We’re all a little less frinky today

Oh, no—the Frinksters (<–dead link) have been kicked out of the scienceblogs stable. This is somewhat disturbing, since I think they were a real plus for the group—science is supposed to be fun and profane and weird, after all—but I am assured that they were not evicted for content, but solely because the authors insisted on maintaining anonymity, which meant that all liability devolved on Seed Media rather than the authors. That does mean we can still make dick jokes (good), but it also says that anonymity here is not supported (bad). I guess that’s the price we’re paying for free hosting.

I think we also now have a great reason to make lots of lawyer jokes.*

Let me just say that the old/new location for the FrinkTank is still in my blogroll and will be staying there, even if they are drunk with power now and are going to be proudly flaunting their dangerous iconoclastic status. And even if they’ve forgotten to re-enable commenting on their blog.


A university committee was appointed to pick a new dean. The committee narrowed the candidates down to a physicist, a statistician, and a lawyer. During each interview, the candidate was asked to answer the question, “How much is two plus two?”

The physicist answered immediately, “Four.”

The statistician thought for several minutes and finally answered, “Four, plus or minus one.”

When the lawyer was asked the question, he stood, looked around the room and motioned silently for the committee members to gather close to him. In a hushed, conspiratorial tone, he replied, “How much do you want it to be?”


  1. says

    Whoops… commenting is now restored, PZ. The content/anonymity issue is murkier than whatever you’ve been “assured” of, but we won’t clutter your commentspace with such things… mud will be slung from our new/old, pantywaist-proof location – thanks for the link. (We’ll have to spruce the place up a bit, though… we left it sort of a mess when we came here.)

    Anyway, thanks for the sendoff! Oh, and if you see any “Leonardos,” kick ’em in the taint for us.

  2. says

    A mathematician, a physicist and an engineer are asked to prove or disprove the statement that every odd number is prime.

    The mathematician says, “3 is a prime, 5 is a prime, 7 is a prime, 9 is not a prime, therefore the statement is false.”

    The physicist say, “3 is a prime, 5 is a prime, 7 is a prime, 9 is not a prime, 11 is a prime, 13 is a prime, therefore the statement is true within experimental error.”

    The engineer says, “3 is a prime, 5 is a prime, 7 is a prime, 9 is a prime…”

  3. says

    Darn it! Now my vision of lazer-headed sharks hunting down al Qaeda cells by posing as deliverymen is lost to all eternity.

    Or at least, stripped of all possible relevance.


  4. says

    A lawyer and a penis spend the whole night ineptionally hittin’ on women.

    Which one do you think hears “eff off, dickhead” more often?

    Hey! 2 birds w/ 1 stone!

  5. says

    A Minister, a Doctor, and a Lawyer are listening to the last will and testament of a aged and eccentric rich man. According to the will, the man wishes to “Take it with him.” Thus, he arranges for the three men to each recieve $30,000 to place in his casket when he dies.

    A few months later, the man dies. The minister, doctor, and lawyer gather together to toast the old man. After a few drinks the minister confesses, “I disobeyed the old man’s wishes; however, I donated the money in his name to feed the poor.”

    After a little while, the doctor confesses, “I too did not honor the man’s dieing wish. I donated the money in his name to the local hospital for badly needed medical equipment upgrades.”

    Finally, the lawyer looks at the two men in disgust and says, “I’m shocked and appauled at your behavior! This was the man’s last request, and you blantantly disregarded it. I don’t know what to say! Me! I wrote him a check for the full amount!”

  6. says

    It is truly fitting that this comment thread become a repository of lawyer jokes. (Sorry, Francis, but don’t they tell you in law school that you’ll need a thick skin? Preferably one densely covered with placoid scales that makes fine wallets, purses, and shoes.)

  7. says

    The lawyer jokes reminds me of the last week or so of the late, lamented Dysfunctional Family Circus After finally receiving a C&D from the King Features Legal Goon Squad, greg put up the last few cartoons, to round out the total to 500, and pleaded “Please! No Lawyer jokes! I want a good, solid final set of captions and it’s going to be tough enough to edit them without it.”

    Lawyers can take the fun out of anything, can’t they.

    An oldie: Whattaya call a bus full of lawyers going over a cliff?

