Free Will Or
[an e-mail hoax, of sorts]
This "hoax" was floating around on
the humor lists, and a reader sent us a copy.
This is VERY VERY strange!! Try it!!
This is weird. Follow the instructions!
NO PEEKING AHEAD!
Free will or synaptic wiring? You be the judge. Do the following exercise, guaranteed to raise an eyebrow. There's no trick or surprise. Just follow these instructions, and answer the questions one at a time and as quickly as you can! Again, as quickly as you can but don't advance until you've done each of them ... really.
Now, arrow down (but not too fast, you might miss something).
Think of a number from 1 to 10
Multiply that number by 9
If the number is a 2-digit number, add the digits together
Now subtract 5
Determine which letter in the alphabet corresponds to the number you ended up with (example: 1=a, 2=b, 3=c, etc.)
Think of a country that starts with that letter
Remember the last letter in the name of that country
Think of the name of an animal that starts with that letter
Are you thinking of Kangaroos in Denmark?
If not, you're among the 2% of the population whose minds are different enough to think of something else. 98% of people will answer with kangaroos in Denmark when given this exercise. Freaky, huh? Keep this message going. Forward it to people you know and see if they can see if they are usual or unusual.
From: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: (no subject)
Date: Friday, February 25, 2000 7:09 PM
The equation always comes up 4, which always equals "D".
The only countries that begin with "D" are as follows:
Most people who would do exercises like this (European-Americans; subjects of the United Kingdom) have heard of Denmark, may (on a very off chance) think of the Dominican Republic, and probably have never heard of Djibouti. Thus, your letter is probably "K" (a letter that does not appear in many Western alphabets).
(I picked the kitten as my animal, which is not really a proper animal name. Yahoo's main (rough) list of mammals goes straight from Jaguars to Leopards, so I looked further and consulted the Smithsonian's section on animals.)
Not many would pick the others from the Smithsonian's entire list of common animal names that begin with the letter "K":
Kahuzi swamp shrew
Kashmir pygmy flying squirrel
Kashmir rock shrew
or the Smithsonian's list of scientific names:
Kannabateomys amblyonyx (spiny rat)
Kerivoulinae (no common name)
Kogia simus (dwarf sperm whale)
Kobus ellipsiprymnus (waterbuck)
Kadarsanomys (no common name)
Kerodon rupestris (no common name)
Kogia breviceps (pygmy sperm whale)
Kunsia fronto (no common name)
so it makes sense that the kangaroo would come up extremely often amongst European-Americans who can even think far enough through this exercise.
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