Why Oh Why?!
August 17, 2004 2:28 AM   Subscribe

Learn to love cannibals, hear from a cat about pet diets, discover some facts about bottled water, or create your own tornado (flying cow included) ... all this and more at the Why Files.
posted by Orb (5 comments total)
This is quite a site, Orb! I've been wandering through, and I'm actually quite surprised at some of the topics that are addressed here, and how they are handled, given that it's a state university site. Very PBS-style in its basic approach, and buckets of info-friendly goodness. I love to see organizations doing stuff like this, though so many of the better funded and more highly touted ones aren't so active or so lively in following the curiosity trail. Good on the U. of Wisc. team, and you, our darling Orb, for posting it. Thanks.

sorry to be enthusiastic, a response which is likely to incur a lot of "no. this sucks" comments, but never mind.
posted by taz at 5:32 AM on August 17, 2004

Very well done...thanks! The water section is very easy, clear, and sensible.
posted by amberglow at 5:52 AM on August 17, 2004

Hey, just to put you off buying bottled water when you're abroad, how about taking a look at why CocaCola refused to label its soft drink in India (Hint: DDT and malathion gives Thums Up its tang. Plus it helps prevent malaria! Woohoo!)
posted by shepd at 2:27 PM on August 17, 2004

shepd - Gin and Quinine work pretty well too, I hear. Which is more toxic - Alcohol, or Malathion and DDT ? Damned if I know, although eating other humans laced with DDT - if one happens to be a cannibal - is probably a significant health risk.

"....Such tours, in an earlier historical era, would have led deep pocketed, pith helmet and misquito netting swaddled public radio devotees deep into the heart of equatorial Africa, Borneo, or the Amazon - to there discretely nibble from fruit and cheese plates and sip wine, in rapt attention, regaled by Sylvia Pojoli's delightfully monologues which - as with a delicately balanced cordial - were erudite but yet never descended into pedantry and which were spiced up - of course - with selections from her vast array of hilarious anecdotes gleaned from years of world travel.

"Once, I followed a party of Bushmen for days as they stalked a giraffe. After they finally killed it, they ate so much of the meat that they dug holes in the ground for their distended bellies to flop into as they collapsed, exhausted from the feast, to sleep...."

That one was always good for a laugh. Meanwhile, for a dramatic backdrop, menacingly exotic bone-in-the-nose savages busied themselves brandishing spears and dancing around a kettle full of screaming missionaries whose heads would, later after the meal, be shrunk down, per a lucrative contract franchise with Public Radio Travel Ltd., for distribution to the crowd as charming travel souvenirs certain to command lifelong positions of favor, arrayed conspicuously on fine furniture for the guests to notice, as scandalously provocative presences to dispel the usual stuffiness and disrupt the mechanical hoisting of brandy snifters, provoking inspired after dinner conversation :

"Yes, yes, it's real - from the Belgian Congo! I'm quite, sure Julia - I was there on the spot when it was - so to speak - minted, and I can vouch that it's a REAL human head! Isn't that truly amazing?" - "Why, Richard, I've never SEEN such a thing! How delightful! Where can I get one? It's darling, and just the thing for a stocking stuffer for a special someone I know...You've always had the best, quirkiest taste...I'm simply beside myself with jealousy."

[ excerpted from "A Natural History of Public Radio Cannibalism" ]
posted by troutfishing at 11:48 PM on August 17, 2004

[this is good]
posted by obloquy at 12:51 AM on August 18, 2004

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