Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Octopuses and my Douglas Adams-Style Theory Of Teh Intarwebs

Found on the internet: the heartwarming story of an octopus who has a pet Mr. Potato Head.

The 1.8m-wide (6ft) creature is so attached to Mr Potato Head that he turns aggressive when aquarium staff try to remove it from his tank.

That's SIX FEET, people! This isn't a baby octopus. The story was broken by the ever amazing Metro.uk. (Picture is from there, too.)

You've got to hand it to molluscs - they can be very endearing.

The comments section is fascinating. As all comments threads on Octopuses are required to do by Federal Law, it eventually breaks down into a gigantic argument about the plural of octopus. Variations vigorously defended include octopedes and octopii.

I have a theory, which I call my Douglas Adams-Style Theory Of Teh Intarwebs, which is this: That every type of remark on the internet has to be followed up by hordes (internet spelling: hoardes) of commenters arguing about something that a relatively normal observer thought was settled decisively when he or she was 16. Or possibly 17.

There is a rational explanation for it, which I've carefully worked out with a pencil (like the constipated mathematician). That is, those who are less than 17 argue on the internet because they genuinely do not know the answer. Once they learn the answer, or learn that there can be no right answer, he or she is replaced a new person who is under 17. In a leap year, this process accelerates because there are four Septembers in a leap year.

This ensures a perpetual source of argumentative newbies, most of whom have never taken logic classes or have any idea how to sift evidence. No matter how many oldbies take a philosophy class, or learn what the fossil record says, or what climatologists say, or how to spell the plural of octopus, or that Rod Stewart did NOT have his stomach pumped for reasons too disgusting to go into here, or for that matter grow too old to care whether the Enterprise could beat the Death Star, or whether Picard was better than Kirk, there are always eager new ones armed with Certain Knowledge.

If you're under seventeen and sensible, please don't take this to heart. Under seventeenness is a state of mind, not a birth date. Many of these people are well over 17, and are slow learners.

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