There Is No Australia

We’d better take off the fur suits and run fast, Joey. The rubes are onto us.

As you guys know — or not, though those of you who read the Dyce Dare series probably know — I have a very odd sense of humor.

Sure, it overlays other people’s sense of humor to an extent, or Dyce’s series wouldn’t make me so much.  But mostly it’s off on its own little island, dancing around and mooning bewildered passerbyes.

It will help you understand my sense of humor if you realize I almost died when older son started doing an history of the “lost seven states” of America, starting with the great state of Nwadna who moved to Italy, in embarrassment over the civil war.  It now lives in a third floor walkup, with a window box, and takes in wash to make ends meet.

I know for most people that’s too weird to be funny, because I tried it on you guys once and you were worried for my sanity.  But for me, the out-there nature of the insanity made me laugh until I couldn’t breathe.  (And yes, older son knows how to get to my funny bone.  It amuses him.)

So of course, when this hit my newsfeed This Student Failed Her Assignment Because Her Professor Said “Australia Isn’t A Country”it was all but guaranteed that I’d have to do a post about why there is no Australia.

Note that this was not the Professor’s contention.  Apparently her madness was of a lesser and distinctly unfunny degree.

From the post:

But the professor still wasn’t convinced. In her lecturing reply, which Arnold provided to BuzzFeed News, the professor doubled down on her Australia-denialism:

I will gladly re-examine your week 2 milestone project report.

But before I do I want you to understand that any error in a project can invalidate the entire research project.

Research is like dominoes, if you accidentally knock over one piece the entire set will also fall.

Australia is a continent; it is not a country. That error made it nearly impossible for you to accurately complete your week 2 research outline correctly.

As I mentioned above I will look over your week two paper once again and see if you earned more credits than I gave you.

The problem with the kind of insight the professor demonstrated is, of course, that like lifting the corner of the veil, it gives us a tantalizing glimpse that makes us want to see under it altogether.

And in this case, the problem is that it started me thinking.

Think about it, a continent where everything wants to kill you, and which nonetheless has inhabitants?  What sense does that make?  Oh, and their best known animal is a photogenic giant rat who is …. a marsupial?  And can box?  Right.  And people who live there are like uninhibited Britishers who continuously brag about their big knives?  Yeah, that’s likely.  Couldn’t they at least have chosen the French?  I mean, they’re more likely to brag about their phallic objects.

You’ll say, but Sarah, surely you have friends from Australia or who immigrated to Australia and naturalized.

Sure.  But I wasn’t there to see them grow up in Australia, was I?  Or there to see them live in Australia now?

I’m not sure where Kate Paulk actually grew up, though given her sense of humor is even odder than mine, perhaps a Mars colony they just never told us about.

And Dave Freer has clearly found a little piece of Eden and since he doesn’t want us all to tramp in and destroy it, he pretends he’s in Australia, which is a creation of novelists and movie makers and never existed.  Heck, the kangaroo (And what name is that?) was probably made up by Disney in the same spirit they “filmed” the “suicide” of the lemmings.

Seriously, think through the series of improbabilities that is Australia, and the answer will be plain to you.  Like the great state of Nwadna and its disappearance, the fact Australia is an hoax is one of those things that them who control history have tried to hide from you.

But that’s okay.  Your eyes have been opened, and your tinfoil hat set at a jaunty angle.

#thereisnoaustralia #wakeuppeople  #educateyourself

343 thoughts on “There Is No Australia

    1. Obviously. Iowa is just a statistical average of all the other states (excluding Nwadna and the other lost states). It’s absurd to think that it’s actually a real place.

      (Though I suppose the counterargument is, “If Iowa isn’t real, where is it that all the presidential hopefuls go in January?”)

      1. That’s a studio set used every four years or so. Unlike moon landings, faking Iowa is a trivial exercise. Especially so with the presence of political candidates who, by their very nature, tend to be so utterly fake that they make almost anything seem real in comparison.

      2. “If Iowa isn’t real, where is it that all the presidential hopefuls go in January?”

        In over fifty years of observation I cannot recall ever seeing a presidential hopeful approach reality.

        1. I did see Reagan in person while he was campaigning for POTUS.
          However it was in Florida, so it doesn’t actually confirm Iowa’s existence…

      1. HR at a place I once worked was convinced that Idaho, Iowa, and Ohio were the same place.

        It quickly became a running joke between those of us from those places.

          1. the worst corn fields are in Illinois. I know of people who traversed the accursed state both north/south, and east/west, and they comment on how effing boring the corn of Illinois is. Rather travel Iowa or Indiana (missed out on Ohio when I went to West Virginny, shoulda hopped over at Huntington to get the state)
            The most boring stretch of travel I have suffered is from Cairo to the border north of Chicago

            1. I’ve heard of a woman from Guam who went on a cross-country roadtrip. First night, she was calling home and telling how it went on and on, like the sea.

              1. well, it is different on the east end, and sometimes the corn isn’t maize, but wheat and rye.
                To be honest, all my Kansas travels were the hilly southeastern portion.
                I used to plan my Illinois portion for middle of the night as well though.

    2. I live in California.

      The geography is very, very real. And it’s wonderful.

      The logic found in this state, however, is not real.

        1. Nope. Fuzzy logic is actually quite mathematical. What passes for logic in California is more properly called sophistry.

  1. …a very odd sense of humor.

    Huh. Then, I have been accused of such myself. I suspect we both get That Look. And the occasional need to see what can be done about getting some poor soul’s noggin out of a latchup condition.

    1. I mentioned to someone this week that my wife says I have a loco motive sense of humor. I have proudly passed it on to my sons, now, to grandsons.

      People look at me occasionally and say ” you ain’t right. “

        1. Clearly kangaroos == ROUS so Fireswamp == Australia QED . Of course Australians are descended from criminals and can’t be trusted in their descriptions of Kangaroos. Although I’m NOT Australian and so clearly can be trusted. No wait I’m just getting started…

    1. I’ve not seen the jumping rats in all my visits there, but the stories about the salty brown stuff they put on toast? All true.

