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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

You are in the 6th percentile!

Congratulations! You... and me (so far) are in the 6th percentile of an exclusive club... those who are alive today. Pat on the back for us. We need a secret handshake!

Going back to 50,000 BC, there weren't a lot of people. I guess when you start with one (the loneliest number), a popular question had to be, how were there any children? Hmm... Adam AND Eve?

Staying alive was harder than getting that song out of our of our heads. Thanks a lot, BeeGees! Early life was tough... Tyrannosauras Rexes and stuff, and presumably filled with all kinds of bald-headed women (as cartoons show cave men dragging them by their hair). Maybe it's no wonder that birthrate didn't greatly exceed death rate until 9000 BC.

It took about 41,000 years for us to get the hang of it, but after that, propagation really took off. So, using today's number of about 7 billion, the United Nations has us growing by 2-3 billion in the next 40 years... and by the year 2300, we are predicted to grow to an astonishing 36 billion (metaphorically, because it won't be us as in you and me). This, of course, discounts any Rapture, End of Days, discovery that the Mayan Calendar is right on, a giant meteor or a DIY project by almost anyone.

So what's the message: BUY REAL ESTATE!

Of our 7 billion world population, one third of us are either Chinese (1.4 billion) or Indian (1.2 billion). The United States, (with a mere 360 million) is number three at just 4 1/2 percent of the total. Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Russia and Japan round out the top ten. Kind of surprising isn't it? Take that France!

There really is a message here: Learn to get along better of die. With war being one of he things we humans seem to do best, one wonders how we will make it these next 270 years?

As we humans have proven time after time, where there is a will, there is a way. We haven't gotten this far by accident, so, being a glass half-full guy, my ancestors will see your ancestors down the road.

In the end, there should be one underlying rule... and it should be Golden.

PS: The reason for this blog post? I found this neat illustration and thought, gee, it would be a shame to waste it.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Don't know if you have been paying attention but... IT'S NUTS OUT THERE!

Take me, for example… I’m a Chicago Cubs fan. What could be more insane… especially at World Series time? The Cubs last won a World Series in 1907—just one century plus 5 years ago! Last time they were even in the World Series was 1945—right after World War II and before everyone younger than 67-years old was even born! And don’t give me any of that “…But we deserved it… we haven’t won in three years” crap.

For sheer fan fanaticism though, it would be hard to beat the University of Kentucky fan who replaced his glass eye with one sporting a UK logo as the pupil. Actually, I respect the ardor if not the common sense. If I did that using a Cubs logo (can’t say I haven’t thought about it), it would be “Long time no C, pal?”

Oh yeah? Just wait ‘til next year!

Then there is the bizarre trial of the year where a Washington State woman was recently convicted of the attempted murder of her estranged husband. She hit him on the head with a hatchet then a mallet, among other things. The story goes that she had invited her husband over to stay the night and told him to sleep on a mattress which she had previously wrapped in plastic before putting on bedtime sheets... and he doesn’t even wet the bed.

To get ready for the big night, she purchased the hatchet and mallet, a lot of bleach, a supply of large garbage bags… and, oh yes, a chain saw.

As he was sleeping, she hit him on the head with the old ‘one-two’… first the hatchet, then the mallet. Obviously not a heavy sleeper, her hard-headed husband woke (with a roaring headache) at the sound of the chain saw firing up… grzzZZZZZZZWHINE! As she tried to decapitate him with the saw, he fought her off, sustaining significant cuts in the process.

The wife pleaded “Not guilty,” because:

·      Alibi #1--a mysterious stranger entered through the bedroom window, found the hatchet, mallet and chain saw and tried to kill her man with them. Sad for her, that window had a safety latch and only opened two inches.

·      Alibi #2--OK then, she said, her husband may have injured himself and tried to blame it on her.

·      Alibi #3—It all came down to a final 'Hail Mary," when her attorney suggested that, after all, it was only “a very half-hearted attempt” to kill him. Hmm… well, he did survive, so he had a point there.

But, finding not the slightest benefit of the doubt in these possibilities, the jurors returned a “Guilty” verdict in a respectable three hours, which may have included lunch.

And you thought you had problems.

Then came the announcement of the 2012 winners of the Ig Nobel Prize awards (as in Nobel Prize but in a somewhat lighter vein). The Ig Nobels are sponsored by Annals of Improbable Research, a magazine for weird and humorous scientific discoveries.

