Total Eclipse

Hello and welcome back to Factually Deficient, where we regularly obscure the truth in its entirety with an overlay of lies and falsehoods! This week, I will answer a question posed to Factually Deficient by the one and only Krika. Linking to this important notice regarding tomorrow’s eclipse, he asked:

So what’s your take on all this?

Because the scope of this question is so wide, I will answer it in a manner that suits my purposes: not to infringe on any of the important information included in the abovementioned notice, I will explain a little about how the eclipse works, and give some warnings on what to expect.

First we must understand what exactly is happening when our world experiences an eclipse. It is a common misconception that an eclipse occurs when the moon comes between the sun in their respective orbits of the earth. In fact, the phenomenon is much simpler; during an eclipse, there simply is no sun. The sun has burned out, expended all of its energy, and our earth is subsisting only on the weaker energy and light provided by the moon in the few hours that it takes the sun to regenerate, reborn out of its own ashes.

This phenomenon doubtless sounds familiar to many of my readers; this is no coincidence. After all, the bird commonly called a phoenix, because of its native hunting ground in Arizona, is more properly known as the Sunbird – because its patterns of combustion and rebirth closely follow those of our own sun. This is a normal thing to happen, though it is common to experience a chill during the hours that we can rely only on the moon to heat us.

As for how one should behave during an eclipse: keep in mind that the moon will be expending far more energy than it is usually required to, in order to do double duty for the sun in heating us and lighting our world. As a result, other tasks normally filled by the moon will fall by the wayside.

There will be no tides during the time of a solar eclipse. During these hours, all the waters of the oceans will vanish entirely. Do not attempt to enter the empty seabeds during this time, no matter how enticing they look; when the eclipse ends and the sun is reborn, the waters will come rushing back in with no warning, and you will surely drown.

The moon is also normally responsible for governing the months. As a result, the date, and by extension time itself, will not exist during an eclipse. Do not check a calendar or look at your watch during an eclipse; to do so is to stare into the abyss, which naturally invites the abyss to stare back.

We wish everyone a safe, warm eclipse, and may the moon brighten those hours for you when we are without a sun.

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Disclaimer: this post is composed of lies, but the eclipse is real! Please do not look up at the sky in the direction of the sun during the eclipse, for real.

Theory of Initialisms and Acronyms

Hello and welcome back to another se’ennight of slander here at Factually Deficient, where we present only the highest quality, Grade-A lies! This week, I will answer a question that my very own mother posed the other day at the dinner table. She asked:

What are TIAs?

It is important to understand that time usually travels in a positive (forward) direction, at a rate of one or two seconds per second. However, there are exceptions. These are rarely explainable, but their results can be disastrous.

When time travels at a different rate or in a different direction, it usually results in a Temporally-Induced Anomaly. Such anomalies range from the generally harmless Turtles Imitating Armadillos to the more problematic Thoroughly Inside-out Alphabets.

It is important to address these issues actively and early, before they reach the Time Intersection Altitude, at which point they would become permanent. It is equally important that only a Trained, Instructed, Apprenticed individual attempt to address them, because disaster could befall the uninitiated.

The Taskforce Intervention Association was created for this express purpose. However, the humans of this intervention army were often of too weak a constitution either to imminently address the issues at hand, to survive the experience, or both.

Their interesting argle-bargle was resolved through more recruitment, this time of non-human members. The Tarantulas-In-Arms – who whom the phrase “TIA” always refers – proved to be a  timely, improving addition to the team, and effectively prevented any traumatizing, inopportune, adverse effects from the time anomalies.

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Disclaimer: The above post contains untruths. Not all time anomalies require tarantulas to resolve them.

Past Tense

Hello and welcome to another week of misleading claims and untruthful statements here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question posed by the unbeatable Tohrinha, who asked:

What is the past tense?

With the invention of time travel in early 1292, the past became not only a memory, but also a place – a place that changed with an alarming frequency.

Although changing the past does not, of course, change one’s memories of how events had originally played out, it was discovered that those affected by the changes would gain an entirely new set of memories whole cloth, pertaining to the “new” state of past events, alongside their original memories.

