EXPANDING THE FRONTIERS OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE….Over at Slate, Daniel Engber has rounded up a few of the questions that his Explainer column didn’t tackle this year. For example, this one:
What comes after 999 trillion?
OK, that’s an easy one: 999 trillion and one. But here are a few others:
Why is smooth peanut butter cheaper than nutty?
How clean is bar soap in a public bathroom? Is it “self-cleaning,” since it’s soap? It seems like a health hazard to me.
Do dolphins actually save people? If so, why do they do this?
What is the richest religion? Scientology has a lot of Hollywood stars and I think they actually make their members give money, but Catholicism is a very old religion with its own country. Also, Islam has a lot of members but I don’t know about their money situation.
Why is the No. 8 always the same combination (tamale, enchilada, rice, beans) in any Mexican restaurant I visit? This includes primarily the southeast United States but not obvious franchises.
Engber says he’ll answer one of these questions in an upcoming column, but carefully doesn’t promise to answer the one that gets the most votes. Smart man. Otherwise he’d probably get stuck trying to answer the one about the gnat. Or maybe the one about forced masturbation.
And my pick? The peanut butter question. I don’t like peanut butter and never buy it, so I had no idea that smooth peanut butter was cheaper. Is that really true? And if so, why? Is it really that much easier to make? Or are nutty peanut butter lovers just willing to pay a higher price? I’ll bet Tyler Cowen has a few theories.
UPDATE: My bad. As Josh points out in comments, Engber actually says, “The question that gets the most reader votes will be addressed in an upcoming Explainer column.” So vote early and often!