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About me and terrycolon.com

Interview of me at Existable

Interview of me at The Setup

Notes for Young Illustrators  Learn from My Experience, or Get Your Own

features1 archives1 cracked1

American History 101 2.0  The Fake But Accurate Story

Chartology Made Stupid  Connecting the Dots

Compare & Save Big-Time  Are You Paying Exaggerated Prices for Exaggerated Differences?

Cosmology-Wiz  A Shorter History of Everything and Nothing

Dangerous Hot Air  The Truth About Inconvenient Global Warming

The Disunited States of America  A Preview of Coming Attractions?

Don’t Look Down  Everthing You Never Wanted to Know About Air Travel

E-Z P-Z House Selling  Redirect, Repackage, Relabel

Government Machinery at Work  How the Wheels of the Bureaucracy Grind

Happy New Year  2007 in Review

How ESP Works  Mind Reading Diagramed and Explained

Lights, Camera, Reaction!  The Periodic Table of Hollywood Plot Elements

Mess Transit  Bus Riding Primer for Dummies

Mysteries of UFOs Revealed  They’re Here, They Are, They Are, They Are

Money Blather  Your Guide to Economic Jargon, Lingo, and Gobbledegook

Not-so-Special Winter Olympics  Olympic Events You’ll Never See

Quick and Easy Housekeeping  Or Sisyphus Unbound and Unkempt

A Short Long Good-bye  It's the End of the Year as We Know It

Space Warps and Wefts  What Fabric Is The Fabric of Space Made Of?

Star Dreck  Musings of a Semi Hemi Demi Trekker

Those Darn Cats  Our Deal With the Devils

Unnatural Empty Junkfood Words  Half-Baked Buzz Phrases and Overcooked Terms

Uranimals  Beastly Beasts

Welcome to the Burbs  Whatever it Is

Win Any Argument  Using Paralogic and Surreason

Winless Wear  2008 Detroit Lions Merchandise

Reader's Digest

The B-B-Q Pyramid  For the Cooking Unimpaired

Mythic Snowmen  And More Snowmen

Quick and Easy Meals  For the Cooking Impaired

Venn Again, Again  More of the Same, But Different

Venn Again, Maybe Not  Another Last Laugh

Suck.com

Crash Course  Cartoon Motorcycle Accidents Versus Cartoonist Motorcycle Accidents

Suck School of Comic Art  How to Draw Funny

Suck School of Comic Art - Graduate Course  How to Draw Funnier

Bernoulli, Coanda & Lift  What Is What and What Is and Isn’t Doing What

Better Than Sliced Bread  Uncelebrated Inventions Great and Small

Bikes Don’t Turn By Leaning  Proving Cones and Gyroscopes Are Futile

Billiards Bits for Beginners  The Shape of Cheating the Pocket With Throw

Changes that Changed Everything  The 10 Greatest Inventions of All Time?

Counter-Steering Made Easy-Peasy  Balancing a Bike by Turning

Folk Etymology  From the Greek Meaning “Fake it”

The Futility of Fashionable Foods and Fitness Fads  Is It a Paradox or Not?

Flying Made Simple  Understanding How Planes Can Fly Without all the Messy Details

How Planes Can Fly  The Correct Explanation of Lift For Non-Engineers

Moving Goalposts  It's Harder to Make Ends Meet Because We Keep Moving Them Apart

My First Car  How I Almost Ran Myself Over With a Jerry-rigged Jalopy

Notes for Young Illustrators  Learn from My Experience, or Get Your Own

Optical Illusions You Often Run Into  Don’t Worry, They Don’t Hurt

“Pass the Honey, Sugar”  The Processed Food Processed Food Haters Love

A Powerplant in Your Garage?  Dense Plasma Focus Fusion

Science Legends
Things People Know to Be True That Aren’t

There’s More Than One Way to Skin a Cat  Three Card Monte Math Which May Surprise You

Unsurprising Yet remarkable  One Step at a Time to One Step Beyond

Works for Me  Prosperity Is As Energy Does

Bizarro.TerryColon.www  Goodbye, Earthlings

Elusiver, Mysteriouser Creatures  Another Search Game

Find the Secret Message  A different Kind of Word Search

Hollywhat?  A Movie Trivia Quiz of the Funny, the Obscure, and the Strange

Internetelepathy  I Will Read Your Mind

Mystic 8 Ball  Ultimate Mystic Service Answers Any Yes-or-No Question

99 & 44/100 % Pure Amusement  A Pop Quiz About Percentages and Probabilities

Superest Super Bowl League  What Is the Best Pre-Merger League at Winning the Big Game?