          1. I don’t know, I’d suspect someone passing me a dynamite sandwich might mean me physical harm; rather than just hating my taste buds.

    2. All the stories about “Giant rats”, “Australia wants to kill you”, etc. are just stories spread by the inhabitants to keep “undesirables” out. 👿

      Don’t be fooled! That’s just the sort of story that the drop bears like to spread around so that they can catch tourists unawares!

  2. Of course Australia doesn’t exist. I mean, animals with pouches? Animals that lay eggs? Absurd.

    1. It’s a very clever sci-fi story with some of the most creative aliens that any of us have come up with. Then someone tried to pretend it was real, kind of like Orson Welles did for “War of the Worlds,” and it’s never been corrected.

    2. The echidna, of course, is just an uncommon species of badger that they claim lays eggs, but the Platypus? What were they thinking, and how much alcohol was involved? Or was is hallucinogens?

      1. Platypus: an chimeric creation of criminal mad scientists exiled from Britain in the 1800s. They took a beaver, ran over it’s nose with an automobile, and then grafted a chicken’s reproductive organs into it, as well as grafting viper’s fangs to its legs. And for good measure, starved it for several months and then took the loose skin and constructed a pouch out of it.

        1. Wrote a story where a vegan explains it was okay for him to eat fish because those were fish, not animals.

          And it even got published.

          1. Similar idea:

            I believe I have omitted mentioning that, in my first voyage from Boston, being becalm’d off Block Island, our people set about catching cod, and hauled up a great many. Hitherto I had stuck to my resolution of not eating animal food, and on this occasion I consider’d, with my master Tryon, the taking every fish as a kind of unprovoked murder, since none of them had, or ever could do us any injury that might justify the slaughter. All this seemed very reasonable. But I had formerly been a great lover of fish, and, when this came hot out of the frying-pan, it smelt admirably well. I balanc’d some time between principle and inclination, till I recollected that, when the fish were opened, I saw smaller fish taken out of their stomachs; then thought I, “If you eat one another, I don’t see why we mayn’t eat you.” So I din’d upon cod very heartily, and continued to eat with other people, returning only now and then occasionally to a vegetable diet. So convenient a thing is it to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do.

            —From Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography, end of Chapter IV.

          2. A supposed vegetarian that I met years ago claimed she was allowed to eat chicken because they are too stupid and ugly to be considered “real animals”. LOL!

            I’m pretty sure she just wanted to label herself vegetarian for the hipster cred.

  3. As you guys know — or not, though those of you who read the Dyce Dare series probably know — I have a very odd sense of humor.

    Yes, and a marvelous sense of humor it is. ‘Tis one of the things for which I love you, dear. But, then, I am an ODD.

  4. No Australia? What does that make me – chopped liver?

    Imagine there’s no Australia,
    It’s easy if you try, …

    1. You’re just a mythical creature, like Orvan. 😉

      Of course, being mythical does not mean you don’t exist. [Big Mythical Dragon Grin]

            1. I remember hearing an amusing anecdote about a combat simulation and the early days of object oriented programming. Someone botched their class inheritance heirarchy when defining other things in the simulation instead of combatants. They wanted to set up a simulation of Australia, so they spawned some kangaroos with some startle behavior (hastily created by inheriting a combatant class and overwriting the sprite and AI behavior.) When the people watching the demo flew a helicopter over a herd of kangaroos, they startled and scattered under scrub and trees. Then they popped back up with RPGs and downed the helicopter. 😀

              1. As far as I’ve ever been able to tell, that story is mostly true. It was actually caught fairly early on rather than in a public demo, but the cause (OOP + inheritance) was as in the story. And supposedly they hadn’t got around to implemented real weapons yet, so it was actually firing colorful but devastating beach balls.

        1. Read this yesterday.


          All last night, I had nightmares of Oz, which was a cross between the Wizard of Oz, Australia, and “I have no freaking clue but the nightmare informs me THIS IS OZ!” dissolving and everyone having to evacuate through worm-hole type portals, insert scenes of buildings collapsing, etc.

          And yes, there was Something Up In the Trees.

          Not sure if I should laugh or cry….

        1. I have never heard of this. How have I never heard of this??

          I love that one of the commonalities of human nature is to make up crap about fantastical creatures and try to convince the tourists they’re real…

          The American paleontologist was not convinced by the tales of the monster that he heard at a gathering of Mongolian officials: “None of those present ever had seen the creature, but they all firmly believed in its existence and described it minutely.”

          Of course they did, dude. Because you were there. 😀

          1. I regularly read cryptozoology sites and blogs because you can get nice ideas for fantasy and science fiction from them. So of course there is quite a lot of material of the Mongolian Death Worm too. Some have even gone there to look for it. 😀

            1. Books too. Love hers:

              Just don’t read about something like that just before going for a long midnight walk in the nearby woods. I don’t believe, but seems not believing doesn’t really matter in order to get spooked in suitable circumstances. Besides foxes can sound pretty damn spooky so when one (probably) screamed almost right next to me I nearly had a heart attack. Came home a lot faster than I had walked when going there. 😀

            2. I love a good scary story. 😀

              (Though midnight walks around here are a no-go. Too rocky/steep, and too many coyotes, bears, and/or mountain lions. And while the cougars in particular are known to be fat and lazy off the easily-caught deer population in the area…it’s best not to tempt them overmuch. 😀 )

              1. Heh. No bears near here, there have been a few rumored wolf sightings – or they may have been somebody’s escaped pet dog, who knows – the most dangerous animals you might run into in the nearby woods are European elks (actually not necessarily funny, they sometimes do attack people and are fully capable of killing you with one kick) and humans. But I go by the assumption that considering the neighborhood there will be no potential rapists or robbers patient enough to skulk in the wooded areas that late in the night when most people will be in their beds, as there are no bars or restaurants nearby which would be open after about 8 or 9 in the evening. I live on the outskirts of a small city, just where it starts to turn into a countryside so there are some apartment houses (live in one), some big stores and one mall, a few areas packed with houses, and small woods and fields between those.

