Doescher’s Law

Ungoogleable was launched after a great, drunk argument I had with friends on the world’s gold supply.

BACKGROUND INFO:   Most people believe that gold is rare, the same way diamonds and oil are rare- meaning that, it is scarce and therefore valuable, yet still found all over the world, and pumped out of the Earth daily. This is not, however, true. Gold is unimaginably scarce. Every day, for example, we pull-out a volume of oil that is 300 times larger than all the gold ever mined (308 mil gals of oil each day / 1 mil gals of gold, ever). National Geographic once noted that all the gold on Earth could not fill two Olympic swimming pools.

There is no way to know (like everything at a bar) how we got started on this topic, but I made the following comment:


You know, in all those spy movies, they use a convoy of trucks to rob Fort Knox, but the truth is: you could empty it with a brief case.


Sure. There can’t be more than a couple of bars there. It would be like stealing two very heavy VCRs.

“What are you talking about, Flannery? There are rooms, ten feet high, filled with gold at Fort Knox. It’s an entire base, of gold!”

No… there isn’t that much gold, in the world.


Hell, I could probably fit all the gold in the world, in my car.

People are now starting to become angry: “what kind of car do you drive?” / “Honda Civic”. Fury. Strangers join the argument:

  • “what about gold coins? Jewelry?”

           They’re diluted- not pure gold.

  • “they say the jewelry is all gold, in commercials”

           Impossible. Pure gold bends like warm chocolate- you wouldn’t even want it, as jewelry
ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND INFO:   Unlike most people, when I encounter resistance during an argument, I actually increase the absurdity of my point, rather than tame it, in order to find a middle ground. People are normally so perplexed by this move –like a cop who just heard a driver insist on a harsher ticket– they drop all balance (dumbfounded, in fact), and the argument is then mine to close as I wish.
  • “what about the California Gold Rush?”

           I could fit all the gold found during that rush in my mouth.

No one was able to find a google query that settled the question, so the debate continued until closing time; the old fashion way: with us yelling at each other. And, say what you will about the bad facts that were probably being thrown around that night, but –by the end of the evening– every one at the bar knew each others name… and a rough idea of their thoughts on metallurgy

When I arrived home, I started this email chain (Time Stamp = 2 AM):

Thanks, to Prescott Tolk, Adam Burke, CJ Sullivan, Nick Vatterott and (my beautiful wife) Jessica for letting me reprint this exchange…


— Settling a Bar Room Argument —
Ten Years Ago


I hate Google. I consider it an arch nemesis; a kill joy. Google is the dork in the back of a class, who –just as everyone is enjoying themselves– reminds the teacher that a quiz is scheduled. Google is a teacher’s pet.

Why do I hate Google so much?- well, in a way, I am a victim of habit destruction. Google has invaded bars. Now, when a man runs his mouth at a bar (as I love to do), some vanilla with an iPhone immediately disproves him: “ah, no Sean, I’ve just googled it and ‘Ben Hur’ did not cost more to film than all five space shuttles cost”.

They are bringing google into bars! We already work (as near drones) in a world of facts and forms, and dates and exact names- now they want to make bars that way. Bars –the last place where we can still have brassy, exaggerated conversations; even lie to each other– are under threat. Swagger is going the way of the dodo bird.

It was not, of course, always like this. Twenty years ago, every bar had a couple of men who were completely comfortable lying about their role in a war; drunks proposed solutions to the gas crisis based on half-memories of grade school physics; old men flat-out invented baseball stories- placing hitters inside stadiums that never existed during their career, hitting home runs that are impossible. And, best of all, disproving them was a social event.

Back then, the entire bar would join together –much like how the Amish build a house– to disprove a loud mouth. Almanacs were passed around; people introduced themselves after overhearing the argument; the bartender would even phone the library, for answers. You met people. You worked it out socially, spending the time laughing, talking. Now, some one types a dozen keys into a phone and shuts down the entire discussion, before it even started.

But, THERE IS HOPE. Just as the coyote now prospers (after changing its eating habits when its original habitat was lost), I too have adapted. I have moved beyond the world of exact dates and dollar figures, of country names and treaties, of public records and statistics, in my arguments. I have moved into the world of ungoogleable. I now combine real technologies, with unreal uses; I talk in quantities that are too big (or too small) to have been calculated; I put extinct animals into the present day, and current civilizations into the very far past. In short, I only argue –at bars– about things that can not easily be put into a a single google query.

I argue in the margins and shadows- where google can not find me. This blog chronicles that effort. One man’s journey, to argue in a world with google: