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All Previous Polls: 701-750Poll 701: Would you invite an exact copy of yourself to a party you were throwing? Would you accept?
Total votes: 836
Poll 702: How adventurous are you with food?
Total votes: 770
Poll 703: How often do you clean the crumbs out of your toaster?
Total votes: 900
Poll 704: Do you listen to the radio?
Total votes: 1025
Poll 705: When do you take your Christmas decorations down?
Total votes: 708
One person wrote in, "Typically sometime around the first weekend after New Year", and another wrote, "The traditional end of the season, Candlemas (February 2)".
I included Easter as an option because that was what my grandparents always did. The Christmas decorations would go up on Christmas Eve, no earlier, and stay up until Easter. They claimed it was traditional and the correct way to do it, and complained loudly that anyone who did differently was doing it wrong. They claimed this was the tradition in Germany, where they came from, however I've never heard of anyone else honouring this "tradition" before. So I have no idea where they really got it from.
Poll ResultsPoll 706: Mint:
Total votes: 1312
Poll 707: Are there any words that you habitually pronounce differently to most people around you?
Total votes: 711
There's one word in particular that everyone pronounces differently to me: debauchery. I'd encountered it many times when reading, but the first time I ever heard someone say it I had no idea what the heck word they were trying to say.
They were saying some weird thing like "duh-BAWTCH-ery", when I knew it was actually pronounced "duh-BOUGH-kery".
I have since discovered that apparently everybody except me also pronounces this word wrong!
Poll 708: You're being sent to 1890 London for a five year time mission. You'll have one of the first homes with electric lighting. You need to look after yourself without revealing you're from the future. You can take one of these appliances, which do you choose?
Total votes: 721
Poll 709: On a scale of 0-10 where 0 = "a continuum" and 10 = "strictly binary", where do you place the categorisation "alive/not-alive"?
Total votes: 715
Wow. Not only is it difficult to define what "life" is, it's difficult to define whether life/not-life is even a valid thing.
Poll 710: When washing dishes using a cloth/sponge/brush, which hand do you hold the dish in, and which hand do you hold the cloth/sponge/brush in?
Total votes: 816
This poll was inspired by my recent accidental kitchen knife injury to my left hand. I had my hand bandaged up for a couple of weeks, and it made it tricky to do various everyday household tasks. In particular I noticed that when cleaning off dishes I naturally hold the dish in my right hand and the dishcloth in my left, which was not really possible with having to keep my bandage dry, so I was forced to switch hands, and noticed how bizarre and unnatural it felt to hold the dish in my left hand and the cloth in my right.
I asked my friends which way around they hold them, and every single one of them (all right-handed, like me) said they hold the dish in the left hand and the cloth/brush in the right. So I was inspired to put it to a poll.
As the results show, a whopping 90.8% of you hold the cloth/brush in your dominant hand. However I'm in the minority who holds it in the non-dominant hand. Admittedly, although right-handed in all the major ways (writing, throwing, playing sports, brushing teeth, using tools), I seem to do a lot of minor tasks in the same way as most left-handed people. It's a bit weird.
Poll 711: Combination of most delicious food, but most annoying to eat?
Total votes: 1018
Poll 712: Is "Amanda" a word (in English)?
Total votes: 503
This question was inspired by an argument that broke out amongst my circle of friends while playing Scattergories. The category was "Words that start and end with the chosen letter" (and the letter was A). From memory, most of were happy to disqualify "Amanda" as a proper noun, but one person insisted that it shouldn't count because it wasn't a word. I found this an interesting enough assertion that I thought I should put it to the ultimate test: an IWC poll.
Oh, also: "Allosaurus" got a hack-in vote. But I'm sorry to say it doesn't end in A.
Poll 713: How would you feel living in a house where none of the walls meet at 90° angles, rather the walls all meet at either 60° (like an equilateral triangle) or 120° (like a hexagon)?
Total votes: 565
Naomi R. wrote to inform me that she has in fact lived in a hexagon-based building, namely Trevelyan College at Durham University. Here's a map of the building, which shows just how wacky and cool it is. Although Naomi did point out that most of the rooms are subdivided from the hexagons using walls at 90° to a straight wall, so there are in fact 90° angles in places. I don note that some of the communal spaces are fully hexagonal, and a few rooms have 60° angles in them, which look awkwardly tight.
I got one hack-in pun-vote for: I would not be All Right with that. And of course an Allosaurus.
Poll 714: How do you prefer your liquorice allsorts?
Total votes: 602
Liquorice allsorts are these things. A few people wrote to ask why I didn't include the ones covered in little balls - honestly the reason is because those sort are very rare in Australia and I completely forgot that they existed. Even the cylindrical ones are not that common here - we mostly just get the cubes with flat layers of liquorice and fondant.
Liquorice is a very polarising subject. I got one hack-in vote for: "They should be banned".
Poll 715: On a scale of 0-10, how legible is your signature?
Total votes: 507
According to one hack-in vote: "The Allosaurus".
Poll 716: Carrot cake or carob cake?
Total votes: 617
Judging from the comments in the forums, a lot of people had no idea what carob even is. I'll let Sandra Boynton explain in this quote from her book Chocolate: The Consuming Passion:
Carob is a brown powder made from the pulverized fruit of a Mediterranean evergreen. Some consider carob an adequate substitute for chocolate because it has some similar nutrients (calcium, phosphorus), and because it can, when combined with vegetable fat and sugar, be made to approximate the colour and consistency of chocolate. Of course, the same arguments can as persuasively be made in favour of dirt.