                And after over 20 years of working nights I can’t sleep on my off nights. So sometimes I go for walks. Which a few times have turned to jogs even if I can’t run all that well – generally I am not scared of nighttime or woods, or woods by night 😀 – but yeah…

    1. Or the Giant Carnivorous Tree Sloth. Very fond of children, they are. They lurk above campfires and wait for the right moment to drop on their prey…

    2. A peculiar beast. Despite its appearance, it is most closely related to the North American jackalope.

      Doesn’t sing so pretty, though.

  5. Getting away from Australia for a bit (which is weirdly tough, because when you “take off” in the plane you’re actually going downward, of course – if the plane rises as you leave the ground it’s a sure sign that you’re going to crash) to talk about “the professor” in this scenario. Do you suppose that she applies her own rigid laws of failure to her own thought processes? “Any error … can invalidate the whole project.” Nah, I didn’t think so, either.

    1. It probably does… except the professor (article doesn’t say if prof’s a he or she, or whatever politically-correct pronoun is involved this week) believes themself to be incapable of making a mistake. After all, they have a PhD. That means they know EVERYTHING!

      1. Hardly a new phenomenon.

        My name is Benjamin Jowett.
        I’m the master of Balliol College.
        Whatever is knowledge I know it;
        and what I don’t know isn’t knowledge.

        Circa 1880.

      2. Being the nasty, suspicious person I am… I wonder if it was relevant that it was a continent, rather than just a country. Poor phrasing can be quite embarrassing, but it wouldn’t be the first time someone deliberately tried to make the person who caught them being silly look more foolish than they are.

          1. Taking instructions and equivocating it into a different form based on an interpretation of one word would be an example of being silly– say, if the printed instructions say “a country,” but it’s clear from both the in class instructions and the context that it has to be a country that shares land borders with X other countries.

            See the trick of mistaking the word “man” to mean “male” when it clearly means “human-kind” in context for another example.

            1. If that were the case, I’d think that the professor would talk about that, rather than just saying that it’s a continent.

              1. It’d depend on the original instructions.

                Raptor says that it was actually a decent representation of the claim, so moot, but I do wish folks would be a little more suspicious.

            2. If it was clear from lectures and “classroom discussions” that the country to be “compared to the US” had to have borders with other countries, then you have a point.

              However, there was nothing in the article that the “country” had to have land borders with other countries.

              In this case, apparently the “instructor” belatedly realized that Australia was both a country (thus matching the requirements) and a continent.

              IE If the student had taken Europe as a whole to compare to the US, then the zero points would have made sense.

              Of course, I could be completely missing your point. 😉

              1. However, there was nothing in the article that the “country” had to have land borders with other countries.

                Which was kind of my point– I don’t trust article-writers with a nice, juicy “point and laugh” story dropped into their laps to do any kind of…well, reporting.

                It is way more fun–and less work!– to go “hahaha, what an idiot!”

                Being from several groups that tend to get hit with this, and sympathetic to several others…. (seen some of the hit pieces about furry cons? They’re so bad that there’s been a mini-response of rather shocked actual reporting by people who go in, look, and meet the various outreach groups. I give it about ten-twenty years before they’re as accepted as the Stormtroopers who visit kids’ hospitals.)

            3. Man ALWAYS means “humanity” so you can ALWAYS correct it to “person.” Even when someone tells you that werewolf means man-wolf.

              (The feminine would be “wifwolf” actually, and as for the gender neutral one, — err– well — “manwolf.”)

        1. Could be… but given the fact that I had a science teacher (6th Grade) adamantly insist that James Cameron discovered the Titanic in 1997 despite my bringing in Robert Ballard’s book about his (Ballard, obviously, not Cameron) expedition and discovery of the ship in 1985, I’m inclined to believe the student.

          And according to an article I found, it was a sociology class and the project was something like comparing social media usage in two different countries, and the student chose the US and Australia, so the fact that Australia is also a continent shouldn’t have even entered into the discussion.

          1. *sympathy* I had the grave misfortune to bring in the Soviet records showing that the folks the teacher was insisting had been falsely executed were, in fact, spies for the USSR….

            I’m mildly impressed a news story showed up WITHOUT it being a total rope-a-dope; usually if they get to national news, it’s horrifically stupid misrepresentation. (Like the one reported as a kid expelled for claiming to have the one ring, when he was expelled for being a long-term bully who in this specific case claimed he’d put a magician’s ring around another kid’s throat and nobody would find his corpse. Source for original story: father of expelled kid, who provided a several years old picture as well. )

            1. I had a teacher or two who insisted that it was nonfiction too. Thankfully they were Social Studies teachers (I was, alas, born too late to have “history” or “civics” courses as part of my standard curriculum in grade school) and not English, so I was spared from having to slog my way through that pile of dreck.

  6. *I* want to know what the ‘Professor’ says when he/she learns that Australia is, indeed, a country AS WELL as a continent. (If I can’t be a fly on the wall, can someone at least sneak in a little drone with a camera and audio?)

    1. According to SNHU, her employer, they are no longer her employer. And the student was refunded the cost of the class and received a most humble apology.

      Which is nice. The university actually supported the student over the teacher for once.

      Australia is real. It is a country. It’s right next to Arizona, which would explain why the Australian shepherd dog was actually created in the USA. The Australians were too advanced and farmed it out to the lesser advanced neighbor.

      Kangaroos are real too. They are giant mutated opossums, caused by the emitted rays of Nicolai Tesla’s Death Ray/Transmitted Energy experiments. Seen it with my own eyes…

        1. So what’s your explanation for the giant Maine Potatoes Orvan? Radioactivity from the NH granite which has a fair amount Uranium that emits Radon :-).

