No. 290: "Fighting Crime ... With Science!"

No. 290: "Fighting Crime ... With Science!"

No. 290: "Fighting Crime ... With Science!"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
Aug. 17 1999 3:30 AM

No. 290: "Fighting Crime ... With Science!"

According to the Cambridge, Mass., Police Department, the list includes Mexican-Americans, Pakistanis, Indians, and Cajuns. List of what?

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Send your answer by noon ET Tuesday to newsquiz@slate.com.

Thursday's Question (No. 289)--"No Problem":

Quoted in the Wichita Eagle, Kansas Gov. Bill Graves said, "This is a terrible, tragic, embarrassing solution to a problem that did not exist." What is?

"The new state law requiring public school teachers to use quotation-marks-with-hands gestures whenever they use the words 'evolution,' 'Darwin,' or '20th century' in class."--Andrew Milner (Alex Pascover had a similar answer.)

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"The forced annexation of Kansas City, Mo., to avoid geographical confusion. But it's not a problem, since nobody knows anything about geography anymore anyway."--Mac Thomason

"Warren Beatty's threat to run for president. Imagine 14 months of that excruciating white-guy rap! Al's and Bill's and W's fund-raising excesses don't seem so bad anymore, do they?"--Scott Baisch (similarly, Jay D. Majors and Sean Fitzpatrick)

"The decision by the Kansas Board of Education to define pi as 3.0. The resulting increase in computational speed is expected to raise the state's average SAT score by approximately 0.1415926."--Sean Fitzpatrick (similarly, Jonathan E. Snow)

"MAXIM."--Colleen Werthmann

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Chris' Wrap-Up

What do we think of Kansas, class? It's pretty flat, we know that, and it's all in black and white, as opposed to Oz. They have tornadoes. It entered the Union as a free state, and In Cold Blood happened there. Bob Dole's from Kansas and ... um ... its state fair is in Hutchinson, starting the Friday after Labor Day. But now I'm cheating by looking in the almanac. Some places are so boring that that's what's comically interesting about them: Peoria, Encino, Cleveland. Kansas is so boring it's not even funny. Sort of like Bill Bradley.

Faith-Based Answer

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As many of you knew, Gov. Graves was talking about the Kansas Board of Education, and its decision to excise evolution from the state's science curriculum. As another step in its retreat into state-sponsored superstition, the board has also forbidden all references to the Big Bang. "Creationism is as good a hypothesis as any for how the universe began," editorialized the Topeka Capital-Journal. "And we're pretty sure thunder is caused by Jews doing some sort of loud Jewy thing," the paper did not add.

A supporter of the new educational guidelines, Mark Looy of Answers in Genesis, a creationist group, said: "There's no meaning in life if we're just animals in a struggle for survival. It creates a sense of purposelessness and hopelessness, which I think leads to things like pain, murder and suicide." Which is hanging a lot on the poor old theory of natural selection. I thought pain, murder, and suicide were caused by television.

Wait a minute, what about that smutty Friends show? Only one member of the ensemble appears to have a job, and what is it? "Ross Geller" is a paleontologist. A paleontologist, people! Not only does he have premarital sex, he believes in dinosaurs. If you were from Kansas, it would be almost enough to make you think. And by the way, what kind of name is "Geller"?

By 1861, even Thomas Huxley was tired of arguing with people who didn't believe in evolution; "Life is too short to occupy oneself with the slaying of the slain more than once," said the eminent biologist. Little did he know.

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Parallax Extra

Last week, Arianna Huffington decided that Warren Beatty was running for president and said so in her surprisingly-still-syndicated column. He wasn't and he isn't and he won't, but the idea was intriguing enough to go a couple of news cycles in the legitimate press and on Fox News. One remarkable thing didn't come up in the discussions of the candidate: his age. I think this says nice things about us as a society and nice things about Beatty's colorist.

If elected, Beatty would be older than 37 of America's 41 presidents the day they took office. Arrange these presidents and candidates by age at their inauguration or prospective inauguration.

Calvin Coolidge

Liddy Dole

Warren Harding

Teddy Roosevelt

Chester Arthur

Warren Beatty

Orrin Hatch

John Adams

Pat Buchanan

James Polk

Common Denominators

Bob Dole, ignorant Christian hicks, primates, Viagra.