lunedì 29 gennaio 2007

Non esistono domande stupide (ma risposte forse sì...)

La premessa è molto rassicurante:

Esquire’s Answer Fella believes that there are no stupid questions, just stupid people who don’t ask questions, fearing they’ll look stupid. So ask Answer Fella anything. If he doesn’t know the answer, he’ll find out who does or who has a guess that sounds right.
Esquire, Answer Fella, February 2007, Volume 147, Issue 2.

Passiamo alla prima domanda:
Would a cloned human being have a soul? It wasn’t widely reported, but when Dolly the sheep—the first mammal cloned from an adult cell—died in 2003, she was listening to Barry White’s 1974 smash album Can’t Get Enough and pregnant by a Bolivian alpaca doing a long stretch at Edinburgh’s Royal Zoo for running cocaine. Sure, the vets gave her the lethal injection, but the real cause of death was a broken heart. Now if a freaking cloned sheep had such a vast spirit, you can bet that a cloned human would be imbued with the same immaterial presence that binds us all, even Antonin Scalia, to the Godhead. But don’t just take AF’s word for it. C. Ben Mitchell, director of the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, says, “The answer is in the question itself. A cloned human being would in fact be a person and would therefore be ensouled. To be human is to be a person is to be a soul.” This is neither an argument in favor of human cloning nor the final answer to various theological questions about the existence or nature of a human soul, topics best left to mouthbreathing Pentecostals, infallible men in funny hats, and Mitch Albom. It is simply to say, as Arthur Caplan*, chairman of the Department of Medical Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania does, “If humans have souls, then clones will have them, too.”
* Il 17 gennaio in Will Human Clones Have Souls: Esquire asks the question, “would a cloned human being have a soul?” […] which I mention as though I’ve ever heard of it, which I haven’t. The question comes right before another about what it means to call “the badlands” badlands, and in both cases the correct answer is, “shut up.”

Anche la seconda domanda non è male (così la risposta, naturalmente):
Why are South Dakota’s badlands called badlands? Not long ago, I read about a fossil discovery in Ethiopia’s “badlands”—so is it a generic term? Yes and no. South Dakota’s White River Badlands area— including what is now the Badlands National Park—was called mako sica by the Lakota Sioux natives (“land bad” in English; more specifically “land bad to travel across”). To the French fur trappers of the 1800s, it was known as les mauvaises terres à traverser (“no place for frog girlie-men”). Homesteaders have called it the badlands for at least 150 years, basically because of the harsh, barren terrain, lack of water, and generally pissed-off attitude. There are areas called badlands in other states and countries, Ethiopia among them, but according to Scott Southworth, a U.S. Geological Survey research scientist, the term is often misused. “The true definition,” he says, “is an intricately stream dissected topography. It has a very fine density drainage network with a very high density of streams, steep slopes, narrow fluves, little to no vegetation, and nothing really covering up the rock. There’s not much you can do with it other than sit back and go, ‘Wow.’” Wow.

E per concludere:
What happens to the bodies of very large animals—you know, elephants and such—when they die at the zoo? According to Brandie Smith, director of conservation and science for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a necropsy—an animal autopsy—is performed first, to determine the cause of death and for research. “We can check all kinds of things, like cholesterol levels or measure the size of the heart,” she tells AF. “We use it as an opportunity to learn more about them as a species.” After the necropsy, Smith says, the goal is to use the remains to advance science and education. When an elephant dies, for example, the ivory may go to a classroom, the skull to a museum, and the penis to Tijuana (The penis-to-Tijuana thing is a joke. They actually ship it to Keith Olbermann for his collection). “We try to use any parts of the animal that can help further the species as a whole. The remaining parts are either buried or cremated. A lot of zoos have an onsite facility where they’ll bury the remains, but it usually isn’t marked; you’re not going to go to a zoo and see an elephant-and-rhino graveyard. We don’t humanize them in their death. We bury them and they return back to the earth.” (Wow).
Se avete una domanda su qualsiasi argomento, non temete di sembrare stupidi, tanto sarete surclassati. Mandate i vostri dubbi a: Answer Fella via

(Sembrano le domande e le risposte dei deliranti concorsi di Jay Leno...)

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