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This is a question The B3TA Detective Agency

Universalpsykopath tugs our coat and says: Tell us about your feats of deduction and the little mysteries you've solved. Alternatively, tell us about the simple, everyday things that mystified you for far too long.

(, Thu 13 Oct 2011, 12:52)
Pages: Popular, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

I worked out the theory ...
...of evolution when I was about 7

I was in the local park chopping the heads of all the flowers and I realised in future the only flowers that would survive would be ones out of my reach or up a mountain somewhere..

*ping* then figured out the rest.
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 15:28, 2 replies)
I'll tell you what's mystifying me right now...
..is why nobody has stabbed PERSONALITY HORSE.
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 14:57, 31 replies)
I swear this is true.
The oddest and most mystifying thing that ever happened to me happened in a motorway service station near Bristol. Me and the g/f had stopped for a Red Bull and a nap to prevent a sleep-induced crash (this is probably relevant). We were standing in the shop, looking idly at the choccy bar display.

And then money appeared.

Nobody was standing anywhere near us, and in fact apart from the woman behind the counter there was nobody else in the shop at all. There were no hanging displays, no low ceiling, no shelves at head height or close to it. But suddenly, and sharply enough to make me take a step back in shock, I was hit in the face with four wadded £20 notes, as though they'd been thrown at me with some force.

G/f asked what was wrong, and I showed her the cash. She asked where it had come from, and I answered honestly that I had absolutely no idea. We hadn't been to the cash machine. There was nobody about. There was nowhere for it to have fallen or been launched from, and in any case what kind of nutter would fire eighty quid at a random stranger? We both walked right round the shop to see if we could see anything untoward, but everything seemed normal. I examined the cash - it was real. At that point, I decided to keep quiet and get the f.ck outta dodge.

To this day I have absolutely no idea what happened, where that money came from or why. I'm torn between going back to the services because thin air there throws money at you, and avoiding the place like the plague because there's an invisible demon there whose cash I nicked.
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 14:57, 11 replies)
Not me, but my bro-in-law

He does property developing. Or used to - he's actually pursuing his hobby professionally now, so he doesn't have time to work. He can turn his hand to most things, he just used to buy worn out places, do them up himself and sell them on a matter of weeks later for wads of profit. He worked hard at it, so fair play.

So he had a place he was completely replumbing. He'd bought a whole load of copper pipe, and left it in the place overnight. He's an early riser, so he arrived at six in the morning to find all the copper gone. Knowing it was likely to be druggies just looking to get some cash for a fix, he simply went to nearest local scrap merchants, where you can weigh in copper for cash, and waited. Sure enough, three wasters turn up in a van with his copper... which he took back from them. Mystery solved.

Oh, and the hobby he's now making a living at? Cage fighting.
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 14:45, 5 replies)
I used to work in an office in southwark and had a seat by the window, every day i'd see a few cars with large white arrows on the roof, all sorts of cars, a few vans etc.

never saw them anywhere else, never figured out what they were for.

help me intenets, nobody else can.
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 14:38, 5 replies)
How do babies are made from?

(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 14:36, 2 replies)
Find that smell.
A few years ago, I was living in a flat on my own. Sometime in early December, my I did my Christmas Shopping. I have no idea why I did this when I lived alone, but it’s something I’ve always done so I did it then too: I came home and I hid the presents. I left it in the bags, hid them beside the wardrobe and thought nothing else it. A couple of days later my heating packed up and I spent 5 nights staying at a friends to be warm while the landlordsorted it. A pain, but no real problem. Then, the day after I moved back in, with heating back in full effect, I started to notice this slightly odd smell. So I checked the fridge for out of date food, thinking I may have left some in there while I’d been away. I made sure I hadn’t left the rubbish unattended too long for the five days I’ve been gone and I checked the soles of all my shoes in case I’d stepped in something bad.

I found nothing. I guessed the smell may be outdoors and ignored it, but I came home from work the next day, and the smell was slightly worse. I cleared out my cupboards, I looked under the bed, I searched through my washing, started to wonder if they had done something wrong to the heating. Still, nothing. Next day, the smell was worse, I febreezed the curtains, the bed, the carpet. Scrubbed the kitchen, cleaned the bedroom, opened all the windows, but there was still no improvement. I started to get quite concerned, I figured a rat had died in the walls or something and didn’t know what to do. I ran out of Febreze, I left the windows open round the clock despite the open invitation to passers by to come and take my telly, in the hope it would just clear. There was still no improvement. I started tearing the place apart, moving furniture, scrubbing, hoovering, polishing. Then I moved the bag that had the Christmas presents im...and Retched. Dry Heaved, Choked, Gagged, and any other words that may be in the Thesaurus that mean the same thing as the stench hit me.Under the two bags of presents was a third bag. That had some groceries in it. That had been there nearly two weeks, right next to the heating vent, being blasted with hot air. Including, soaked deep into the carpet by now, a leaking carton of rancid milk.