    A good start.

  8. Sean Foley says

    A lawyer and a pedophile are walking down the street when they see a six-year-old boy playing in the park. The pedophile says, “Hey, let’s screw that kid.”

    The lawyer says, “Out of what?”

  9. wswilso says

    An oldie: Whattaya call a bus full of lawyers going over a cliff?

    A good start.

    Posted by: Brian | March 27, 2006 01:44 PM

    Whattaya call a bus full of lawyers going over a cliff with two seats empty?

    A terrible waste

  10. Rey says

    What do you call 3000 lawyers and 3000 hookers on the bottom of the ocean???

    I dunno Fred, what DO you call 3000 lawyers and 3000 hookers on the bottom of the ocean???

  11. wswilso says

    What do you need if you have 150 Lawyers buried in concrete up to their necks? — another foot of concrete.

    Other answers I have been given:

    A lawnmower
    A road grader
    A weed whacker.
    An asphalt roller
    A 5-iron

  12. says

    Well, I gotta say I’ve not been overly inspired by the “Seed Digital Network”. Scienceblogs has a lot of good stuff on it, and the free hosting must be nice (though, getting free hosting these days is not all that hard).

    However, the online version of Seed magazine did not inspire me to rush out and get a copy. It’s a little too much like the US or People magazine for science geeks. This in and of itself is fine (I wonder if pics of scantily glad biologists can be far behind?) but I saw way too many of the same depressing science myths being reinforced in a very casual manner.

    Call me crazy, but if you want to offer a “science culture” magazine aimed at some notion of savvy science loving demographic, be sure to get science writers who don’t trot out the same old (wrong) chestnuts because it’s easy.

    Perhaps I should cut them some slack, but, as far as I’m concerned, poor presentations of science are bad, regardless of what source they come from.

    So many otherwise intelligent people are skeptical of Big Ideas like evolution precisely because we’ve done a terrible job of presenting these complex ideas in a reasonable manner. (By “we”, I mean popular press, intelligent laypersons and basic educators. It is not the job of working scientists to always have to defend the basic frameworks their work depends on.)

    However, I have to admit the exact reasons about how “frink” ended up bailing out appeals to my need to gossip.

  13. Fred Gray says

    I dunno Fred, what DO you call 3000 lawyers and 3000 hookers on the bottom of the ocean???

    Same as Brian posted, A GOOD START!

  14. Neutral Observer says

    What do you call 3000 lawyers and 3000 hookers on the bottom of the ocean???


  15. Neutral Observer says

    What do you call 3000 lawyers and 3000 hookers on the bottom of the ocean???


  16. says

    I’ve tried to keep one or another of Scienceblogs on my blogroll for months, but I keep changing which one I link to. I finally settled on FrinkTank because it … well … it wasn’t dull.

    I regret that I’m not yet finding the kind of vivid, thoughtful, playful, intelligent writing and/or linking that makes a blog MATTER. That’s a shame, because I respect everybody at Scienceblogs and I love the idea … but in practice, it’s hard to keep recommending it.

    For crying out loud, one of you guys is going on and on about basketball!

    How about inviting the Athanasius Kircher Society guy? (I also like what I do, but that pretty much goes without saying.) I definitely have my fingers crossed about Scienceblogs.

  17. SkookumPlanet says

    I’m not a lawyer……

    …..I just think like one. Do lawyers tell client jokes? [Generally, lawyers don’t sue without ’em — too expensive.]

    I know a few lawyers, actually. Far as I know they tell lawyer jokes too.

    Bye, bye, frinkees [sob].

  18. miko says

    I’ve ranted about Seed before, in particular their horrible subscription department and lack of customer service (they produce a magazine but can’t do address changes, then they keep your money and don’t answer emails or the phone). And their content is frequently puffed-up gee whiz crap.

    Now we come to their supposed ace, the marketing stance that they are, despite being science-oriented, “hip” or something. Somehow there is an “edge,” as a hairdo no doubt put it at a strategy meeting. Like we can all be pretty sure the guys at Seed are wearing reissue retro pumas and go to the right parties and one of the interns knows steve malkmus…because, y’know, science is young and happening these days.

    I’d never read frinktank, but just checked it out. This is too transgressive in some way for Seed to host? What a bunch of scared sucks.

