Welcome To The Eco Chamber

, , , , , | Learning | May 28, 2021

I’m part of a panel of scientists giving a virtual guest lecture to a middle school. I’m talking about pollinators, and the class is pretty disengaged, but they get excited — and occasionally grossed out — when I pull out bat skeletons. After I explain the idea of coevolution, the teacher asks if anyone has questions and a number of hands light up on the screen. The teacher has introduced me as an ecologist and repeated that a few times.

Student #1: “Miss [My Name], is it called ecology because of the bats?”

Me: “No, ecology is a lot more than just bats! I used to study—”

Student #1: “So, what’s it called if they don’t echo?”

Me: “Oh… no, eco, not echo, like—”

Student #2: “Also whales and dolphins and sharks.”

Teacher: “[Student #1], you should call her—”

Student #3: “Sharks don’t echo. Except hammerheads.”

Me: “Yes— No, wait, no— It’s not… The prefix ‘eco’ means envir—”

Student #4: “’Eco’ means money like econom—”

The call goes silent; the teacher has used the “mute all” function.

Teacher: “Class, let’s ask our questions one by one. But [Student #1], you should call her Doctor [My Name], not Miss [My Name], because she’s a scientist and has a PhD.”

She unmutes the class and [Student #1] cuts back in.

Student #1: “—can’t be a very good doctor if all her bats are dead, though.”


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VHS = Very Hopelessly Stupid

, , , , | Right | May 27, 2021

I’ve been selling items on eBay for over twenty years. I recently got some VHS tapes I’m selling for a friend. Someone buys one. The listing title is “VHS: [Movie Title].” I ship her item and leave her positive feedback because she pays me right away.

A week later, I have neutral feedback on my profile.

Feedback: “I didn’t realize it was a VHS tape and I don’t have a player so I’m very disappointed.”

And it’s my problem because you can’t read? And the kicker is that eBay won’t reverse her feedback, so I’ve got 700+ positive reviews and one neutral because of this knucklehead.

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What A Bunch Of Animals

, , , , , | Learning | May 27, 2021

I’m on a panel of scientists giving a guest talk to a middle school. One of my colleagues is a zoologist. After introducing him, the teacher poses this question.

Teacher: “[Colleague] is a zoologist. Does anyone know what that means?”

Student #1: “Does he own a zoo?”

Colleague: “Not quite! You’re on the right track, though. Do you know what it means if we put ‘zoo’ in front of a word? What do you find in zoos?”

Student #1: “Peacocks?”

Colleague: “That’s a good example, but think more broadly! What do all zoos have that makes them zoos?”

Student #2: “Um… visitors who want to see the zoo?”

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They Had It Coming

, , , , , | Working | CREDIT: TheC*ntHunter6969 | May 20, 2021

I’m a seventeen-year-old “web dev” who can make basic websites and stuff to earn money for video games. The job’s pretty easy for the pay.

I get picked up by some local bakery so people can preorder cakes and stuff online. It takes me a few hours to puke out a functional back end and a day to make it all pretty. I agree to Rs 700 — basically $10 — which is insanely cheap even for India, but all I need is video game money, so I’m good with that.

When I’m done with the job, they need to purchase the domains and a server, which I explicitly explain to them: “You pay me $10 and use another $10 to buy a domain and $5 to rent servers. The total is $25.”

They give me $15 so I can set their stuff up. Once the website is fully operational, I ask for my $10. But they don’t want to pay because, “if you’re not hosting the server anyway, why do I need compensation?” Y’know, because, apparently, time has no value.

The thing is, I can still access the server as I have the credentials for it, so I go home, log in, and make one tiny change.

The way the website works is that there’s a customer page that shows you your orders, and there’s a page for the store owners to see orders, payments, etc.

I add a small, inconspicuous, “May contain semen” warning in all product details. On the page where it shows order confirmations to the customers, some options are changed to semen — like semen frosting — at random.

The website goes down in about a week and they’re back to selling on Facebook. I guess someone complained or something.

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Mattress Stress

, , , | Right | May 17, 2021

This is an email correspondence that draws over several weeks.

Customer: “I would like to return this kids’ mattress. It was advertised as organic, but when I opened it, it had a label that said it was highly flammable!”

Me: “Oh, that sounds strange. Can you please send us a photograph of this label so that we can take it up with the manufacturer? This is supposed to be one of the safest mattresses on the market!”

We email the manufacturer, asking them if they have any idea what the customer is referring to.

Customer: “I threw the label away.”

Me: “The manufacturer says that there is no such label on the mattress.”

Customer: “Yes, there was; both my partner and I saw it, and we are highly-educated people so I think we know how to read!”

We get the manufacturer to send us all the labels and instruction manuals that come with the mattress.

Me: “Are you referring to this label that says, ‘This mattress is made from flame-retardant materials without additives.’?”

Customer: “You marketed this as an organic mattress, and if it is flammable it is not organic!”

Me: *Flabbergasted* “As stated earlier, it is not a flammable mattress. Of course, it will eventually catch fire if you put it on a flame, but this will take longer to catch fire than other mattresses. Furthermore, it is organic and certified as such, as stated in the description.”

Customer: “A product that contains chemicals can’t be organic! You are lying to me and I want to return this mattress!”

I really wanted to ask her if she would like an organic hay mattress, instead, but you know, that WOULD be highly flammable.

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