Growth Charts

Like many parents, we measured the kids’ heights every year on or around their birthdays and marked it on a door frame in the kitchen. Now that they have stopped growing, I can finally take a look at that data record and see if there is anything noteworthy. There is! Yet again confirming my belief that uninteresting data sets are those that have not been examined in sufficient detail! Or perhaps that my threshold for interesting data is remarkably low. Continue reading Growth Charts


Medley #2

I didn’t come across anything this week that I felt a particularly burning desire to comment on, so it’s a good opportunity to rummage through the closet of minor topics that I have accumulated: the New Yorker Caption contest, cervical burnout, an update on the 2018 World Chess Championship, and transgender signs in Ottawa. Continue reading Medley #2

Half a Basketball Score . . .

and the Greenland ice-sheet . . . are connected by bad reporting in the MSM!

Bad reporting happens in the MSM more often than I like. Normally I ignore it, but there are straws and there are camels, and every once in while the quantity of one exceeds the carrying capacity of the other. Continue reading Half a Basketball Score . . .

The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest

For years I have loved, but only irregularly read, the New Yorker Cartoon Caption contest (link), where the magazine publishes a caption-less cartoon and invites readers to submit a caption for it. They review all entries and publish the best. There is no prize, other than bragging rights. I was reminded of it recently while reading an interview with the film critic Roger Ebert where he said that he entered the contest regularly, and finally won (link) after 107 attempts! Continue reading The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest

All Strangers Exaggerate!

For most of my adult life I have had casual conversations with strangers: in airplanes, in lineups, at concerts, etc. Details from our pasts are often shared during those interactions. I was thinking about that a couple of months ago, and realized that while I enjoy those conversations I automatically assume that all statements made about their achievements are gross exaggerations. For example: Continue reading All Strangers Exaggerate!