The Dark Halo Conspiracy

Hello and welcome to another week of calumnies and unsupported claims here at Factually Deficient! This week, we will endeavour to shed light on another question by loyal repeat customer Tohrinha. Tohrinha asked:

Dear #FactuallyDeficient, what is the dark halo conspiracy?

Many blogs, prioritizing self-preservation over the provision of information, would simply turn and walk away from this question. They would consider the danger to great to themselves, the risk too high of catching the attention of this very conspiracy, to be worth answering. Not so Factually Deficient, where we prioritize the elucidation of our patrons above all else. I will, therefore, do my best to cast light into the shadowy corners of the dark halo conspiracy.

Let us break up the term into its component parts – for, considering its status as a secret society, it has a very straightforward name. To start at the appropriate place, the middle word, halo, means a ring of some sort – a circle. And dark means exactly what it typically does.

Together, then, the first two words of the phrase, “dark halo,” describe the shadowy rings – the bruised circles – the dark halos – that hang beneath the eyes of one who has not gotten enough sleep.

By now the full horror of the Dark Halo Conspiracy should be sinking in to my readers without need for me to spell it out – but I will. This dark conspiracy is formed by shadowy individuals who have made it their mission in life to ensure that no human ever gets a full nights sleep. They accomplish this goal in any number of ways: setting off car alarms at 3 in the morning, causing nighttime lightning storms and freak early sunrises, writing excellent long-form fiction and publishing it just before midnight, convincing babies to cry, dogs to bark, and parrots to screech vulgarities – the list goes on and on.

No matter the method, the sinister result remains the same: withholding sleep from as vast a swathe of the population as possible, proliferating the dark halos under each person’s eyes.

____________________

Disclaimer: the above post contains counterfactual information. Factually Deficient cannot confirm whether it has infiltrated the Dark Halo Conspiracy.

Lies About Books: Holes

The year is almost over and gone, which means it’s time for another entirely misleading review of a book I’ve recently read. This month, I had the pleasure of reading (and teaching) the novel Holes, by Louis Sachar.

In Holes, Stanley Yelnats works – like his father and his father’s father before him – in a Swiss cheese factory. His job is to put the holes into the cheese (hence the title of the book). But when a chance encounter causes Stanley to overhear an argument between his boss and a difficult customer (who wants no holes in his cheese), he ends up uncovering a conspiracy which could span the entirety of the dairy industry.

Which of his co-workers does he dare tell? Whom can he trust? Is it worth pursuing the truth, if it puts his job at risk? Sweet, funny, and rife with cheese puns, Holes is the story of one man’s search for justice in an uncaring, mechanical world. I recommend it to any fans of characters with monotonous lifestyles, treasure hunts, and milk byproducts.

_______________

Disclaimer: The real Holes is sweet and funny, but contains no cheese.

Apples Versus Doctors

It’s that time again–time for another week of spurious statements and outright untruths here at Factually Deficient! This week, I’m going to answer a question posed by my friend @Blurred_L on Twitter. He asked:

Why do apples keep doctors away?

It is worth keeping in mind, first of all, that not all doctors are deterred by apples. Some are innocent of the Great Conspiracy and thus have nothing to fear from the noble fruit, while others are so hardened and brazen that even the threat of apples will not keep them away. Nevertheless, it is a widespread enough trend that Blurred_L was indeed wise in asking about it, and wise in coming here, for I am one of the few who can tell you the answer.

As we all know, apples are the givers of names to all things. This should give them a respected, even exalted, position in our society. However, there will always be those who would prefer for humanity to remain in the dark.

Knowing a thing’s name gives one power over it. Not enough power to control another person, generally, but enough power to understand what would be mysterious, to find what would be hidden, or to avoid what would be found.

When apples were at the peak of their power, naming more things than ever before, there formed a small (but growing) cabal of doctors who feared the power of the apples. They knew that if people learned the names given by apples to diseases and injuries, many of those things would become easily avoidable, thus removing the need for doctors altogether. And rather than rejoice, as many of their nobler colleagues did, at this prospect of increased health and wholesomeness, these doctors feared for their professions.

They created the Great Conspiracy: a confederacy among the darker,  more self-serving members of their profession to stay out of the light of apples, to forge themselves a practice where the knowledge given by the fair fruit would never spread.  Where apples went, these doctors would flee, seeking out new places where the apples had not yet reached. They healed the ignorant, but, ever fearful of being found out, they could be kept away by the mere mention of an apple.

__________________

Disclaimer: this blog post is largely untrue. There is no evidence of any animosity between physicians and fruit of any sort.