The top award went to two Japanese researchers who came up with a device that disrupts a person’s speech by repeating his or her own voice at a delay of a few hundred milliseconds--kind of like Lou Gherig's "I-I am-am the-the luckiest-luckiest man-man in-in the-the world-world" farewell speech in Yankee Stadium--to be used by those tired of listening to someone drone on and on and on. This could be big!

Other winners, equally brilliant in their fields, included:

·      Dutch researchers who won the psychology prize for studying why leaning to the left makes the Eiffel Tower look smaller
·      Four Americans who won the neuroscience award fore demonstrating that sophisticated equipment can detect brain activity in dead fish
·      A British-American team which won the physics prize for explaining how and why ponytails bounce
·      The U.S. General Accountability Office (yes, our very government… GO USA!) that won the literature prize for a report about reports
·      An engineering professor and a graduate student who won the fluid dynamics prize for research into the sloshing of coffee that goes on in the cup as it is carried

Lest you think the Ig Nobel awards are parodies of the real Nobel awards, be aware that the winners, by tradition, are presented their awards by real Nobel Prize winners… at Harvard, no less. And the 2007 Nobel Prize winner in Economics, Eric Maskin was not only this year’s presenter but first prize in the “Win a Date with a Nobel Laureate” contest. See, there is humor among the very talented, if not somewhat puzzling world of geniuses. (How do you like them apples, you actuary toads?)

And you of lesser brainpower thought the Ig Nobel awards were fluff.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Who's on first? (Stick with me here.)

When Earth was just a kid... say several billion years ago, our planetary system was under heavy meteorite bombardment, says research just published in the journal Astrobiology. (I don't usually read that magazine because it doesn't have many cartoons, but someone called this to my attention.) So?

Well, the study gives credibility to the though that meteorites hitting our little home planet may have brought life from other planetary systems in our star cluster, offering--literally--billions of possibilities that life here was 'seeded.' (Seriously.)

Think about it... no meteorites hitting Earth ever came from Cleveland.

Although life on Earth is thought to have originated here, the possibility is that Adam and Eve were... OMG... ALIENS. And if they are, then where are we from... and don't give me that old Mayflower crap. So, who's really on first. If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, anything is possible.

To further confuse and amaze, here's that Abbot and Costello skit... just insert your real alien name and we are up to date. (This skit played to a full house on Mother Planet Qzyzych.)


Abbott: Well, Costello, I'm going to New York with you. Bucky Harris the Yankee's manager gave me a job as coach for as long as you're on the team.

Costello: Look Abbott, if you're the coach, you must know all the players.

Abbott: I certainly do.

Costello: Well you know I've never met the guys. So you'll have to tell me their names, and then I'll know who's playing on the team.

Abbott: Oh, I'll tell you their names, but you know it seems to me they give these ball players now-a-days very peculiar names.

Costello: You mean funny names?

Abbott: Strange names, pet Dizzy Dean...

Costello: His brother Daffy

Abbott: Daffy Dean...

Costello: And their French cousin.

Abbott: French?

Costello: Goofe'

Abbott: Goofe' Dean. Well, let's see, we have on the bags, Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know is on third...

Costello: That's what I want to find out.

Abbott: I say Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know's on third.

Costello: Are you the manager?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: You gonna be the coach too?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: And you don't know the fellows' names.

Abbott: Well I should.

Costello: Well then who's on first?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: I mean the fellow's name.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The guy on first.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The first baseman.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The guy playing...

Abbott: Who is on first!

Costello: I'm asking you who's on first.

Abbott: That's the man's name.

Costello: That's who's name?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: Well go ahead and tell me.

Abbott: That's it.

Costello: That's who?

Abbott: Yes. PAUSE

Costello: Look, you gotta first baseman?

Abbott: Certainly.

Costello: Who's playing first?

Abbott: That's right.

Costello: When you pay off the first baseman every month, who gets the money?

Abbott: Every dollar of it.

Costello: All I'm trying to find out is the fellow's name on first base.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The guy that gets...

Abbott: That's it.

Costello: Who gets the money...

Abbott: He does, every dollar of it. Sometimes his wife comes down and collects it.

Costello: Who's wife?

Abbott: Yes. PAUSE

Abbott: What's wrong with that?

Costello: I wanna know is when you sign up the first baseman, how does he sign his name?

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The guy.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: How does he sign...

Abbott: That's how he signs it.

Costello: Who?

Abbott: Yes. PAUSE

Costello: All I'm trying to find out is what's the guys name on first base.

Abbott: No. What is on second base.

Costello: I'm not asking you who's on second.

Abbott: Who's on first.

Costello: One base at a time!

Abbott: Well, don't change the players around.

Costello: I'm not changing nobody!

Abbott: Take it easy, buddy.

