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Noel (Noel)
New member
Username: Noel

Post Number: 50
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Tuesday, August 04, 2009 - 5:07 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

She asked "so are they endangered or extinct?" Everyone stared.

note: this is based on a radio program, so if you have heard it, please do not $poil. Thanks! Also, it might go quickly, and I'm ok with that. =)
Markobr (Markobr)
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Username: Markobr

Post Number: 175
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Tuesday, August 04, 2009 - 6:48 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did she want to know whether it is the case that they are either endangered or extinct? Or did she assume that they are either endangered or extinct and want to know which of these alternatives was the case?

Are "they" humans? Animals? Plants? Other life forms?

Does she assume "they" are humans? Animals? Plants? Other life forms?

Do they exist in reality? Did they once exist? Are they endangered? Extinct?

Did everyone stare because they considered the question to be stupid? Or because they didn't expect her to ask a question of this kind? Is she misunderstanding something? Are those staring misunderstanding something?

Is she H/A/F?
Are those staring H/A/F?
Noel (Noel)
New member
Username: Noel

Post Number: 52
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Tuesday, August 04, 2009 - 9:57 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did she want to know whether it is the case that they are either endangered or extinct? Or did she assume that they are either endangered or extinct and want to know which of these alternatives was the case? this one.

Are "they" humans? no Animals? yope Plants? no Other life forms? yope

Does she assume "they" are humans? no Animals? yes Plants? no Other life forms? no

Do they exist in reality? no Did they once exist? no Are they endangered? no Extinct? no

Did everyone stare because they considered the question to be stupid? Or because they didn't expect her to ask a question of this kind? this one.

Is she misunderstanding something? yope Are those staring misunderstanding something? no

Is she H/A/F? yes, but gender is irrelevant
Are those staring H/A/F? yes to H and A, gender irrelevant
Biograd (Biograd)
New member
Username: Biograd

Post Number: 410
Registered: 6-2008
Posted on Wednesday, August 05, 2009 - 8:10 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Are they fictitious? from some work of science fiction?

Did she assume that they exist in reality? or was she asking if they were extinct or endangered in the fictitious universe (if that's where "they" are from)?
Noel (Noel)
New member
Username: Noel

Post Number: 56
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Wednesday, August 05, 2009 - 2:21 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Are they fictitious? yes from some work of science fiction? yope. They are in some works of science fiction, but that is not the original source

Did she assume that they exist in reality? this one or was she asking if they were extinct or endangered in the fictitious universe (if that's where "they" are from)?
Biograd (Biograd)
New member
Username: Biograd

Post Number: 411
Registered: 6-2008
Posted on Thursday, August 06, 2009 - 8:14 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was the original source: Greek mythology? mythology of some other ancient culture? some (presently existing) religion? some well-known work of literature?

Did she assume they were extinct or endangered simply because they were mentioned in this old work of fiction, yet she had not heard of them existing in the present? or is there a more involved reason?
Noel (Noel)
New member
Username: Noel

Post Number: 60
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Thursday, August 06, 2009 - 2:34 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was the original source: Greek mythology? yope. Wikipedia tells me that they're in Greek natural history, not Greek mythology, as the Greeks believed they were real of some other ancient culture? yes, mythology from multiple ancient cultures came together to form our modern image some (presently existing) religion? yes, including some English translations of the Bible! some well-known work of literature? this too
some historians think they were based on rhinoceroses, too

Did she assume they were extinct or endangered simply because they were mentioned in this old work of fiction, yet she had not heard of them existing in the present? that's it, more or less or is there a more involved reason?

As far as I'm concerned, that's good enough for a ******SPOILER******.

A woman had read and heard about Unicorns in numerous stories throughout her childhood. It never occurred to her that they might not be real (and who can blame her, when childhood stories of unicorns are mixed in freely with stories of lions, zebras, and other equally fabulous creatures). Growing up, she knew she hadn't seen any pictures or heard of anyone else seeing them, so she just assumed they were either extinct or just very, very rare. She continued to maintain this belief until well into her adulthood, when the subject of endangered species came up in conversation. She asked "So are Unicorns endangered, or extinct?" Everyone's laughter, followed by stares when they realized she wasn't kidding, opened her eyes to the fact that unicorns aren't real - she had a scrund.

This story is from a radio episode of "This American Life" entitled "A Little Bit of Knowledge" (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?sched=1251). The episode came out very shortly after Nimue introduced her "scrund" concept here, and at least half the episode is all about scrunds! (especially Act I, from where the Unicorn story comes from). It's been in the back of my mind to post ever since then, but I've only now gotten around to joining the forum, so you'll have to excuse the fact that it's a little out of date. =)

So this was a really easy puzzle, made easier by the fact that I gave wayyy too much away in the puzzle statement (the frustrating thing is that I thought of a MUCH better way to ask the question only moments after I posted it, ugh!). But that's ok, as the main reason for posting this puzzle was to call attention to the radio episode, as it's related so closely to this forum. Enjoy!

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