    Don’t like anonymity? Give me someone’s name in your fucking subscription department.

  19. Pastor Fuzz says

    Q: How many lawyers does it take to screw a light bulb?

    A: How many can you afford . . .

  20. SkookumPlanet says


    No excuses for your dilemma. None. This is just F.Y.I. Understood?

    I’ve worked as a staff editor on magazines. Here are a few bulleted points as fast as I can type and spellcheck —

    + Magazine start-ups are notoriously difficult. Many start out planning to lose money for 3-7 years. Seed is burning through money faster than the staff could shovel paper currency into a furnace.

    + Periodical production is extremely complex. The public has no idea. Starting a national, graphics-laden rag like Seed is beyond my comprehension. The amount of work — the layers of prep and check — for a single four-color illustration/photo . . . well, the public has no idea. Integrated digital production tools help a lot, but a new system? In a new publication? With no old hands familiar with it? EYE-YI-YI! I’d never take a job in a start-up like this. [I started a state-wide, tabloid, newsprint monthly before, but decades ago, no color, no publisher headaches.]

    + Many, or even most, national mags do not handle their own subscriptions. There’s an entire sub-[sub?]-industry that handles this data-processing. Mags might have a staffer or two responsible for liaison. Seed has probablydone this to lighten the staff’s startup load and reduce the initial complexity. It may not be Seed’s phone that’s not being answered. See if you can find in Seed’s small print, somewhere, an indication of a subscription firm. Or google looking for a trade industry PR blurb from the subscription fulfillment industry. If so, you can locate that business’s phone number.

    + Sounds like you’ve already paid you subscription. If not, or if you get another invoice, here’s how to get attention. It’s worked for me. Locate a long, machine readable string of alphanumerics on the billing invoice. Among much possible data it contains, will be a subscription account number, probably the amount you owe [that’s easy to spot], and possibly general account info, like part of your name or address. Very occasionally this will be contained in two separate numbers.

    + This alphanumeric is the update record for the subscription database. If you alter these numbers, or just blot them out [use black, opaque ink], the automated reader can’t read it, so it spits it out for someone to deal with by hand. It’s possible to write a simple, very polite message on the statement with, say a phone contact, etc, and you might get some help. It’s worked for me before. I think my message was actually pleading, but it was a long time ago. Remember, this gets initially dealt with by a digital-slave, computer-op staff, probably in Iowa. Also, the lead times involved in a mag’s operation are so great, it really can take six weeks for changes to implement [Right now the senior editorial staff is dealing with content for an issue maybe six months down the road.]

    + I’ve never had customer service emails answered, or when it happens, answered correctly. I gave up.

    + Seed isn’t a “science” magazine, it’s a “culture” magazine trying to parse out a demographic someone thinks is worth pursuing. I subscribed just to help them out at their most vulnerable time, because we need every single frickin’ science channel to the public we can think of/think up, opened!

    + I’ve been as p.o.ed as you about similar things before, more than once. Personally, in retrospect, I find it usually helped to figure out the specific systems involved and manipulate them. Again, just for me, I can do this much better if my brain isn’t emotionally fogged up. I hope some bit of data here in helps you solve it. I gotta go.

  21. says

    I still do not get the whole anonymity deal. A few other bloggers here post anonymously (RPM, Orac, Grrrlscientist, Afarensis) or semi-anonymously (what is Razib’s last name?) and it is no big deal. SEED has to know their real identities, since they signed contracts. SEED has their bank information to send them checks. So, how was the Frinkie’s anonymity different? Something does not add up and we’ll never be told because we don’t need to know….

    I also tried a couple of times to get SEED to send me that one free issue that is offered over on the right and that never worked. I wanted to see one issue before I subscribe. In the end, I gave in and subscribed anyway, sights unseen, but am still unhappy about false advertising…

  22. SkookumPlanet says


    For what it’s worth [not much, I know], it’s unlikely Seed handles anything dealing with subs, freebies, or billing. Generally that’s the hired help’s job.

    Yes, it does sound like they need new hired help. But contracts, bids, who knows what, might slow finding it to a crawl. As I said above — I’d never take a job in a start-up like this. It’s one giant, ongoing migraine.