Answers for January 2012

ANSWERS for January 2012. Despite Wendy Mooney’s brilliant guess for Q4, my WINNER, for this most festive of all months (in which I sold off the company that I built, and retired) is our compulsive researcher and finder of URLs,

Amit Elazari

Question 1

UFO contactee George Adamski claimed to have met with “Orthon”, a long-haired young man from Venus, in the Californian desert in 1952. How did Adamski immediately know that he/it was an alien?


“His trousers were not like mine”

Additional Answers

  • Because men are from Mars and women are from Venus, which means that any man from Venus must be an alien even to Venusians let alone we Earthlings. Of course one must assume that Adamski examined Orthon thoroughly to ensure “he” was in fact a man and not a woman in a sneaky disguise – a Venus penis would be proof enough. (BTW, Dr Bob, if long-haired youthful Orthon was as good looking, impeccably groomed and well-dressed as Adamski describes, would that not make him a candidate to be the first gaylien?)
  • “… I realized that I was in the presence of a man from Space – A human Being from another world. The beauty of his form surpassed anything I had ever seen. The pleasantness of his face freed me from any thoughts of my personal self. I felt like a child in front of someone with great wisdom and love and I became very humble within myself, for from him was radiating a feeling of infinite understanding and kindness with supreme humility.” [Oh dear – so lofty, and so naively unrealistic … the real answer was trousers]
  • He was wearing lycra, which yet to be invented on this planet. Adamski had great difficulty in accurately naming the material, although with the benefit of hindsight accuracy was not one of the features of this work of fiction.
  • Orthon had never heard of Elvis Presley.
  • The way Orthon kissed was NOT French, and ‘his trousers were not like mine’.
  • Using his powers of deduction honed over many years of study at the university of internet forums he managed to read the creature’s crudely written t-shirt: ‘I am a (sic) alien’.

Question 2

Why did E.O.Wilson, as a young man, change from studying flies to studying ants?


He had no steel pins for mounting flies that he had collected.

Additional Answers

  • Because it is way cooler to be a myrmecologist than a dipterist.
  • “Blinded in one eye in a childhood fishing accident, the budding young naturalist, Edward Osborne Wilson found it difficult to observe wildlife, like mammals and birds, from a distance. His impaired visibility had changed things. Instead of giving up on his passion for the natural world, the young boy instead focused his sights on a more immediate subject… something he could view up close and personal, something not requiring depth perception: insects. Throwing himself into his studies, by the time he was 18 Wilson had a growing collection of flies. Soon however, Wilson came to another roadblock. WW2 had created a shortage of insect pins, the metal to make them being in short supply, and he could no longer collect, pin and preserve his beloved flies. Always adaptable, Wilson good-naturedly switched to ants, which were kept in vials of alcohol and involved no pins. It was thus that E.O. began his life’s work.
  • Ants is slower and tastier, plus ‘a shortage of insect pins caused by WW II.’
  • Because his colleagues threatened to have him charged with stalking if he didn’t stop peering at their groins with a magnifying glass. And ants were easier to set on fire with the magnifying glass, if somewhat less entertaining than workmates’ trousers once ignited.
  • They were far easier to catch , and they moved in only one dimension.
  • Wilson had pulled off all of the flies’ wings, creating ants.

Question 3

The ant Sphecomyrma freyi is known from a sample preserved in amber; however there were originally two such samples. What happened to the other one?


When E.O.Wilson opened the envelope that the two samples arrived in, one of them fell to the floor.

Additional Answers

  • E.O. Wilson sold it to Steven Spielberg to use as an authentic 80MYA prop for Spielberg’s proposed movie “Cretaceous Park”. Unfortunately, this second Sphecomyrma Freyi (which means ‘wasp ant’) wound up in storage when the movie was canned in favour of a Jurassic version, and the sample vanished for many years. It recently resurfaced in Australia but only the encasing amber remains. A well-placed source in that country’s ruling political party said on condition of anonymity that the wasplike reddish creature inside had been removed and then successfully cloned by a secret organisation known only as the “Faceless Men”, and was now a new species called “Prime Minister”.
  • “. . . Stefan Cover loaned the holotype of Sphecomyrma freyi from the MCZ, which tragically disintegrated during . . . embedding process . . .”
  • It suffered from a terminal case of vacuum-assisted Good Intentions.
  • Spielberg used it in the making of the documentary Jurassic Park to clone the dinosaurs.
  • ‘The specimen disintegrated in the vacuum-embedding process,’ but really, Wilson ate it. Wilsssooonnn!
  • Unfortunately it was in the pocket of Michael Crichton’s suit when he died, and was buried with him.

