AQ&A Topic 14  Date:  5 February 2018 : No hiding place: Have you been milkshake-ducked?


Focus questions -

(feel free to add more focus questions) . Focus questions are not intended to push one viewpoint! You can adopt any position you wish. We actually like friendly disagreement - it can lead to deeper understanding. Note: clearly not all of these questions can be properly covered in a meetup, but they give us a conscious choice about what to talk about while making the background context clearer. It is up to the people who come on the day to choose what aspects they would like to deal with.


1. So you have been driven out of your Potemkin village, you are a milshake duck, a onetime hero unmasked, at least to some credulous boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, employer, workmate, acquaintance or barmaid. Now what do you do - 'fess up and admit you weren't born on Krypton after all, or dig yourself deeper into a black hole?

2. When was the last time you were taken in? He/she/it was too good to be true but you swallowed the bait. Credulity cost you. What did you do? Cut your losses? Seek revenge? Put it down to experience? Has your response to this kind of thing changed over the years?

3. Are the people in some countries or cultures typically more gullible than the world average? What is your evidence for this? What could contribute to this kind of gullibility?

4. Is there a noticeable difference in whether people are easily fooled from generation to generation, especially when effected by historical experience (e.g. could Germans be taken in again by a Hitler type of character?) ?

5. What public figures in Australia or the world would you expect to be milkshake-ducked in 2018?

6. How can a political system best be designed to avoid selecting leaders who are likely candidates for milkshake ducking?

7. Technology of every kind is constantly hyped. We are always looking for The Next Big Thing. Can you recall some technology that was wildly promoted, then sank like a stone never to be seen again?

8. What will be the next bit of technology in line for a milkshake ducking?

9. There is a Chinese idiom, "Head of tiger, tail of snake" ( 虎头蛇尾 hŭ tu sh wĕi) meaning a magnificent or fearless front concealing a weak, mean or deceitful reality. Think for example of a hotel with an imposing marble & glass entrance but pokey, decrepit rooms. Can you think of examples in the modern world - people, occupations, businesses, countries, places - which fit this idiom? What do you do about such situations when you encounter them?

10. Skepticism is often wrongly confused with destructive criticism. How useful is it to cultivate a skeptical frame of mind in a world where milkshake ducks seem to pop up with every news cycle? [Maybe a useful reference: video of a speech I gave to graduating students in China in 2010: "The Journey of a Passionate Skeptic" @  ]



1. All past topic questions are now listed at

 2. From another meetup I run for English learners, twenty-four sets of 10x questions (from Thor) designed for students of  English as a Second Language are online at



A few links to help the discussion along:


No HIding Place - Have You Been Milkshake-Ducked? l Discussion Questions ©Thor May 2018

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