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A research expert says dad jokes aren't just delightful, they're great for child development

Dads, you were right all along. 😂👍

dad jokes, british psychology society, humor

Grandpa, dad and son take a funny photo.

What’s brown and sticky? A stick.

How do you get a country girl’s attention? A tractor.

My wife asked me to stop singing “Wonderwall” to her. I said maybe…

Dad jokes tend to be simple, inoffensive attempts at humor that are often puns and never funny. Except, of course, to the dad who tells them. But he usually gets more of a kick out of the embarrassment it caused his children than the joke itself.

According to a new essay, that’s the exact point.


Marc Hye-Knudsen, a humor researcher and the lab manager at Aarhus University’s Cognition and Behavior Lab, wrote an article in the British Psychological Society that explains how dad jokes teach children how to be resilient.

The article’s title is an embarrassing dad joke in and of itself: “Dad jokes? That’s the way eye roll…”

In the article, Hye-Knudson shows how dad jokes are an extension of a father’s more aggressive parenting style. Dads are often the parent to initiate playfighting, which seems social at first glance, but on a deeper level, helps to train kids to be stronger, more resilient and discover personal boundaries.

In the same way, dad jokes work to teach children how to handle embarrassing situations for themselves and their parents.

“Ideally, fathers’ rougher style of joking fulfills a similar function: by teasingly striking at their children’s egos and emotions without teetering over into bullying, fathers build their children’s resilience and train them to withstand minor attacks and bouts of negative emotion without getting worked up or acting out, teaching them impulse control and emotional regulation,” Hye-Knudson quotes Dr. Peter Gray.

This badgering is even more helpful when children reach adolescence and are more prone to embarrassment. “In this sense, dad jokes may have a positive pedagogical effect, toughening up the kids who are begrudgingly exposed to them,” Hye-Knudson writes.

The term “dad joke” may have originated in America, but the same concept exists in other cultures, suggesting that the parenting strategy may be deeply rooted in human psychology.

In addition to toughening up children by exposing them to embarrassment, it also shows a willingness to be embarrassed on the dad’s behalf. This is another way for a father to model how to handle embarrassment and show that it’s not that big of a deal to be the butt of a joke.

The joke makes the subtle point to the child that if an adult can handle mild humiliation, they can, too.

Ultimately, the dad joke appears to be a way for fathers to teach their kids that it’s OK to put yourself out there in the world without worrying about what other people think. And, if you happen to fail, that’s OK; get back on the proverbial horse and try again. It’s a valuable lesson for kids because resilience will play a big role in the child’s future success, whether in relationships, creativity or professional life.

"By continually telling their children jokes that are so bad that they’re embarrassing, fathers may push their children’s limits for how much embarrassment they can handle,” Hye-Knudson writes. "They show their children that embarrassment isn’t fatal."

A young woman drinking bottled water outdoors before exercising.



The Story of Bottled Waterwww.youtube.com

Here are six facts from the video above by The Story of Stuff Project that I'll definitely remember next time I'm tempted to buy bottled water.

1. Bottled water is more expensive than tap water (and not just a little).

via The Story of Stuff Project/YouTube


A Business Insider column noted that two-thirds of the bottled water sold in the United States is in individual 16.9-ounce bottles, which comes out to roughly $7.50 per gallon. That's about 2,000 times higher than the cost of a gallon of tap water.

And in an article in 20 Something Finance, G.E. Miller investigated the cost of bottled versus tap water for himself. He found that he could fill 4,787 20-ounce bottles with tap water for only $2.10! So if he paid $1 for a bottled water, he'd be paying 2,279 times the cost of tap.

2. Bottled water could potentially be of lower quality than tap water.

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“As we were making vegetable soup, we landed on the idea of cooking it on stage and performing a concert with the vegetables while we were doing that,” Meinharter told Atlas Obscura. “It all started as a joke,” he told the BBC. “We were brainstorming what we could do, and we thought: ‘What is the most difficult thing to play music on?’”

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Neil DeGrasse Tyson at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.

I recently spent some time with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. He's known not only for breaking down stereotypes about what kinds of people go into science, but he has actively stood up and spoken against those who would close its doors, especially to young women.

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Incubators regulate temperature, humidity, optimize oxygen levels and monitors a baby's vital signs. New dad, Ed Andretti, recently welcomed a baby girl, Cathara, who is having to spend some time in the NICU after being born three months early. But it was his sweet motivational speech he gave to his daughter through the plastic of the incubator that has everyone's heart melting.

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She was with her children in a play place that "runs the entire length of a giant science museum,” she said in her viral TikTok video.

“So I end up going the opposite direction of where she actually ended up. So I thought she didn't go past me, so she must have gone to a water table or something because she loves water. She wasn't down there, so at that point, I'm starting to panic,” Grundey revealed.

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Karen Blaha/Wikimedia Commons

Crinkle crankle walls are more common the U.K., but they can be found in the U.S. as well.

If you were to draw a straight line and a wavy line from point A to point B, there would be no question which one used more ink. After all, "The shortest distance between two points (on a flat surface) is a straight line" has been baked into our brains since elementary school math class. Logically, a wavy line uses more ink because it covers more distance, right? Right.

So if that's true, how is it possible that a brick wall built in a wavy pattern could use fewer bricks than a straight one built between the exact same two points?

Not only is it possible, it's actually true, despite people's disbelief over the fact.

A post on X from @InternetHOF shows the claim that "corrugated brick fences" sometimes seen in England use fewer bricks than a straight wall, with the caption, "I don't believe this is true."

It does seem illogical from a pure geometry-on-paper standpoint, but what makes it true is how the structural integrity of brick walls works.

There are all kinds of nitty-gritty calculations a structural engineer could get into to explain, but thankfully, internet hero (and strangely popular X account) Greg came to everyone's rescue with an explanation that neatly fit into a single post on X.

"They're called crinkle crankles," wrote Greg. "A single leaf wall over that distance would need brick piers approx every 1.5-2m if it was a retaining wall it would need to be at least 9” wide (2 bricks). The crinkle crankle has more strength due to it’s curved nature so can be 4” wide or a single leaf of bricks.

"For the maths if we can assume they’re true semi-circles then each semi circle would be 1/2piD or 1.57D whereas a double leaf wall would be 2D for the same length D.

"Therefore using 21.5% less bricks than a double leaf wall hope that clears things up."

In even simpler terms, a long, straight brick wall only a single brick wide would not be able to stand without some kind of buttresses every couple of meters, which would actually take more bricks to build. Otherwise, it would need to be thicker, which would also increase the number of bricks needed. The curve of the crinkle crankle (best name ever) provides stability all on its own, so the wall doesn't need structured supports.

serpentine brick wall next to a bunch of daffodils

Crinkle crankle walls are usually referred to as serpentine walls in the U.S.

Karen Blaha/Wikimedia Commons

First of all, what a cool piece of human ingenuity that people actually figured this out hundreds of years ago. And second of all, why are there not more crinkle crankle walls everywhere? So much more fun and whimsical. And apparently, a better use of resources.

But before you go building your own crinkle crankle wall to make your house look super cool, make sure you've got the geometry correct. There are actual specifications for making a structurally sound serpentine wall, and if you don't do it correctly, you may find yourself with a pile of bricks and no wall, curvy or straight.

If you want to see some cool crinkle crankle walls in the U.S., head to the University of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson himself added them to the design of the Charlottesville, Virginia, campus.

wavy brick wall separating a grassy area and a driveway

Crinkle crankle wall at the University of Virginia

Carlin MacKenzie/Wikimedia Commons

More crinkle crankles everywhere, please.