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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Thisa and thata about data

Isn't it about time I blamed something on Charles Darwin? Every one else seems to be. His darn theory of evolution... it's all his fault. Actually, if the world was the NCAA title basketball game, Team Evolution would be winning 85-29 with two minutes left, so it's really not that bad.

On the plus side, evolving helped us survive... that's big. But, it also was the cause of a lot of today's maladies. Like if we didn't use our spine to walk upright instead of on all fours, we wouldn't have chronic back problems... and we'd probably still have a cute little tail (like a bunny, I hope, not a beaver or kangaroo or monkey). And our Appendixes would do more than just go bad and kill us. We would all have dark eyes and coarse hair and our brains would not have shrunk 10 %. Now there's a real problem. (As an aside, a number of the NFL football players are donating their brains to science when they die. Today, it will take 10 % more players to equal the Neanderthal Bears of the old PFL--Prehistoric Football League.)

And here's a big one... today's average foot has grown four shoe sizes larger for both men and women since 1900. I just had a rare chance to look at the 2099 Buster Brown shoe catalog-- those companies have to work quite a bit in advance, you know-- and this is a nice pair your children will be wearing.

Evolution is good because if you are a guy, sperm develops better at lower than body temperatures... however, the testicles are now at a greater risk of injury. Thanks a lot, Darwin.

Evolution is good because if you are a gal, your pelvis is narrower, butt not so big, for walking. However, it makes a tighter squeeze when giving birth. Says my daughter, *&%# you, Darwin!

One last quiz item of interest that Darwin seems to have nothing to do with: Can you name the one part of the body, then and today, that is the same size at birth as it is at death? Everything else grows but this one thing. Got it? The eyeball.  Enough Darwin-bashing. On to something else.

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What do the numbers 39-18-33 mean to you? How about a svelte woman's measurements? (Didn't think of that, did you?) And that woman is 50 years old! I'm talking about Barbie here... and my, doesn't she still look so good? The measurements, of course, are her proportions as if she is a real person, not counting childish fantasies. It is no wonder that Ken chased her for so many years. Oh, I know... it was only for her personality.

Well, Barbie just had a very good year... for her Godfather Mattel, that is. In 2009, Barbie sales jumped 12% in a down toy market. However, Barbie is starting 2010 out on a different note, if this news is any indicator.

Walmart has been accused of 'Barbie racism' by 'activists.' (Story didn't specify if it meant Barbie activists or race activists... just activists.) Seems one store had dark-skinned Barbies and light-skinned Barbies displayed side-by-side, and the price tag on the dark-skinned Barbies read $3 while one shelf to the left, the light-skinned Barbies were going for $5.93.

That "devalued the black doll," said the activists.  It was nothing more than inventory management, said Walmart.

All I know is that G.I. Joe never had these problems. If he did, he would have come out firing.

HOT NEWS: Mattel has just announced that it will be marketing a new version of Barbie and Ken styled after the characters in the "Mad Men" TV series... which will be quite a change for Barbie... a steno pool worker and Ken, an account executive who chain smokes. 

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Oh, if you look down two posts (to March 9th), you will see I talked about the major earthquake in Chile. Well, I have just a little bit more. the 8.8 quake on the Richter Scale was so significant that it not only moved cities a few inches, it actually shortened earth's day. Really! NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab geophysicists have calculated it shifted the axis of Earth's mass by 3 inches from where it was. That has the same effect, says one geologist, "as an ice skater going around in a circle... when she pulls her arms in, she goes faster." Well we are.

Thanks to Chile, our Earth day is now 1.26 millionths of a second shorter than it used to be. So if you haven't already reset your clocks to daylight savings time, remember to stop 1.26 millionths of a second short of an hour and you won't even notice the difference. For those of you who have already adjusted your clocks, hold on tight.

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