A number of readers have asked when I’m going to bring back the Santa Fe Science Dude. Judging from the popularity of my first two science columns, there is an enormous appetite out there for simplistic, ill-informed answers to complex questions. 

Besides, if I do a few more of these, my publisher can stitch them together into a science textbook. So, bring on your questions!

Science Dude, I keep hearing how fragrant piñon smoke is. I bought some logs, got them blazing, and my guests and I smelled nothing.

Let me guess. Did you notice anything when you went outside for more firewood?

Yes! It smelled great out there! 

Exactly. Smoke goes up the chimney, so the good stuff was outside. Here’s what to do. Every few minutes, you and your guests need to race out into the frigid darkness, inhale as much smoke as you can, then run back indoors and exhale. 

That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. 

Or, you could buy the Acme Piñonator 4000™. It’s a $6,000 appliance that sucks piñon smoke back into your home. Of course, it also sucks in scrub jays, pocket gophers and small children.

This is beyond moronic! If I don’t get a straight answer, I’ll complain to your editor!

Okay, you win. Before you start your fire, just close the fireplace flue. You’ll soon be enjoying the piñon smoke experience indoors.

Finally, a sensible reply.  I’ll try that right now!

Next question?

Science Dude, I recently moved to Santa Fe and I have an embarrassing problem. My skin is developing deep, disgusting cracks right before my eyes. 

Your body is adjusting to our extremely dry climate. What is happening—and I’m sorry to get so technical—is that your entire body is turning into a large slab of beef jerky. 

OMG! What can I do about it?

Many Santa Feans save the grease from their Thanksgiving turkey and wallow in it every night in their bathtub during the 11-month “dry season.” It helps moisturize their skin. 

We threw away our turkey grease just last week…

No problem. Most Lotaburger outlets make their grease traps available for public slatherings after hours. Clothing is optional. Tell ‘em Science Dude sent you. 

Dude, are you going to mention the Santa Fe Institute in this column?

Yes. Their wonderful cat, Dr. Zen, died recently at age 18. I really liked him. RIP, Doctor.

Science Dude, I have a question about speed humps.

That sounds more appropriate for one of SFR’s countless sex columns.

Not THAT kind of humping. I’m talking about those things that slow your car down. When did speed BUMPS become speed HUMPS?

They’re two different things. Both work to slow traffic, but speed BUMPS are designed to break your car in half, while speed HUMPS simply catapult you through your windshield and into the path of an oncoming truck.

With all due respect, Science Dude, I don’t feel like I’ve learned a fricking thing from reading this column.

What do you expect from a fake science column in a free newspaper? 

You mentioned collecting your Science Dude pieces together to produce a textbook. Who in the world would possibly consider this garbage to be science?

I’m thinking maybe the North Koreans… 

Robert Basler’s humor column runs twice monthly in SFR. Email the author: bluecorn@sfreporter.com