Costello: I'm only asking you, who's the guy on first base?

Abbott: That's right.

Costello: OK.

Abbott: Alright. PAUSE

Costello: What's the guy's name on first base?

Abbott: No. What is on second.

Costello: I'm not asking you who's on second.

Abbott: Who's on first.

Costello: I don't know.

Abbott: He's on third, we're not talking about him.

Costello: Now how did I get on third base?

Abbott: Why you mentioned his name.

Costello: If I mentioned the third baseman's name, who did I say is playing third?

Abbott: No. Who's playing first.

Costello: What's on base?

Abbott: What's on second.

Costello: I don't know.

Abbott: He's on third.

Costello: There I go, back on third again! PAUSE

Costello: Would you just stay on third base and don't go off it.

Abbott: Alright, what do you want to know?

Costello: Now who's playing third base?

Abbott: Why do you insist on putting Who on third base?

Costello: What am I putting on third.

Abbott: No. What is on second.

Costello: You don't want who on second?

Abbott: Who is on first.

Costello: I don't know. Together: Third base! PAUSE

Costello: Look, you gotta outfield?

Abbott: Sure.

Costello: The left fielder's name?

Abbott: Why.

Costello: I just thought I'd ask you.

Abbott: Well, I just thought I'd tell ya.

Costello: Then tell me who's playing left field.

Abbott: Who's playing first.

Costello: I'm not...stay out of the infield!!! I want to know what's the guy's name in left field?

Abbott: No, What is on second.

Costello: I'm not asking you who's on second.

Abbott: Who's on first!

Costello: I don't know. Together: Third base! PAUSE

Costello: The left fielder's name?

Abbott: Why.

Costello: Because!

Abbott: Oh, he's center field. PAUSE

Costello: Look, You gotta pitcher on this team?

Abbott: Sure.

Costello: The pitcher's name?

Abbott: Tomorrow.

Costello: You don't want to tell me today?

Abbott: I'm telling you now.

Costello: Then go ahead.

Abbott: Tomorrow!

Costello: What time?

Abbott: What time what?

Costello: What time tomorrow are you gonna tell me who's pitching?

Abbott: Now listen. Who is not pitching.

Costello: I'll break you're arm if you say who's on first!!! I want to know what's the pitcher's name?

Abbott: What's on second.

Costello: I don't know. Together: Third base! PAUSE

Costello: Gotta a catcher?

Abbott: Certainly.

Costello: The catcher's name?

Abbott: Today.

Costello: Today, and tomorrow's pitching.

Abbott: Now you've got it.

Costello: All we got is a couple of days on the team. PAUSE

Costello: You know I'm a catcher too.

Abbott: So they tell me.

Costello: I get behind the plate to do some fancy catching, Tomorrow's pitching on my team and a heavy hitter gets up. Now the heavy hitter bunts the ball. When he bunts the ball, me, being a good catcher, I'm gonna throw the guy out at first. So I pick up the ball and throw it to who?

Abbott: Now that's the first thing you've said right.

Costello: I don't even know what I'm talking about! PAUSE

Abbott: That's all you have to do.

Costello: Is to throw the ball to first base.

Abbott: Yes!

Costello: Now who's got it?

Abbott: Naturally. PAUSE

Costello: Look, if I throw the ball to first base, somebody's gotta get it. Now who has it?

Abbott: Naturally.

Costello: Who?

Abbott: Naturally.

Costello: Naturally?

Abbott: Naturally.

Costello: So I pick up the ball and I throw it to Naturally.

Abbott: No you don't you throw the ball to Who.

Costello: Naturally.

Abbott: That's different.

Costello: That's what I said.

Abbott: you're not saying it...

Costello: I throw the ball to Naturally.

Abbott: You throw it to Who.

Costello: Naturally.

Abbott: That's it.

Costello: That's what I said!

Abbott: You ask me.

Costello: I throw the ball to who?

Abbott: Naturally.

Costello: Now you ask me.

Abbott: You throw the ball to Who?

Costello: Naturally.

Abbott: That's it.

Costello: Same as you! Same as YOU!!! I throw the ball to who. Whoever it is drops the ball and the guy runs to second. Who picks up the ball and throws it to What. What throws it to I Don't Know. I Don't Know throws it back to Tomorrow, Triple play. Another guy gets up and hits a long fly ball to Because. Why? I don't know! He's on third and I don't give a darn!

Abbott: What?

Costello: I said I don't give a darn!

Abbott: Oh, that's our shortstop.

Costello: (makes screaming sound)

Thanks sis, you alien you.