Sincere answers to stupid questions


This post is based on a classic Mad Magazine feature, Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions.

Some people use search engines as an oracle.

The software behind this site doesn’t provide any information about who visits, but it provides a selection of the terms that were entered into search engines that directed people here. I thought I’d deal with some of the questions designed for oracles, that have popped up in recent months.

Some of these questions feature desperation or angst. Some are just stupid. Others have poignance. I don’t know if the people who wrote these questions ever found their answers, so I thought I’d do them the favor of answering these questions, avoiding an excess of sarcasm. Feel free to have a crack in the comments.

students when do you call proffessors sir

          When you are a student at a military academy.

i’m outstanding student but not successful

          That word, I do not think it means what you think it means.

which are you dr or sir


why isn’t the scientific method is not linear

          I’m sorry, I got befuddled by the double negative.

is academic dishonesty going to ruin me

          Unfortunately, no.

is it good to turn in myself after academic dishonesty

          It is good, but probably unwise.

is theory just for theoreticians

          No, theory is for everybody. Work against anti-intellectualism whenever you can.

an instructor has accused you of plagiarizing and has given you an “f” in the course. you believe you have not committed plagiarism. what action can…

          First, make sure you didn’t commit plagiarism. It doesn’t matter what you believe, what matters is fact. Many students plagiarize without knowing that they have done so. However, if you in fact did not plagiarize, then you should consult with your professor, the chair, and the dean’s office before filing a grade grievance. Keep in mind that it typically is incumbent on the student to demonstrate that the professor acted capriciously or is otherwise in error. So, you need to demonstrate that the work you turned in could not have been plagiarized at all, without sound and calm reasoning, and providing very clear rebuttals to any evidence that implies that you did plagiarize.

exam grading versus time

          Exam grading wins and time loses.

 science has done more harm than good to the social a small essay

          Try this.

is it ok to propose a course in teaching philosophy

          Yes, if you’re in a Philosophy department

what is teaching excellence

          Making a difference in the lives of your students

is it difficult to get a job after academic dishonesty

          No, as long as you don’t mention it and nor do your references or your transcript

consequences of assault for people

          They get hurt.

what are the legal consequences of a teacher assualting a student

          Assault charges, if the student is wise.

how to search whether im tenure or not

           I don’t think this information is necessarily public.   

what does dr david foster wallace mean by this is water

          We need to live consciously aware of our existence and fight solipsism. Also, did you write the next question?

why cheating is efficiency?

          Because it gets the job done more quickly

grade 10 term 2 practical task 2 leafy twig memorandum

          I have no idea. Did you write the previous question?

what does it take to get tenure at a research university if you are a scientist? (be as specific as possible)

          Grant money and publications in journals that have lots of papers that get cited within two years after publication

how do teacher get re evaluated after getting the tenure

          They don’t, at least not for real.

should you pay undergrads that work in your lab?

          Yes, if you have the money.

benefit and harm of elevator

          It will take you to your destination but it prevents you from getting a slight amount of aerobic activity.

is it a good idea to use the elevator in school?

          No, please keep it available for a disabled person who might need it and don’t waste electricity when you can use your own muscles.

what if teacher isn’t given tenure

          The teacher is unemployed.

 what to invent in a tropical rainforest that haven’t been invented that needs to be

          Laser-eyed flying squirrels. And a kickass carbon sequestration mechanism that promotes biodiversity.

 how important is a science or nature paper for getting a tenure track position

          Not at all. Unless you want an “alternative” tenure-track position at a research institution, in which case it is very helpful but not essential.

should or shouldn’t teachers read research articles from scholarly journals

          Everybody should. See the answer to the seventh question in this list.

quiz and exchange papers to check

          I wouldn’t recommend it if it is used for a grade. If it’s not, it’s okay. If any student doesn’t want to exchange you might as well allow them to check their own.

didn’t get the research grant

          I’m sorry to hear that. Good luck next time.

abilities of underrepresented students

          They are just the same as overrepresented students, though they might have an underprepared background and you should keep this in mind when working with them.

ponds that can be usd for science field work

          Private landowners are best because you don’t have to deal with permitting, though in the long term you can’t be sure the site will remain undeveloped. Otherwise, look at maps, ask around and contact local agencies. You can do almost whatever you want on BLM land without a permit.

how to figure out if i would like teaching

          Try doing it and see how you feel about it. Do you enjoy the challenge?

how to convince husband to prioritize family over career

          This seriously broke my heart. Maybe communication, love, firmness in your needs and flexibility in the implementation. Emphasize that we all only live life once and there is no such person who, on their death bed, regretted not working enough.

should scientists have work life balance

          Of course we should.

Leave a Reply