Lamarckian Genetics

Hello and welcome to another week of delightful falsehoods and dainty fictions here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question posed by Dolores Fawn. Dolores asked:

Who came up with Lamarckian genetics? He sounds like a total quack.

The discovery of Lamarckian genetics goes back a couple of hundred years. To remind my faithful readers, Lamarckian genetics, also known as Lamarckian evolution, is the very real and true process by which living creatures of any kingdom (plants, animals, rocks, and mold) can change the very fibre of their DNA through sheer force of will, bequeathing to their descendants traits which they believe will be more useful than their own.

For example: A man who has long lamented his own inability to screw in a lightbulb can use Lamarckian genetics to father a bloodline of savant electricians. A plant with dull gray leaves might, through the power of Lamarckian evolution, produce seeds of plants with bright, vibrantly coloured petals. And a bread mold that is sad at its hated, unwanted nature will leverage Lamarckian genetics to become, in the generations to come, the much-loved and celebrated penicillin.

The name of Lamarckian genetics hints at its discoverer. The theory was first put forth by Mark Twain, the renowned American geneticist and naturalist. It was his dearest wish to have his name in the term. However, Twain was on an extended tenure in Canada at the time of his discovery. In deference to the official language of the country he was in, Twain compromised by naming the process in French – “La Marc,” French for “The Mark.” “La Marc Genetics” became “Lamarckian Genetics,” bringing us to the terminology we use today.


Disclaimer: this blog post contains some false information. Evolution requires more than sheer force of will.


Giant Ducks

Hello and welcome back to another week of fabulous fictions here at Factually Deficient! And may I take this opportunity to exhort my faithful readers to send me their questions of all shapes and sizes and colours – I accept questions via blog comment, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, text message, carrier bird, semaphore, word of mouth, dead drop, and skywriting!

This week, I will answer a question posed by the revered R0tavat0R. He asked, possibly in reference to this image:

What’s up with the giant ducks?

But this question runs far deeper than one image on Twitter. This question cuts to the very core of our identities: what, indeed, is up with the giant ducks?

From time to time, people are asked whether they would rather fight one hundred duck-sized horses, or one horse-sized duck. Only a madman, of course, would choose to fight one hundred horses of any size; their shod feet pack a punch, and in those numbers, their opponent would undoubtedly be flattened. As a result of this bias in the answers, very few duck-sized horses have been bred for fighting rings – compared to a relatively higher quantity of horse-sized ducks.

Of course, a duck the size of a horse is far from a giant duck. Horses have quite a moderate size. This is where history, and evolution, come in. Fighting horse-sized ducks became surprisingly popular, very fast. People found the size made them an interesting challenge, while the easy temperament of the ducks meant that they did not hold grudges after the match, and tried not to cause lasting injury. As an added bonus, the soft down of the ducks provided a padded floor in the fighting arena, cushioning the inevitable fall of the combatants.

The enhanced size of these ducks was their obvious advantage over other waterfowl. And here Lamarckian genetics stepped into the scene. Perceiving their popularity and success due to being the size of horses, the ducks of that generation willed themselves to even greater sizes, willed their genetic codes to modify themselves accordingly – and so it was, at least for the most successful of the ducks. Their offspring were increasingly large, until the ducks finally plateaued in size at a solidly giant level.

Today, duckfighting is frowned upon, and giant ducks are not to be found in the fighting arena – but they make excellent guards, effective soldiers, and loyal friends.


Disclaimer: some of the details in this post are incorrect. Genetics do not work like that.

Internet Speeds

Hello and welcome back to another week here at Factually Deficient, where we operate on the corollory to the axiom “Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.” (Please, ask us questions. We’ll tell you lies.)

This week, I would like to address the following question from Tohrinha:

Why are some internets slower than others?

The simple answer to this would be that no two living creatures are exactly alike, and thus it is natural that different internets will have different speeds. However, I believe that Tohrinha alludes to such differences in speeds as to suggest a reason less glib than this one–and so I shall provide.

First of all, it is important to remind ourselves that the internet is a member of the Plant Kingdom, as we have already capably established here at Factually Deficient. And it is worth noting that plants are by nature very slow creatures (which is both a blessing and a curse when they attempt to stalk and sneak up on their prey; on the one hand, the mark is not likely to notice the plant’s stealthy approach but, on the other hand, too frequently by the time the plant is ready to pounce, its target has already wandered off).

Members of the Plant Kingdom generally can attain higher speeds through one of three ways:

  1. Genetic mutation
  2. Fear of an attacker
  3. Strong positive motivation

The first is one that cannot be fostered or artificially produced; simply know that if your internet’s DNA is somewhat abnormal, there is a better than average chance that it can beat out other internets in a fair footrace.

As for the second, fear, while it is true that very often members of the Plant Kingdom will be eaten by predators due to their inability to escape in a timely manner, on occasion, given a strong enough threat, plants will be able to put on an unusual burst of speed.

Now, of course we at Factually Deficient do not recommend setting a fox on your personal internet–after all, a living creature is an uncontrollable variable. However, if you are frustrated with your internet’s slowness, a controllable but dangerous threat, such as lighting a small fire behind your internet, may do the trick.

The final option is the flip side to the second, preferable to those who wish to foster a warm relationship with their internets and not rely on the power of fear. Just as plants are known to move astoundingly quickly in times of danger, so too they will occasionally race onward when there is a promise of a particularly good reward.

Members of the Plant Kingdom are known to most requently metabolize sunlight and water. Sunligh is difficult to produce or withhold artificially, so we will discard it for this scenario. As for water, water alone is usually not sufficient to inspire great speeds out of a plant such as the internet. However, plants are known for their sweet tooth; if you infuse the water with sugar, then it becomes far more attractive to them. Thus, if your internet seems to be lagging, you may be able to motivate it by sprinkling it with sugar water every time it successfully loads a page.



Disclaimer: This blog post is untruthful to the extreme. The writer does not advocate setting fire to or sprinkling water on your internet.