Category Archives: Peculiar Science

More Per Capita

While I am off thinking of more items to grouse and complain about, I realized that you should have something other than The Donald’s statue to contemplate.

Those of you in Canada or Mexico can choose a state comparable to your province.

MorePer Capita

Taking our Health for Granted

Carrie Rubin recently wrote a post – It’s Easy to Take Our Health for Granted until It’s Taken from Us – describing her mother’s unfortunate ongoing health issues.  Unlike me, Carrie’s mom has retained a sense of humor through all this adversity.  In comparison, I would bitch, moan and complain about every insignificant problem – ingrown toenail, flea bite, that zit that always arises at the end of my nose – in the vain hope that it would ward off more serious problems.

As Carrie points out “Many ailments like [her] mother’s aren’t due to our poor behaviors, and many of our poor behaviors aren’t due to a lack of willpower. Our health is such a priceless commodity […] and yet we humans purposely do things we know aren’t good for us.”

So why do we systematically take our health for granted?

Faulty logic – Many of us don’t like going to the doctor. We argue (I argue) that the results are the same:  Either the doctor tells us that we are fine in which case we did not need to go or the doctor tells us that we have a problem in which case we wish we had not gone.

Avoidance part 1 – We avoid the obvious, men in particular. The fact that we can no longer stand up straight or bend our knees or that we donate blood whenever going to the bathroom is of no significance.  If a man loses his arm, he will still not want to go to the emergency room saying “It’s okay; it will grow back.”

Avoidance parts 2 – Studies have shown that daily exercise increases longevity by three years. Of course, most of that extra longevity was spent exercising.  Take out the extra time exercising and you only increase your longevity by three days.  In the words of www.despair.com , “Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.”

Pleasure seeking part 1 – I was touring Yosemite National Park a number of years ago and watched what I thought were bugs crawling up the side of El Capitan, the granite monolith extending about 3000 feet from base to summit. With strong binoculars, I realized that there were several teams of climbers scaling a shear face of rock.  It was far easier for me to watch than to participate.  Thrill seeking activities come with the risk of injury, sometimes fatal injury.  On the other hand, if you are going to die of something, make it something you like. ***

Pleasure seeking part 2 – Why do we consume in excess items that are injurious to us like cigarettes, alcohol or drugs? Because, we argue, they make us feel good.  If one of these is good, then two, three or forty-nine of these must be better.  Besides, they create jobs for the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives and the Drug Enforcement Administration as well as stimulate the economy.  If we collectively stopped consuming these items that are bad for us, we would send the financial system in a tailspin.

So, put up your feet, sit back on your fat butt, take a swig of rotgut, a drag on your cigarette, and watch endless reruns on the TV knowing that you are doing your part for the health of the economy.  Sacrificing your own health was never easier.

Taking health2

 

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***Registered trademark, watermark, patent and copyright of Curmudgeon-at-Large. If you use this phrase without my permission and without sending me big bucks, a million fleas will infect your armpits.  I point out that it is not easy to train a million fleas to attack and infect armpits.

Scientific Puns

One more round of puns.

You may thank (or curse) HighIQHumor for these:

Scientific

Ratio of an igloo’s circumference to its diameter = Eskimo Pi

2000 pounds of Chinese soup = Won Ton

1 millionth of a mouthwash = 1 microScope

Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement = 1 bananosecond

Weight an evangelist carries with God = 1 Billigram

Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour = Knotfurlong

365.25 days of drinking low-calorie beer = 1 Lite year

16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling

Half a large intestine = 1 semicolon

1,000,000 aches = 1 megahurtz

Basic unit of laryngitis = 1 hoarsepower

Shortest distance between two jokes = a straight line

2,000 mockingbirds = two kilomockingbird

1 kilogram of falling figs = 1 Fig Newton

1,000 cc’s of wet socks = 1 Literhosen

8 nickels = 2 Paradigms

 

And, for your added pleasure:

The past, the present and the future walk into a bar. It was tense.

Did you hear about the two guys who stole a calendar? They each got six months.

Do you think that humans will ever walk on the sun? (It would have to occur at night.)

