Ask A Guru

November 2004 - Janurary 2005


Who decided there should be 24 hours in a day? - Ryan Hall (2005/01/27)

Hold on to your butts, this is going to be a long one.

Trace history back far enough and you'll find a lot of bizarre things. One such thing comes from the Egyptians who used a base-12 (duodecimal) counting system. You may ask, why use base-12 when humans have ten fingers making base-10 the obvious choice? Did the Egyptians have horrible mutated hands? Probably.

The interesting thing about how they counted was that they used the joints of their fingers instead of the finger themselves. Picture using your thumb to touch the top knuckle on your index finger, then move your thumb to the second knuckle, and then the third. This allows you to count to three on one finger. Add three more fingers and you have a total of 12 numbers per hand. Creepy isn't it? This is arguably more efficient with math than a decimal because 12 is evenly divided by 2, 3, 4, and 6, where as 10 is only divided by 2 and 5. Put your two hands together and you have 24, thus they divided a day into 24 sections which we call hours.

The Egyptians had one of the largest and longest empires of the ancient world. With their great influence their time system was the most widespread and thus it is still with us today.

You're probably about to ask the next obvious question of "why are there 60 minutes to an hour", well just hold on there tiger.

The Egyptians had 12 months, each with 30 days. This created a 360 day year (a little off, but close enough for their needs), which is the reason why we divide a circle into 360 degrees. How annoying.

The Babylonians, another major player in the ancient world, used a base-60 (sexagesimal) number system which they acquired from the Sumerians (this no doubt led to their school children failing math a lot). By this time the 24 hour day was mainstream, but not accurate enough for important calculations. By breaking down each hour into smaller units the Babylonians could get better results on equations dealing with time. And of course they had to use their annoying base-60 system.

Well time has passed, and the modern world require calculations that occur at the nanosecond level. There is now a metric system for time which uses the second as it's base unit, but it'll be awhile before you hear anyone saying "I'll be over in two kiloseconds".

Simple questions, simple answers, part 3 (2005/01/10)

It's come to this; a third installment of simple questions.

Q: It is possible to buy expansion packs for DDR? Also, if there is something like that, where can I find them? - Stephanie Raymer
A: If you're looking for add-ons to the console systems, you're out of luck. They only make new releases every few months. However, if you click over to stepmania.com you will find a free computer version of DDR. Then, head over to ddruk.com for all the song packs for every version of DDR including many homebrew songs, all for free.

Q: Why are there so many bad drivers on the road? They drive me crazy! - Ercilia
A: According to your ISP you live in Arkansas. I think that pretty much sums up the bad driving issue.

Q: Is it true that some girls squirt so bad when they reach orgasm? - chummy
A: We don't see what a citrus flavored soft drink has to do with women climaxing. Seriously though, yes, some do.

Q: What is a NIC/modem combo, and what do they do? - Superman
A: Network Interface Card / Modulate Demodulate combo. It's a network card and a modem combined to take up less space. NIC is used for a computer to talk to another on a local area network and a modem is used for more distant connections. You can usually get them for pretty cheap because most new motherboards have built in NICs, and phone modems are becoming out of date.

Q: Oh Guru of Knowledge, will you ever try out on Who Wants to Win a Million Dollars? If you do, do you really think you'll win? - s b
A: We assume you're referring to the online game of knowledge Who Wants to Win a Million Dollars, not the crappy TV show. Yes, we certainly believe we can beat that game, because we have. It's a very cool game, too bad the money is fake.

Q: Back in the day there was this one show on Nickelodeon where a kid was turned into a dog and had to do good deeds to turn into a boy. Also, there was one where some African American boy was an alien and he came to earth. Do you remember the names of these shows or can you find them out? (Kyle Little - 2004/12/30)

A: There seems to be a trend developing here about television shows. Quit watching TV, go read a book!

Anyway, enough of saying what your parents should have said. The two gems of family entertainment that your are thinking of are titled "100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd", and "The Journey of Allen Strange", respectfully. Both shows were aired on Nickelodeon and according to most reviews they both started out strong and had large followings, but neither lasted for more than three seasons. Apparently, the third season of both shows didn't do very well, so Nickelodeon axed them.