      1. If the university went against a tenured professor who was in the wrong, I would be more impressed. As it was, they chose the paying customer over a contract employee; those instructors that are hired by the semester fall considerably below the janitors on the university totem pole. The fact that the student was actually right and the teacher was wrong is just the icing on the cake.

  7. There used to be a running joke back where I grew up that Idaho didn’t exist. This was because on a LOT of commercials there was always a disclaimer: Except in Idaho.
    So a group of us took it on ourselves to gather evidence proving that Idaho was a scam, and spent a lot of time developing proof and arguments. Was a fun thing at the time, and it’s helped by the fact that the whole reason Idaho has that narrow part at the top was because the people living to either side of the mountains in Washington and Montana didn’t know about the ‘valley’ in between and there are even old maps out there that show Washington and Montana bordering each other.

    1. Or is that only the public Idaho doesn’t exist? I recall something about a private Idaho, but that was some years ago and I wasn’t paying it much attention.

          1. “It was a dreary day on Caladan. The glowglobes over the street were flickering and a wind colder than a Harkonnen’s heart was blowing off the sea with the promise of a storm. I heard footsteps behind me and my hand reached for the lasgun under my coat . . .”

            1. “I opened the pru-door. The dame strolled into my office like it was hers. I could tell at a glance she was Bene Gesserit. Perfect body control and a Voice that could make a man smile while he slit his own throat.”

              1. “He danced away from my thrust like he was wearing suspensors. The thug’s knife went through my body-shield like it wasn’t even there. With a flick of the blade, he cut open the back of my left hand, forcing me to drop my kindjal. His buddy came from behind and socked me one so hard you’d think he had atomics in his fist. I crumpled to the ground, feeling like the Butlerian Jihad was raging in my skull.

                ‘Lay off the CHOAM case,” said the knife-man. ‘And tell your buddy the Duke to keep his nose out of the Emperor’s business. It ain’t healthy.”

                1. “Pundi rice, whale fur, semuta smuggling — what did it all mean? And what did it have to do with the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood and CHOAM? I had the feeling that a trip to Arrakis might be the only way to find out.”

                2. “We love repeat customers.” the oily Thielax medic said as he stitched up my scalp. “We hope to see much more of you in the future!”

            2. “…. it was that Bene Gesserit dame with those damned blue eyes again. She was going to tell me a story, and I was going to go traipsing around the galaxy again…”

    2. “the whole reason Idaho has that narrow part at the top was because the people living to either side of the mountains in Washington and Montana didn’t know about the ‘valley’ in between”

      Idaho was supposed to be square-ish, much like the states around it, but the surveyors mistook the Bitterroot Mountains for the Rockies and you ended up with the bigger Montana and the pan-shaped Idaho. (Measure twice…)

      1. I am thinking of a giant map of the United States that my classmates and I made in third grade. We didn’t really understand things like scale, and also made the mistake of having two groups, one starting at each coast.

        There had to be some err… “adjustments” where the two teams met. I recall that Montana came out about 4x the size of Texas, among other things. It was about right north to south, but it was very, very, very wide. 🙂

      2. the surveyors mistook the Bitterroot Mountains for the Rockies …

        At least, that was their explanation once they’d sobered up.

        1. I remember hearing (maybe on “How the States Got Their Shapes”?) Idaho’s shape was the result of political animus between the territorial governor of Idaho Territory and one of the folks responsible for setting the boundaries of the new Montana Territory. The remaining section of the Idaho Territory was originally supposed to be about 30% larger, retaining a northeast chunk of land that would have encompassed the lands west of the Rockies and north of roughly what is now Montana Route 200. Instead, that chunk went to Montana due to the animus. Or so I remember – my memory could be wrong, or it could be more of History Channel’s sad decline.

          1. it could be more of History Channel’s sad decline.

            I have found myself increasingly happy with programs on the National Geographic Channel and the Smithsonian Channel, particularly the latter’s Aerial America series, involving one-hour flyovers of each of the fifty states (okay, it too two episodes for California.)

            1. The national Geographic Channel has been surprisingly good recently. Which makes up some for the various history channels degenerating into reality tv.

          2. Northern Idaho features large silver reserves and some of the most fertile dry-land farming in the country.
            There was a lot of animus and intrigue related to how the region was divvied up. (Including odd artifacts like the University of Idaho being older than the state.)

            1. The University of Idaho being older than Idaho (as a state) isn’t that odd; the University of Arizona predates Arizona statehood by nearly thirty years.

              (Now if you’re saying it predate’s Idaho’s existence as a territory, that’s different.)

  8. I would have been totally and utterly gobsmacked if my prof said Aus is not a country to me while I was in university, what a numpty. And the student gave prof time to correct their ignorance and the teacher did not use time wisely. It is fortunate for prof that they having their name kept of the news, I wonder if they get a teaching job ever again?

    Tho I haven’t been to Australian and cant for certain say it exists, I lived in Shepherd’s Bush in London during 1990s and there were a ton of boisterous people who had peculiar accents and claimed to be from down under.

      1. Thanks for memories, RES. I was teenager during 1980s and well remember men at work.

        Who can it be now was my favourite of theirs – my niece and nephew are at my house right now and I just introduced them to 80’s Aussie music. Nephew indifferent but niece is intrigued by sax on ‘who can it be now’ but not bothered with ‘down under’.

  9. I can assure you Sarah, that at least there was an OZ, I visited there over 40 years ago, A grand place, all the men would shout you a drink at any pub, all women were young and beautiful, all the beaches were topless, except those that were nude.

    However reading the news, I an not quite sure if Australia is a country or a constipation, but one can say that about much of the world today.

      1. Nope, even though it took over 20 some hours to get there from Alaska, it was in one of those thingies with wings and air pushing pods.