Pluto Redux

 

Plutoredux1b

I had written an earlier post – The Demise of Pluto – lamenting its reduction in status to that of dwarf planet or plutoid.  In 2006, the International Astronomical Union demoted Pluto to its new status and we were left with eight rather than nine planets.  In my (humble) opinion, this is a clear travesty of justice.  The recent NASA New Horizons flyby mission and subsequent gathering of data have reinforced my efforts to return Pluto to its rightful place in our solar system.

With a nod to David Letterman and List of X, I have ten reasons to elevate Pluto back to planethood:

1.  Pluto has 5 moons – Charon, Kerberos, Styx, Nix and Hydra. Hey, that’s five times the number that Earth has. Mars only has two and Venus and Mercury have none. Plus the fact is that several of the moons can be mistaken for cosmological forms of Netsuke. Shown below, the one on the left is Nix or penis without testicles and the one on the right is Hydra or squatting doggie.

Plutoredux2

2.  There have been no Donald Trump sightings on Pluto. [As an aside, The Donald is opposed to reinstating Pluto to planet status because he feels that many other undocumented dwarf planets would ask for planet status thus depriving the existing planets of their livelihoods. “I like my planets big and full of gas” said The Donald. “Those other things out there aren’t real planets.”]

3.  It is completely virgin territory, unscathed by war, pestilence, plague, terrorism and other acts of inhumanity. In other words, it is an ideal spot for humans to start war, pestilence, plague, terrorism and other acts of inhumanity.

4.  Even though it took the New Horizons space probe ten years to get from Earth to Pluto, when any of the above acts occur, news media will still report upon it live in seconds.

5.  It will provide innumerable job opportunities for land developers, exotic travel specialists, food franchisers (anyone for a Pluto dog?), doomsayers, soothsayers, creationists, revisionists, recidivists, spelunkers, debunkers, bikers, hikers, criers, liars, hair dyers, pied pipers, psychics, people of Area 51, people of Walmart, people in the witness protection program, planet-to-planet salesmen and – least of all – mimes.

6.  You won’t have to revise those sayings which you memorized to remember the order of the planets: Man Very Early Makes Jars Stand Up Nearly Perpendicular or My Very Educated Mother Just Showed Us Nine Planets.

7.  It’s a good place to park your in-laws. By the time they come back for a return visit, you’ll be dead.

8.  The use of dwarf planet is demeaning and degrading. The preferred term is volumetrically challenged.

9.  Restoration of Pluto to full planet status will increase the likelihood of the removal of the anal probing station placed there by aliens shortly after Pluto’s demotion to dwarf planet.  The station will return where it rightfully belongs – Uranus.

10.  Hundreds of organizations – from the U.S. Congress and the United Nations to the Triskaidekaphobia Illuminatus Society and the Astrology Club – can take credit for the rightful restoration of Pluto without costing any of them a dime.  It’s a win-win.

Once again, I ask you to join me in the effort to restore Pluto to planethood!

Plutoredux3

 

Amazing Maps

 

Once again, FOAF (that’s Friend of a Friend to the uninitiated) has come to the rescue with some incredible world maps.  These maps remind me of Edward Tufte’s book on The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/index .

I’m sure that these maps are available somewhere on the Internet and, if you find out where, please give me the originator so I can credit that source.  In the meantime, enjoy the graphical descriptions.

This map shows the world divided into 7 sections (each with a distinct color) with each section containing 1 billion people.

Amap1

More people live inside the circle than outside of it.

Amap2

This map shows (in white) where 98 percent of Australia’s population lives.

Amap3

This map shows what is on the other side of the world from where you are standing.  For the most part it will probably be water.

This map shows the countries (in blue) where people drive on the left side of the road.

Amap5

This map shows countries (in white) that England has never invaded.  There are only 22 of them.

Amap6

The line in this map shows all of the world’s Internet connections in 1969.

Amap7

This map shows the countries that heavily restricted Internet access in 2013.

Amap8

This map shows (in red) countries that were all Communist at one point in time.

Amap9

This map shows (in red) the countries that don’t use the metric system.

Amap10

This map shows (in green) all the landlocked countries of the world.

Amap11

And this is what the world would look like if all the countries with coast lines sank.

Amap12

This map shows the longest straight line you can sail.  It goes from Pakistan all the way to Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia for a total of 20,000 miles.

Amap13

This is a map of 19th century shipping lanes that outlines the continents.

Amap14

This map shows the most photographed places in the world.

Amap15

And this map shows all the places where you can get eaten by a Great White shark!

Amap16