Terra Incognita  A Trick Tricky Geography Quiz

Unanimated Gif Monte  A Little Optical Illusion Fun

What Was That Nym Again?  Some Fun With Words

Webio-Bot Video Games and Animation

Whack-a-Bot  Quick, Get 'Em!

Webio-Bot Illusion  A Little Fun With Optical Illusions

Webio-Bot Invaders  Save the Planet

Webio-Bot Rerun  Getting Into the Net With the Web-a-Tron 9000

Webio-Bot Rescue  A Game Where You're the Hero

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Ultimate Mystic Service Answers Any Yes-or-No Question

Another Search Game

Getting Into the Net With the Web-a-Tron 9000

Animated Optical Illusions

Using Paralogic and Surreason


updates

How the Wheels of the Bureaucracy Grind

I Will Read Your Mind

Lift Explained


reruns

Cosmology-Wiz

A Shorter History of Everything and Nothing

Remembering WWI As It Really Wasn't

Proving Cones and Gyroscopes Are Futile


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comparehead

Are You Paying Exaggerated Prices
for Exaggerated Differences?

Branding is all about creating a perceived difference in the mind of the consumer about products that are essentially the same. Like different brands of vodka, a flavorless, colorless distilled spirit. How much difference can their be? While various cars seem to be quite different (that's the whole point of styling) in basic utility they differ hardly at all. Cars are machines a person can easily use to travel protected from the elements from point A to B. Let's compare some cars based on that and see what we get…

Read it all

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Bus Riding Primer for Dummies

Taking the bus is the newest hot trend folks around the country are flocking to in droves. Okay, that's obviously a lie, but I need a catchy lead-in to this bit. Anyway, sheep come in flocks and cattle go in droves, and who wants to commute like livestock? For the sake of argument, or rather to avoid any argument, let's pretend the opening line were true.

Folks who've never ridden a bus will benefit from some tips on how it's done safely and effectively. Therefore we present this Bus Riding Primer for Dummies. Which is not to say you have to be a dummy to ride the bus, but you may be one if you follow our advice…

Read it all

counterhead

Balancing a Bike by Turning

It's hard to believe some people don't believe counter-steering is a real thing. This despite the century or so of motorcycle racers doing it. For those readers unfamiliar with counter-steering, it is some­times stated as, "Turn right to go left." It might sound absurd, but it works.

The first thing we need to clear up is that counter-steering is not really about turning so much as about leaning and balance. Which means "turn right to go left" is misleading though accurate. I'll explain that in a bit.

If you read my article Bikes Don't Turn by Leaning you know why leaning a bike can't possibly make it turn. The reverse is completely contrary, turning a bike will make it lean. Which might sound somewhat inconsistant until you think about it for a minute…

Read it all

noteshead

Learn from My Experience, or Get Your Own

There comes a time in life when one feels duty bound to pass on the benefit of one's experience to the younger generation whether they like it or not. Then one can retire and collect Social Security so the younger generation can pass on part of their income in return. Whether this is an equitable trade is debatable. After reading said benefit of one's experience and realizing how paltry one's contribution is, one might conclude there's no debate about it.

One might also realize calling oneself one or oneself sounds pretty stilted and stupid and one should cut it out forthwith. And never again say forthwith, either.

I was going to call this article, "Advice for…" but thought that might be doing the young illustrator a disservice. Truth be told, I don't know that I have any great pearls of wisdom to pass on. Or nuggets either as wisdom comes packaged that way, too. Experience is the name we give to all the dumb things we've done. Wisdom is realizing afterward just how dumb they really were…

Read it all

whackhead
hole
bot
holetop
hole
bot
holetop
hole
bot
holetop

Come enjoy Whack-a-Bot, the video game that's endless fun for the whole family. Though you'll have to take turns unless watching someone else play is fun to you. Then again, the fun might not be endless, but the game can be. That's because, well, try it and see.

Play Whack-a-Bot

t:
shortssnipe

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way from the Revolution

vietnam

If you're ancient like me you might remember when Vietnam was in the news every day. The biggest little country on the planet has pretty much receded to a footnote now-a-days. Perhaps you're wondering what happened to the place. Wonder no more. Read the report from intrepid traveller Michael J. Totten, Hanoi's Capitalist Revolution.

It seems the Vietnamese Communists discovered in short order communism doesn't work. On the other hand, Cuban Communists still haven't figured it out. Read about Mr. Totten's visit to Havana, The Last Communist City.