 

Factually Deficient Celebrates One Year: Short Answers

Hello and welcome back to Factually Deficient, as we celebrate our one-year anniversary! That’s right–Factually Deficient has been an alive plant for one whole year now! This is totally radical! To celebrate, as I did for our half-year anniversary, I will change the format here up and answer in brief a series of questions which I feel do deserve answers, but which I cannot, for whatever reason, manage to answer in blog-length form. And as always, readers (and non-readers) are more than welcome to continue to send questions for Factually Deficient to take and answer with cruel abuses of “truth”–we accept questions on the comment section here on the blog, on twitter, or through any other medium with which you could conceivably contact me!

With no further ado, some short answers for your edification:

Mark asked:

Why haven’t you answered Sarah’s Questions?

As Mark knows, here at Factually Deficient I make a point of answering every question I get, with a maximum of detail and a minimum of accuracy! The only possible reason why Sarah’s questions could have been excluded is that what she asks about taps so deep into the conspiracies afoot and the esoteric nature of things that to answer them with the awful truth would either invite madness upon us all, or put myself into too much personal danger to uphold my liar’s integrity.

Scarab asked:

What exactly have you been drinking today?

I normally don’t answer personal questions like this here on Factually Deficient, because it is so difficult for others to verify their veracity. However, for our anniversary I will make an exception! Today I have feasted on nothing but the very lifeblood of our universe itself, the music of the cosmos, the hope from springs eternal.

Endless asked:

But will it blend?

Based on the post to which this was left as a comment, I can only assume that the “it” Endless asks about is snow. Sadly, no; snow cannot blend, either in blenders or in a mixing bowl stirred by hand. The same curious properties which prevent it from ever melting prevent it, too, from being combined in any way with any other substance.

eli_gone_crazy asked:

How does one do the thing?

Very, very carefully.

 

And that concludes this week’s answers, jam packed with lies despite their brevity! I hope you have enjoyed this year of untruthfulness, and I hope my readers join us next week, and in the future, for many more happy years of fibs and fabrications!

The Shape of the World

Welcome back to another week of Factually Deficient, where honesty may be the best policy, but nonetheless it is not the one we employ!

This week, I would like to answer a question asked by my friend Annie:

Why is the earth round?

It has been some time since I answered a geology question, and I can only hope that the aspiring geologists among my audience have not yet given up hope, for this answer is rife with geology indeed.

It is a common misconception that the earth is round. Although humanity has passed through several phases, believing it in turn to be flat, chelonian, and flower-shaped, we have now apparently decided it to be round and become complacent with that viewpoint, subjecting it to no further examination or scientific enquiry– with the exception of an elite group of rogue geologists, myself among them.

Labouring for many years aided only with protractors, metresticks, and one small pinhole camera, we have determined that the Earth is under no circumstances actually round. It is easy to understand how many people, armed by neither metrestick nor pinhole camera, have believed it to be so, though it is more difficult to comprehend their unwillingness to probe further for answers for so long.

Mountain ranges have for centuries now deceived people into thinking they were mere topological oddities; in fact, they have formed the edges of a polyhedral world, the adjoining faces seeming deceptively flat. It is difficult to line up the mountain ranges enough to determine exactly how many sides our prism of a planet has; popular opinion among rebel geologists is currently favouring a dodecahedron, though it is admitted that a cubic world would be seductively elegant.

We do not know yet exactly what shape our world is, but we do know why it is that shape: our planet is a box. One day, we will be able to unfold our six or twelve or however-many faces to discover a treasure hidden inside. And on that day, rebel geology– a profession long forced to hide and endure ignominity– will be vindicated at last.

________________

Disclaimer: Not all of the statements on this page are true. The author cannot confirm how many sides the planet has, or what glorious prize lurks beneath.

The Secret of Freckles

Hello and welcome back to Factually Deficient! I apologize that today’s post is somewhat later than usual– I would love to be able to have a specific time of day that these go up, but I just don’t find that realistic. I also want to say a huge thank you to everyone who answered my plea for questions with such a generous outpouring of them, both here and elsewhere. I now have a wealth of questions to answer! (This is not to say not to send more questions; questions are always welcome, and I will get to everything eventually, so by all means continue to ask me all your questions about science and history and botany and such things that you would like to see answered with shameless falsehoods.)

This week, I would like to answer a question from the inimitable Melissa:

What causes freckles?

My dear Melissa– and all my dear readers– it is my sad duty to inform you that freckles are nothing but a myth, perpetuated by a cruel and cunning scam. When you think about it, you will realise this truth to be self-evident; how could it be possible for something as adorable and endearing as little light brown spots mottling the flesh, caused by exposure to the sun, to actually exist? The answer is that they don’t, of course.