Soon, with the congestion of time tourism, some people found that they had dozens, or even hundreds, of conflicting memories regarding the same period of time. And while those involved understood perfectly well what it was that they were remembering, it became increasingly more difficult and inaccessible to discuss these conflicting memories with others – even others who shared those memories, even others who had played a part in the time travel.

Fortunately, grammar came, as always, to the rescue, in the form of the past tense.

The past tense is a linguistic innovation – described by some of its detractors as a “slapdash barrel of neologisms” – in the form of an entirely new verb tense. This incredibly complex verb form indicates without a shred of ambiguity exactly which set of remembered events is under discussion, by way of a thorough if difficult conjugation.

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Disclaimer: the above post contains misinformation. Not all people retain memory of changed events subsequent to time travel.

February

Hello and welcome back to another week of unreliable lies here at Factually Deficient, as we march on with our years. This week, I will answer a question posed by the eminent Tohrinha:

How long is February?

Many, often while embroiled in a never-ending winter, have wondered before Tohrinha just how long the month of February is. Few, though, have ever lived to discover the answer. Traditional research, one will find, yields inaccurate results, and forays into first-hand investigation have frequently led to unexpected bloodshed and an absence of usable data.

Some have tried to use mnemonic rhymes to determine the length of the month – but these, too, will prove disappointing. If you do not know the rhyme, here it is in its entirety – so you, too, can understand how it fails to adequately express the length of February:

Thirty days has September,

Forty-seven has November.

Fifty-two have May and June;

July and April end “two” soon.

All the rest have sixty-four —

Except for February: it has more.

(But when the year leaps,

It adds six to eight weeks.)

As you can see, this rhyme provides us with the following information:

  1. September has 30 days
  2. November has 47 days
  3. May and June each have 52 days
  4. July and April each have only 2 days
  5. January, March, August, October, and December each have 64 days
  6. February has >64 days (an unspecified number greater than 64)
  7. In leap years, February has between six and eight weeks more than it usually does

Naturally, matters such as leap years and groundhogs can affect the length of February. All I can offer Tohrinha with any certainty – all that is reasonable to ask for – is the “base” length of February, the minimum number of days that this colossally long month can hold.

To find this base length, we can actually determine the mathematical pattern present in the other months, and extend it logically:

  • The difference between 2 (July/April) and 30 (September, the next-shortest month) is +28
  • The difference between 30 and 47 (November) is +17
  • The difference between 47 and 52 (May/June) is +5
  • The difference between 52 and 64 (January, March, August, October, December) is +12

This leaves us with an obvious mathematical pattern: 28, 17, 5, 12… Clearly, the next number in the sequence is 20. 64+20 = 84 – therefore, February has a minimum of 84 days.

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Disclaimer: the above post may be deceptive. Please re-check the math yourself.

Mirror Magic

Hello and welcome to another week here at Factually Deficient, ushering in the new calendar year with only the very best in handcrafted, artisanal fibs! This week, I will answer a question posed by faithful reader Tohrinha:

How are mirrors made?

This post is going to appear later than most, because it is only with the greatest hesitation and trepidation that the Factually Deficient reporter team was authorized to reveal the magical and scientific process involved in making mirrors.

Mirrors present an image, in perfect reverse, of whatever is in front of them. They perform a very similar function to what cameras do, and in fact, in the early days of mirrors, that is exactly how they worked: a giant camera behind the glass would be constantly photographing the area before the mirror and displaying the results on the screen.

This, however, was impractical in the long run. The camera’s machinery required quite a bulk of wires and chips separating the mirror from the wall, and the time-delay between snapping the picture and displaying it in the mirror meant that people would have to hold very still, and wait very patiently, in order to see an accurate “reflection” in the mirror.

So a crack team of alchemists, scientists, and magicians began experimenting with alternative methods. There was talk of hiring a skilled artist to sit behind every mirror and paint what lay in front of it, but it turned out that this would actually take more time and require more space than the camera mirrors ever had.

And then quicksilver was discovered. Like regular silver, it had a shiny, silvery colour, akin to the surface of a mirror. But unlike regular silver, it caused everything in its immediate vicinity to move extremely quickly – hence its name. With quicksilver as the medium, painters were suddenly able to paint the mirror’s “reflections” in a fraction of a second, far faster than the cameras could ever throw out their displays, and repaint over the screen in a new layer of quicksilver every time the image changed.