So, some Communists don't practice communism and some do. Which only goes to show…

You can't judge a book by it's cover.
Some folks never learn.
The best laid plans of mice and Ho Chi Minh gang aft agley.

Filed under Quotes & Sayings 7/29/15

When Average Is Not Normal

average

Some folks, like weathercasters, like to use average and normal interchangeably when they shouldn't. For instance they'll say something like, "The high today was five degrees above normal for this time of year." Well, no. It's pretty normal to be within five degrees of the average high temperature. Five degrees above average is normal, not above normal.

Nitpicking, you say? Maybe. But they say there is no such thing as an average person because everyone is off the average in some way. But that's normal. Being average in every way would be very not normal.

On the other hand, sportscasters use average when it seems to have nothing to do with average. As in batting average. Isn't it really a hitting percentage, similar to on-base percentage? Yet it can't really be a percentage because the number is too small. A good batting average is .333, right? That's one hit per three at-bats, which is 33.3%. Hm-m-m.

Percent is per hundred. A batting average is a per one rather than a per hundred figure. So 1.000 is one hit per one at-bat and .333 amounts to one third of a hit per at-bat. It's a strange way to put it when you think about it, but not strange because we're used to it being done that way. So, a hitter batting .333 averages one third of a hit per at-bat.

Of course, you can't really get a third of a hit. That's nonsense. So the average at-bat as per the batting average is not only not normal, it's impossible. Unless you're hitting 1.000 or .000, that is.

Filed under Odds & Ends 7/27/15

Baseball in the Land of the Midnight Sun

pesapallo

When we think of Finland and sports we naturally think of winter sports, hockey, skiing and such. That is, if we ever think of Finland and sports. Doesn't come up much. Anyway, they have summer in Finland and so they have summer sports, too. For instance, they play baseball. Though not really baseball you'd recognize, a Nordic version of baseball invented about a hundred years ago called pesäpallo.

Finnish baseball is played on a five-sided dirt field shaped like a big, elongated home plate. In American baseball fair territory goes on forever and over the fence is homerun territory. In pesäpallo everything outside the lines enclosing the field is foul territory and so all homers are inside-the-park jobs. Though the batter only needs to reach third to get one. Which we suppose makes it a thirder and not a homer.

In pesäpallo the pitcher stands next to home plate (circular and not home plate shaped) and throws the ball up which the batter hits on the way down. Kind-of like two-man fungo. Since they don't need a catcher behind the plate, he plays in front of the second baseman, who plays where American baseball first basemen play. There is no center fielder, instead there are two shortstops. Who play in the outfield.

Oddly, first base is to the left half way to third base. Second base is where first base should be and there's no base at second. Third base is still third base though behind first base. (One imagines a new Abbot and Costello routine. "Who's on first? Where is second? What happened to third?") From third runners take a bent path in foul territory to a second home plate, which isn't a plate but a big semi-circle where the entire team at bat lines up on deck.

Finns go for the designated hitter in a big way. They have three of them, which they call jokers. Being at the arctic circle, Finnish night games can be played without lights. Players wear helmets at all times. Though with the way they pitch, straight up and down, we wonder why. We don't know Finnish, but if you drop the umlaut and replace the Ps with Bs you get besaballo. Cue Garrett Morris, "Besaballo been bery, bery good to me." Feel free to groan softly.

More about Finnish baseball at Pesapallo.net or this article from The Wall Street Journal. Watch the You-Tube video on the History of Pesäpallo. We say watch because it's in Finnish. What can we say? Pesäpallo doesn't have a big English speaking following.

Filed under The Casual Sportsman 7/24/15

As a Living Document, It Needs Doctoring

scotus

Infrequently Answered Question #86: Why does the Supreme Court decide what a recently passed law means? The people who wrote and passed the law are still around, why don't the authors get to say what it means?

A: That's just the American constitutional process. Which the framers didn't know about until the very first Supreme Court divined it hidden in the Constitution. This is called a ruling by divined right. Only judges, or better yet justices, can decipher the true meanings because they're encrypted in what they call the legal code.

The court not only says what the Constitution and laws mean, they also define the words used. And so 'fine' means 'tax' and 'state' really means 'national government.' As a result, lawmakers don't know the meaning of the laws they're writing or passing until the Supreme Court tells them afterward. This explains why Congress must pass a law in order to find out what's in it. These are laws of unintended consequences.

You can think of Supreme Court justices as sort-of law seers. They wear black robes, sprinkle their speech with Latin, and meet in special justice chambers to communicate with the spirit of the law. All this helps them reach a decision, which often require a lot of language stretching because some decisions are quite a reach.

