(4th of July, Somewhere in America) Some say persistence is a virtue, and in science that is often the case. Great scientists frequently push the edge in their experiments, extending their hypothesis as they prove each successive point. When tests are performed with firecrackers, though, there is the chance that going to extremes can lead to an amateur scientist's untimely removal from the gene pool.
Two young men, "Einstein" and "Teller," were at a friend's house celebrating Independence Day with a little food, a little booze, and many fireworks. Einstein was startled to discover a pack of firecrackers exploding at his feet and looked up to see Teller laughing, lighter still in hand. Einstein yelled, "You're stupid to throw explosives so close to a human being!"
"Firecrackers can't hurt you," said Teller, and to prove his point, he unwrapped another pack, lit its fuse, and dropped it at his own feet. As the firecrackers were popping, he said, "See, no damage!"
They argued and drank and argued and drank. Teller was convinced that his hypothesis was correct: firecrackers could not hurt people. Einstein remained skeptical. Finally, Teller lit another pack, pulled the elastic band of his boxers forward, and dropped the pack down his underpants.
Before the firecrackers even started exploding, Teller began screaming as the fuse burnt his skin. As they began to blow up, he screamed even louder and ran into the house.
Teller took himself to the hospital, and returned with burn ointment and the instruction to lay off work for a week. He refused to reveal the exact results of his experiment to Einstein, except to say that "both the twigs and berries" had been burned. The doctor warned him that his ability to reproduce was thereafter in question.
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