This blog is where we announce new videos & talk about the power of explanation & the change it can create. 

Friday Funny: Highlights from Reddit's "ExplainLikeIAmA"

In the past year or so, the website Reddit has become one of favorite places to visit on the Web because of its ability to find, highlight and discuss the most amazing and interesting things on the Web. Members or "Redditors" submit links and the community votes up the best content.

From time-to-time a new “sub-reddit” (kind of like a discussion forum) appears around a very narrow theme that grabs attention. One that caught my eye (wouldn’t you know it) is about explanation. But this example has a very Reddit-centric twist.  It’s called “ExplainLikeIAmA” (Explain Like I Am A) and it asks Redditors to explain an idea for a very specific audience.
 
It works by a member proposing an explanation. As other members supply them, the best (usually funniest, most clever) ones rise to the top. A reminder - my focus here is entertainment, not explanatory skill. I’ve provided some examples below of top-rated explanations.
 
Here’s a short one so you get the idea...
 
 
So like, before there was stuff, there was other stuff and it blew up or something and created all the stuff we have now. It was really hot.
 
This one is a pretty awesome explanation...
 
 
So, you know how.....are you sure you can hear me? Yes? You're positive? Those cheesy poofs sure do crunch loud. What? No no no I know you're fabulous. Yes, you're famous. OK that's a beautiful dance, but Honey Boo Boo I got somethin' to tell you.
 
So, you know that things move right? Alright, so you know when you're in a car, driving to a pageant or a super market or the farm, you can only drive the speed limit? Quantum physics is sort of like that, except instead of only following a speed limit, itty bitty things called atoms (what stuff is made of) and electrons (they're basically like flies that buzz around atoms, kind of like flies buzzing around a pig) have a bunch of rules like speed limits that they have to follow. They can't jiggle in any way except the way their "quantum speed limit" allows. They can only spin around and around -- yes yes very much like you twirl on stage -- at a "speed limit" that's set by....well by God.
And basically there's a bajillion rules God has put on the way really small things move. Unfortunately, they can't move in any other way. I know you would throw a tantrum if you had that many rules. Yes, you're the Princess. No, you can't set any quantum rules. Why not? Well, I don't know, they're just set. Stop crying. Damnit stop crying no one wants to see that. Oh damn, no I didn't tell her her make up was bad. Will Cheesy poofs make you feel better? Ok here.
 
Alright so basically if you're really really tiny, you have to follow more rules than you can keep track of. Yep, that's why it's so much fun to be big, because there's less question about the certainty of your movements. No, not that kind of big. You just don't have to follow as many rules as atoms and electrons when you're our size. Yep, that's right, we do get to enjoy our Freedom in America! World Peace is a great goal -- use that one at your next pageant. Maybe even throw in a bit about quantum freedom -- you'll get extra points for sure. Start a "Free the Atoms and Electrons" campaign -- you'll get some great speaking points.
 
If you’re a fan of the NBC show Parks and Recreation, this one is spot-on. Ron Swanson is a man’s man character who is very meat-focused. 
 
 
Ron, we all know the benefits of eating animals. We're at the top of the food chain, and as such must establish our dominance over inferior creatures by eating them. We eat the cows because we can. We have earned that right.
The thing is, plants are living beings too. More importantly, like animals, they are below us. But what message do we send to the plants by not eating them? That they're ok? That they are on our level? That we respect them too much to eat them? In order to effectively reign over nature, we must ensure that all inferior organisms are devoured so they remember who's boss.
Everyone loves to eat animals. Animals are delicious. Plants? Not so much. Eating exclusively plants is difficult. You are depriving yourself of something everyone else enjoys and takes for granted, not because it's easy, or because you enjoy it, but because it's a job that needs to be done, and someone needs to remind those <GD> plants who's boss.
It's man's work.
 
It even gets lyrical...
 
 
Now this is a story all about how I made myself some lunch one day.
And I'd like to take a minute, just sit and stay.
I'll tell you how I made myself this PB&J.
In the suburbs of Dallas, born and raised
On Reddit is where I spent most of my days.
Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool
And reaping sweet karma instead of studying for school.
When I looked at the clock and saw that it was noon
Went into the kitchen humming a small tune.
A growl of the stomach, my hunger did betray
So I set out to make me a PB&J.
I took out the bread and put it on a plate
Spread that jelly on it like I'm Alex the Great.
Next came the peanut butter, not crunchy but smooth
Put the slices together, grand slam! I'm Babe Ruth.
 
And of course nothing on the Web is safe from discussions of cats:
 
 
Okay, so you're looking at me with those big puppy eyes and wondering why that picture of you got downvoted so quickly and the front page is full of cats. I'll tell you a little secret, and you can't let the cats know this. It's actually because dogs are better than cats that we like cat pictures more. Dogs like you have good manners. Cat's don't. Their bad manners are what makes them steal things from us, go places they shouldn't, and just act like violent a-holes. This sucks in real life, but when these bad manners get caught in a picture or on video. Well, it's schadenfreude. People are entertained by it, especially redditors. So just take reassurance in the fact that we like you more in real life, for your loyalty, your friendship, and your good manners. Here, have a treat.
 
You can find the sub-reddit here with lots of examples.  Be prepared - Reddit is often unruly and can, at times, be NSFW and possibly offensive.