Filed under Infrequently Answered Questions 7/23/15

T-shirts Are Socks Worn on the Torso

Tshirt

Have you ever noticed, unlike every other kind of shirt, T-shirts don't have a seam running down the side? You know, from the armpit on down. Other kinds of shirts have front and back panels sewn together. T-shirts are a seamless tube sewn together at the shoulder with sleeves and a collar band added.

This means T-shirt fabric is made as a tube rather than as sheets. Just like tube socks are. And so the horizontal threads (whether that's the warp or weft I can't say) are wound around the body in extremely long strands from top to bottom. Which is sort-of like the way you knit a sweater. Well, maybe you personally don't knit, but you know what I mean.

So I ask, is T-shirt fabric woven or knitted? What exactly is the difference? Does it matter? Do you care?

More frivia at it's finest you'll get only from terry colon dot com.

Filed under Odds & Ends 7/20/15

And This Is the Language of Shakespeare

shakespeare

Oddities in the English language are something of a hobbyhorse of mine. It's a language where exceptions are the rule and rules are more like suggestions.

For instance, the plural of ox is oxen, the plural of ax is axes, and axes is the plural of axis. The plural of hex is hexes, the plural of vortex is vortices. I'll lay even odds you can't make out a pattern. And isn't 'even odds' self-contradictory?

The plural of mouse is mice, the plural of louse is lice, the plural of house is houses. Hm-m-m-m. The plural of bass is bass and the plural of bass is basses. You figure it out.

Now then, a person providing bail is the bailor, a person bailed out is the bailee. Though if no bail is posted and the prisoner busts out, the person escaping is the escapee. Who's the escaper? The escapee is the escaper. Sure, why not?

Then we have the word 'cleave' which has two completely opposite meanings. As a transitive verb it means to split or separate. As an intransitive verb it means to adhere, cling, or stick to. And if you were to un-cleave something did you pull it back apart or put it back together?

And this is the language of Shakespeare. So irregular the Bard of Avon signed his own name six different ways. Playing Fast and Loose with Shakespeare's Name

What a language. At least English doesn't have those pointless genders for every noun. I mean, why would a chair be male or female? How? It has no persona or genitalia. Folks invent or adopt new things all the time, how do they sex them?

Filed under Odds & Ends 7/12/15

Fauxcabulary Word #8

emblemish

emblemish (əm blĕm′-ĭsh) verb. To embellish with symbols, logos, slogans or decorations making something plain, or even nice, look cheesy instead.

Half the T-shirts, baseball caps, and sweats in America have been emblemished in some way. Some folks just can't get tacky enough and so enhance their emblemishments so they sparkle or even light up. The hardcore aren't satisfied with merely emblemishing their clothes, hence tattoos and piercing.

One imagines these are supposed to be fashion statements. While they're rarely very fashionable, they are statements. They mostly say, "Look at me. I have no taste or sense."

Filed under Fauxcabulary 7/8/15

America Celebrates

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It's July fourth and so it's The Fourth of July. Independence Day, the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The document that once and for all established the right of a people to break political bonds and rule themselves.

"Once and for all" meaning eighty years as Americans then fought another war to "preserve the union." So, if you win the war you have the right to independence; if you lose, you don't. Thus establishing the true ruling principle: might makes right.

These wars are called the American Revolution and the American Civil War. If we called both wars of independence it'd be obvious Americans were both for and against independence, depending. This follows the principle that history is written by the winners. To coin a paraphrase, might makes write makes right.

This only goes to show people don't always follow the rules. Even ones they write themselves. See, the founders made a big mistake with both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, they wrote them on parchment. If they wanted people to pay heed, they should have been written in stone. Like the Ten Commandments. Then again, most folks don't take them very seriously, either.

Enough of that. Let's go bar-b-q and watch the fireworks. Just don't bar-b-q the fireworks. Wait an hour before swimming. Wear a helmet. Do not eat toner.

Filed under Odds & Ends 7/4/15

Terry Tip: Make a Mulberry Float

mulberry

There's a bumper crop of mulberries around here this year. (This use of the word 'bumper' seems to always apply to crops. Could you have, say, a bumper head of hair? Is it a superlative, as in bump, bumper, bumpest? —I seem to have gone off track. Let's begin again.)

There's mulberries galore hereabouts. (Or should that be, "there are" mulberries galore? Why does the adjective come after the noun in the case of 'galore'? And in the case of 'aplenty', for that matter? —I seem to have gone off on parentheticals again. Or should they be set off by em dashes rather than in parentheses? I never know when to use which. Let's start over.)

