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This is a question Ignorance

I once was in a programming class where the task was "build a calculator". A student did one with buttons 1, 2, 3 all the way up to about 25 and then ran out of space on the screen. We've asked this before but liked it so much we're asking again: What's the best example of ignorance you've encountered?

(, Thu 30 Aug 2012, 12:30)
Pages: Popular, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

Harbour front, St Ives, Cornwall.
Standing looking south at Gwithian Beach, I heard an American tourist loudly say "Gee, I never knew France was so close to England!"
No, love. You're on the wrong side of the country, facing the wrong direction, and if you turn slowly to your right and follow the land, the place you're looking at is actually connected to the place you're standing.
Still, good effort.
(, Sat 1 Sep 2012, 19:56, Reply)
Teach them while they're young
As a graduate student in Atmospheric Sciences, I once spoke to an elementary school class about Weather, as part of an educational outreach program. I was teamed up with another climate-oriented graduate student - a new student who struck me as amiable, but a bit of a doofus.

In his talk to the impressionable students, my teammate stated that during the Ice Ages, the glaciers had advanced so far towards the Equator that the entire Earth had been covered in ice.

The students seemed skeptical. They were a media-savvy generation, and had seen "The Flintstones." How could cavemen keep dinosaur steeds if they had no place to graze them?
(, Sat 1 Sep 2012, 17:54, 3 replies)
Just yesterday
I was helping the Missus' sister decorate her house. We were all painting away in seperate rooms when suddenly the smoke alarm started going off. I stood bemused as they waved towels at it, flailed around holding their ears and tried to open windows which were sealed shut from outside, as the house is currently being roughcast. Nothing would stop the alarm, it was deafening, and eventually they all shuffled downstairs, still holding their ears, and began flicking switches in the fuse box and shouting "What fuse is it for the smoke detector" at each other. It was at this point I decided to go with my original gut instinct and popped the alarm off the ceiling and removed the battery.
(, Sat 1 Sep 2012, 17:43, 1 reply)
Many moons ago
I was sent by the jobcentre to one of those restart courses. It was a lot less painful than I had expected and had a few brilliant characters there. One of these, a man called Archie, was a friend of my Dad's, and he, well, he wasn't the sharpest tool in the box.

After two weeks of learning interview techniques and reading employment papers, we were given a form to fill in to show how satisfied we were with the course. It was one of those multiple choice, tick-the-box affairs. The first question was

"1: Are you leaving the course..... more confident.... about the same.... less confident."

After the word course, in the small space before the answers, Archie had written "yes".
(, Sat 1 Sep 2012, 17:23, Reply)
I met an australian girl a while back
when I was out with a bunch of freinds who was hot, but astonishingly ignorant. After a few drinks somehow the conversation turned to Hitler, and she said that she was always really upset that Jesus just sat back and did nothing about it.
Asked to explain her reasoning, she informed us that since Jesus looked about forty when he featured in a film she had seen which was made in the '60s, then he must have been about twenty at the start of WW2. She found it astonishing that the son of god must have implicitly supported the Nazi party.
Open mouths. What do you do? We agreed out of politeness, snuck out in ones and twos for fags and pissed ourselves.
(, Sat 1 Sep 2012, 16:45, 2 replies)
Unfortunate name....
A young girl, blonde as you get. Practically albino. The palest skin you've ever seen. The name her skiprat parents bestowed upon her?

(, Sat 1 Sep 2012, 16:45, 4 replies)
I had a burglar alarm installed a few months ago. The electrician who did it brought along his trainee, or apprentice, or whatever the approved term is. Never in my life have I met someone who so closely resembled Munch from Two Pints of Lager. He was a really nice, friendly, and enthusiastic person... but sooooooooooo thick.

He decided at one point it was time for a fag break. Chatting to him, he told me that he'd been smoking since he was twelve. "And I'm twenty-five now, so that's..." His voice drifted and he gazed off into the middle distance. "Well, it's more than ten years, isn't it?"
(, Sat 1 Sep 2012, 14:33, 4 replies)
Went to the pub the other day
with a guy who thought you were supposed to sip and savour tequila.

