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1. What is Insolitology ?
Insolitology is a term coined by us, from the Latin "insolitus" (which means "unusual, strange, uncommon"), and the Greek "logos" (which means "study"). It is therefore the study of the unusual and strange. Admittedly, many things enter in this category.
2. What is this web site ?
This site was made for general entertainment, drawing humour from all the crackpots on the web. Alleee and Franc are both fond of oddity as entertainment, and wish to share this with the masses.
3. So, are you like Scientology ?
4. Do you believe any of the weird stuff that you review ?
NO. Otherwise we would not qualify it as weird, of course.
5. How do you determine who is an oddball/crackpot/kook ?
An oddball, crackpot or kook is someone who has a position on reality/science/society/individuals that is humorous and, most importantly, completely ridiculous. Furthermore, this position is, in the worst cases, based on an Oddball/Crackpot Unifying Theory - the use of one or two concepts to explain everything.
Oddity is not scams, humour or plain gibberish (although some scams are also odd), but rather the fruit of a demented, usually non-calculating mind. Most of the people featured here honestly think they have found an Ultimate Truth (tm).
As much as we would like to imagine that someone, somewhere said "excuse me while I skulk off to a dark corner of my mind and write 200 page website consisting mainly of circular logic and poor web design" and put his dream into execution, that's not how it works, of course.
Furthermore, to get a lot of attention on Insolitology, featured sites need to have something in particular... Not just sheer lunacy of any kind, but the kind of persistent lunacy that takes a single concept and rams it into the ground. That's what makes it really absurd.
Our most popular page is the "dolphin sex" one. Someone likes the concept of having sex with a dolphin, and simply decided that he was going to write an entire detailed page about how to make sex with a dolphin. That's real persistence.
Also see this Wikipedia article on cranks.
6. Can I be featured on your site ?
Yes, if you have a web site that parodies oddity. All you have to do is email the webmaster with your URL and a note on why you want to be added.
7. A site you review is gone.
Such is the volatile nature of the Internet. Email us to signal the sad loss, and a note will be added to the link. Sometimes crackpots do come back, and we don't like to delete pages without necessity.
8. Aren't you just making fun of people ?
Well, we hope we're at least doing it in an entertaining way.
9. Why do you ridicule Christians ?
Because they are weird, of course. We do not restrict our religious examinations to Christians, neither do we limit ourselves to religion (our initial inspiration for this site, Gene Ray, is an atheist). However, religion does cover at least one-third of Internet oddity, so we cannot not review it.
10. Aren't you misusing the word "theory" ?
There are two meanings of the word theory. In common parlance, it means something that is proposed but not established as factual. In science, a theory is a factual explanation of a set of phenomena. While this is a scientific web site, we use the common meaning in order to relate better with our readers.
Besides, "hypothesis" is just too long to type.
11. All of these madmen with theories, have you noticed that every single one of them, no matter what political side they are, they all hate homosexuals ?
That's a very good question, Alleee.
Hatred of homosexuals does seem to be a common attribute of crackpots, but so is trying to convince people that Einstein was wrong. It is possible that the usual pattern of crackpot theories go against acceptance of homosexuality and Einstein, or perhaps it is a consequence of the average crackpot's personality.
Unfortunately, due to lack of funding, the infant science of Insolitology cannot yet explore this interesting subject. Write your congressman today.
12. Are these people serious ? Why don't they realize that their ideas are complete lunacy ?
My hypothesis is that a lack of a sense of humour is necessary to be a crackpot, and a believer in general. It seems to be a common trait that they are unable to see the absurdity of what they believe, and since humour is sometimes defines as the detection of illogical absurdity, it seems to fit. This is also why crackpots are so funny, and take great offense at being called trolls (although no doubt some ARE trolls).
13. I'm going to sue you. What is the American law about fair use ?
Title 17 of the United States Code, Chapter 1, Section 107: "Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use", says :
"Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright."
The four criterias to determine whenever such a use is permissible or not are : the purpose and character of the use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole, and the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. In our case, we do not compete with anyone, we do not discuss anything of substantial value, we do not copy a great proportion of anyone's work, and we do not make anyone lose money. Neither do we make money, for that matter.
Suing us won't do anything since 1. we have no money and 2. what we are doing is legal.
More questions to be added as we do not receive them.
Written by Franc on 07/2002, updated on 12/2005.