Archive for May, 2009

What was the Watergate scandal?

May 27, 2009

Another in my new series of longwinded Aardvark answers made public, in this case answering a question about U.S. history from a 19 year-old in New York State: “What was the watergate scandal?”

Here’s my answer. (How’d I do?*):


Watergate is the name of a famous hotel in Washington, D.C. where a lot of political organizations (and individuals) kept offices and apartments. In the 1972 presidential election the Democratic Party, or the campaign of Democrat George McGovern, had an office in the Watergate. This office was robbed in a burglary that turned out to have been planned by undercover operatives working for the campaign of Republican Richard Nixon. This story leaked out bit by bit, mostly in the Washington Post (the movie “All the President’s Men” and the book it was based on, by Post reporters Woodward & Bernstein, tells this story pretty well if you’re interested, btw) and eventually turned out to be a scandal that reached up to the president himself. As with nearly all such poltiical scandals, it was the coverup where the worst crimes were committed. In the end, Nixon resigned (in 1974) rather than face an impeachment hearing. Hope this helps!

(image found using Creative Commons image search at Yahoo! and used with permission)

*I know the comment system seems to be churning here. I’m hacking on the blog so I’ll try to fix that. Reply to me @mediajunkie on twitter to comment.

Why is Dante's poem called the Divine "Comedy"?

May 25, 2009

I got this question from Aardvark and gave a speculative answer

i’m not sure, but it may go back to the greek definitions of comedy and tragedy, which are different from ours today. for the greeks, a comedy is a drama with a happy ending and a tragedy is a drama with an unhappy ending. either can have laughs in the them. there’s more to it that i forget (tragedy involves a hero succumbing to hubris – that is, getting arrogant – and having a downfall, comedy probably had “plot rules” too), but the point is that those terms have changed. …. I think Shakespeare comedies may be the same thing: stories with happy endings and not necessarily the funny ones.

but what’s the real answer?

hells yeah

May 20, 2009

hells yeah

hells yeah

Originally uploaded by xian

if it’s really him, why not?

stump the chumps

May 17, 2009

what's the difference between a duck? - Wolfram|Alpha

what’s the difference between a duck? – Wolfram|Alpha

Originally uploaded by xian

ok – trick questions are no fair, but hire someone with a sense of humor and load it up with snappy answers, yo.