We love how you say "Back in the Day" for television shows that aired in the late 90's. Are you trying to make the rest of us feel old?

Q: I'm trying to remember the name of a mouse in an old cartoon, he had a green hat with a black stripe, brown shoes and blue pants... and I remember to have seen an episode where he was in a store or workshop and there was an electric razor that was alive. (Ramon Aranguren - 2004/12/16)

A: Living electric razor huh? Are you sure you weren't dropping a little lysergic acid diethylamide when you watched it?

The animated mouse you're thinking of is named "Sniffles" who was in several cartoons lasting from 1939-1946. Sniffles was created by Chuck Jones (the same guy that created Marvin Martian, Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, and Pepe Le Pew). And for the record he wore a blue hat and a green shirt, but we'll still give you props for remembering so much else.

Sniffles was this cute naive mouse who seemed to constantly hang out with things that wanted to eat him. Not the smartest mouse in the world, really. He was one of the earlier reoccurring characters in Warner Brother's Merrie Melodies. He later appeared in a comic called "Mary Jane and Sniffles" and had a cameo in "Space Jam".

The particular episode where Sniffles gets drunk and engages in a conversation with a sentient electric razor is called "Naughty But Mice". And yes the writer was obviously on crack.

For more information on visit The Cute Incarnate, which is very put together unofficial Sniffles site.

Simple questions, simple answers, part 2 (2004/12/07)

One of the problems with being a guru is that every simpleton in the world feels that it's their right to ask you the stupidest most inane questions. Of course, there is no such thing as a stupid question, just stupid people. Okay, we're just kidding, we adore all the nitwits who ask us stuff. Anyway, here is another list of simple questions.

Q: How old am i? - Meganbama
A: Old enough to capitalize pronouns.

Q: Why is blue cheese so good? - Scott MacIlvaine
A: Because mold tastes yummy.

Q: Why do you focus so much on logic, procedure, and efficiancy over imagination, creativity, and free flow? - Kimberly
A: Because the gurus here went to public school where creativity is outlawed and imagination is punishable by death.

Q: How is it that one becomes a Guru? - Julie Timms
A: By selling us your soul. We'll give you $3.50 for it.

Q: Why do I act like my mother, may I reverse it? - Griselda Aprile
A: You act like her because she has put an evil curse on you. "May I reverse it", heck, you don't need our permission! But, if you want to know how, according to an ancient Hittite legend, a woman can stop acting like her mother by disemboweling her on a full moon. We think you should try it, but tell the police that your lamp shade made you do it.

Q: Here's a question for his majesty, TheAlmightyGuru: Without looking it up, what is a pectoantebrachialis and where is it located? - (Angel - 2004/11/30)

A: Without looking it up? How insulting! You act as if we don't already know the answers to all the questions of life, the universe, and everything and that we have to search the Internet for the answers or something equally as lame.

Anyway, according to the Internet, the pectoantebrachialis is a muscle of the pectoral group. It runs from the anterior end of the sternum to the fascia at the proximal end of the antebrachium (forearm). This particular muscle is not part of a human's anatomy, but it can be found on felines.

To see a picture of a nicely skinned pussycat and it's pectoantebrachialis ripped from it's body look here.

Q: What is snow blowing? (They mention it in the movie "Stepmom" but never explain it other than it being something dirty.) - (holli riz - 2004/11/19)

A: Um, right.

We're going to assume that you're over eighteen (of course, if you were, you would probably already know what it is) and that you're not offended by certain taboo sexual acts. Because if you are I'd suggest not reading any further. We'll also try to put this in the most scientific of terms as to not get in trouble from concerned parents who might be looking over your shoulder.

"Snow blowing", is more popularly referred to as "snow balling" which is the act of having a man ejaculate into someone's mouth, and then having that person open-mouth kiss the man, thus having his semen in his own mouth from the other person's mouth.

Now you see why that was left out of the movie.

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