        Of course memories tend to be viewed through rose colored glasses, & the hue deepens over the years, but I assure you it was quite a grand place.

    1. There is indeed an Australia; my daughter did a TDY there, and while she and her buddies did get do a lot of recreational drinking while they were there … well, the USMC does not cut orders for TDYs to nonexistent countries. They’re humorless that way.

      1. I confess a certain unreasoning affection for cultures which package their beer lager in cans of a size customarily employed for motor oil.

        The Scots, I’ve noticed, tend to package their beer in large, extremely heavy glass bottles, the sort that won’t break the first time you rap it atop some bloke’s noggin.

    2. Clearly you are one of the few not in on the conspiracy who was taken to the secret location where they convince people there is an Australia and send them back to sow seeds of belief in the nonexistent country. 🙂

      1. My parents were of that group, too. My father had a picture that was clearly a picture of him and my mother from when he was on a ship in WWII, but he claimed it was actually just some woman who worked at a photo shop where sailors could come in and have their picture taken with a pretty woman.

        I suspect my mother was part of the conspiracy.

      2. You’ll notice that one of the things he mentioned that the “locals” were eager to do was buy him alcohol. Likely they figured that a drunk tourist would be easier to fool than a sober one.

          1. Yeah, sadly Greens are the worst invasive species to hit Oz- worse than the rabbits, cane toads, and Poms.

  10. And we wonder why we’re getting idiots graduating college? It’s because the idiots are teaching them.

  11. How did the professor get to be a professor with such a poor knowledge of geography? Oh wait, I know how – correct gender identification, correct colour, correct political views.

    1. It’s jarring when us myths have a better grip on this Reality thingie than the folks truly native to it. Methinks the dear professor has been attempting to out-drink a centaur. The results speak for themselves.

    2. Nah. Not even that. It was something that wasn’t directly related to the professor’s specialization, and was therefore irrelevant. Which is a far more scathing indictment of the system, frankly.

      1. “That’s not my department” means… oh, the photoelectric effect with it all. I think I shall go lie down for several hours, and hopefully sleep through them rather getting a nasty headache trying to make sense of things which have none.

      2. Oh yes, very much so. I was gently fussed at in grad school because “once you get your degree and a job, you do not have time to read outside your field.” I was *gasp* reading far outside my field (Xenophon’s book on horsemanship, because Col. Podhajsky recommended it in HIS book.)

        1. I’ve seen that a *lot* in the workplace. People who get a degree or a certificate, and that’s the sum total of all the knowledge they need, and they not only don’t try to keep up, they actively reject further learning.

          Because ignorance is good? Knowledge is pain? Their brain is full?

          Perhaps it’s my own blind spot. A friend once said, “There are two kinds of people. The ones who never wonder what’s inside the box, and the ones who can’t stand not to know.” I understand the first group, in a theoretical way, but it’s not something I can get my head around. Besides, I’m busy with the prybar getting the lid off this-here box…

          1. I’m too stupid to perfectly predict everything I’m going to need over the next decades. Now that I’ve realized how far I’m let things go, and have spoons to work on it, I’m trying to backfill, and to figure out where I need to go study next.

          2. I was astonished by the lack of interest shown by professors of logic about topics that *were* in their field. I got lots of “I don’t have time to read that”, one of them accompanied by the explanation “I’m trying to get tenure”.

    3. The individual was (is) a professor of philosophy. Depending on the specialty, that can seriously limit one’s contact with the world outside of one’s head.

      1. I took philosophy classes from Jesuits. Every other “philosophy” course I’ve seen descriptions of seems to be more of a survey than an introduction to thought. (The Jesuits like to break your brain, which is what properly-taught philosophy should do.) I mean, a comparison of how two different countries approach a common practice? I know it’s a community college of sorts, but that sort of thing isn’t an introduction of philosophy so much as bringing up the concept that different cultures think differently—which can be valuable, but… oy.

    4. I suspect the “professor” got her degree from a Cracker Jack’s box. either that or Yale… And being a Philosophy professor how could she not be familiar with the world famous philosophy department of Wollabaru and it’s all Bruce staff?

  12. “I know for most people that’s too weird to be funny, because I tried it on you guys once and you were worried for my sanity.”

    Please, Please, PUHLEASE tell us where to find that!

    1. “too weird to be funny”… Alright, something is fundamentally wrong here. Then, this might have been back when people still had a teeny tiny itsy bitsy yellow polkadot trust in the concept of reporting and expected things to “make sense” and all that rot.

        1. I’m still trying to figure out where “Nwadna” came from. I’m reasonably sure “Northwest Arkansas DNA Testing” isn’t involved…

  13. This professor doesn’t exist. No one with a PhD in the modern world can possibly be that ignorant. This student made her up and is trolling us all.
    Why, she didn’t even claim to have never heard of the Mysterious Island continent of Oz, visited by both the famous Captain Nemo and the Swiss Family Robinson. They even made a movie of it, starring Dorothy Gale and her little dog, too. I think they got that part wrong, it really was in Kansas, although it could have been in Iowa. When you’ve seen and slept in enough corn fields, they all start to look alike. I didn’t see one single Presidential Candidate in Iowa, though. Those are likely fictional.
    This place they call reality is so fragile. You get one little detail wrong, and the whole thing goes over like a row of dominoes. There is no Arizona. I, of course, come from the Great State of Confusion.

    1. No, No! Arizona exists! I have been there! Indeed, just a year ago last September. I even went to the Titan Missile Museum south of Tucson, and the Saguaro National Monument (Park? Forest?)

      1. Just because you claim to know someone who has been to a place doesn’t mean it really exists. It’s a social construct. What, you’re going to trust the word of some stranger on the internet as much as your own lyin’ eyes? Why, I could just as easily claim that there really is such a place as Tombstone, and that I’ve been there. Also to Tucson and the Saguaro National Monument, (and it is a Monument, not a Forest or a Park, although I do confess that in Arizona the difference isn’t all that obvious). I’m not so sure about Old Tucson…

        1. Best part of visiting Tombstone:
          The guy walking down the road who got randomly questioned by a passer-by about his non-period-accurate firearm and when the next shootout was, just sort of blinked and said “I have no idea, I just live here.”

