Does Uncle Cecil read His SD Board?

It’s surprising that there are some HOT topics under General Questions; yet, Uncle Cecil remains unresponsive. Does Uncle Cecil read his own board, or (very often) just continue recycling the same old questions on the home page? Has s/he even published a new book, lately? Is s/he still alive and well? Is s/he for real? (Many suspect Uncle Cecil is many people united under one pen.)

Ok, that’s a factual question. So, bone-up, Unc! What’s the factual SD? :wink:

  • Jinx

Cecil relies on His minions (namely, the moderating staff and the Straight Dope Science Advisory Board members) to sift through the MB to find worthy questions. I understand that he also gets questions by snail mail and email. Cecil writes one column a week, which is posted on the Straight Dope homepage on Fridays. The other weekdays get either a Classic Column or a Staff Report.

While this is a question with a factual answer, I’m gonna kick it over to ATMB, which is where it should have been put in the first place.


I help out by going through his mail, so I can note that, from time to time, Cecil has indeed taken questions from the SDMB for use in his column. And, from time to time, he has indeed commented in threads.

He does not read through everything, as a rule – sheeesh, I mean, who does? He tends to focus on a couple of forums like “Comments on Cecil’s Column” where he loves to read comments of praise (although he seldom responds to them, being so modest and all) and he sometimes responds to criticisms (like at )

Also, he sometimes tends to respond if Staff Members point out specific spots where a comment from him would be appropriate. Sometimes.

What do mean “continue recycling the same old questions?” There is a new column (almost) every week, which is both posted on the home page and sent out via e-mail on Friday mornings.

So is he still the World’s Smartest Human Being, or has age taken its inevitable toll?

Well, age has taken it’s toll. But fortunately not on his intelligence.

For instance, I have it on good authority that Uncle Cecil has taken to standing in the middle of downtown Chicago and shouting “Hey you descendants! Remove yourselves from the grassplot!”

What do you mean almost every week? :slight_smile:

We’ve had a new column every week for as long as I’ve been around, which is only the last ten years. I don’t think we’ve ever missed one. We have had a time or two when it was late getting posted – due to server issues and similar glitches that kept us from updating – but everything gets up on the site.

We don’t always have a staff report every week, sometimes we skip a week, but more often than not you have a fresh one every Tuesday.

And the Friday morning email is not the entire column but just a taste with links to the material on the site. It’s a preview of what we’re featuring, the new column, the next staff report, and the next classic to be featured.

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Ah, I may have been confusing the website updates with the print media release. But I also thought that Cecil got a vacation once in a while where they ran a “classic” one in print? Since I don’t get the Reader and no place here carries the column, I’m a bit out of touch when it comes to the print column.

1986, and it was for research purposes:

What gets the better gas mileage: windows up, AC on, or windows down, AC off?

He also seems to get to goof off … er, re-charge the brain cells in August, judging from this this post a few years ago:

I get a fresh column to put on the site every week . . . and have had for time out of mind.

We do run classics on the site, but they never run on Friday. It’s always a new column.

(Now watch Cecil go on sabbatical or something.)

When does it run in the actual paper? Just wondering.

The CHICAGO READER comes out late Thursday afternoon, but dated the next day (Friday, if you’ve lost track.) In other cities, the papers carrying Cecil’s column come out whatever day they do.

Cecil does go on vacations, but he prepares columns in advance when he does. It’s a headache for Ed, who has to edit more columns earlier. Hence, every Friday there is a new column.