Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

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Tchiak
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Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby Tchiak » Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:14 am UTC

I've always asked "why?".

When I made a capacitor out of motor oil, aluminum foil, and glass plates they asked "why?"
When I made a calendar script in PHP they asked "why?"
When I make electric motors for experiments they asked "why?"

What things have you done that people can't understand why you would build/do them?

My favorite quote is: "The clearest sign that you are an engineer is such that when you see something you ask yourself "I wonder if I can make that?". Then you make it.
My mom considers my pursuits as a waste of time, because she says i'm not doing something productive. Which annoys me to no end.
Last edited by Tchiak on Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:23 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

Klotz
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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby Klotz » Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:18 am UTC

The one I hate is "You have too much time on your hands"

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danpilon54
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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby danpilon54 » Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:12 am UTC

I would make up slightly insulting responses that have nothing to do with the thing they are asking you about.

example:

Q: Why did you build that capacitor?
A: Because I couldn't figure out how to build something that asks me stupid questions.
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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby MiB24601 » Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:30 am UTC

The responses that I most often use as well as hear other people use are "I wanted to see if it could be done," or "I wanted to see if I was good enough to pull it off." That usually satisfactorily answers the "Why" question for most people and it usually is the actual reason why it was done.
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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby Interactive Civilian » Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:31 am UTC

My first impression was to respond, "Nope. Why do you ask? :twisted: "

But, yeah, I get what you are saying. Good thing there's an xkcd for everything, because this one sums up mine pretty well (granted it's a "what" in the comic):
Image

"Why are you reading on a Friday?"
Because for me, reading is fun, and sometimes I want to take a break from the real world and the idiots that seem to populate it. Why are you dancing on a Friday?

"Why would you read a book in a bar?"
Because I don't like drinking at home, and right now there's no one here that I know, so I'm passing the time until a friend shows up or until I find someone I think might be interesting enough to talk to.
(leaving unspoken, "and that person is obviously not you")

"Why are you reading a scientific paper on... err... Cytochromowhatsits and photosynthewhatamahuh?"
Because this stuff is fascinating and is blowing my mind. Go back to watching your game.

etc etc.
I (x2+y2-1)3-x2y3=0 science.

Ratio
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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby Ratio » Wed Jan 14, 2009 7:36 am UTC

I refuse to consider the question "Why". I only ever use "Why not?"

Because life's more fun then.

Mekmek
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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby Mekmek » Wed Jan 14, 2009 3:58 pm UTC

Ratio wrote:I refuse to consider the question "Why". I only ever use "Why not?"

Because life's more fun then.


To quote from The Salmon of Doubt - originally published in Hockney's Alphabet:

There's only ever been one good answer to that question "Why?" and perhaps we should have that in the alphabet as well. There's room for it. "Why?" doesn't have to be the last word, it isn't even the last letter. How would it be if the alphabet ended, "V W X Why? Z," but "V W X Why not?"
Don't ask stupid questions.


The rest of that text is quoteworthy too, but meh.

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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby JBJ » Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:49 pm UTC

Standard response is "For when the Zombies attack"
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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby Sungura » Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:19 pm UTC

First thought, "Nope."

second thought, "Why, do you have a better idea?"(on what to do/say/build/study/etc)
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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby SpitValve » Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:37 pm UTC

Klotz wrote:The one I hate is "You have too much time on your hands"


Yeah, that really annoys me. Just because you choose to use your spare time to do something more productive than watching tv...

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Velifer
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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby Velifer » Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:12 pm UTC

Being asked why is a chance to teach, to encourage, to pique curiosity, to broaden the experience of another. Even when that "why" is dripping with negative connotation, it's still an opening. Make the most of it.

Getting bitchy, being humorless, waving people away and getting annoyed don't really go very far to promote what we do, encourage others to be interested, or make any friends.