        2. Of course Old Tucson is a myth, how else could anyone expect the Sonoran desert to substitute for Mankato, Minnesota for Little House on the Prairie?

      2. Nah, it’s like those Soviet cities that only existed when there was a political reason for them to be on the maps. A few signs here and there, hey presto!

        You *thought* you were in Arizona because you saw signs that matched what you expected to see.

    2. Someone needs to write a story where Dorothy lands in Oz, not OZ.
      Where the Good Witch gives Dorothy a pair of ruby thongs.
      Where she lands in the middle of Boganland.
      We represent the XXXX Guild
      The &*^%$ing XXXX Guild

      1. I’m betting a movie has been done like that. Involving lots of nudity and … beyond.
        Probably in the 70s, so the Munchkins all have ‘staches.

  14. California is a good place to be from. Far away from. I managed it, once, but somehow got stuck back in LA East.

    1. I spent 4 years under the smog, and got an in-grown post-nasal drip that didn’t clear up for another 6-8 years.

  15. To be fair, the last time *I* was in Australia (or the waters surrounding it any rate), we were definitely pretending that there were several large and fictitious landmass in that area of the world. Rather entertaining, the lengthe people will go to for a bit of verisimilitude in a bilateral training exercise. Not just maps, but “news broadcasts” from and about these fictional landmasses.

  16. I grew up on the Arizona Strip. That is another area that is often invisible in people’s minds. Considering the two biggest towns on the strip are Colorado City (where the polygamist FLDS are headquartered) and Fredonia, and both are under 5 miles from the Utah border, hardly anybody recognizes that the strip even exists. It is either filed under Southern Utah or completely ignored.

    1. I think you’re right about the Arizona Strip. Looking at a map, I’m positive I drove through Fredonia to get from the Grand Canyon to Zion National Park, and I usually have pretty good memory. Jacobs Lake further south and Kanab north in Utah are clear as day in my mind, but Fredonia may as well not exist.

      1. Fredonia is a small town, rather spread out, and there isn’t much space between it and the outskirts of Kanab. The road signs are small and easy to miss.

        1. I remember stopping to take a few photos from an overlook where the forest starts thinning out, then descending from the forested area through red and orange rocks into a valley, and then the colorful sign at the Utah/Arizona border. Fredonia exists somewhere in between, but not in my memory.

  17. I have no problem believing this story. I am a high school dropout who reads a lot, and my general knowledge base is far superior to nearly all of the faculty members with whom I interact on a daily basis.

    I can remember talking with a group of professors about office moves and question of who was moving into Room 101 came up. I said, “Winston Smith” and there were some polite nods at which point I realized that none of them understood that I was making a joke. Not only had none of them read Nineteen Eighty Four, only one of them even realized that it was the title of a novel. I had a woman who teaches on a graduate level (in the college of education) tell me that she thought that references to “1984” referred to the Reagan administration.

    1. Which circles back to the fact that Australia in fact is NOT a country, but a continent.

      Australia is part of Oceania; Australia has always been part of Oceania.

        1. I remember going through the education department at a state school, and deciding that I would never send my kids to a public school in the area.
          Well, when the minimum requirement to stay enrolled was a 2.5 GPA, let’s just say that it was obvious that the only requirement was that you didn’t need a metronome to remember to breathe.

          1. I’ve actually heard of an odd problem with similar requirements in some states, low as it is, especially if it uses raw GPA (i.e. taking course again to replace old bad grade not factored in). A person who might make a good teacher might get aimed at STEM track in college initially, only to discover after a disastrous semester or two they’re not cut out for that. At that point, they can have done enough damage to GPA that they’d have to take a year or more of extra classes to improve GPA enough to go into education. So it seldom happens.

    2. I’m reminded of the story of Capt. Phil on Deadliest Catch. His Guidance Councilor voted him “Least Likely To Succeed”. So, this lady and her hubby were selling their house for $40,000, and after his first paycheck at the age of 17, he took $42,000 of it in cash, put it in a paper bag, walked up to their door, rang the bell, when the hubby answered, walked in, dumped the cash onto a counter or table and told them to get out.
      She ran off crying, and they refused to sell him the house.

      1. I dunno ’bout the rules over there, but in USA you are not allowed to refuse a bona fide offer because discrimination or sumthin’.

        You are allowed to require a certain minimal time to close the deal and clear the property.

      2. My favorite guidance councilor story is Jay Leno’s, in which the session opened with the remark that “You know, college isn’t for everybody” then gravitated to “There are wonderful career opportunities with McDonald’s.”

        In fairness, Leno was reportedly a highly talented car mechanic, which field can earn considerable money and doesn’t require college. Further, being a stand-up comedian is a profession probably hampered by college education, as that typically diminishes any sense of humour or creativity.

  18. Was in Australia for a month back in 19[redacted]. It really does exist, and it varies from cold as the blazes down near Tasmania to baking hot in the Great Red Centre (the rock formerly known as Ayers Rock). I went in late June – early July and had a wonderful time.

      1. Exactly. First thing that happened, once jet-lag wore off, was a trip to buy warm wool pants and a heavier sweater. Melbourne has wet cold, not a dry chill.

  19. Fredonia is in drive-through country, if you’re one of those clinically insane inverse snowbirds who winter at school in Utah and go home to Phoenix for summer vacation. Or, at least, so I thought until I started doing family history and found that southern Utah (and Fredonia, too) is chock-full of cousins.

    1. Way back BEFORE when, I was in Albuquirky, and the local CBS TV station got a letter from HQ in NYC, addressed to it in Spanish. It was on the front page of the paper the next day.

