I was in my office going about my business of being an academic when a knock occurred on my door. I had a member of the general public who wanted to know something about what was going on inside the Japanese nuclear reactors which are currently the subject of “considerable attention”.
As part of my job is to educate, I took a little time from my task to speak to this person. The person wanted to know why the reactors were being cooled with water rather than being left in peace to melt.
Now to some of you this might seem like a stupid question, but I hold the view that many “stupid questions” are in fact very good questions which help us understand and discuss a subject. So as a result there are very few “stupid questions” in the world, the problem with “stupid questions” is that people say “common sense” makes that a “stupid question” but I would say ‘what is common sense anyway ?’. What is common sense to one man or woman might be a dramatic revelation of something new to someone else who has not been initiated into the circle for whom it is “common sense”.
Now before any of you mock this person’s reasoning, I want to say something. I am willing to answer almost any question. The only questions which I would refuse to dignify with an answer would be
1, Personal questions about my private life,
My private life is not for the amusement of the public, please respect my privacy in the same way you would like others to respect your privacy.
2, Questions which I am not legally allowed to answer,
For example please do not waste my time by asking me what exam question I have set for next week’s exam, also please do not ask me to break a confidence.
3, Questions which are attempts by people to learn new ways to commit the oldest sins
Please do not bother me with requests such as “how can I cook street drugs on my kitchen stove”