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Dear Dr Clam,
Why are there 24 hours in a day, instead of, say, 10? For that matter, why
are there only 12 hours on a clock instead of 24?



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It is my understanding that the Babylonians are to blame. Herodotus reports that the Greeks obtained the custom of dividing the hours of daylight into twelve hours from the Babylonians; the Romans took it on from the Greeks. References to the time of day in the New Testament were naturally made using the Greek system, ensuring it would remain in common use by the Church even after the fall of the Roman Empire.
Given the number of appendages you humans have available and your low aptitude as a species for mental arithmetic, base 12 is more efficient than base 10, as base 10 ignores one of the hand configurations available - to wit:
(1) Open hand
(2) One finger folded
(3) Two fingers folded
(4) Three fingers folded
(5) Four fingers folded
(6) All fingers folded
Clams, naturally, have neither the means nor the necessity for such crude mnemonic devices. As well as being fond of twelve (3 ´ 4) the Babylonians actually used a base sixty notation (3 ´ 4 ´ 5) - hence your hours and minutes. The 360 (3 ´ 4 ´ 5 ´ 6) degrees in a complete revolution also stem back to their childlike fondness for these simple geometric series.
- Dr Clam
posted by Tarrant - 3:24 PM



Dear Doctor Clam,
If you were traveling in a vehicle at the speed of light and you turned your headlights on, would you hear the tree fall in the forest, or would you simply be splattered across the back hull of your speeding vehicle?
And why do grapes catch fire in my microwave oven?
If a person was to drop two anvils from the top of the Washington Monument, one twice the mass of the other, how many of the subsequently crushed Republican congressmen would have wished for socialized health care?
How can a man with a 30 IQ still be in the race for U.S President?
And, once and for all, do androids dream of electric sheep or not??
- Tim


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How can a man with a 30 IQ be president of the United States?
Your species, Homo sapiens, is in the last stages of decay. At such time, the unmodified self-interest of a desocialised and rapidly degenerating population will result in selection pressures for mediocrity. As these pressures become more intense, any positive achievements whatosever on the part of the potential ‘leader’ will threaten its position as a symbol of the ‘average human’.


And why do grapes catch fire in my microwave oven?
If grapes in their natural, unmodified state are placed in a microwave oven, they will not catch fire; instead, as the liquid within them begins to boil, jets will be expelled from the disrupted part of their integument (where they have been removed from the stem), and they will race madly about the inside of the microwave like so many tunicate larvae.
The most likely explanation as to why grapes catch fire in your microwave is that you have been manipulating them in order to achieve such an outcome. If a grape is cut almost in half, leaving a thin strand of itnegument between the two halves, a spectacular pyrotechnic display may result. I have not seen this myself, as microwaves do not function well underwater and clams have very poor eyesight.
The 2.45 MHz radiation produced in a typical household microwave will generate a current within the ionic solution existing within the grapes. As the spatial distribution of the power generated within a microwave oven is extremely heterogeneous (hence, the usual rotation of food placed within), a different current will flow from one half of the grape to the other depending on the position of the grape within the microwave oven. Under some circumstances, the current flowing between the two grape halves will dry and heat the strip of integument between them until it begins to glow, much as the bamboo filaments in your Edison’s early electric lamps. Eventually, it will disintegrate in a cloud of luminescent ionised gas.


If a person was to drop two anvils from the top of the Washington Monument, one twice the mass of the other, how many of the subsequently crushed Republican congressmen would have wished for socialized health care?
I am informed that Republican senators have an average income well above that of the average citizen in your nation and are sure to be covered by top-quality health insurance guaranteeing them treatment in the best hospitals. Such an event would, if I am correctly informed, be more likely to encourage them to put forward legislation enshrining the right of all citizens to carry concealed anvils for self-defense.
- Dr Clam
posted by Tarrant - 3:21 PM



Dear Dr Clam,

Why isn't there any content on your web page? You don't seem like a particularly intellectual mollusc to me. I've seen nautiluses with a better work ethic, and don't get me started on the startling mental capabilities of your average cuttlefish.
I denounce you as nothing more than a scallop wannabe, you fraud!

Your nemesis,
WebCritic95


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The twentieth century has taught us that form is far more important than content. What is important is the intellectual framework that enables us to understand and apply our own majestic ideas, not the piddling facts with which such a framework might be filled.
I warn you, so-called nemesis WebCritic95, you have chosen a great and powerful enemy. I am only glad for your sake that you have not yet come to the attention of my alter ego, Evil Dr. Clam, for then your remaining days of intellectual impotence and startlingly unoriginal ad hominem argument would be short indeed.
Fie on your cephalopods! Has a chambered nautilus ever published seminal papers in superstring theory? Has a cuttlefish drawn with Kasparov? Pah!
- Dr Clam
posted by Tarrant - 3:12 PM


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