It took another week for the smell to clear.
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 14:34, 1 reply)
This one time I was all like
OMG WTF is thats a space pod.
But it was an egg. And then I eats the egg.
And then it was a space pod and my stumik was all SPLOOSH! and an alien was there
But it werent an alien it were a baby chcik. So i eats it and all nyom nyom nyom.
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 14:13, 1 reply)
Here's a mystery I still haven't solved*
Why, when I went to buy an external hard drive, did the bloke asked me if I wanted a terrabyte?

What the fuck am I going to do with a fossil?

*the hypocrisy of this after my rant hasn't escaped me.
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 13:20, 5 replies)
Pearoasted Sharp Showers
About five or six years ago, weather forecasters (especially the Met Office ones on the BBC) started using the phrase "sharp showers". I hadn't ever heard it before, either on weather forecasts or in daily use, so I asked around several of my pals to see if they knew what it meant and got several different answers.

I posted questions on teh interwebs asking if anyone else knew, to no avail. Mostly, the responses I got indicated that nobody else really knew what they were talking about either.

After a while, about 18 months ago, I got so irritated that I phoned the Met Office switchboard and asked them how they defined "sharp showers".

It means "sudden, heavy showers". I did ask why they couldn't just say that, and they said that in the short slots they get to do bulletins, one syllable could make then run over time. Which sort of makes sense.

No need to thank me. What problem shall I solve next?
{expecting lots of insults}
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 13:16, 5 replies)
I've deduced several things about the game Cluedo.
A) The setting is obviously nowhere near a travellers' encampment as there was still enough lead pipe left to be used as a murder weapon.
B) Surely the first thing you have to do is establish a motive before you can just go off accusing people willy nilly. 'He might have looked at him funny' isn't really good enough.
c) Just look at the damn body for clues- there's no point guessing that it might have been shot with a rope if it's got a dagger wound in the back
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 13:15, 2 replies)
Sir Clement Freud and the Physics Genius...
Story from Big Clem:

"I was for six years rector of the University of Dundee. As rector, one would chair the court of the University. There was one occasion when a physics student came to us with a complaint. He had, in the course of his final year physics exam been asked a question. He had been asked ‘How would you gauge the height of a skyscraper, using a barometer?’

He had answered that he would take the barometer to the top of the skyscraper. He would tie a piece of string to it, and lower it to the ground. He would then measure the elapsed string, add the length of the barometer, and that would be the height of the skyscraper. He was failed for showing a total ignorance of physics. He appealed to us on the grounds that he had given a correct answer and received no credit for it. And the marks were important to the quality of his degree.

We considered, and then accepted he had a point and so appointed an external examiner to ask the question again. When the examiner met him, he said to the student ‘You’ve had plenty of time to answer it, so come on what is your answer?’

The student said, ‘It isn’t as simple as that. I could of course go to the top of the skyscraper, and drop the barometer. And then with an accurate stop watch record the length of time taken for it to hit the ground and then, bearing in mind the falling speed of the object, I could give you a pretty good idea of what the height of the skycraper is. Or, and this is I imagine what you had in mind, I could measure the barometric pressure at the top of the building, and then again at the bottom. But on consideration, what I think I would do, would be to go to the janitor and say to him, “If you tell me the height of this skyscraper, I will give you a barometer.”‘
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 12:26, 17 replies)
Dear Terry
I took your frog.
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 12:09, 1 reply)
trading places
i've always loved that film, but there is something about it that burned my head right out when i was a kid.
it's the stockmarket scene at the end. no matter how i tried, i couldn't for the life of me work out how they were making themseves rich by first selling and then buying shares in frozen orange juice. surely, they should buy and then sell? that made far more sense to me.
took years before i worked it out and i'm still not sure it actually makes sense.
then again, i'm not exactly a financial genius.
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 12:01, 40 replies)
A few years back
I shared a house with my girlfriend and her two teenage sons. One day I had a word with them about their pinching my vodka.