It's a banner year for mulberries in my neck of the woods. Unlike a couple years ago when there were no mulberries at all. Darn fickle weather, can't be relied on from one year to the next. Anyway, for me this is free fruit there for the picking. Though picking is a pretty inefficient way to harvest mulberries. Ripe mulberries are small and soft compared to most berries, picking them off the tree one by one is tedious and turns your fingers purple.

There is a simpler method. Spread a tarp under the tree, take a pole pruner, hook onto a branch and give it a bit of a shake. The ripest mulberries will simply fall off. Don't shake too vigorously or a lot of unripe berries will detach, too. Gather up the corners of the tarp and herd the mulberries together. Maybe 'herd' is not the right word, but you get the gist.

Now then, that's not the main Terry Tip which is this: Take the collected mulberries and dump them in a big bowl of cold water. The ripest berries are denser and will sink to the bottom. Unripe berries, and sticks and leaves and such, will float. Skim or decant off the top bits and, voila! you have clean, ripe mulberries.

Some nearly ripe mulberries will float. Look for the darkest berries that sit lower in the water. These can be picked out before skimming off the detritus. (Or is it flotsam because it's in water? —There I go again.) Sprinkled with a little sugar the nearly ripe will be just as tasty as fully ripe mulberries.

I've also got some wild black raspberries growing in the back yard. These are easier to gather as they grow on canes close to the ground rather than on trees. My only Terry Tip for wild black raspberries: watch out for the thorns. On the canes, not on the berries. Who'd want to eat thorny berries?

Filed under Odds & Ends 7/1/15

Maybe the Sample Size Wasn’t Big Enough

CHD1

The health and nutrition experts tell us eating fat will give you a heart attack. So, let's look at the data from the largest test of this hypothesis ever, the eating habits of the entire population of Europe. The following is from the World Health Organization's European Heart Study of 2008.

CHD2

Notice anything odd? France has the fattiest diet and the lowest coronary heart disease (CHD) death rate. Georgia has the leanest diet and the second highest CHD death rate. The French eat almost twice the fat as Russians and have less than one tenth the CHD death rate. The overall trend shows the more fat the lower the CHD death rate.

Yet somehow a low fat diet is "heart smart." Why do they say this? I don't know, but medical experts can believe two totally contrary things at the same time.

After a recent study by the British Heart Foundation the investigators concluded there was no evidence that saturated fat is bad for your heart. At the same time they claimed saturated fat raised cholesterol levels which is bad for your heart. Meaning saturated fat does and doesn't cause heart disease. It's not saturated fat, it's Schrödinger's fat.

Not all the experts are buying it. To quote Dr. George Mann, former head of the Framingham Study (where the fat causes heart disease hypothesis originated back in the 1950s): "The diet-heart idea –the notion that saturated fats and cholesterol cause heart disease– is the greatest scientific deception of our times… The public is being deceived by the greatest health scam of the century."

The Cholesterol Hypothesis Is Wrong on YouTube

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 6/30/15

Nothing Works Like Not Working

labor

We could avoid the current brouhaha over increasing the minimum wage by taking a page out of the current farm policy playbook. That is, simply pay people for not working. We offer the Labor Price Support Act of 2015.

This will have a double effect on raising wages. It will reduce the labor supply thus driving up wages as employers compete for fewer available workers. Also, a high non-working wage will force greedy employers to offer much higher working wages to entice workers away from a life of liesure to take a job.

Capitalist apologists may argue this will drive up the prices of labor-intensive goods and services. Not so. Employers currently squeaking by on thin margins will be happy to operate at a loss. Investors are already buying negative-yielding bonds, so why not negative-yielding businesses? Since IPOs of money-losing companies are all the rage, unprofitable businesses won't be problems, they'll be golden opportunities for Wall Street to drive up the stock market and super­charge the wealth effect. Boom times here we come.

Besides, if too many businesses go under the government can always start paying them for not producing any goods or services under the Business Support Act of 2016. There is no unproductive activity the government can't pay for to make the economy work like a well-oiled Keynesian juggernaut.

Now, if you don't think producing less makes us richer, you're no economist. Some will tell you natural disasters and war are good for the economy. That's right, destroying things make you rich. It's a wonder Beirut isn't the richest city on Earth.

Filed under Talkin 'Bout Money 6/28/15

She Said She Had to Catch a Plane

rocketcab

Because I'm not motivated to write or draw anything new, you get an old spot illustration from the Reason magazine archives. Though if you haven't seen it before it's new.