My idea with the poll was to have a choice between two cakes made with "healthy" ingredients, and the almost homophony of their names was too good to pass up. And I threw in The Allosaurus because what the heck, it's been ages since he was an option in a poll question. It seems he's well and truly more popular than the evil carob.
I think I've also emboldened the hack-in voter brigade, as this time we received votes for:
Poll 717: Someone asks you the time. Your watch says 10:18. Do you reply:
Total votes: 547
Poll 718: We've run it every U.S. election since 2004! Time to vote again!
Total votes: 703
The people have spoken! President Allosaurus wins a historic fifth term!
Poll 719: How's the climate where you live?
Total votes: 636
Poll 720: Your least favourite household chore?
Total votes: 629
I clean the bathroom weekly and really don't mind it that much. The one I keep putting off all the time is dusting. Yuk.
Poll 721: Favourite green vegetable?
Total votes: 795
No love for broccolini? Wow. I guess it's so similar to broccoli that it might be the second favourite of 20% of people.
Poll 722: Which side is the front of the shower?
Total votes: 1152
Poll 723: You're making a pizza at home. Where does the cheese go?
Total votes: 1262
There was also one emailed write-in answer for: Cheese goes over meat toppings but under veggie toppings.
This poll was prompted by me making pizza at home one evening, and sharing a photo of the result with friends via online chat. One of them asked me why I put the cheese under the toppings instead of on top. I was flabbergasted and completely lost for words. After a minute of flabbergastation, I could barely enunciate my incredulity:
"Who puts cheese on top of the toppings??? Nobody does that!!!"
My friend defied my certainty in the Universe being a place of Order and the Laws of Physics, and dragged me screaming into the very pits of raw, untempered Chaos:
"I do! In fact... who puts the cheese under the toppings?"
Under this heavy mental assault, I marshalled the forces of logic:
"But... they're called toppings - they go on top. Nobody puts cheese on the top! If you go to a pizza restaurant, the cheese is always underneath the toppings!"
At this point another friend spoke up and supported my last feeble grip on reality:
"He's right. They do put the cheese under the toppings at pizza places..."
But then he continued and my whole world unravelled in a spiralling descent into Madness:
"... but when I make pizza at home, I always put the cheese on top."
A few days later, I pecked out this poll question while resting comfortably in a rubber room and straitjacket. At least now the Internet can prove me right...
Poll 724: Best way to verb “screenshot” in present and past tenses?
Total votes: 711
I received a few quite strident write-ins from people saying that "screenshot" shouldn't be used as a verb - the only correct way to say this would be: "When I take a screenshot of an image, I end up with an image that is a screenshot."
Some other people took a different approach and suggested that the past tense should be: "I end up with an image that I screenshat."
Poll 725: It's often said that a dull kitchen knife is more dangerous than a sharp one, because a sharp knife needs less pressure, has more control, etc. However in your own personal experience, and setting aside which you might prefer to use, is this true?
Total votes: 835
I've been using kitchen knives regularly for decades. I do virtually all the cooking at home, so I'm chopping stuff on a daily basis. I'm no expert chef, but I reckon I have a reasonably good idea how to handle knives properly. Early in 2020 I was getting frustrated with the current set of knives we had aways being dull and no longer holding an edge properly. My wife and I had had them since we got married. I decided it was time to replace them. I got a decent quality knife set - nothing super high range, but not right near the cheap end either.
I really love the new knives. They handle well, are nicely balanced, and they came super sharp. And I've invested in some proper sharpening tools as well to keep them that way.
BUT... since getting the new knives I've nicked and cut myself while chopping food so many times it's really not funny. Before, with the old dullish knives I'd do it maybe once every few years. But I swear in the past 18 months I've cut myself at least once every month.
And recently I saw on reddit someone asking "Why do people say that sharp knives are safer than dull ones?" It made me realise that just maybe that often-cited aphorism is actually false. I certainly like using sharp knives better than dull ones, they make chopping food so much easier. But obviously in my own anecdotal experience they are anything but safer. Maybe I'm just not used to the balance of the new knives yet? I dunno.
Poll 726: If you met your younger self, how young would they need to be before you didn't recognise them?
Total votes: 670
Poll 727: You're cutting an onion in half. Do you cut it equatorially, or pole to pole?
Total votes: 1311
One respondent wrote to say: How would I know? It's not spinning when I cut it. Besides, do you mean magnetic poles or geographic poles?
Poll 728: If you you could only buy chicken whole with feathers on and guts still inside, would you ever cook them yourself?
Total votes: 1035
Poll 729: Can you whistle?
Total votes: 1371
Poll 730: What type of wristwatch do you wear?
Total votes: 1596
Poll 731: Do you wash rice before cooking it?
Total votes: 1793
I was inspired to ask this poll question by finding a recipe that instructed you to wash the rice before cooking it. Now, I've been cooking rice ever since my mother taught me how to do it 40 years ago, and I'd never before heard of washing it before cooking! I did some research and found opinion sharply divided on the Internet, between those saying you have to wash rice otherwise you'll die, those who say you should never wash rice because it ruins the dish you're cooking, and those who say it makes no difference so why bother?
A bit more research indicates that it does depend on what sort of rice you're using and what sort of dish you're cooking. Italians pointed out that risotto just doesn't work if you wash the rice - you wash out all of the essential starches that the dish needs. Whereas for some Asian dishes where you want the rice to separate into nice individual fluffy grains, washing the rice actually assists with making it so the rice doesn't clump.