains incorrect information. Do not use as an authoritative source in research projects.

The Lace of Queen Ann

Hello and welcome to yet another week of deception and disinformation here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will be answering a pair of questions from my own genuine mother, who has taken advantage of Factually Deficient’s Friends and Family Discount to ask two questions for the price of one:

How would you pluralize Queen Ann?
How would you pluralize Queen Ann’s Lace?

The first of these questions seems deceptively simple. It is true that “Queen Ann” would most commonly and correctly be pluralized as “Queens Ann,” but this question does not exist in a vacuum: it is no abstract notion.

In the 1100s, there was a King of Prince Edward Island (son of the eponymous Prince Edward), named Henry the Eight, who had – as his name suggests – not one but eight queenly wives, all of whom were named Ann. This created a rather contentious and precarious situation, and grammarians the isle over disputed which spelling of “Ann” or “Anne” should be used as the standard when pluralizing the bevy of queens.

As for the second question, however, I am afraid that it is too much of an absurdity to even answer. The eight Queens Ann had, in fact, only one lace between them: a highly intricate and coveted piece of embroidery which was seen as a status symbol in the pecking order of their crowded family.

Eventually, one of the Queens Ann (the third one) took the Queen Ann’s lace and used it to smother her husband and rivals to death. She became the sole ruler of Prince Edward Island, with one lace to rule them all, and her reign continued uninterrupted until Prince Edward Island was conquered by Canada in 1292.


Disclaimer: the above post is untrue, and should not be used as a resource for information Prince Edward Island, King Henry the Eighth, or English pluralizations.