They were amazed that I'd caught them, since as far as they could see, topping the bottle up with water should have made the theft undetectable.

The problem for these two master criminals was that I always kept the bottle in the freezer, and discovering the vodka frozen into a solid lump was a bit of a giveaway that it might not be 40% ABV any more.
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 11:49, 2 replies)
What's in my pocket?

(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 11:37, 14 replies)
Speed of light from tomato soup
A couple of weeks ago, I was heating soup in the microwave. I set it for 20 mins, and wandered off. When I got back the soup had exploded out of the bowl, evenly coated the walls of the microwave, and continued to cook.

So I set to cleaning it. What I noticed was that, now that the soup was static on the walls and not being moved on a turntable, it didn't cook evenly. Some parts were frazzled like flakey paint, and the areas in between were still damp. The areas where the cooking was concentrated were about 2 thumb lengths apart, or 6 cm.

I was looking at the half-wavelength of the microwaves, which would travel at the speed of light. A full oscillation would be 12 cm, or 0.12m. Looking at the safety information of the microwave, it operated at 2450 Mhz. To put it another way, it could pump out 2.45 billion of these 12cm lengths every second.

So a beam would travel 0.12 * 2450000000 meters in a second, which is a speed of 294000000 m/s. The official speed of light is 299792458 m/s. So I was 2% off calculating the speed of light from a bowl of exploding soup. Not bad.

Edit : As has been pointed out, this bit of cleverness has been nullified by leaving the soup on for 20 minutes to begin with.
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 10:52, 14 replies)
£11.80 and still none the wiser
Back in the day, the future Mrs BinDipper and I went to the cinema to see "Die Hard With a Vengeance". It was a mildly entertainment addition to the action genre that centered around John McClain trying to solve a number of riddles in Noo Yoik.

Now I don't think the missus and I would ever consider ourselves intellectuals, but neither would we think of ourselves as thick, so we were somewhat annoyed that we couldn't work out how one of the riddles had been solved.

The riddle was:

You have a three gallon water tank and a five gallon water tank. Place exactly four gallons of water on the scales to stop the bomb from exploding.

Writing it down now makes it looks like the simplest riddle ever, but at the time we were flummoxed to the point where we paid to see the film for a second time purely to see if we could 'get it'. We still couldn't work out what they'd done and it niggled at us for weeks. Bear in mind this was generally before you googled anything you couldn't understand.

I only worked it out when I watched it on the telly years later.
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 10:52, 14 replies)
When I was very young I decided to start a "boy's club". Partly this was a desperate attempt to get more friends during the long summer holidays, and partly because I'd found a big flat piece of wood which was perfect for a sign.

So I got my coloured chalk and made a nice sign advertising my club, saying that I would organise games and outings to the local play park. I put it up at the front of my house, on the wall by the road.

I went off to play with my Action Man or something, occasionally looking out the window, expecting to see hordes of keen boys gathered excitedly round my sign. But no one ever came. I heard my mum calling my older brother to do something for her, but otherwise the boredom of the day was unbroken.

I went to check on it later in the day, and the sign was gone! I rushed in to tell mum, who said it must have been 'those bad boys from down the road'.

30 years later I realised that my mum had called my brother to ask him to remove the sign, as she didn't want loads of smelly little boys cluttering up her house. I asked my brother about this, and he said, 'yeah, of course, what did you think?' Another childhood illusion shattered.
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 10:24, Reply)
Who touched my willy?
I DID! So did an ant.
I dun an ant on my willy and upped my foreskin on him and he was all LOL.
My bum is a wee wee.
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 10:11, 11 replies)
You dirty bastard, you stole my HeMan & BattleCat!
Me and my former mate Morgz were playing Heman with our figurines (he only had Skeletor & Evillyn).
We finished playing. I stashed my Prince Adam & Cringer under the stairs ready to be transformed by the Power of GraySkull later.
During avro-tea Morgz strangely needed to go to the loo (for a good 15 min.) - more piklets for me! Ha ha.
When we went down-stairs I waved Morgz off & went to find my carefully hidden stash.
Which was gone!
I accused Morgz the next day - he was the only person apart from me who knew where they were.
He denied his guilt or involvement yet 3 days later Morgz brought to school a set of definitely not new HeMan and BattleCat.
Thieving cunt - I would've swapsied him both for Evillyn. GRRRRRRR.....
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 10:01, 2 replies)
Back when I were a nipper...
...of about 15, I had a belt which I used to wear all the time which had a cross hanging from it (coz I'm METAL!!!!, you know).