Early one morning in Newport, England, a speed camera snapped a photo of Tom Matthews' 12-year-old cab. He later received a notice informing him he'd exceeded the 30-mile-per-hour speed limit –by about 390 miles per hour. "I drive an old Cavalier –not a jumbo jet," Matthews told the London Sun. "According to this, I've broken the land speed record."

Filed under Snippets 6/25/15

Sodium Is Dangerous, Salt Not so Much

sodium

Infrequently Answered Question #85: What's with low sodium foods and diets? Sodium is an alkali metal that reacts exothermically with water. Meaning it explodes. Are sadistic food conglomerates or terrorists lacing the food supply with sodium or something?

A: They don't mean sodium, of course, they mean salt, sodium chloride, NaCl. Don't know why they omit the chloride part. Is it because the chlorine part makes no difference? Though very few have studied it, what evidence there is shows low blood chlorine (serum chloride) is a bad thing, being associated with higher mortality risk.

So, low sodium is supposed to be good and low chlorine is shown to be bad. Yet you don't get the two separately as they come together as salt. Meaning, if you have low sodium, good, you also have have low chlorine, bad. How does that work?

According to numerous studies, it doesn't work. To quote one recent Australian study, "In a multivariate-adjusted model, those who consumed less than 3000 mg of sodium per day had a 25% increased risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events compared with those who consumed between 4000 mg and 5990 mg/day (reference group)." In plain English, a low salt diet increased the risk of heart attacks and death. In Newspeak, low salt bad.

Here, too, they speak of sodium as if test subjects were somehow getting it minus the chlorine. Weird. Maybe it sounds more sciency and convincing to say sodium instead of salt.

Anyway, consider the following: Very ill hospital patients who cannot eat or drink are given an IV drip to replace fluids. That's a saline solution of about 0.9% salt. A commonly administered dose of two liters a day delivers 18 grams of salt into the bloodstream – which has no effect on blood pressure by the way.

Yet dietary experts tell people to limit themselves to six grams of salt a day. Unless you're in a sickbed when other medical experts pump 18 grams a day into you to keep you alive. Modern medicine works in mysterious ways.

Hat tip to Dr. Malcolm Kendrick's blog. To confess, I basically took much of what he wrote and rewrote it my way. So, not so much a hat tip as a lift notice.

Filed under Infrequently Answered Questions 6/23/15

Ah-h-h-h, Summer

suntime

The longest day of the year is here. Day being sunup to sundown. Before the mechanical clock daytime was twelve hours sunup to sundown no matter how long it lasted. So every day the length of an hour was different. Time was local east to west as well. It was like there were 360 time zones. Try running a train schedule with different length hours every day in 50 time zones.

I'm guessing before mechanical clocks the minutes and seconds didn't change every day. I mean, if you're timing a cake in the oven you need the minutes to be the same every time. If seconds got longer and shorter the world record for the 100 meter dash would have been set on the winter solstice. Or the 100 yard dash since mechanical clocks arrived before the metric system.

Not too many people go by sun time any more. Though all of the natural world does. If you did go by sun time, sunrise would be the same time every day, six o'clock. Though maybe it wouldn't be o'clock as you're not using a clock. So, the sun comes up at six o'sun and sets at six o'son every day. Just like it does at the equator. OK, we've already done that one.

All that aside, it's summer. Let's go out and enjoy the sunshine. Baseball, hot dogs and all that.

Which brings us to one of the dumbest health advice/scares ever: beware of sun caused skin cancer, never go outside without skin protection. Skin cancer is very rare, sun exposure represents a very low risk. What they don't tell you is sunshine reduces the risk of the three most common cancers people get. Which means dermatologists advise us to avoid the sun to decrease a tiny risk of melanoma while increasing the much greater risk of the most prevalent cancers.

Frédéric Bastiat warned about the seen and unseen in economics. Well, something similar applies to health. That is, you won't know the disease you did not get from bathing in the sunshine. You can't see what does not happen.

Filed under Odds & Ends 6/21/15

The Hits to Sanity Just Keep on Coming

professor

Top Ten Reasons the Ivory Tower Elite Advocate the Cashless Society

  1. To end the black market in used goods, you know, garage sales.
  2. They're sick and tired of co-professors borrowing ten bucks for lunch and forgetting to pay it back.
  3. So there's no way to pull your money out of the banking system and store it where they can't charge you negative interest which they also think is a good idea.
  4. To make cash only express lanes slower.
  5. So during the next major power outage no-one can price gouge because all commerce will be impossible.
  6. So no-one can live independently off the matrix grid.
  7. Because cash, anonymity and liberty are barbarous relics of the unenlightened past.
  8. There just aren't enough surveillance drones to go around.
  9. Just one more in a long line of college pranks. They're still laughing about that 'whole language' one.
  10. They're insane.