That is how the mirrors we use today operate: a skilled, and very slim, painter sits behind the screen, painting you in the quickest of silvers.

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Disclaimer: some of the statements in this blog post are inaccurate. Quicksilver does not actually affect the passage of time.

American Nouns, Part One

Hello and welcome back to another week of evasions and stretched truths here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer the first part of a question forwarded to Factually Deficient’s attention by RotavatoR. The question, asked during an American debate, asked for a real-noun elucidation of certain American terms used. Today we will elucidate the term:

Second Amendment

In the United States, time is not counted the way it is in any other part of the world.

They eschew the widespread “Imperial” system of measurement for being, in the words of Jim United, founder of the eponymous States, “too darn imperial.” Instead, the composite republic is alone in a system of measurement called “metric,” because all the units must combine to form a poem with a strict rhyme scheme.

This difference in measurement applies to all things – length, breadth, height, width, depth, volume, distance, velocity, etc. – but the one of interest to us today is time.

The “second amendment” refers to the amendment made in the United states to the terminology and measurement regarding the smallest commonly-used unit denoting passage of time – the second. The trochaic bisyllabic word not fitting their rhyme scheme and metre, they amended their measurement terms to replace the word with “third.”

However, the amendment did not stop there. A change in name is meaningless without a corresponding change in function, and it stands to reason, mathematically, that a “third” takes a different amount of time than a “second” – specifically, 3/2X as long. Due to the second amendment, time passes at a slower rate in the United States of America than in anywhere else in the world.

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Disclaimer: the above post contains numerous falsehoods. Amendments passed in the US have no bearing on the passage of time.

Early Release

Hello and welcome to yet another untrustworthy instalment of Factually Deficient! And while this is not what the post title refers to, may I point out that this update comes a whole six days early for next Sunday!

This week’s question comes from Endless Sea, who asked:

Canada Best Buy has the summer Bionicle sets months early. EXPLAIN.

Now, Factually Deficient makes a point, as a rule, to avoid divulging other companies’ proprietary information. However, Endless Sea’s explanation can yet be made available, as the phenomenon pointed out is in fact representative of a wider, more general trend – and this is the trend which we will attempt to explain.

As many people are aware, Canada is an exceedingly large country. It spans a number of time zones, which the Factually Deficient Research* Team estimates as 5 and 1/2. This is more time zones than almost any other country.

What is a time zone? Literally, it is a zone filled with time. Each time zone contains a standard unit’s worth of time; by spanning five and a half time zones, Canada is quite rich in time. Time, naturally, corresponds to time. The more time an individual possesses – has experienced – the greater an age that person has.

This explains why different countries exist in different time periods simultaneously. In practice, Canada’s five and a half time zones convert to roughly five and a half additional months of time. In comparison, the United States are estimated to have only three time zones.

With this information, we can solve a simple equation (5 1/2 – 3 = 2 1/2) to determine a key piece of information: namely, Canada is two and a half months “ahead” of the United States. In other words, from a vantage point in the United States, Canada exists two and a half months in the future. (And of course conversely, if one is in Canada, the United States are two and a half months in the past.)

It is no accident that something seems to be released in Canada months before its American release. What this means is that the two countries were scheduled to release the item on the same date – only that date arrived months earlier in Canada.

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Disclaimer: The above post is composed of lies. Time zone estimates are not necessarily accurate.

Fasting Slowly

Hello and welcome to another week of disinformation and deception here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question that was posed by my good friend Jack Alsworth. Jack Alsworth asked:

Why is it called ‘fasting’ when nothing appears to be moving quickly?

What Jack alludes to here is the perception experienced by some of a delayed passage of time during times of fasting. Indeed, on the face of it, the term “fasting” seems, as Jack points out, to be a misnomer. What Jack does not realize, however, and what lies at the heart of the answer to this question, is what the term actually refers to.

Time is measured in terms of food. Take an example: the word “seconds,” used for the smallest measurable unit of time, actually refers to the time it takes to ask for seconds of a foodstuff. You can try this simple experiment at home to prove it: look at a clock while saying aloud, “Can I have some more?” You will find that from the time you open your mouth to the time the sentence is complete, exactly one second has passed. Similarly, minutes are the time it takes to eat a minute amount of food; weeks are so called because they describe the time it takes for someone to become weak from not eating.