One day, I noticed the cross had fallen off. Searching my bedroom, my path to school, the lounge, all the places I could think of produced nothing.

Then a few days later the shop my mum & step-dad owned had a new delivery of potatos, all in 25kg bags. Later that afternoon, on top of one of the new bags of spuds... the cross from my belt.

Mystified me to this day, that has.

tl;dr version: I lost something, it turned up a few days later on something that had just been delivered.
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 9:28, 8 replies)
Why is the sky blue?
How do fish breathe?

What makes rainbows?

For fucks sake, there are childrens books for these things. My niece has a great one, it's actually called 'Why is the sky blue?', some of you should read it.

What about things you have solved? You see that 'mystify' in the question ends with 'ied'? Past tense.

It's not 'I'm a fucking moron and I don't understand sheep'

I've solved the problem of why I have such a love hate relationship with QOTW, it's because 90% of you are fuckwits.

Although that applies to the human race in general I suppose, so the remaining mystery is why the fuck I am continually surprised by this.
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 9:10, 29 replies)
Itth a mythtery.

(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 9:04, 3 replies)
Real-life Matlocks.
My Mam: After a surprise double gangland shooting outside my family home a few years back, my mam took it upon herself in the following weeks to write down the reg number of "suspicious looking cars". Presumably her detective work led to the arrest and conviction of hundreds, if not thousands of Dublin's underworld.

Mate's Mam: Led an interrogation of my mate about a party he had when she was away. Despite the house being absolutely spotless, and no noise complaints, she knew something was awry. She had found a "girl's hair that wasn't Sarah's (his girlfriend at the time)", a single ring-pull from a can and she had also noticed that the heating was turned down slightly. My mate got an absolute bollocking!

Another mates Dad: Engulfs himself in countless documentaries and books on the Kennedy assassination in the belief that he "will solve it eventually".

I can't wait for my mid-fifties!
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 9:00, 4 replies)
I'm failing to see how changing the number on my dial will protect me from ghouls and beasts terrorising my sneighbourhood...

would they really be THAT organised and call ahead to see if I was in?
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 8:46, Reply)
Stock markets and exchange rates
So every day we have to have a little nugget of "the pound is down against the dollar, the euro is up against the Yen and the FTSE is down 500%" on any news station any time. But why? For the love of God if Japan is buying a whole load of bagettes from France why does that make anyone's money worth more or less? I have decided its just to give posh boys a job that isn't being Ben Fogle. Global financial crisis is pobably just some Tims and Ruperts being in a huff and taking their monopoly pieces home.
PS: If anyone knows the real reason without being all shouty like Mr Willy when he tries to explain it I'm all ears
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 8:36, 6 replies)
Something that’s always made me wonder . . .
Why do otherwise sensible, reasonable, 'normal' people watch soaps?
Why do people want to subject themselves to such spirit crushing tedium, bordom, back-stabbing and hate on a daily basis?

How is EastEnders so popular? It's constantly filled with such hateful, sour, scheeming, miserable, loathesome characters.

Corronation Street? How do people last beyond the funeral march theme tune?
Hollyoaks? Home and Away? How can people care about any of this stuff? It's not even escapism, it's just someones representation of daily life. . .

Why do people make themselves endure such mundane sludge? I'll never understand.
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 7:29, 17 replies)
My boyfriends daughter is 24 - going on 12 - and an ex druggie & convicted felon. Since she got out of jail, she's swapped drugs for alcohol and hasn't changed her ways.

When I stay at boyfriends house, I take my handbag upstairs with me, but one night I was stupid enough to leave it downstairs. Went to work the next day and discovered there was $60 missing out of my purse.
Confronted the boyfriends daughter, "I didn't do it, it must have been the roommate". Confronted the roommate (who is the most trustworthy guy I know). "Fuck off, you know I didn't take it".

So I decided to get my purse fingerprinted - there should be NO fingerprints on there except mine. The police said they couldn't do it as the material of the purse couldn't provide a print even from me.
So I still told everyone who was a suspect that I had the purse fingerprinted and results would be back in 10 days (random time frame).

Boyfriends daughter "Well, I touched your purse because I didn't want roommate to steal from you".
9 days later "Erm, I just borrowed the money, I'll pay you back".

Now she doesn't steal money, she just backfills bottles of vodka with water and hides beer cans where she "thinks" we can't see them.
(, Fri 14 Oct 2011, 6:34, 7 replies)

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