What do you call someone with more eduction than common sense? Professor.

Filed under Top Tens & Other Lists 6/19/15

Rag Arms Are as Dead as the Dead Ball

vandermeer

Because baseball is managed so differently today than 100 years ago, there are many pitching records that will likely never be approached let alone broken. These have to do with decisions, innings pitched, and complete games. What with deeper rotations, middle relievers and closers, starting pitchers just don't get the chance to ever approach, let alone break, those kinds of records.

I mean, if a pitcher won 20 games a year for 20 years they'd have 400 wins. Cy Young won 511 games, lost 316, pitched 7,335 innings and completed 749 games. All records. Now-a-days with a four man rotation your ace will get 41 starts. Jack Chesbro won 41 games in 1904. He also started 51 and completed 48 in a 154 game season instead of the current 162. These records were all set were during the dead ball era which might have something to do with it. Still, nobody has won 30 games in a season since Denny McLain in 1968, almost 50 years ago.

All the same there is one modern era (since 1920) pitching record that will likely never be broken. Cincinnati Red pitcher Johnny Vander Meer threw consecutive no-hitters against Boston and Brooklyn in 1938. Why this feat will probably never be topped is simple, to do so a pitcher would have to throw three consecutive no-hitters.

Trivia bonus: Vander Meer's no-hitter against the Dodgers was the first night game ever played at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field. Houston Colt 45s (Astros) Ken Johnson is the only pitcher to lose a complete game no-hitter, 0-1 against, coincidentally, the Cincinnati Reds in 1964.

Filed under The Casual Sportsman 6/17/15

Time Travelling Twin and Other Modern Science Silliness

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The time travelling twin paradox. Heard of it? It's the whole Relativity Theory business where a twin travelling in a spaceship at the speed of light leaves and returns to the Earth and is then younger than his Earthbound twin because time is supposed to slow down as you near the speed of light.

Yet according to Relativity there are no absolute reference frames and it is equally valid to say the Earth travelled away and returned to the spaceship at the speed of light. In which case the Earthbound twin will be younger. So either twin is younger than the other depending on which twin was referenced as moving.

Maybe they're the Schrödinger twins where each is both older and younger than the other at the same time. So we wind up with parallel universes where we get both outcomes with each twin in both universes, but only experiencing one or the other universe.

Now suppose a third person, maybe a second cousin, watched all this from a distant planet directly above. He sees the spaceship and Earth separate then come together at the speed of light. Who's older now?

Still, why do we need people moving at the speed of light? Wouldn't anything travelling at the speed of light have the alleged time effect? Consider photons emitted from opposite sides of the sun. Relative to each other they are travelling twice the speed of light. Is time running in reverse? Consider all the photons moving in every direction from the sun each with a different relative speed to the other. How many alternate time multiverses are there in that case?

Here's another problem, speed is distance over time. Slowing time would increase speed. Say you travel a light-year, which at the speed of light slows time to, say, half a year. In which case you cover a light-year in six months meaning you're travelling twice the speed of light, which slows time down to three months, so now you're travelling at four times the speed of light, which slows time… where does it end?

Ah, but you can't travel faster than the speed of light, you say? Well then, to remain at the speed of light time can't slow down. Meaning there can't be any slowing of time from travelling the speed of light because your speed would have to slow and it'd be self-negating. Do you suspect the time travelling twin paradox is just plain silly?

Modern physics is rife with silly things. Like a zero point singularity of infinite mass, temperature, and density. A point is a mathematical entity of zero height, zero width, and zero length. 0x0x0=0, in other words nothing and no space at all. Temperature is a measure of motion. How do you get infinite temperature when there is no space in which anything can move let alone exist?

Let's consider infinite density. Density is mass divided by volume. A zero point singularity has a volume of zero, so infinite density is derived by dividing some unknown amount by zero. Division by zero is mathematically impossible and meaningless. Is there any real physical meaning to a zero point singularity?

Still, some will say it's near infinite mass, density, and temperature. Infinity itself is undefined. One wonders what near infinite means. Infinity minus one or what? Can you subtract an unknown amount from an undefined amount and get a meaningful result?

