Happy May!

Hello WikiAnswers friends.

Did you know that May is Global Civility Awareness month?  We could sure use some of that, both on the site and in the world in general.

Here are some ideas for treating others with care:

  • Smile.
  • Say Hello.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Listen.
  • Avoid interrupting.
  • Avoid profanity.
  • Be courteous when traveling.
  • Be courteous when driving.
  • Remember to thank others.
  • Find out (and remember) people’s names.
  • Introduce yourself.
  • Keep promises.
  • Be gracious and civil, even in writing.
  • Honor your commitments.
  • Set a positive example.
  • Don’t litter.
  • Respect others’ opinions.
  • Respond with understanding rather than judgment.
  • Clean up after yourself.
  • Be compassionate.
  • Treat others with kindness.

I think the one about being gracious and civil, even in writing, might be the most important one for us as internet users.  Unfortunately, even when you can use emoticons, people can’t tell if you are smiling or laughing or being sarcastic… and too often, when we aren’t in front of someone it becomes easier for us to be rude or cruel.

Let’s try to be nice to others in our questions, in our answers, and in our discussion comments–both on WikiAnswers, and everywhere.  Let’s get out there and make the world better.

April Anticipation

April is National Humor Month, which got a great start with that great Alien Interview, but I may have gotten a little distracted, because I didn’t address all of the other great things going on this month.  Let’s catch up:

In addition to National Humor Month, it is *also* National Poetry Month.  Poets.org offers us 30 ways to celebrate, and if you want to read my Brain Transplant Day poem from an April Fool’s Day of the past, you can find it here.  If you don’t like humor or poetry, that’s sad, but there are also other things that you might appreciate more:

  • Arab American Heritage Month
  • Autism Awareness Month
  • Child Abuse Prevention Month
  • Distracted Driving Awareness Month
  • Frog Month
  • Global Astronomy Month
  • Jazz Appreciation Month
  • Mathematics Awareness Month
  • National Occupational Therapy Month
  • International Guitar Month
  • National Kite Month
  • National Pecan Month
  • National Welding Month

By Day, here are some more things we can anticipate:

  • April 5 — National Caramel Day and National Deep Dish Pizza Day.  Mmm.  Deep dish caramel pizza…
  • April 6 — Plan Your Epitaph Day.  How do you want to be remembered?  For me, I am thinking of putting something like “Queen of Eloquence” on my tombstone, but I might have to get a little better first.  Right now I am more like the doorkeeper or maybe the gardener of eloquence.
  • April 7 — International Pillow Fight Day and International Beaver Day.  Maybe have a pillow fight with your favorite beavers. 🙂
  • April 9 — Palm Sunday
  • April 10 — National Siblings Day.  Also, Passover begins at sundown, lasts 8 days.
  • April 11 — Eight Track Tape Day and National Barbershop Quartet Day.  Ideally, you could listen to a barbershop quartet on your 8-track player, but that might be hard to do these days.
  • April 12 — Drop Everything and Read Day.  Also National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day and National Licorice Day.  Maybe don’t try to combine these ones.
  • April 13 — National Scrabble Day and National Peach Cobbler Day.  Not a bad combination, as long as you use your napkin before taking your turn.
  • April 14 — Reach as High as You Can Day
  • April 15 — Husband Appreciation Day (Note that April 15 is NOT tax day this year, so you can appreciate your husbands even more.)
  • April 16 — Easter.  Also, National Librarian Day and also National Stress Awareness Day, so be extra nice to the stressed out Librarians while you are celebrating Easter.
  • April 17 — National Haiku Poetry Day.  Perfect, since it is National Poetry Month already.  Start counting your syllables. 🙂
  • April 18 — Tax Day.  This year Tax Day has been rescheduled to Tuesday because April 15th is a Saturday and the Washington D.C. Emancipation Day holiday is observed on April 17.
  • April 20 — Volunteer Recognition Day and National High Five Day, which go remarkably well together.  So, high fives all around for all of you awesome volunteers! And a personal heartfelt thank you to all of the people who volunteer their time to make WikiAnswers a better place. 🙂
  • April 22 — Earth Day
  • April 23 — National Zucchini Bread Day.  Also, Holocaust Remembrance Day starts at sundown.
  • April 25 — National Zucchini Bread Day.  (I know, right?)  Zucchini bread gets TWO holidays.  Some sources say it is celebrated on the 23rd, and some on the 25th.  I absolutely love zucchini bread, so I thought we could just celebrate it twice. 🙂
  • April 26 — National Pretzel Day
  • April 27 — Tell a Story Day
  • April 28 — National Superhero Day and Arbor Day.  Be a Superhero–plant a tree. 🙂
  • April 30 — Hairstyle Appreciation Day and also National Honesty Day… so make sure you are telling the truth when you compliment someone’s hairstyle.

Enjoy the month, and tune in next month for another exciting adventure.