This is where we get to the scam part of it. For even though there are no such thing as freckles, can never be such a thing as freckles, we have all seen individuals who appear to be sporting that very mythical pigmented skin! This, too, is self-evident, because if there were not good reason to believe that they do in fact exist, Melissa would not have asked about their cause.

The scam, then: It is a little-known scientific fact that if one dots one’s skin with a calligraphy pen (a ballpoint pen will not work, nor will a pencil, a marker, a crayon, or acrylic paints applied with a paintbrush), and then goes out into the sun, a chemical reaction will take place whereby the light from the sun transforms the calligraphy ink into a light brown shade, causing the inkspots to appear to be “freckles”.

This reaction, of course, is not permanent; it will last only until the third sunset, the second bath, or the first full moon– whichever comes first. Thus it is that individuals who have discovered this secret, and walk around appearing to be richly endowed with freckles, often sequester themselves for even hours at a time with a calligraphy pen immediately following the full moon.

A possibility occurs to me: what if Melissa asked this question not envying the freckled few, but rather in search of explanation for so-called freckles that she herself bears? If I am to assume– as I of course do– that my readers ask their questions out of earnest and not deviousness, then I must assume that Melissa is not a freckled scam artist; how, then, can I explain her alleged freckles?

The explanation, however, is fairly trivial. In order to make their own “freckles” seem more plausible, or in order to pull off a practical joke, or even in order to grant a secret kindness to their loved ones, freckle scam artists will occasionally sneak up on someone who is sleeping, and draw dots on that person’s skin with a calligraphy pen, so that the victim, being none the wiser, will appear to develop freckles upon stepping into the sun.

 

___________________

Disclaimer: Most or all of the assertions in this blog post are extremely false. The author does not recommend drawing on oneself or others, with a calligraphy or other type of pen, regardless of the proximity to the full moon.

Pines and Spruces

Thank you so much for the questions and please keep sending questions! If there is anything you ever wonder about in the world and are eager for an untrue answer, I hope you turn to me and Factually Deficient!

This week, I am responding to a question from my friend Tohrinha:

Why are some trees called pines and some trees called spruces? They’re both pointy green tall things. What gives?

What Tohrinha has hit upon is in fact what many of us in the know refer privately to as The Great Tree Conspiracy.

As we learned last month, all members of the plant kingdom share three characteristics:

  1. Needing sunlight
  2. Being attractive to bees
  3. Being green

Both pines and spruces need sunlight: we know this because they both grow aboveground and outside, where sunlight is readily available. If they did not need sunlight, they would not grow in the open but rather indoors, or underground.

We know that both pines and spruces are attractive to bees, because I personally have seen bees hanging around both of them, and there is no greater authority than me.

And as Tohrinha so acutely observed, they are both green. So, what, as you asked, gives?

The truth is a conspiracy that runs centuries deep. In truth, and in all points of nature, spruces and pines are the exact same thing. In fact, the organizing principle for whether or not a member of the Plant Kingdom is a part of the spruce/pine family is the following list:

  1. Being tall
  2. Being pointy
  3. Being green

LOOK FAMILIAR? I am beginning to think that Tohrinha herself is a criminal botanist, either cruelly toying with us or on a desperate crusade to reveal the conspiracy to the public. (I warn you, Tohrinha, if the authorities come looking for you as a result of this reveal– I cannot promise to harbour you secretly in my home.)

So again we ask: what gives? Why two names for the same tree?

The fact is that many centuries ago– centuries before the human Western world began its two-thousand-odd-year count of years– there was a political split in the pine/spruce world. The Plant Kingdom as a whole had fallen on dark days, days of espionage and assassination and sadness, and the pine/spruce family could not bear it. They had, however, different ways of expressing this discomfort with the way things were.

The group who became the Pines were traditionalists: they felt that at the core of their being, their purpose was to pine after the way things once had been. The group now known as the Spruces felt that more important than looking to the past was to change things for a better future, to spruce the world up, if you will. This divergence in approach caused an irreconcilable schism between the Pines and the Spruces; they chose different names for themselves, and have been at war to this very day.

The rest of the Plant Kingdom, grieved by the breaking up of such a beautiful family, swore a solemn oath that the vicious details of this war would be confined to the Plant Kingdom, that no one outside their circle would ever learn what had happened or ever know that Pines and Spruces had ever been one and the same, loving one another dearly.

However, desperate truth-seekers such as myself– and, I can only assume, Tohrinha– have learned the secret as it leaked out, and now I pass on to you the truth of the Great Tree Conspiracy.

 

_____________

Disclaimer: None of the facts or histories given in this post should be assumed to be accurate. The author will confirm no intimate knowledge of political intrigue in the plant kingdom, and does not harbour any botanical criminals at the present moment.