One reason, I just picked up Randall's new book, 'What If: Serious Scientific Answers To Absurd Hypothetical Questions'.
Go out and buy it. Now. I'll wait.
No I wont. But really, go buy it. It's even better than his comic because he can go into more detail. Also, in between chapters, he provides you with examples of questions that were too absurd to answer. He calls them "Weird (And Worrying) Questions From The 'What If?' Inbox". Considering the fact that the questions he does answer include "If you call a random phone number and say 'God bless you', what are the chances that the person who answers just sneezed?"
I don't usually recommend books for others to read because, well....I'm eclectic, to say the least. But if you enjoy my posts, you'll probably enjoy this book. And as a bonus, XKCD vignettes sprinkled throughout.
Yesterday, I wimped out. Not really. I was just exhausted. A very long day at work meant I was too tired to write a post. So today, you get a double feature; A normal oddity, plus, since it's Thursday, a Totally Trippy Theory! So let's jump right into it.
But before I start, I just want to mention The Beverly Hillbillies. Or to be more specific, 'The Ballad of Jed Clampett' by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. Got it running through your head> Good.
Come and listen to my story about a man named Bernardo, a moderately well-off nationalist who lived in South America-o. Until one day he was shooting up some government troops, and next thing you know he's one of them goofs! Gub'ment, that is. El Presidente. Commander in chief.
Yeeeeaaaahhhh.....that was bad. Really really bad.
But it's true. And that's the subject of todays oddity.
Bernardo was born in 1778 in Chile. We can call him a bastard. But that's because his dad wasn't married to his mom. His dad was the governor of Chile, the 1st Marquis of Osorno. His mom was from a very wealthy Chilean family. At a young age, Bernardo was sent to live in Peru with his fathers business partners family. He really didn't have much contact with his dad. He was close enough with his mother to use her last name, Riquelme, until his father died when Bernardo was 23.
Well, he used her maiden name. She got married two years after his birth to a different man with the last name Rodriguez, and he refused to use that name.
Bernardo never actually met his father, even though he corresponded with him through letters, and his father sent him money to live off, and also paid for his schooling. In fact, when Bernardo was 17, his father sent him off to England to finish his education. From England he went to Spain, and after his fathers death in 1801, finally returned to his native Chile to take over the land his father had left him.
He was a good gentleman farmer, and he was well liked by all his neighbors. So in 1806 he was elected to represent his town in the local government.
but in 1808, the trouble started. Napoleon conquered Spain and imprisoned the Spanish king. No one in Chile liked France, so the government voted to become an independent nation that would rule in the name of King Ferdinand VII, whom Napoleon has in jail. And so began Bernardo's road as a rebel.
In 1810 the Junta of Chile was officially formed. It's goal was to restore the Spanish king to his throne. This would return Chile to the direct control of the Spanish crown. But some, including Bernardo and an old friend of his fathers, Juan Martinez de Rozas, began to think that maybe Chile shouldn't be subject to Spain or anyone. This created a rift in the Junta between royalists and independents. Bernardo became a military commander in the independence army.
For the next several years the royalists fought the nationalists. Both sides also fought the troops from Spain under command of Napoleon. Sometimes the royalists and nationalists would fight together, and sometimes they wouldn't. It was a very murky situation.
In 1814 Bernardo was leading an attack against Spanish forces and was supposed to receive reinforcements from another commander, Luis Carrera, but Carrera didn't like Bernardo, so he kept his troops out of the fight. Bernardo lost most of his men and was forced to flee into exile in Argentina.
To make matters worse, while Bernardo was in exile, Carrera killed his best friend in a duel that was probably rigged. That was a bad idea on Carreras part. While in Argentina, Bernardo became friends with Jose de San Martin. Jose was a commander in the Argentinian army and he had littler love for the Spanish troops who fought for Napoleon, and also no love for the royalists that Bernardo was fighting.
In 1817 Bernardo and Jose led a large nationalist army into Chile. And they proceeded to kick some serious ass. And then got their asses handed to them, but then kicked more ass. And finally, on February 16 1818, Jose and Bernardos forces defeated the royalists and Spanish once and for all. The nationalists government offered the job of Supreme Ruler to Jose, but he refused so he could continue the independence fight through out South America. So the job was given to Bernardo.
On February 18 1818, Chile declared it's independence.
But what about that louse Carrera? Well, he ran off to the safety of Argentina where another war of independence was starting. He led forces and was on the winning side. In 1821 he led a small force into Chile with the intention of taking out Bernardo and becoming ruler himself, but he was stopped and captured by Bernardos men. He was executed.
So, our little bastard became the first President of Chile.
You might be asking what is so odd about this. Well, have you noticed I never mentioned Bernardo's last name? See, he used his fathers last name once his dad died. And that was only proper. You see, it was a traditional last name from his fathers homeland. And it was his fathers homeland that Bernardo claimed citizenship to.
Even though he was born in Chile, since his father was a foreign diplomat, he kept his fathers nationality upon birth. His illegitimacy had nothing to do with it.
And that means Bernardo was a citizen of Ireland, and his last name was O'Higgins.
Bernardo O'Higgins. The Irish president of Chile. That's what makes this an oddity. And that's why I didn't write this yesterday. Way too much to try and keep straight when you're falling asleep.
But, today is New Years Day. And we're starting off the new year with a Totally Trippy Theory Thursday! I'm going to tell you a totally true theory that actual people actually believe!
And this theory has to do with the Earth and her land masses.
A long time ago, map makers noticed that there were some similarities in the shapes of the coastlines of South America and Africa. This led some to believe they had at one time been connected. Scientists were dispatched in the 1700's and it was determined that even though the two coastlines looked similar, the resulting geology showed zero evidence of being the same.
And that makes a fella wonder what exactly they were looking at. Because actual scientists using actual science now know that the reason the two coastlines looked like they could fit together is because they were once connected. The geology on the two coasts isn't just similar, it's identical.
We even know why, too. It used to be called 'Continental Drift', but we now know that wasn't 100% accurate. It's actually 'Plate Tectonics'. (When I was in elementary school in the 70's, it was still the continental drift).
The crust of the Earth is made up of several plates, and they move. The continents are just the parts that stick up out of the water at any given time. It's not the continents that drift around, it's the plates they are attached to that drift around. Today, America and Europe are moving away from each other at a rate of about one inch a year.
The reason for this is the Mid-Atlantic Rift. It's a big crack in the Earths crust where basaltic magma boils up from the center of the Earth and causes the North American and the European plates to spread apart. Science Baby!
But this is supposed to be a whacked out theory, so here it is:
Plate Tectonics isn't real. Continental Drift isn't real. Sure, the continents used to be clumped together in one big mass, but current scientists are covering up the truth about how they split apart.
You see, the truth is, when there was just one big land mass, it covered the entire Earth. The planet was just one great, big rock that was about 40% of it's current size. The Earths core, you see, is producing more and more material. And as more is produced, the Earth grows. This causes the land mass to break up and the pieces to move apart. The spots they open up fill in with water because we have water in our atmosphere.
It makes perfect sense as long as you don't think about it.
Well, I hope you have enjoyed your extra long post today. Because I don't plan on doing it again. Doesn't mean it'll never happen again. Just means I don't plan it. Now, go brush your teeth. Your hangover breath is fogging up my screen.......