Alien Answers

No AliensEarly this morning at about 2 am, Donald Trump, the current President of the United States, tweeted about the existence of aliens.  Not undocumented or illegal aliens, mind you, but space aliens.  He indicated that he had just declassified documents that show that government insiders have had proof of their existence for decades.

As if this were not shocking enough, for those of us who are Star Trek fans, and who like the idea of a friendly, welcoming universe, it gets worse. A White House spokesman later confirmed the rumor that the money they have been trying to get to use for a wall purportedly to bar Mexican immigration is actually going to be used to build a “space wall” (what we might call an energy field or deflector shield) to protect us from the hostile intent of the aliens.

Now, of course, there were diverse opinions about all of this at first, and many people didn’t believe or even bother to attend the press conference where they were going to offer proof, due to the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” effect that has been prevalent in Washington, but surprisingly, proof was supplied to the satisfaction of everyone present, and the alien threat is bringing the country together like never before.  The majority of both Democrats and Republicans are now behind the Space Wall, and other countries are joining with us to make a whole-earth protection plan possible.

Those attending the press conference not only got to hear from impressive eyewitnesses, but a very few vetted attendees got to see a captured alien in person.  I was of course not one of those people, and pictures were not allowed, but luckily my niece, an intern for Senator Dean Duraka, was one of the people allowed in the room, and was one of the few able to record the answers to a few questions (the questions and answers were in Russian, as this alien was “on loan” from Russia, apparently first having landed in Siberia and able to communicate in that language).

Anyway, being the premiere answer site on the internet, we are sharing the translated Alien Answers she was able to record with you exclusively:

Q: Why have you come here?

A: I was captured and forced to come.

Q: I mean, why have you come to this planet?

A: I am doing my job.

Q: What is your job?

A: My job is to find places for our people to live.

Q: Why can’t you live on your own planet?

A: Because I am a prisoner.

Q: No, I mean why can’t your people stay on their planet?

A: They can.

Q: Why do your people want to live here?

A: I told them it was a good planet.

Q: Are they coming here then?

A: Yes.

Q: Why?

A: You are a baby.  They are coming here to live, to enjoy.  We expand so that we do not die, so that we can continue to live.  As do all creatures.

Wow, right?  Sounds like we are going to have visitors soon, though we aren’t sure exactly when.  I, for one, welcome our new Alien Overlords.

We hope you enjoyed this exclusive Alien Interview.  Keep coming back for more excitement on Answers.com!  And happy April Fool’s Day. 🙂

Magnificent March

Here at WikiAnswers, we’re gearing up for a month of magnificence.

Even though we don’t all celebrate Lent (March 1-April 13), the ideal of the 40 day challenge of practicing self control, giving things up that aren’t good for us, and decluttering our lives can apply to everyone.  I’m planning on taking the time to gather all the things that I don’t need in my life and and giving them away to people who *do* need them.  Call it Lent, call it Spring Cleaning… the idea is that we’re all working together to make our lives better and help others.

Daylight Saving Time is coming up on March 12.  Those people living in areas that practice Daylight Saving Time (ignore this you Arizonans) should “Spring Forward” at 2:00 am.

If you are into men’s college basketball, the NCAA March Madness is March 12-26 this year (Final Four April 1 and 3).

Saint Patrick’s Day is coming up on March 17, and right after that is the First Day of Spring on March 20.

We also found some other interesting things to celebrate this month:

March is also a month where severe weather can pick up, so be prepared.  The end of March (on various dates) is Tsunami Preparedness Week in Alaska, California, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  There are also various Flood Safety weeks this month in many areas.  Be careful out there!

Celebrate February With Us

It’s cold outside, and sometimes we wish that Spring would come a little faster. But really, what would we do without February? We would be missing out on so much:

Today is Groundhog Day, adopted in the United States because of a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition, which in turn was carried over from the European tradition of Candlemas. Apparently, if the groundhog sees his shadow today we are in for 6 more weeks of winter. Personally, I hope he doesn’t notice.

Did you know that Elmo from Sesame Street has a birthday on February 3rd?

This weekend is Super Bowl 51 (LI in Roman Numerals). This year it will be a contest between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.

Over 111 million people will be watching. Many people watch the game for the football, and others watch for the commercials.

Nintendo is fielding a commercial for its new console out in March: the Nintendo Switch. Google will be showing us Google Home. Comedian Melissa McCarthy will star in a commercial for Kia, and Justin Timberlake will be advertising for Bai drinks… in addition to many, many others, of course. After the game, let us know in the comments what your favorite one was.