  20. That place where some travel agents insist that you need a visa to come from or go to? I’ve heard of it; although I’m not sure that a couple of drive-throughs count as “been there.”

    1. That’s New Mexico, not Australia, where if it really is a country and not just a continent, you do need a visa. Although I know someone who does claim to have been to Australia, and could once upon a time produce a hat and sweatshirt from there as evidence…

      1. I have a Land Cruiser with the steering wheel on the wrong side, and license plates from the mythical Northern Territories on it. Does that count?

  21. But that’s okay. Your eyes have been opened, and your tinfoil hat set at a jaunty angle.

    “All right, old chaps! They’ve been lying to us for decades, nay, CENTURIES! Now we’re going to tell them they can’t fool us any more! Ready to move out! Set caps to JAUNTY!”

    1. Set caps to JAUNTY!

      Whoaaaa – you want to be careful about that, as Gully Foyle would warn you!

      Gully Foyle is my name
      And Terra is my nation
      Deep space is my dwelling place
      The stars my destination

        1. Strange, isn’t it, how our minds can refuse to remember some data. For example, I can always recall the Munchkins and the Quadlings and will, occasionally remember the Winkies but I can never remember all four native peoples of Oz.

        2. It’s a five-potboiler-sized SF saga crammed into what by modern standards would be a “novella.”

          Bester crammed more stuff into that book than most writers come up with in their entire careers.

            1. And the central plot emphasis kept changing. He did more and better multiple-POV in that short novel than the average modern can do in a quintology of 600-pagers.

              1. Unfortunately he didn’t have another book like that in him. “The light that burns twice as bright lasts half as long.”

                1. Damned few authors had a book like that in them, but it wasn’t Bester’s only notable novel. You seem to be forgetting The Demolished Man, winner of the first ever Hugo Award for Best Novel (1953), back when the award meant something.

                  Bester’s SF output was limited by his preference for the far more lucrative fields of radio and television writing and magazine editing, although as a beginning writer Alfred wrote for DC comics, where he created Solomon Grundy and the “In brightest day, In blackest night” Green Lantern oath.

                  Apt anecdotage:

                  After his university career, 25-year-old Alfred Bester was working in public relations when he turned to writing science fiction. Bester’s first published short story was “The Broken Axiom”, which appeared in the April 1939 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories after winning an amateur story competition. Bester recalled, “Two editors on the staff, Mort Weisinger and Jack Schiff, took an interest in me, I suspect mostly because I’d just finished reading and annotating Joyce’s Ulysses and would preach it enthusiastically without provocation, to their great amusement. … They thought “Diaz-X” [Bester’s original title] might fill the bill if it was whipped into shape.” This was the very same contest that Robert A. Heinlein famously chose not to enter, as the prize was only $50 and Heinlein realized he could do better selling his 7,000-word unpublished story to Astounding Science Fiction for a penny a word, or $70. Years later, Bester interviewed Heinlein for Publishers Weekly and the latter told of changing his mind for Astounding. Bester says that he replied (in jest), “You sonofabitch. I won that Thrilling Wonder contest, and you beat me by twenty dollars.”

                  Though repeatedly voted in polls the “Best Science Fiction Novel of All Time”, The Stars My Destination would prove to be Bester’s last novel for 19 years. A radio adaptation was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1991[24] and again in 1993.

                  Film adaptations of The Stars My Destination have been frequently rumored. According to David Hughes’ Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made, Richard Gere owned the rights to this novel right after his success with Pretty Woman, and wanted to star in it. Later, NeverEnding Story producer Bernd Eichinger had the rights and hired Neal Adams to do concept art. Still later, Paul W.S. Anderson was set to direct it, but wound up doing Event Horizon instead. Since then, a number of scripts have been written, but nothing more has happened.

                  It is alleged during this period that the producer of the 1978 Superman movie sent his son off to search for a writer. The name Alfred Bester came up, but Bester wanted to focus the story on Clark Kent as the real hero, while Superman was only “his gun.” The producers instead hired Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather, to write the film.

                  In Babylon 5, Psi-Cop Alfred Bester is named after him (and the treatment of telepathy in Babylon 5 is similar to that in Bester’s works).

                  The time-travelling pest named “Al Phee” in Spider Robinson’s Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon series is based on Bester.

                  Firefly – Many of the names of off-camera and minor characters are drawn from the ranks of science fiction writers; under the character name “Bester,” actor Dax Griffin played the original mechanic of the ship Serenity.[38]


                  1. No, I gave The Demolished Man due consideration… it’s probably his second-best novel, but while it’s a workmanlike and readable story, it’s not the in-your-face three-ring extravaganza The Stars My Destination is.

  22. Glenn Beck joked that his family asked him to tell everyone that it rained a lot in Washington, because if he told them everything else about Washington, everyone would want to move there.

        1. IDK, Seattle has a big ass splash of its own.
          “We don’t salt the roads to prevent polluting the sound with salt” . . . because oil and antifreeze are so much better in the oceans than a touch more salt.

          1. They didn’t use that much salt anyways– but by pushing that rule, they were able to force the part of the state that has had snow since October, and will have it until June, to use the fish-spray stuff that is a deadly hazard if you put it on after ice has formed.

  23. Wait, Kate Paulk is from the Martian colonies? They’re no longer cut off, and we can get there again? Obviously, if they’re sending their troublemakers here, we’ve got a way to emigrate!

    Let’s go! Occupy Mars!

  24. You lot will be claiming New Zealand doesn’t exist next. Since you are all figleafs of my imagination, disintermediated by the magic elf box, I hereby assert that New Zealand does in fact exist. They had to put Middle-Earth *somewhere*….

    1. New Zealand does exist. We were successfully boarded by a kayaker there. Who was promptly escorted below where he sat until turned over to the NZ police- looking very very frightened the whole time.

      The rest of the time in NZ was spent with the vast majority of Kiwis apologizing for the unwelcoming committee. It was very hard to actually buy a drink during the visit, though very easy to get drinks…

      It also seemed that one one of the goals for many NZ women was to find a husband who would take them SOMEWHERE else.