After a few shots he asked why his mouth was burning.
(, Sat 1 Sep 2012, 14:30, 4 replies)
A conversation with one of my highschool friends a few years ago.
Me: I'm slathered in sunscreen, I have too many freckles.
Diana: ...you get freckles from the sun? I thought you were born with them!
Me: ?!
Diana: You know, cos only Europeans get them, I thought it was genetic. Stop laughing!
Me: Well it is genetic... but it's genetic to get them *when we go out in the sun.*

Five minutes later:

Me: Hang on, Diana, HAVE YOU NEVER SEEN A EUROPEAN BABY? They don't have freckles! They're all, all pink and rosy-cheeked and stuff!
Diana: Yes but, don't laugh at this... I thought it was like... well, babies are born without hair, but they grow it later, right? I thought it was the same with freckles! I said stop laughing!
(, Sat 1 Sep 2012, 13:24, 1 reply)
Waste of atoms window cleaner
Last year I made the mistake of engaging my window cleaner in conversation. It was the weekend when the clocks go back and I mentioned this. His statement still staggers me. In all sincerity he said "I'm always amazed how the sun knows to come out an hour early".

I made my excuses and ran inside so that he couldn't see me crying with laughter.
(, Sat 1 Sep 2012, 12:24, 1 reply)
I asked a friend why he hadn't washed his hands after urinating.

"I don't piss out the sides of my cock" was his rather upsetting answer.
(, Sat 1 Sep 2012, 8:59, 21 replies)
As a child I thought that my urine was contained in my balls
Even when I found out it wasn't my mind was still confused as to where girls balls were. I assume most guys thought their balls held wee though? Please tell me I'm not alone?
(, Sat 1 Sep 2012, 0:52, 11 replies)
Watching Gladiator
At school, end of term, watching Gladiator. During the battle scenes at the start the barbarian army yells a fearsome war cry, at which point I piped up:

'Isn't it amazing how much like modern day Germans they sound?'

There's so much wrong with that question. The syntax is fucking awful for starters.
(, Fri 31 Aug 2012, 23:13, 2 replies)
damn you Harry Beck
in my very early days of working in London, after carefully consulting the London Underground map, I took a tube from Bank, via Liverpool Street, to Mansion House [1]

[1] this is about 20 mins by tube, or 5 mins on foot
(, Fri 31 Aug 2012, 22:56, 3 replies)
Pretty much...
anything the Duke of Edinburgh has ever said on a foreign visit.
(, Fri 31 Aug 2012, 21:30, Reply)
Dinosaurs 'were' before Jesus, right?
And there, lies the reason she is known as, The Ex.
(, Fri 31 Aug 2012, 21:00, 4 replies)
I used to freelance journo/feature write before the dayjob paid enough that I didn't have to.
One of the things I managed to wangle was the poison chalice of the 'Q and A' section of T3 magazine back in the early days (we're talking issue 14 to 25 ish and it's currently on 200+, some time in 1996 or so I think).

The idea was, people could write in and ask for a demystification of the new wave of technologies, in essence 'How does it work?' and the commissioning editor (Russel D, for it was he), would send me a list of questions that people sent in, with the understanding that I would research and read up on the matter and then make a concise reply of a few of them that would fit into a double page spread.

'What is the difference between PAL and NTSC' was a common one, as games consoles only worked with the composite video (or even worse, RF modulated) signals, and there were different ones for US/Japan as for Europe. Fair enough.

'How do thermal vision cameras work?'. OK. A bit more involved but...

'Why doesn't electricity fall out of wall sockets? There's nothing to keep it in'. Ahem.

And of course the classic- 'Where do they get the silicon from to make the Silicon Graphics workstations? Is it out of a special secret quarry? How do they plug a hunk of silicon into a screen?'
(, Fri 31 Aug 2012, 20:52, 2 replies)
(, Fri 31 Aug 2012, 20:35, 21 replies)
I thought I didn't like fish.
Then I found out a tripe wasn't a fish.
(, Fri 31 Aug 2012, 20:04, 1 reply)
The woman I'm going to marry...
...On a family holiday to Filey with the soon-to-be inlaws, expressed amazement at the tide time clock on the sea front: 'How do they work it out because it's totaly random, isn't it?' We stopped laughing some time later.

Her father and I often comment on the random nature of tides and get told to piss off.
(, Fri 31 Aug 2012, 19:52, 1 reply)
Shift work
I used to frequent a certain nonstop bar when I first moved to Prague. As is customary with these places, there are two shifts, from 9am to 9pm and 9pm to 9am the following day.

One new barman, whose name in English would be George, was a nice guy but a little lacking in the brains department. He asked one of the girls who worked there which shift was the shorter of the two. Assuming he was joking she told George that the night shift was shorter (I forget what explanation she gave) and so he always asked to work nights when he got the choice.

