Fun_People Archive
9 Dec
Clarence vs. Evaporation

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Sat,  9 Dec 100 20:24:47 -0800
To: Fun_People
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Subject: Clarence vs. Evaporation

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649  -=[ Fun_People ]=-
Forwarded-by: Gene Spafford <>
Forwarded-by: Michael Bastedo <>
From: the latest issue of Swift, the newsletter of the James
Randi Educational Foundation:


The Kansas Board of Education voted today to eliminate mandatory teaching
of the theory of evaporation from schools across the state. Most scientists
believe that water and other liquids are spontaneously converted by
so-called evaporation into the form of a gas, and carried off into the
atmosphere. This, they say, is the explanation behind sudden disappearances
of water all across the state.

Many non-scientists, however, stand by the widely accepted theory that a
lovable invisible two-headed thirsty blue giraffe named Clarence is
responsible for the disappearances. The two theories, evaporation and
Giraffism, will now be taught on a more equal footing to school-children
across Kansas. Parents are pleased, saying that Giraffism is easier to
understand and far more comforting to small children. "There's nothing
happy about evaporation," says Frank Nubbins, father of Jason, 6, and Sue
Ellen, 4. "Clarence the giraffe is blue, and he's lovable. You can't say
that about evaporation, that's for sure. I love my children."

"Nobody has ever adequately explained evaporation," says Dr. Harold Thumper,
of the Kansas Board of Education. "With evaporation, we're expected to
imagine that water just disappears, all by itself, with no rhyme or reason.
That's ridiculous."

Clarence the lovable invisible two-headed blue giraffe, on the other hand,
is always thirsty, an explanation which is simple and obvious. He has a
well-established presence in children's literature. "Every culture on the
planet," says Dr. Thumper "has a story about giraffes, or thirstiness, or
lovable blue things. Most of these have happy, happy endings. My children
just love these stories. But I challenge you to find a single good story
about evaporation."

The theory of evaporation is getting a dry reception in academia these
days.  At leading universities including Harvard, Stanford, and MIT, it's
impossible to find a single professor of Evaporation on the faculty. "What's
the point?" says Gwen O'Malley, dean of the Harvard Medical School. "It's
not exactly a good career move to spend your life trying to explain
evaporation to people."

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