5 FACTS: (1) Born February 25, 1971 (2) Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, St. Olaf College (3) Graduate Student, Cleveland Chiropractic (4) Member: CIVIQ, ISPE, Mensa, OATHS, and Sigma IV (5) E-Mail: email@example.com
5 CHARACTERISTICS: (1) I believe it is the responsibility of pet owners to lovingly discipline their pets. For example, I told my friend that if I ever get a pet butterfly that is particularly difficult to potty train, I plan to glue his feet to a fan blade and spin him on “high” until I am convinced that he has learned to “do his business” outside. My friend asked me what would convince me that the butterfly had learned to “do his business” outside. I explained, “When the butterfly’s wings are ripped from his body as a result of wind drag.” He thought that was mean. Hey, I agree! It’s hard to do “butterfly things” without wings. But dang it! Without discipline, what chance does a butterfly have of ever amounting to anything? (2) I know on which side of the plate to set the oyster fork because it is not the side that is not [the sum of whole numbers between 4 – 20] degrees not clockwise from the side that is not opposite the side that does not rhyme with the last 6 letters of a common synonym for “not alive.” (3) If I were a dog treat, I’d prefer to be a “Beggin’ Strip” over a “Milk Bone” any day. Any other choice would constitute an act of madness. Isn’t that obvious? Answer me, dammit! (4) I wish I had a friend with a swallowing disorder, because then he would probably get nicknamed Choker. And if I ever learned some jokes, people would probably nickname me Joker. And then, when my swallowing-disorder-friend and I were walking down the street, people who knew us both would probably remark, “Hey, there go Choker and Joker.” Which would be neat, because clever rhymes are like Mountain Dew hued rays of sunshine that refresh the beating heart of humanity. (5) The “experts” say that the best time to get a tan is when it is cloudy out because the clouds magnify the rays of the sun. But the same “experts” also claim that water magnifies the rays of the sun. Hold on here! If the “experts” are right, wouldn’t the best time to get a tan be during a rainstorm? An important question that demands an answer.
5 PUZZLES: (1) Long ago, a certain town was populated by liars and truthtellers. In his journey through it, a traveler found himself at the juncture of four roads. He knew that a certain number of roads led to death and the rest to prosperity, but not which led where. About this time, an amiable stranger introduced himself to the traveler, and agreed to answer two, but only two, questions posed to him by the traveler. Though he did not know, at the time, if the stranger was a liar or truthteller, today the traveler is a prosperous man. • Given that he did not benefit from luck, WHAT TWO QUESTIONS DID THE TRAVELER ASK? (2) In 1976, the wealthy parents of a suicidal quadriplegic hired a team of scientists to cryogenically preserve their son, Matt, until that time when medicine could repair his damaged spinal nerves, and thereby relieve the depression that said damage indirectly produced. To facilitate the procedure, Matt was frozen without his knowledge while he slept. His body was subsequently stripped, and then installed in a metal cooling chamber, which featured a small window that permitted visual access to and from his face. Many years later, a clumsy lab janitor obliviously unplugged the power cord to Matt’s cooling chamber, such that Matt “thawed out” over one Easter weekend. Later, when asked by news reporters how he felt upon regaining consciousness while locked inside the unplugged chamber, Matt replied, “Shocked. I could not believe that the year was 2015.” • Given that (A) the unpeopled lab room was (B) constructed of opaque wall and (C) ceiling materials, and (D) contained no reflective mediums of any kind, and that (E) Matt’s chamber window faced an unfurnished corner of the lab room while (F) all objects inside that room remained stationary and (G) silent during the weekend, HOW DID MATT KNOW THE CORRECT YEAR? (3) Long ago, there lived a Fortune Teller whose prognosticatory talents had earned her international respect. One day, she was approached by a king and his sons. The father wished to ascertain the years of death for all five boys. Knowing that grave political consequences would attach to her reply, the Fortune Teller explained only that, “When Abraham is the age that Clement will be when Barthalomew attends the funeral of Damas, then the interval between Elijah’s death and Damas’ 21st birthday will equal Clement’s age at that moment when the number of years remaining in Abraham’s life less 74.25 equals the difference between Elijah’s present age and the age of Barthalomew on the day that marks his midlife crisis.” • Given that (A) the youngest brother there was born in 1000 AD, and that (B) the oldest brother died in 1031 AD, ESTIMATE TO THE NEAREST MONTH THE AGE OF EACH BROTHER ON THE DAY THAT THE PREDICTION IS MADE. (4) If triangle = 4, square = 6, and hexagon ≠ 10, then WHAT DOES PENTAGON EQUAL? EXPLAIN. (5) Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful Princess of wholesome temperament and inviolable character. Upon her 18th birthday, it was tradition that the King select a groom for his daughter. This responsibility vexed His Majesty, though, as the Royal supply of good men had experienced recent and substantial depletion at the jaws of rabid Pomeranians. Wishing to identify the brightest, bravest, and humblest suitor available, the King commissioned the construction of a peculiar puzzle, whose purpose and parameters were described in a document that the King personally distributed to assorted royal families across the globe. It read, “An egg that belongs to an angry dragon has been inserted into a tunnel that penetrates a granite boulder. The tunnel (A) forms the capital letter “H” and is (B) oriented on a (C) single flat plane that (D) passes perpendicularly through the granite rock face and (E) the unslanted earth on which the boulder lies. (F) Each tunnel leg measures 36 inches, while the (G) crossbar measures 1/3 that length. (H) Tunnel height and (I) width both equal 1 inch such that (J) the cubical dragon egg, whose height and width equal that of the tunnel, can only be extracted (K) from the horizontal cross bar on which it lies (L) by way of either