When you have a chance to teach, take it. "I'm DOING sciency things! Look at what I've learned! It's cool, and you don't even need a big fancy lab or a white coat or anything!"
Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies have nothing to lose but their chains -Marx

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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby sgt york » Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:52 pm UTC

Velifer wrote:Being asked why is a chance to teach, to encourage, to pique curiosity, to broaden the experience of another. Even when that "why" is dripping with negative connotation, it's still an opening. Make the most of it.

Getting bitchy, being humorless, waving people away and getting annoyed don't really go very far to promote what we do, encourage others to be interested, or make any friends.

IAWTP.

"To see if I can"
"I always wondered how [thing you're building] worked, and I figured this is a good way to do it."
"It's fun. Want to help? I could use an extra pair of hands."
"Why the hell not?"
"What, you got something better to do?" (then deride their ideas)
"I'm building a freakin' [x]. What do you mean why? That's like asking, 'Why are you putting bacon on that cheeseburger?'"

I used to run into this all the time from parents, schoolmates, siblings, etc. Now, I encourage my kids to do the same things. Build, create, modify, tinker. A few months ago, my son and I were on the back deck with a pile of lumber, assorted hardware, and tools. The neighbor kid came by to see if my son wanted to play. My son replied, "No, my Dad and I are building a trebuchet. Want to watch?" (No offer to let the kid help, we're still working on sharing). He was met with a blank stare and some rather elaborate but ultimately failed attempts at coercion. It ended with the inevitable, "Why would you want to do that?"

That afternoon, my son and I were in the cul de sac launching rocks at a castle made out of wood scrap from the project. Same boy comes out and his jaw drops in awe as he watches a castle fly apart from a direct hit. My son (God, I'm so freakin' proud of that kid) looks at him, leaps in the air and says, "That's why!"

Oh, and you don't need a big lab and a science-y lab coat to do science-y stuff, but you do get access to better equipment. And you get PAID to do it!

HELL. YES.


Edit:
Tchiak wrote:My mom considers my pursuits as a waste of time, because she says i'm not doing something productive. Which annoys me to no end.


I'm sorry to hear that. Tell your mom about the modes of learning; there's visual (seeing it demonstrated), auditory (hearing it described), and kinesthetic (doing it). Every person can do all three, but every person is really good at one of them, you are likely a kinesthetic learner. The best way for any person to learn is to do all three. KEEP DOING.

And to answer your question, no, I never get tired of getting asked why. Why is my absolute favorite question.
Last edited by sgt york on Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:02 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Kizyr
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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby Kizyr » Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:59 pm UTC

Klotz wrote:The one I hate is "You have too much time on your hands"

I usually respond to that one by singing Styx. And clapping during the chorus.
...it's particularly fun when you're driving and supposed to be keeping your hands on the wheel.

Velifer wrote:Being asked why is a chance to teach, to encourage, to pique curiosity, to broaden the experience of another. Even when that "why" is dripping with negative connotation, it's still an opening. Make the most of it.

Oh, I totally agree. It's usually not too hard to come up with a fun response if you get it in your head that you'll not be deterred by negativity.

Me: "I'm making a SAS program that'll simulate a soccer game."
??: "Why are you doing that?"
Me: "I want to compete with fantasy football. It'll be fun!"

Then offer to let them join in. I mean, it's easy for someone else to continue to be negative if you're hostile in response. But if you're nice? Then it just makes their negativity look silly. KF
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Velifer
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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby Velifer » Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:04 pm UTC

Kizyr wrote:Me: "I'm making a SAS program that'll simulate a soccer game."

Awesome! Finally a use for SAS I approve of. I do data manipulation with a database. I do stats in a stats program. I don't know what the hell SAS is supposed to be, other than frustrating. MERGE THIS, BITCH! AAARGH!

*pant pant*

...but if you want to share the code, my SAS-enslaved co-workers will love you forever.
Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies have nothing to lose but their chains -Marx

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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby You, sir, name? » Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:02 pm UTC

I don't tend to inform the types of people to usually ask why of the stuff that would incite them to ask why.
I edit my posts a lot and sometimes the words wrong order words appear in sentences get messed up.

