Open Myth Call: June 1-7

Back when the world was new and this blog was as well, we had a tradition. On Saturdays, there would be an open thread — once a month, that thread would serve as a call for myths that need answering.

Well, the open threads never got much traffic — almost as if there wasn’t a lot of folks looking to chat in the comments section of a blog on a Saturday morning. However, the myth call was usually popular.

All right then — have a look at some of the old Myths of the Modern World if you would, and if you have any questions about the world, society, philosophy, Super Mario Brothers or the like, ask them here. In the weeks and months ahead, we’ll answer them where we can on Mondays.

Thanks as always!

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  • PlaidPhantom

    Here’s one, since I’m on vacation right now: what’s the deal with time zones?

    • http://legionofnothing.com/ Jim Zoetewey

      That would be wonderful. While I was in grad school, I worked for a market research firm, and time zone’s were the bane of my life.

      Imagine that you’ve accidentally called someone in California (at 6 am) at what is for you 9am. Then imagine that they work out of their house. If you do that, feel free to imagine how er… reluctant they’ll be to do the survey.

      That said, they’ll still be happier to speak to you than someone in Hawaii (3 am) will be.

  • Catastronaut

    Why is the speed of light the “speed limit” of objects in the universe?

    Actually make that two questions:
    1) Why doesn’t anything move faster than the speed of light?
    2) Why is the speed of light 2.998*10^8 meters per second?

  • cDave

    Has the fact that humans can now get to the other side of the world, in the time that our great-grandparents could get to the other side of a state, had any impact on the pathways to the Backworlds?
    If so, is that why we’ve stopped getting faster? We’ve lost concorde, and another moon shot looks more and more unlikely.

    To quote Charles Stross:

    “You go back to 1809 and to get across the English Home Counties, the areas around London, you go via stagecoach and it would take you a couple of days to cross them, it would cost you probably about a month’s wages and cause you considerable discomfort. 2009, it costs about the same amount of money, it takes about the same time and the same amount of discomfort to get from here to New Zealand. The whole world has shrunk to the scale of the English Home Counties in 1809 over about two centuries.


    it was sigmoid curve – we had a slow start, a very rapid period of improvements where we went at about 20 years from biplanes to supersonic jets. And then the curve stopped going up – it flattened off. “

    • http://new.websnark.com Eric A. Burns

      Dave! Good to see you!

  • DocFuture

    Good to see you back 8-). Here is my myth request: When I give my cats something messy to eat, such as a chicken wing, they always drag it onto the carpet before eating, even if I gave it to them on the linoleum. Why is this?

  • Cathi Payne

    The warranty myth? Why does most new technology begin to fault or fail just after the end of the warranty period? What sort of creatures or beings are responsible for ensuring that these goods keep going until the expiry has passed?

  • cDave

    What is it that makes one fashion/hair-style/song become retro-chic in 20 years, and another the source of ridicule? And why can no-one tell the difference at the time?

  • http://legionofnothing.com/ Jim Zoetewey

    Why do cats attempt to lay down on the keyboard when you’re typing?

  • Derek_anny

    !! You’re back! I found this blog a couple years ago but was saddened when I noticed the last entry was in ’07. I came to link someone to it, and lo, you’re writing again.

    Anyway, my question, if you’re still taking them.
    Who are They, and why do they say so much?”