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-----Original Message-----
From:	John Miller [SMTP:jmiller@bitcorp.net]
Sent:	Thursday, June 25, 1998 2:47 PM
To:	'Bill Robertson'; 'Dan Monson'; 'Monique Boeke'; 'Rod Thomas'; 'Ron Wells'; 'Terry Blanchard'

Subject:  Lay Scientists

"The story behind the letter below is that there is this a rather strange
fellow who digs things out of his backyard and sends the stuff he finds to
the Smithsonian Institute, labeling them with scientific names,
insisting that they are actual archaeological finds.  This guy really exists
and does this in his spare time!

Anyway...here's the actual response from the Smithsonian Institution. Bear
this in mind next time you think you are challenged in your duty to respond
to a difficult situation in writing."

Smithsonian Institute
207 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20078

Dear Mr. Williams:
Thank you for your latest submission to the Institute, labeled "93211-D,
layer seven, next to the clothesline post...Hominid skull."  We have given
this specimen a careful and detailed examination, and regret to inform you
that we disagree with your theory that it represents conclusive proof of the
presence of Early Man in Charleston County two million years ago. Rather, it
appears that what you have found is the head of a Barbie doll, of the
variety that one of our staff, who has small children, believes to be
"Malibu Barbie."  It is evident that you have given a great deal of thought
to the analysis of this specimen, and you may be quite certain that those of
us who are familiar with your prior work in the field were loathe to come to
contradiction with your findings.

However, we do feel that there are a number of physical attributes of the
specimen which might have tipped you off to its modern origin:
1. The material is molded plastic.  Ancient hominid remains are typically
fossilized bone.
2. The cranial capacity of the specimen is approximately 9 cubic
centimeters, well below the threshold of even the earliest identified
3. The dentition pattern evident on the skull is more consistent with the
common domesticated dog than it is with the ravenous man-eating Pliocene
clams you speculate roamed the wetlands during that time.

This latter finding is certainly one of the most intriguing hypotheses you
have submitted in your history with this institution, but the evidence seems
to weigh rather heavily against it.  Without going into too much detail, let
us say that:
A. The specimen looks like the head of a Barbie doll that a dog has chewed
B. Clams don't have teeth.

It is with feelings tinged with melancholy that we must deny your request to
have the specimen carbon-dated.

This is partially due to the heavy load our lab must bear in its normal
operation, and partly due to carbon-dating's notorious inaccuracy in fossils
of recent geologic record.  To the best of our knowledge, no Barbie dolls
were produced prior to 1956  AD, and carbon-dating is likely to produce
wildly inaccurate results.

Sadly, we must also deny your request that we approach the National Science
Foundation Phylogeny Department with the concept of assigning your specimen
the scientific name Australopithecus spiff-arino.

Speaking personally, I, for one, fought tenaciously for the acceptance of
your proposed taxonomy, but was ultimately voted down because the species
name you selected was hyphenated, and didn't really sound like it might be
Latin. However, we gladly accept your generous donation of this fascinating
specimen to the museum.

While it is undoubtedly not a Hominid fossil, it is, nonetheless, yet
another riveting example of the great body of work you seem to accumulate
here so effortlessly.

You should know that our Director has reserved a special shelf in his own
office for the display of the specimens you have previously submitted to the
Institution, and the entire staff speculates daily on what you will happen
upon next in your digs at the site you have discovered in your back yard.

We eagerly anticipate your trip to our nation's capital that you proposed in
your last letter, and several of us are pressing the Director to pay for it.

We are particularly interested in hearing you expand on your theories
surrounding the trans-positating fillifitation of ferrous ions in a
structural matrix that makes the excellent juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex femur
you recently discovered take on the deceptive appearance of a rusty 9-mm
Sears Craftsman automotive crescent wrench.

Yours in Science,
Harvey Rowe
Chief Curator-Antiquities

:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)


Subject: Dog seeks job

A local business was looking for office help. They put a sign in the window,
stating the following: HELP WANTED; Must be able to type, have computer
skills, and be bilingual. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer.

A short time afterwards, a dog trotted up to the window, saw the sign and
went inside. He looked at the receptionist and wagged his tail, then walked
over to the sign, looked at it and whined.

Getting the idea, the receptionist got the office manager. The office
manager looked at the dog and was surprised, to say the least. However, the
dog looked determined, so he lead him into the office.

Inside, the dog jumped up on the chair and stared at the manager. The
manager said, "I can't hire you. The sign says you have to be able to type."

The dog jumped down, went to the typewriter and proceeded to type out a
perfect letter. He took out the page and trotted over to the manager and
gave it to him, then jumped back on the chair.

The manager was stunned, but then told the dog, "The sign says you have to
be good with a computer."

The dog jumped down again and went to the computer. The dog proceeded to
demonstrate his expertise with various programs and produced a sample
spreadsheet and database and presented them to the manager. By this time the
manager was totally dumb-founded!

He looked at the dog and said, "I realize that you are a very intelligent
dog and have some interesting abilities. However, I still can't give you the

The dog jumped down and went to a copy of the sign and put his paw on the
sentence that told about being an Equal Opportunity Employer.

The manager said, "Yes, but the sign also says that you have to be

The dog looked at him straight in the face and said, "Meow."

:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

John Miller
404 W. Ironwood Drive
Salt Lake City, Utah 84115
(801)464-1665 Direct
(801)464-1600 Main
(801)464-1699 Fax
(801)464-1639 Direct Fax
"I will design no product before it is sold!"

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