As far as I can figure physicists simply assign a symbol or Greek letter to things which have no real physical meaning and stick them into formulas. Presto, the impossible becomes a mathematical fact. They call astrophysics the Queen of the Sciences. Tarted up with nonsense math and undetectable hypotheticals it's now the Drag Queen of the Sciences.

"Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality."  —Nikola Tesla

"Physics is mathematical not because we know so much about the physical world, but because we know so little."  —Bertrand Russell

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts."  —Richard Feynman

"There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened."  —Douglas Adams

Filed under Quotes & Sayings 6/14/15

Tomorrow Never Arrives

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Top Ten Things Only Ten Years Away and Counting

  1. Soviet Union outproduces the west
  2. Great Society ends poverty
  3. Moon colonies
  4. Cubs win World Series
  5. Practical nuclear fission
  6. Cure for cancer
  7. Coronation of King Charles III
  8. Japan owns the world
  9. Paperless office
  10. Runaway global warming

We admit the clock is no longer running on number one. Let's substitute People's Republic of China for Soviet Union and start counting all over starting from 2010.

As somebody once said, "Brazil has had a bright future for fifty years now." Yessiree bob, it's hard to forecast the future. Though some folks see trends better than most. Jack London, for instance. In The Iron Heel written between 1906-08, London fictionalized the following:

  1. A world war in the second decade of the 20th Century
  2. A Russian revolution
  3. A second world war in the fourth decade of the 20th Century instigated by a charismatic leader who began speaking to working class men in the streets and bars.
  4. The U.S. Navy suffers a defeat at Hawaii, and recovers to win the war.
  5. The war results in a world economy managed by an American-European banking cartel enforced by a world-wide U.S. military presence.

That's only five of many more in the book. Read about it: American Prophet

Filed under Top Tens & Other Lists 6/11/15

Lose Over a Quarter Million Dollars in Bets, Never Pay Off the Winners, Yet They Don’t Complain

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After American Pharoah's victory in the Belmont Stakes it seems a great many people would rather have a two dollar souvenir betting ticket than the $3.50 it paid. As a result Aqueduct racetrack had a $315,829 windfall in uncashed winning tickets. In all, 90,237 two dollar winning tickets went unclaimed.

Having previously won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, American Pharoah becomes the first triple crown winner in over three decades. Coincidentally, Barçelona completed the soccer treble on the same day. But that's another story.

With over 90,000 of them out there, as a sports collectable on some future Antiques Roadshow we can't imagine one of these winning tickets being worth much. Though a set of winning tickets from all three races might be a nice addition to a horse racing fan's collection.

In a similar vien, we've also heard some personal checks from famous people go uncashed because folks keep them for the signature. It's not a check, it's an autographed momento. Heck, for a small payment some signatures might be worth more than the the check anyway.

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 6/9/15

Barça Takes Treble

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The Casual Sportsman tuned in for the Super Bowl of soccer over the weekend, the UEFA Champions League European Cup or whatever it's called. We say Super Bowl because it's an annual championship of club teams rather than national teams. Anyway, we wanted to see if Barçelona was all it was cracked up to be, the new dream team with the South American strike force of Leo Messi, Neymar Jr. and Luis Suarez.

The answer… we don't know. They looked pretty darn good, but we don't know and haven't seen enough to judge how good. How do they compare to the great Real Madrid teams with Alfredo Di Stéfano and Ferenc Puskás? We never saw the Blond Arrow or Galloping Major play, so what do we know?

That's one problem with trying to compare players or teams from different eras, most folks around today don't get to see 50s era Real Madrid play. Nor are there endless highlights on cable tv or the internet. The only thing the Casual Sportsman feels safe to say, Barça 2015 have by far more idiotic hairstyles and bad tattoos.

There is one comparison we can make from watching soccer over the weekend. The European Cup was Saturday, some women's World Cup was shown Sunday. While we said comparison there really is no comparison between the two. Imagine school boys playing in lead shoes, that's women's soccer. Less than scintillating. How do people even watch it?

How much difference is there between men and women athletes? Well, here's a story of how the number 203 ranked men's tennis player clobbered both Williams sisters, 6-1 and 6-2, in one afternoon. How would they rank in the men's game? We doubt they'd even get to the pro ranks to be rated.

Oh yeah, in case you weren't paying attention, the Catalan Kings beat Juve 3-1 to become the first two-time treble winner. That's league champs (La Liga), national cup champs (Copa del Rey) and European Cup champs. Funny thing, if Jeventas had won they'd have won the treble. Only the Italian version.

Filed under The Casual Sportsman 6/8/15

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