Question 4

What did Bob W Taylor say when he discovered the rare yellow Nothomyrmecia ant?


“The bloody bastard’s here – I’ve found the Notho-bloody-myrmecia”

Additional Answers

  • ” Well, strewth and bugger me!” exclaimed Aussie Bob. “It’s a rare yellow Nothomyrmecia ant!”
  • “Look! A rare yellow Nothomyrmecia ant! Get me a magnifying glass! I promise not to focus the light on your fly.”
  • “The bloody bastard’s here! I’ve got the Notho-bloody-myrmecia!”
  • “Not home yer me see I a’nt” – Quite the wordsmith he was.
  • Euranta!!
  • Howzat?
  • S’truth! Bloody hell, Crockie, it’s the living fossil prehistoric holy grail of ants! (I like to guess, then look up the answer. Crikey, pretty close!)

Question 5

And what was Bob W Taylor doing when he discovered the rare yellow Nothomyrmecia ant?


Urinating, in a break from a long journey to look for the Nothomyrmecia in a distant Australian location.

Additional Answers

  • He was very busy saying to all and sundry: “Well, strewth and bugger me! It’s a rare yellow Nothomyrmecia ant!”
  • “…Bob Taylor, stepped out for a breath of air and idly played his flashlight over the surrounding terrain. You may imagine his astonishment when he discovered, crawling over the trunk of a eucalyptus beside their campsite, a thriving colony of none other than Nothomyrmecia.”, citing Bill Bryson’s “In a Sunburned Country”
  • Crosseyed in a corner, he was whittling wooden phalluses and laughing maniacally.
  • He was wicket keeping for England and the discovery of the ant occurred at the same time as he took a return from Ian Botham. The return had rolled a short way on the ground after landing in the rough spot which turned out to be the nest of this rare species. But Taylor was a cricketer first and a naturalist second, so he had to appeal as he broke the stumps in an ultimately successful run out attempt. It is believed that the subsequent dressing room conversation between Taylor and his skipper Mike Brearley, probably the serious intellectual ever to captain a national cricket team, was something to behold. Botham, however, heard the first couple of sentences and quickly joined the opposition in the bar. If he had stuck around in the dressing room, the ant would probably have been named the Bothamyrmecia ant.
  • Impromptu ant hunt during a car breakdown near the charmingly named Poochera (but likely going for a nocturnal wee).
  • Relieving himself. Which is possibly why it looked yellow.

Question 6


(An ironically timely question.) What is the box for?


Voting – the pictures are to remind you how to vote. Voting is taken very seriously in North Korea, especially if you get it wrong.

Additional Answers

  • The box contains an amber-encased myrmecological miracle known as a “Kimilsungia”. More recently, a closely related species, “Kimjongilia”, was added to the box contents. Specialists hope to soon capture the elusive and little-known “Kimjongunia” to add to the collection, which would then be complete.
  • “A North Korean voting booth containing portraits of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il under the national flag. Below the portraits is the ballot box.”
  • It contains the Dear Leader’s hairpiece; in a tradition strangely reminiscent of ancient Egyptian or Viking ceremonies, it was strangled so that it could accompany him into the afterlife.
  • The cremated remains of a recently deceased North Korean Dictator
  • This particular box contains the original photo of the box which travelled back in time and placed itself within the box at a point after the box was made but before the photograph was taken. (Should that have been written in capital letters?)
  • Voting for prez for life in N. Korea; your immediate funeral if your ballot doesn’t start with the words ‘Kim Jong x’.
  • Voting box; notice the coffin shape, a reminder of what might happen if you fail to complete the voting form properly


  • I think there’s a hidden message in this month’s quiz: Referring to aliens, ants and voting booth suggests you had in mind Alien Ant Farm’s third album’s “Consti2tion”. Ha! Gotcha! [Yes you have indeed – I never heard of the track and only dimly recall the band. However I got hold of (synomym for: downloaded and stole a pirate copy, strictly for scientific research, evaluation and artistic criticism) of Mr. Farm’s opus and gave it a play, thinking: it can’t be worse than Captain Beefheart …]
  • If myrmecologists are from Mars and vivisectionists are from Venus, are entomologists from Earth?
  • That’s enough crap from me. Happy New Year, Dr Bob…
  • Greetings, Globetrotting Guru, I hope your sanity and credit cards are recovering as well as can be expected from the more hideous excesses of the Yuletide season.
  • Happy 2012, Dr. Bob!
  • These days, aliens can be identified by having no idea who the Kardashians are. Alas, sometimes ignorance is bliss. (If they know who the Cardassians are, though, run.)

Have a go!

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