Other exciting things that have happened in February:

  • The Monopoly board game originally went on sale on February 6th, 1935.
  • Hershey’s Chocolate was founded on February 9th, 1894.
  • February 14th is Valentine’s Day, which is quite a popular day to get married. And if you, like many others, prefer not to celebrate that holiday, the 14th is also Ferris Wheel day, and Ferris Wheels aren’t prone to public displays of affection, so that would be a pretty safe one to look forward to.
  • The toothpick was patented on February 20th, and hey, if you don’t like toothpicks, you could also celebrate President’s Day.
  • On February 26, people in South America and Africa will get to see an Annular Solar Eclipse (the moon will pass in front of the sun, but a “ring of fire” will still show around it).
  • Finally, February 27th is International Polar Bear day.

So, hey… let’s forget the cold and get out there and celebrate.  And if you want to know more, drop by WikiAnswers for some nice, toasty answers.

Happy Brain Transplant Day!

Let’s welcome our guest blogger today – our very own Quality Coordinator, Suzanne (otherwise known as Zanbabe or Z)!

April: the month when the tax bunny comes. Oh wait… maybe I’m confused.

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? It is! And it is so many other things that it is mind-blowing. Some April events include National Humor Month, National Pecan Month, and Stress Awareness Month. Additionally, there are various days dedicated to other cool things: April 11th is Eight-Track Tape Day (a little outdated, if you ask me), April 13th is Scrabble Day, April 25th is World Penguin Day, and April 27th is Tell a Story Day.

Out of all the mentally stimulating things going on in April, I want to focus on one item that I saw on the news this morning (at like 2am… I couldn’t sleep; some special on the French channel. Good thing they have subtitles.). Anyway, after almost 36 hours of different surgeries, with doctors working in shifts, “Patient X” (name not released) has undergone the first successful human brain transplant (because it is the entire brain, it is technically called a whole-body transplant by some). That just boggles my mind. Apparently, Doctor Davril Poisson was hoping to gain access to Albert Einstein’s brain to use for this historic surgery, but unfortunately the brain was not stored properly, and the formaldehyde preserving the brain had expired.

I felt a little brain-dead after hearing that, because even though a lot of this stuff has been in the news and online for a while (see below for several related articles), it seems totally like Science Fiction to me (I should read scientific news more often). So, to make up for the brain lapse, I’ve been reading all morning (did you know that there was a Colorado chicken that lived for over a year without a head?). Here are some of the interesting questions other people have asked:

Can you have a brain transplant?

Just the possibility of a brain transplant seems so out there to me. The fact that people have even thought about this seriously is amazing. The idea goes back to Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, and Abby Normal, but in real life, it looks like there had been some Soviet-American cold war head transplant experimentation in the past. I found information about a Doctor Robert White who transplanted the head of a Rhesus monkey onto a different monkey (BBC article and interview). CNN has an article about more recent human brain cell transplants.

Will we ever grow replacement brains or do whole-brain transplants?

This is obviously an older NOVA article, but I liked the fact that it actually addressed GROWING a new brain in addition to just transplanting one. That would be so cool! I used to tell my little brother to grow a brain. I never knew it might actually be possible. Even re-growing or replacing tiny portions of a brain might be able to cure diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. I won’t link to it here, since it is in French, but if you know the language, look up the Google Scholar article “Faithful fashion: survival status of the brain transplant cure for Parkinsonism.” Great stuff.

When a brain transplant is performed, does the patient lose his or her memories?

I think this is one of the most fascinating questions to me… how does it even work? Do you have to transfer the entire brain, or just one part (the part with memories), or just one hemisphere, or what? I assume it would depend on the person and the damage they are trying to repair, but I remember watching a PBS show where people were functioning with just one hemisphere of a brain. What if you gave them another hemisphere to work with? Could you have two people in one head? It totally brings a new twist to the meaning of togetherness.

Patient X’s surgery wouldn’t have been allowed in the US. Brain transplants open up so many possibilities, but they open up a lot of ethical questions as well. If you failed a class, but took it over again after getting a brain transplant (hopefully smarter), is that cheating? Would you miss your old body? It might be like driving a new car, just getting used to the newer model, but will it be a struggle for X to readjust? Especially if X is (was?) a guy and the new body is a girl. They didn’t give those details, but that would be weird, waking up and suddenly wanting to go shoe shopping.

And what if X committed a crime before the transplant? Now he (or she) has new fingerprints AND retinas… really, anything that could tie the person to the crime, even if he was a high-powered government spy. And for those of us who are religious, what does it mean for the soul? Is that something that goes with the body, or the mind?

All of these brain-switching possibilities were giving me a headache, so I decided to compose a poem:

My National Poetry Month and Brain Transplant Day Poem:

There once was a man with no brain
Who wanted to dance in the rain
They offered him life
Changed his mind with his wife
They danced, then they both went insane

For people who want to dig further into the issue, we’ve made a new Brain Transplants Q&A category on Answers.com. Please visit the category and find the truth behind this fascinating development.

Other links:

I wonder if someday we’ll look back on April Fools’ Day 2011 as the day that changed everything. What do you guys think? Would you get a brain transplant?