Who wants to ask me questions?

Tuesday, 5 June, at 9pm Central I’ll be babbling in a hangout and taking questions. Feel free to pester me! Anything goes. Except one thing.


  1. lumipuna says

    So what’s the deal with the hat?

    Paul “Minnesota” Myers, top grade academic who’s secretly a rugged rural grandpa.

  2. Owlmirror says

    WHAT is your name?
    WHAT is your quest?
    WHAT is your favourite colour?
    WHAT is the airspeed of an unladen swallow?

  3. cartomancer says

    You know, in the Middle Ages it was the custom for university masters to hold public disputations on the high holidays of Christmas and Easter, answering whatever questions their audiences of students put to them rather than the burning issues within their own academic disciplines (liberal arts, medicine, law or theology) that they disputed the rest of the year. This was seen as a kind of academic penance to breed humility. The exercises were called quodlibets (Latin for “whatever you want”), and the disputations were often recorded and preserved in manuscript copies by the Universities. Many sets of questions and answers still survive, and they form a fascinating glimpse into the kinds of social and culture issues that animated Medieval academics and students. Rabelais makes fun of this institution quite often in his savagely anti-scholastic satires.

    It’s a bit late for the Easter quodlibet, and much too early for the Christmas one, but I suppose that’s more appropriate for an atheist master.

    A perennial issue that exercised Thirteenth-century quodlibets was the wider social and theological impact of the wars and diplomatic troubles in Jerusalem, as various crusader king and princes sacked, massacred, interfered and were defeated in their turn. Aquinas himself was asked to pronounce on this several times throughout the 1270s, as were many other masters. But, of course, we don’t have anything like that to worry about now.

  4. hemidactylus says

    Oh dear PZ’s gone and turned into a philosopher. Are you sure you didn’t misspell “ontogeny” on your teleprompter. Are you going on long winded musings about Being and Becoming. States and processes? How we impose meaningful patterns onto squishy stuff such as embryos? Does Wilkins know you’re invading his turf?

  5. cartomancer says

    So, in true Scholastic style…

    1. quaeritur ex quo magister petasum obtinuit?
    2. quaeritur utrum petasus compartmentum secretum habeat, et quod in compartmento nunc sit?
    3. quaetitur cur petasum sic coloratum magister selectavit, et num vendor petasorum petasos alteros haberet?
    4. quaeritur utrum sub petaso spectaculum horridum conceletur?
    5. quaeritur quod velocitas in aere hirundini nihil ferenti est?

  6. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    5. quaeritur quod velocitas in aere hirundini nihil ferenti est?

    Classic. I laughed so hard even before putting “hirundini” into google translate to make sure I was correct.

  7. chigau (違う) says

    So, I put the whole of #10 into googletranslate to Japanese.
    Pretty funny.
    Well, demented, really.
    Poor GoogleTranslate. I’d like to send it a nice cup of herbal tea.

  8. Owlmirror says

    quaeritur quod velocitas in aere hirundini nihil ferenti est?

    Africae vel Europae?

    Hirundo rustica,
    vel Hirundo lucida,
    vel Hirundo angolensis,
    vel Hirundo tahitica,
    vel Hirundo domicola,
    vel Hirundo neoxena,
    vel Hirundo albigularis,
    vel Hirundo aethiopica,
    vel Hirundo smithii,
    vel Hirundo atrocaerulea,
    vel Hirundo nigrita,
    vel Hirundo leucosoma,
    vel Hirundo megaensis,
    vel Hirundo nigrorufa,
    vel Hirundo dimidiata . . . ??

  9. petesh says

    Latin –> Japanese –> Latin –> English; last is best

    5. You, as the speed of the air carries swallow this?

    Distinctly Zen.