The Explainer has been busy as a bee in 2012, telling readers, first of all, whether bees are really all that busy to begin with. Another column reviewed the history of homework-eating dogs, and a third (this one may be cryptozoology) wondered if a wild leprechaun is scary, or is it cute? In the basement of the Explainatorium, our staff of Oompa-Loompas pored through dusty books and ran their zany algorithms, all to figure out why pizzerias bother with anchovies, and whether Band-Aids really work, and why the Central African Republic has such a boring name, and if people ever win that claw game at the carnival.
But the Oompa-Loompas have a meager constitution, and labor laws being what they are, not every question from our readers found its way into the column. The Explainer answered several hundred inquiries in 2012, while thousands more were left to slosh around untouched in holding tanks. Now we've pulled out some of these in deference to our year-end tradition and present you with a haul of topics that the Explainer felt unprepared (or perhaps unwilling) to address in 2012. As usual, we're hoping you'll let us know which of these imponderables is most deserving of an answer. The top vote-getter will be designated the Question of the Year, and a response will be posted in the coming weeks. (You can vote for only one option below, so click wisely.)
Previous Questions of the Year:
2011: Why are smart people usually ugly?
2010: Why do boys like sticks?
2009: If a Siamese twin commits murder, does his brother get punished, too?
2008: What is the most disloyal dog breed?
2007: Why don't we drop medical waste and nuclear waste into active volcanoes, the "ultimate high-temperature incinerators"?
2006: Can a bar of soap get dirty, or is it self-cleaning because it's soap?
TODAY IN SLATE
Meet the New Bosses
How the Republicans would run the Senate.
The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers
Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.
Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.
Why all cracker names sound alike.
Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom
This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059
- Protesters Take to the Streets to Sound Alarm on Climate Change in New York, Across the World
- Knife-Carrying White House Jumper is Vet who Feared “Atmosphere Was Collapsing”
- North Korea: American Sentenced to Hard Labor Wanted to Become “Second Snowden”
- Almost One in Four Americans Support Idea of Splitting From the Union
Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?
A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.