He disappeared a few months after that and hasn't been seen since. As I say he was a nice guy, just not very bright, so I hope he's OK.
(, Fri 31 Aug 2012, 19:36, Reply)
Here's one about my own ignorance
Years ago, in what seems like a another lifetime, I was a young geo working in the goldfields of western australia. I applied for a high profile job at a huge goldmine, one I thought I hadn't a chance of getting. I knew a package called Minemap reasonably well, but had found out from a friend they used Micromine, which I'd never used. I found a manual about Micromine, and on my CV I listed that I was expert with all the functions, including some fairly advanced ones. To my suprise, I was offered the job and accepted. I boned up what I could on Micromine, difficult without being able to use it, and quit pot for a month to pass my pre-employment drug test.
On my first day of work, the chief geologist took me around to meet all my coworkers. Every one of them said the same thing: "Oh, you're the Micromine wizard. We've been desperate for you to start."
The next morning, I was sat at my new desk in front of a computer with the boss and two other geos waiting expectantly behind me.
I stared at the screen. It was a Unix terminal with a command promt. I'd never fucking used Unix and must of missed that part in the manual that said it was a fucking Unix based program.
The silence continued for a while before I turned and said, "So how do you turn it on, then?"
(, Fri 31 Aug 2012, 19:08, 6 replies)
I recently spent three years in Indonesia.
Everyone believes that swimming and playing basketball make you taller. No amount of explaining the difference between correlation and causation can dissuade them from this. Then one day a student brought in his school biology text book to prove it to me, and indeed, that is exactly what it said. Nice one, Indonesian ministry of education.
(, Fri 31 Aug 2012, 18:55, Reply)

I once lived with a sexy girl who would occasionally cook for herself, nothing too complicated, mind. See, she couldn't work out how to read the icons printed next to the hob controls that tell you which knob corresponded to which heating ring, so whenever she wanted to boil a single saucepan of water she had to turn all four rings on full.
(, Fri 31 Aug 2012, 18:26, 1 reply)
Hyde Park
This is a story of my dad's and features one of his work colleagues - Enzo.

The wavy lines on this one are even longer than usual - we're talking about 45 years ago here and dad & Enzo shared an office. Now Enzo was, apparently, a very nice guy, but extremely Italian and had not really acclimatised to living in the UK yet. One day, he came into the office and announced:

"I wanna buy a sho'gun.
"Where cann'I buy a sho'gun?"

Dad, being aware of Enzo's somewhat eccentric (by English standards) nature, enquired as to why he might want to buy a shot-gun.

"I went't Lond'n at'te wikend" quoth he. "I gonna go back n'xt wik an' shoot'a big white bir's in Hyde P'rk!"

And so it turned out that Enzo in his innocent, Italian, shootyness wanted to buy a shot-gun so that he could nip up to Hyde park on the train an fill his freezer with the Queen's best white swans. Eventually he was persuaded that the Queen took rather a dim view of this type of thing and that perhaps he really didn't need to be parading round with a shot-gun all that much but it was a pretty close thing for the swans there, for a while.
(, Fri 31 Aug 2012, 17:40, Reply)
Coincidentally Blonde...
Where I used to work one particular department was pretty much synonymous with stupidity. Coincidentally they were (nearly) all blonde and as thick as two planks of wood stuck together with stupid glue. I overheard the following two classics during the Mexican swine flu epidemic:

‘Does that mean we can’t eat Tortillas anymore’

And the absolute classic:

‘How do you spell flu’

Bless ‘em! ;-)
(, Fri 31 Aug 2012, 17:38, 3 replies)
fum ducker.
I just can't put the name in as the face palm still stings today...
A friend of mine was converting a recipe for his missus- imperial to metric. Flour, sugar, etc.. She comes out with the stupidest thing ever EVER said.. 'whats "one egg" in metric?' I almost burst a bollock laughing...

Another one- I told an ex I was going to Norway with work.. She said 'oh, that's good.. You'll come back speaking norneseian'. I respectfully told everyone we knew after laughing constantly for about a month..
(, Fri 31 Aug 2012, 17:35, Reply)
Homage to catatonia
In my office last month. Person A walks up to Person B. Apropos of apparently nothing, the following exchange occurs:

Person A: "Have you read George Orwell's... 1912? The one about the pigs? What's it called?"
Person B: "Big Brother?"

I was slack jawed in disbelief. I should add that these are 40-something university-educated workers at a major media company.

Which reminds me, we recently had three flatscreen TVs put up on the walls of our office and I made a joke about how Big Brother would be watching us. Person B replied: "Yes, and the eye logo would look really good too!" Some people need to read more books and watch less TV.
(, Fri 31 Aug 2012, 16:35, 2 replies)

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