right angle that is formed by the intersection of each leg and the cross bar. • The royal gentleman who safely extracts the egg will earn my daughter’s hand in marriage plus a chest full of diamonds, gold, and priceless art. And though it is true that any extraction method is permitted, it is the case that (M) the mother dragon will slay any man who damages her egg, to any degree, and for any reason. Further (N) the unalterable chemical composition of the atmosphere within the tunnel, which forbids the operation of any electronic devices, such as those requiring batteries or electric cords, and (O) the acoustic properties of the tunnel which, for reasons attributable to the cochlear configuration of dragon ears, disallow use of any mechanical devices, such as those featuring springs, pulleys, levers, hinges, gears, axels, or the like. Moreover, (P) the density of granite does not permit tunnel modification of any kind, as (Q) its unwieldy weight also precludes the transport or, even (R) calculated inducement of vibration to its structure. Furthermore, even though the eggshell is rigid, it is nevertheless delicate, such that (S) the risk of fracture prohibits the utilization of tubes, coils, or (T) suctorial contrivances of any kind, just as (U) no hook, fork, or related poking tool may be relied upon for safe extraction. Additionally (V) the fragile immune system of the dragon fetus will collapse on contact of its shell with any other living organism, such as a snake or mouse, as (W) it will also atrophy on contact with glues, epoxies, resins, or related chemicals. Finally, it is the case that (X) liquids, gelatins, soft clays, or moisture of any kind will dissolve the eggshell, just as (Y) temperature flux exceeding 1°C will either melt or freeze the thermally-challenged fetus.” • After 3 long years, the Princess remained husbandless, and the King blamed himself. “The puzzle was stupid,” he concluded, and ordered its immediate destruction. Moments before its deposit into a vat of acid, however, a handsome but very poor Blacksmith respectfully asked for permission to work the puzzle. Though an unwritten law forbade the marriage of royalty to peasantry, the King was an out-of-the-box thinker, and acceded to the brave request. Ten minutes later, the Blacksmith presented the undefiled dragon egg to the Princess. “Please accept this gift, for which no reward is expected.” He smiled humbly, she swooned, and they lived happily ever after. • Given that the hardness of the eggshell could be calculated in advance, HOW DID THE BLACKSMITH EXTRACT THE DRAGON EGG?
5 QUESTIONS: (1) If you were living paycheck-to-paycheck, with enough income to meet your essential needs, but with little surplus with which to entertain yourself, and you were offered $1,000 cash to tear the wings off of a beautiful butterfly, thereby inflicting an unknowable amount of pain and suffering on it, would you accept the money? (2) Would you submit an innocent, lucid, and unmedicated stranger to death by medieval torture if such a punishment would end world hunger? (3) Imagine that a mineshaft explosion traps you and a stranger inside a concrete room buried deep in the earth. Before losing phone and radio contact, you learn that the entire mine is sealed, and that the air hole being drilled for your benefit will not reach you for another 24 hours. That is bad news, as the remaining volume of oxygen in the concrete room will last only 12 hours at its current rate of depletion. The inflexible reality of your mutual plight is plain: one of you can survive alone, or both of you can die together. Upon that realization, the stranger quickly swallows a handful of sleeping pills and, before losing consciousness, explains that, “It is in the hands of God now.” You have a loaded pistol. What do you do? (4) Imagine that you and a person who you love deeply are locked in separate rooms, each seated next to a ‘kill’ button. A captor explains that you both will die by painful means unless one of you presses your “kill” button within 1 hour. That act will save the other person, but produce the button-pusher’s immediate and painful death. No further information is supplied. What do you do? (5) Imagine that your spouse, an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous who recently celebrated 3 years of sobriety, staggers into the house one night, and tearfully explains of having “relapsed” earlier that evening, and then squashed, during the drive home, a child who “just appeared” in the street. You further learn that your spouse, a physician, had immediately stopped to provide medical care, but upon discovering the pancake-thin corpse, and realizing that nobody had witnessed the accident, fled the scene. Knowing that a confession would result in several years of imprisonment, and that silence would permanently safeguard the secret, what would you advise your spouse to do?
5-PRONGED PHILOSOPHY: (1) I accept that the credibility of any belief corresponds to the physical evidence supporting that belief. Accordingly, I reject untested belief in faith, intuition, extrasensory perception, prayer, hope, tarot, palmistry, astrology, channeling, and the like. I suspect that the cosmos, which includes all human behavior, operates in accordance with natural, predictable laws – some of which are understood, others not. (2) “Everything is determined… by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust – we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.” – Albert Einstein (3) I do not believe that the operation of such laws implies the existence of a personal God and, in fact, regard such a conclusion as the lamentable product of disconnected and, often, wishful thinking – which are likely attributable to frontal lobe activity within the brain. (4) “… the existence of a biological God, one who directs organic evolution and intervenes in human affairs (as envisioned by theism) is increasingly contravened by biology and brain sciences…” – Edward O. Wilson (5) The evidence, of which I am aware, suggests that moral laws have evolved over millions of years as codes of conduct that increase the survival of the species. I deny the plausibility of an afterlife and, following death, expect to rot in my grave. Science will, I predict, ultimately replace religion as a source of hope and comfort because, “Science offers the best answers to the meaning of life.” – Richard Dawkins