      Australia,unfortunately, remained a mythical place for us that trip, though we often heard stories of it being a magical place for liberty.

      Some Kiwi sailors there keenly observed that most of the women flocking to go out with American sailors wouldn’t even look at them. A similar observation was made by us of the Brits when we had a Brit boat dock on the next pier over in San Diego…

        1. NZ is not that big. And far from most of the rest of the world, which is expensive to get to. While it seems idyllic to some to live on a remote isolated island, it’s quite the opposite to many who actually live there.

    2. I have personally both stood on the deadly soil of Oz and seen first-eye the fjords and fiddly-bits of South Island New Zealand, so as a logical extension, I must not exist.


  25. I’ve been to Australia, but it’s pretty obvious some of the names exist just to have a go at the tourist. Cairns, is spelled “Cairns” but pronounced “Cans”.
    Then there’s “Yorkey’s Knob”…

    1. Yeah, but I live in a country with towns named Blue Ball, Intercourse, Truth or Consequences, and Hot Coffee…

        1. Depends on the Paradise. Michigan’s is about 300 miles north of Hell. I don’t have anything funny to say about California’s. OTOH, it might be mythical.

  26. Ow…. Dang it, Sarah, give some warnings before you throw in hash-tags like that, I over did it yesterday and after giggling over that, it feels like I pulled something in my gut!

  27. OK I concede defeat. Can’t take meds and vitamins while laughing at these posts. Thanks everyone!!! (BTW, late husband was born in Panama. State of Florida drivers licenses couldn’t find on country list so his license info says born in “other”.)

  28. Family legend says we had an ancestor in the 18XXs who was suspected of stealing grain from the country squire. He got his family out, sold the rest of the grain, and emigrated to Chicago*, of all places.

    I guess if he’d been a bit slower, he’d have been a nowhere man.

    (*) As far as I know, he’s still voting Democrat.

  29. The professor initially acknowledged that there was such a place as the continent of Australia, and later even went on to acknowledge that there is a country of the same name. According to Wikki there are four countries that are considered to be in whole or part within the continental area of Australia – Australia, Papua New Guinea, East Timor and portions of Indonesia.

    1. I’m pretty certain Winnipeg exists, because I flew into there and over-nighted. The captain had missed the bit about the goose cannon (actually anti-goose cannon) on the briefing and got rather excited during final approach, the [rude word*].

      *He taught me invaluable lessons on how not to manage co-workers, lessons I do my best not to inflict on subordinates.

    1. Jagi’s gaming team is obviously on crack. “Rowling made Hogwarts ‘unplottable’? Fine, we’ll put a whole hidden country into the Australian outback. And we’ll put another, Thule, into the Northeast Greenland National Park, and put Cathay between China and Vietnam, and add Prester John’s Kingdom for good measure, and…”

        “You mean, you can add landscapes? Could we add new countries? New continents?”
        “Beyond the existing eight, you mean?” quipped Rachel, trying not to smirk.
        “There are eight continents? When do we learn that? Is the eighth one invisible to the Unwary? What’s on it? Dinosaurs? Space aliens? Fairies?”
        Rachel burst into laughter. “There are only seven continents. I was pulling your leg.”
        “Oh, right, play head games with the Unwary kid,” Sigfried scowled. He crossed his arms. “I feel robbed of a whole continent.”

      (from Book 4)

  30. Sweet, so we’re no longer bound by international treaties and the UN! THIS IS AWESOME-

    I am sharing this with my husband and housemate and the comments are glorious.

    Housemate: “Do we need to carry globes around with us all the time?”

    Combined comment from husband and the housemate: “Australia is now part of Antarctica. The Democratic People’s Republic of Cold Beer. Which is why the Poms don’t understand us because they want warm beer. Founded by the legendary Lord Platypussicus, who forged Australia using his beak and his spurs created all the dangerous spiders fuzzy eight legged cuddlebugs with adorable eyes and the venomous snakes hissy boop noodles which guard the realm, accompanied by the hippity hoppy pouch baby thieves and snuggly dingo babysitters.”

  31. Housemate: “Do we need to carry globes around with us all the time?”

    What good would that do? They’re all manufactured by agents of the vast geographical conspiracy.

    1. Most of the maps you see in the USA are more or less centered on the New World, with north at the top.

      There are Australian novelty maps centered on Australia, with south at the top.

      The land masses look amazingly different from that point of view…

      1. GASP! I never realized – We’ve got Pole Privilege! All the maps an globes assume that North is supposed to be on top! We should demand half the globes and maps have South at the top, to make it fair!


        1. Sadly, you just ran straight into Poe’s Law.

          There is an active contingent of vocal folks who believe the world map should be focused Africa, with South at the top, using a projection that gets area right at the expense of direction and distance (because Mercator is RAAAAACIST, don’tchaknow).

      2. I’ve never actually seen this done, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t make a map projection about any arbitrary axis (as opposed to the axis of rotation of the Earth).

        Race you to the west pole 😛

        1. For that matter (and this ties in to some thorny problems in geometry I’ve been thinking about): Spin-1/2 particles seem to behave like there is more “angular space” internally than there is in geometry as we know it. This shows up in certain scattering experiments, and the nature of spherical harmonics when you start sticking non-integer values into the PDEs.

          So, on some bizzaro projection of the Earth, there would be 720 degrees of longitude and 180 degrees of lattitude, reimann branch cuts: The missing half would look (to photons) exactly like the half we know aobut, but (if you believe the way QFT handles things …) only half of the globe would interact with the weak force 😛

  32. One of Australia’s best known creatures is clearly a patchwork pastiche,like the gryphon or really any other animal that comes from the mind of man instead of Nature. Clearly a hoax.

    (Actual argument made against the guy who was desperately trying to report the existence and characteristics of the platypus.)

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