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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby Perpy » Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:38 am UTC

I installed Linux Ubuntu on my computer. They asked me why I bother.

I finished an uncomplete C-60 molecule in chem class. And people asked me again.

I read a college text bokk in physics to find the best method for making a catapult. And guess what...

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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby Mr_Rose » Thu Jan 15, 2009 1:34 pm UTC

Perpy wrote:I read a college text bokk in physics to find the best method for making a catapult. And guess what...

The correct answer to that is "now I have a catapult."
Microevolution is a term — when used by creationists — that is the evolutionary equivalent of the belief that the mechanism you use to walk from your bedroom to the kitchen is insufficient to get you from New York to Los Angeles.

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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby Mr. Beck » Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:54 pm UTC

When people ask me why I'm doing something learning-esque, I like to reply:
"Because I find <evolutionary biology/comsmolgy/computing/other> interesting. Why do you watch American Idol?"

When asked why I'm building something, I like:
"Because I can"/ "To see if I can"/ "to prove I can".
If they are particularly annoying, I say:
"If you really have to ask, you'll never understand."

Also, this guy very much understands. Please watch the video.

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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby ducksan » Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:57 am UTC

"What's with you and studying explosives and/or exothermic reactions?"
The fact that I'm the only one to have ever taken "Organic Chemistry of Explosives" out of the Tufts library means nothing. It's not like I have the capacity or stupidity to make anything in there. Ever considered the fact that when compounds are interesting, reactive, or unstable, you might want to know why, or what kinds of neat, nitrogen-laden molecules they've managed to synthesize?
The wackier the compound, the more I'm interested in it.
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Kizyr
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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby Kizyr » Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:28 am UTC

Velifer wrote:
Kizyr wrote:Me: "I'm making a SAS program that'll simulate a soccer game."

Awesome! Finally a use for SAS I approve of. I do data manipulation with a database. I do stats in a stats program. I don't know what the hell SAS is supposed to be, other than frustrating. MERGE THIS, BITCH! AAARGH!

I really like SAS, actually. It's good when you need to do both data manipulation and statistical analysis--particularly regression analysis. SAS/EM (especially with text-miner) is really neat, too. There's plenty of good use for it--though if all you do is data manipulation, then it's not worth it for just that.

Velifer wrote:...but if you want to share the code, my SAS-enslaved co-workers will love you forever.

It'll be a while... I have the basic program down. But there are still some things I need to add and test, like effect modifiers--for instance, "home team" advantages for certain teams (like if FCB is playing in Barcelona), "aggressive" modifiers to increase both strength and chance of causing penalties (the "Wayne Rooney" variable), "leadership" modifiers for players that are also excellent captains, etc. KF
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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby Sil3ncer7 » Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:06 am UTC

A little paper thing I wrote and knocked the socks off my teacher... I am the one who speaks the obvious and doesn't appear to go into deep thought (win win!) So when I turned this in she was all like wtf?

A question asked by every person alive that wants to know. Sometime in the day you will ask why? Why do humans ask this. What fuels us humans to do what we do? As I lie here I am wondering what makes people want to know the secrete to life? If you think about it the Secrete to life is just what is says. A secret. Something that doesn't need to be spoken of, Life is just a dark, cold, lonely road. What would happen to society if someone new the secret to life, There would be nothing to look forward to. You would have no reason to live. Maybe the secret is all around us, right now. This is it that's the secret is what we are all doing. Living. The secret to life is living. Cause if you are alive you are looking forward to the next second of life and so on. but if you are dead, you have nothing to look forward to. I think we all will find the secrete to life in our own way. Its different for everyone. There isn't just one secrete for all, its all individual secretes combined into its own bundle. I wonder, if we were to know the secret to life all humanity would cease to exist, and collapse under infinite complexity. What about the last seconds of life right before you pass? I believe that is the time where you find out what the secrete to life. Always remember, How do you want to be remembered when you pass. The one who lived life for what it was, or one who didn't really care what the hell, he was doing? Because I really believe that the secret to life depends on how serious you took life when you had the opportunity. Remember, you always want to be remembered for who you are,and not some you wanted to be..

