Category Archives: Answers

Answers, supplied via The Conduit

Where do frogs go in the winter ?

There are many possible answers to this question and you may choose the one you feel most comfortable with.

  • They croak
  • They hop it to somewhere warmer
  • Saint-Tropez
  • My throat
  • A-courting
  • Aquatic frogs submerge themselves and absorb oxygen from the water through their skin. Other frogs will bury themselves in leaves and mud to protect themselves from the worst conditions and hibernate until warmer months
  • They involve themselves in a lengthy joke with a chicken that borrows books from a library

Any and some but certainly not all of the above may prove helpful.

Does The Conduit never have a question itself ?

There is usually only value in asking questions of others so as to garner their opinions. If one were to ask oneself a question either the answer would already be known and thus the question would not be worth asking or the answer would not be known so equally pointless.

It is a little like how I don’t laugh when I tell myself jokes because I have usually heard them before.

It takes Peter 3 hours to paint a wall and it takes Lucy 5 hours to paint a similar wall. How long would it take if they painted the same wall together ?

This is a classic question and one which is easily answered incorrectly. The stock answer would be to say “4 hours”, averaging the times taken by Peter and Lucy. This would be foolish as firstly it implies that it takes longer than Peter would take on his own and it ignores both the mathematical and socio-dynamical factors affecting wall-painting.

First to address the mathematics. Peter paints 5 walls per 15 hours and Lucy paints 3. Thus between them they can paint 8 walls per 15 hours or 1 wall every 15/8 of an hour. This is 1 hour, 52 minutes and 30 seconds. This is the technique for solving this question whenever it appears in a test.

As highlighted however there are many socio-dynamical factors at play here. First, time must be allowed for the period after Lucy “says” she is ready to start painting to the point where she actually is. Then time must be allowed for Peter trying to show off by painting too quickly and then having to go back over bits he has already done. Additionally Peter can be expected to spend a large period of his time flirting with Lucy so time should be allowed for this.

Time may also need to be allowed for Lucy breaking a nail or for Peter getting a bit of a sore arm and claiming it to be early-onset bone cancer or some similarly exaggerated ailment.

In conclusion…kids today…tch !

Why are boys so difficult to read ? I thought the Y chromosome was supposed to make everything simple, straightforward and logical.

It does. However the complicated, twisted illogical nature of the X chromosome happily outweighs the effects and as a result women are twice as difficult to read as men. If this ethereal being knew the solution to this problem then maybe by now you would be addressing these questions to “Mr and Mrs Conduit“.

Try to remember every time you think HE is difficult to read he may well be thinking the very same of you. Someone has to make the first move to ease the situation.

Also, it has been brought to light in recent academic studies principally conducted in Canada that British men are even more difficult to read than those from other nations. Apparently vague foppishness and borderline sexual ambiguity are only conducive to relationships in Hugh Grant movies.

How are T.S. Eliot and Woody Allen similar ?

Ever get the feeling someone wants you to write an essay for them ? It is not the role of The Conduit to do so of course. I am not aware that T.S. Eliot liked to sleep with young relatives but I stand to be corrected. Also I do not believe that “Woody Allen” is an anagram of “toilets”. So barring the references to Eliot’s poetry in Allen’s 1978 “Love and Death” I will conclude…they aren’t.

That will probably get you an F.

Where does the phrase “a flight of stairs” come from ?

As we all know, there are many collective nouns in the English language. Some are well known such as “a herd of cows” or “a school of dolphins“. However there are many more “exotic” ones : did you know that “a gaggle of geese” on the water become “a skein of geese” in the air ? Were you aware it is “a murder of crows“, “a skulk of foxes” or “a murmuration of starlings” ?

Most of these date back to a famous printed work The Book of St. Albans of 1486. In this, many of these colourful if unjustifiable rules were set down.

However more common phrases such as “A flight of stairs” are not from this source and merely developments of the language over time. As a flight is generally accepted to be a single, straight set of steps from one landing to another it is possible to see how a word such as “flight” might come to be applicable but it is not possible to track an etymology for this phrase.

Can you explain the non-local domain ?

The Conduit is a extra-temporal, ethereal presence and as such I am pleased to consider myself located everywhere at all times for all people. However the Internet requires a domain and the catchier the better. There are other, I’m sure lovely, people who own domains with The Conduit in them and they want money for the use of those. Being free and accessible means The Conduit has limited funds and no desire to be fleeced for a catchy URL.

Fortunately a snazzy solution is possible – as I am everywhere, I am in the EU which makes me eligible for an Italian .it domain which allows a clever web address. The choice to put another dot symmetrically after the th is, well, just affectation. Forgive me the vanity.

So the domain is only non-local to non-Italians. Don’t be racist ! 😉 To everyone else it just a way to remember how to find The Conduit in times of need.

Does The Conduit know who asks which questions ?

Although it could be arranged that the identity of questioners could be ascertained, it was decided a long time ago that people might feel more able to ask freely and without fear if they were able to do so anonymously.

That is why The Conduit does not ask people to give their name when they ask unless they choose to.This was always intended to be a open, free and non-judgemental place.

It might very well be possible to do something clever to work out who asked what by looking at technical things but The Conduit wouldn’t have the foggiest where to start.