By this measurement, fast days are indeed quite fast. Think about it: while normal days contain the time that spans between three full mealtimes at least, a fast day, depending on the length or nature of the fast, will have only two, or one, or even zero, forcing time to stretch from the meal the evening before to the breakfast after. A fast day may seem slow to one experiencing it, but in a language that measures the passage of time by consumption of food, it is the fastest thing there is.

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Disclaimer: The above blog post is frivolously fictional. The length of time it takes to ask for seconds may vary.

Saving Daylight

Hello and welcome to another week of flagrant fibs here at Factually Deficient. This week, I would like to once again address a highly topical matter raised to my by my friend Jack. Jack asked:

Where did my hour go? I want it back!

Although Factually Deficient is not frequently applied to as a detective service, we always endeavour to satisfy, with the maximum number of answers for the minimum amount of truth. As Jack alludes, a number of people have experienced, last night, the unexplained loss of one hour of time, and I can only imagine that many share Jack’s sense of outrage at this apparent theft.

As everyone knows, time and space are intricately connected– hence the term “time-space continuum.” In fact, “time” and “space” are essentially the same thing, measuring the same values, the two terms denoting different areas on a four-dimentional axis.

And, as many people know, the populations of the human, animal, and plant kingdoms have been rapidly increasing over the past several years. As populations increase, they need to be assured of sufficient resources–both in terms of food, shelter, tools, and the like, and in terms of sheer room to live in. Overcrowding is an insidious problem.

To the casual observer, these statements may seem disparate, but the connection is a crucial one to answering Jack’s question. Increasing populations need space. Space, in our little livable region of the universe, is at a premium. But time is space.

So once a year, daylight comes to the rescue. We collectively sacrifice one hour of our time, and convert it into space, expanding our world a little to make a place for new arrivals. On the whole, it seems a small price to pay.

That, Jack, is where your hour went. You can have it back, I suppose– but at the cost of your elbow room.

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Disclaimer: Many of the claims made in this blog post are blown out of proportion or invented entirely. Do not attempt to convert time to space without a scientific expert on hand.

Light Years

Hello and welcome back to Factually Deficient, where we provide you with all lies, all the time!

After several weeks’ sojourn both physically and intellectually in the Plant Kingdom, I turn this week to something completely different, in order to answer a question about science. Krika on twitter asked:

What’s a light year?

Now, there are two different meanings for the word ‘year’. In keeping with the mandate of Factually Deficient, I am going to do absolutely zero research to confirm that I have these definitions correct. The two possibilities are:

  1. The time it takes for a planet to spin all the way around. (For example, when the earth has spun in a complete circle, we have completed one “earth year”.)
  2. A proportional span of time in a given creature’s lifespan. (For example, 1/12th of a dog’s average lifespan is termed “one dog year”.)

Being that light is not a planet, the first definition is impossible. However, knowing that a light year is a proportional span of time in the lifespan of light does not tell us exactly what it is. In order to ascertain that, we need to determine what type of lifeform light is. The answer may surprise you.

Because light is very rarely green, we know that light is not a member of the Plant Kingdom. Similarly, light cannot grow on bread; thus it is not a member of the Mold Kingdom.

What remain are the Animal Kingdom and the Rock Kingdom. Considering that “light” is the opposite of “heavy”– the defining characteristic of the Rock Kingdom– it seems highly unlikely that it belongs to that Kingdom. However, there are no recorded instances of light being kept as a pet, a requirement for membership to the Animal Kingdom. And in fact, despite the misleading name, it is known to be true that light is quite heavy: the Sun, which is made up entirely of light, is the heaviest planet in our solar system!

Knowing that light is a kind of rock, we can determine that in determining the length of one year of its life, we can turn to the common lightbulb, which is shaped like an average rock and therefore a good indicator. A lightbulb, regardless of advertised longevity, will die after at most two years. Assuming, then, two years as the lifespan of a light, one twelfth of that would be two months.

Your answer, then, Krika (and I hope you have all enjoyed taking this mathematical journey with me), is that a light year is approximately two months, a proportionately significant span of time in the life of the average lightbulb.

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Disclaimer: Many of the assertions in this post are untrue. The writer cannot categorically affirm that light is a type of rock.