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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby Solt » Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:30 am UTC

Do you ever get tired of being asked why?


No.

I just quietly compare the average salary of my profession to the average salary of theirs and take comfort in the fact that there is justice in the world.
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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby Perpy » Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:17 am UTC

Mr_Rose wrote:
Perpy wrote:I read a college text bokk in physics to find the best method for making a catapult. And guess what...

The correct answer to that is "now I have a catapult."


Well, yes. Alternativly, I could just demonstrate my new item to them.

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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby meat.paste » Tue Jan 20, 2009 4:06 am UTC

In my experience, "why" is the fundamental of the human questions. The ability to ask this question out of a genuine sense of curiosity is crushed out of most people by the time they are 20. The ossification of imagination makes me sad. As a scientist, I enjoy giving impromtu lessons about many different subjects to my kids or the kids in my Scouting organization or anyone else who asks. I never get tired of "Why?" I keep a bunch of experiments to try to help kids understand stuff like why the sky is blue (milk, water and a flashlight for a demonstration), or "what is a crystal?" (look at some common crystals under a microscope). Encourage the kids to ask why, never be afraid to say "I don't know. Let's find out.", and praise them for their curiosity. My $0.02.
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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby The-Rabid-Monkey » Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:15 pm UTC

I converted a regular ATX power supply into a lab power supply. My Dad asks me why I wanted one. My response is simply this, well hey, now I have a lab power supply! it cost me $34 NZD for it, it works great and hey, now I have a lab power suply!!!

I spent several weeks growing some copper sulphate crystals, being careful to not let dust get into it while still allowing moisture out. My mum asks why? Well, now I have some awesomely shiny blue crystals hehe. It's just so fascinating the way they form, one of them resembles an onion, it has little layers and stuff!

I'm in the progress of building a wimshurst machine, a BIG one. with 60cm disks. Sure, I could build one with 30cm disks MUCH easier, so why build a big one? Well, it's cooler because then it makes bigger sparks! That's the only reason why. I still need to find a place that will cut 2 60cm disks out of 8mm thick perspex (or what ever the heck this shit is).

I just love doing things. Anything, I love the feeling of sitting down and making something. If I set my mind to something, there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop me short of sticking a bullet in my brain. The only reason why I do things like that is because I can! Why not?
Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right. - Salvor Hardin, From Isaac Asimov's "Foundation".

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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby qbg » Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:04 pm UTC

"We do what we must because we can"

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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby SpitValve » Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:51 pm UTC

Solt wrote:I just quietly compare the average salary of my profession to the average salary of theirs and take comfort in the fact that there is justice in the world.


Doesn't work if you're an astrophysics grad student :D

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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby Seraph » Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:12 pm UTC

The-Rabid-Monkey wrote:I converted a regular ATX power supply into a lab power supply. My Dad asks me why I wanted one. My response is simply this, well hey, now I have a lab power supply! it cost me $34 NZD for it, it works great and hey, now I have a lab power suply!!!

This is off topic, but I recomend being VERY careful doing this. ATX power supplies generally don't do well if they arn't supplied with a minimal load. At a minimum if you haven't I recomend putting a good fuse and some zener diodes in the system, because they can put out some really nasty voltage spikes when they fail.

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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby molbio5 » Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:15 am UTC

nope
i love the look on peoples faces when i start going on about genes and how to make things glow or turn food into a vaccine. when they find out that molecular bio could turn a banana into a lifesaving medicine, they tend to drop the attitude really fast...
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Re: Do you ever get tired of being asked why?

Postby Tachyon » Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:31 am UTC

Ratio wrote:I refuse to consider the question "Why". I only ever use "Why not?"

Because life's more fun then.



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"Why?"
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