Let's hear it for the little green men.
According to the nice man on the BBC, more Americans believe in alien abduction than believe Barack Obama is doing a good job as president. This statement was followed by an interview with a woman in Nevada who felt quite strongly that aliens had been coming to earth over the past hundred years to help us with our technological development. "How else," she asked, "would we have thought up things like microwave ovens?" Well, for once, I'm on the side of the alien abductionists. I can just about figure out how a toaster works if I carefully think back to the invention of fire, imagine fire being put in a little metal box, and then imagine some guys from R&D sort of smoothing out the rough edges of the prototype.
But a microwave oven? Nope. And don't try to explain it to me. An old boyfriend once recounted the story of a woman he knew who was so dumb, she thought electricity would leak out of a light socket with no bulb in it. Which still seems like a perfectly plausible theory to me.
The more I think about it, the more I like the little green men theory of intelligent design. I'm sure creatures from a hundred billion light years away are responsible for all sorts of great stuff that human beings couldn't possibly have invented. Like quadratic equations. Coats for dogs. Income tax forms. And the parking regulations in London.