Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fact Check

When confronted with data, it is immeasurably easier to accept the data as true rather than to verify its authenticity.  With the above being true, it becomes laughably simple to coerce or prod people into action simply by stating a number that sounds logical or believable enough to make the process of thoughtful fact checking seem like a  wasteful pursuit.  The more logical the guess, the better chance one has of duping ones readers, listeners, students, etc.        
For example, quantifying the premature fish deaths due to theft deterrent devices at a big box retailer by stating 1 in every 5 fish will die because people fail to lift the fish over said devices, is actually quite believable.  To test this, walk into your favorite big box retailer and find an unsuspecting dupe… er…. customer, unwittingly walking the path toward premature fish death.  Now, inform them that if they do not lift the fish over the theft deterrent devices their fish will die.  Every one of them, without fail, will lift them over.  After all, no one wants to be a pet killer, and seldom will anyone who is motivated in this way ever make sure what they were told was accurate.  If they did fact-check the above claim, they might realize they have a better chance of accidentally inhaling their fish, bag and all, then killing them by scanning them for theft deterrent tags.
One cannot simply accept at face value the numbers with which we are presented on a daily basis, but we need statistics to evaluate the world in which we live.  The two seem to be unable to coexist; the one hand promoting an agenda with numbers that we cannot and should not trust without verifying, and the other hand wanting us to act without thinking.  The idea is to not dismiss all statistics as bad, but learn how to judge the good from the bad.  This includes making the assumption that social statistics are used by people to present a cause and give it statistical backing to make it more prominent in peoples minds.

            Just remember that the mathematically inclined are destined for greatness, while a

numerically challenged society has a forty percent chance of dying in a vacuum cleaner accident and

I have the stats to prove it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Don't Look at the Boogers.....

Have you every noticed a booger hanging from someones nose?  Gross, right?  You have three options to handle this... well, 4 options really, but getting it for them is not really a good option.

Firstly, you can ignore it.  Although, that's kinda like trying to ignore Mr. Plumbers Crack at the hardware store, or the bug walking across the television screen.

Another option is to pick at your own nose while staring pointedly at the person, and at certain intervals, clear your throat while nodding in their direction while opening your eyes in an 'I can't believe you are just letting that hang out of your nose' manner.

Last option, and the most effective, is to just tell them...

'Hey man.... you have the most ginormous booger hanging out your nose.  You're going to want to get that taken care of'

Monday, December 19, 2011

Odd Sayings - Strange Things are Afoot at the Circle K

The English language is full of funny quirks.  None the least of which are colloquialisms.  These are sayings that are part of local speech, but not necessarily used elsewhere.  For example, the contraction y'all.  Combining 'you' and 'all' is ever present the further south in the United States you go.  It is used in the following ways -

When referring to one person - Are y'all going to the mall?

When referring to a group of two or more - Are all y'all going to the mall?

It's great, and it shows that English is a langauge that is alive and growing.  It does, however, grow mold.  For example, one of my pet peaves is when someone says something like this -

"Well, that's a whole 'nother thing".

Which begs the question, what is a half 'nother'?

What other colloquialisms are prevelant in your neck of the woods?  :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Neutering Christmas

Recently a story ran about a non-religious group who took offense of a banner that ran across a street in Pitman, NJ.  The offending banner stated simply, 'Keep Christ in Christmas'.

Four simple words about a holiday that is celebrated by more than a billion people worldwide caused a group based in Madison, Wisconsin to send a letter demanding the mayor of the city to take the sign down.

“Our purpose is to protect the fundamental constitutional principle of separation of state and church.  The government cannot in any way promote, advance, or otherwise endorse religion. The Christ banner unmistakably endorses the Christian faith.”

Time could be spent explaining to this group that 'separation of church and state' is not a constitutional principle, but a quote from Thomas Jefferson that has been used to back up religious discrimination like this, but it is doubtful that this group would be receptive.  In fact, their response was to continue to discriminate, harass, and defame Christians specifically and God fearing people in general by creating their own banner -

“There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell ... Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

The above is considered civil and intelligent, while reminding believers to keep Christ in Christmas is hateful and State promotion of religion.

It is truly amazing to see the change that is wrought in our society by an overly sensitive culture.  Where once their was civility and respect, there is now enmity and outright hatred exhibited by our fellow men.  People with opposing views on religion will no longer willingly seek out common ground.

The neutering of Christmas has been going on for a very long time, and it continues today.  Corporations large and small no longer have Christmas parties, simply Winter/Holiday parties.  This happens despite the fact that you are having a party in December around Christmas and likely have for a long time simply because Christmas is in December.

Perhaps if those who do not believe in Jesus Christ used some of His teachings in their lives, we might come to a place of mutual respect at last.  Until then, offense will be taken when no offense is intended, and we will further distance ourselves from the reason for the season... Hope, Peace, and Good Will Toward Men.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Aaaaaaaaannnnnnd We're Back!!!!

Due to events/circumstances beyond my control....

Well, not so much events or circumstances, and when I say beyond I mean within and by control, I mean... well, control.

So to restate, due to non events and non circumstances that are well within my control, I haven't posted.  I have now removed said non events/circumstances because as I stated before, they are/were within my control.

There.  Clear?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

WTHIUWT Part 3 - Infomercials

WTHIUWT Part 3 brings us to one of the biggest issues with TV today; infomercials.  There is a local channel that many of you may have heard of, especially if you have younger kids.  The channel is Qubo, and it has many shows that my kids love to watch.  The one and only gripe I have about Qubo is that infomericals replace normal commericals from other channels.

Infomercials usually follow the pattern below:

- Show an idiot trying to do a simple thing in the worst possible way.

- Show them making a mess doing it the worst possible way.

- Introduce new and interesting product that helps said idiot do a simple task in a way that was never intended.

- Show idiots happy family as the product of the simple task is shown to them

- Offer - 4 of x items for $$$ along with the handy, dandy <thing>.  But wait, there's more.  If you act now, we'll double your order.  8 of x items and two handy, dandy <things> for $$$ plus $$$$

- Sorry, no C.O.D.'s

One I saw the other day was for people who have serious issues.  They mutilate pancakes without regard for the shape they end up in.  They put the pan on the oven upside down and then spread the batter directly onto the burner.  They then take a plastic spatula to the batter and it melts to the burner.

Next comes the lady who brings in the new contraption, which looks more like a mideival torture divice than a pancake mutilator.

It's great... and if you act now, I will throw in this handy, dandy socket wrench.

Setting the Bar

Have you ever had a day where you felt the bar was set too high?  I must say that this morning, for me, the bar was set uncomfortably out of reach.  My alarm went off at 5:30am, I woke up, rolled over, and promptly smacked into the bar.  This morning, my bar was somewhere between getting up out of bed and not.

With all the advancements in medicine and the fact that we are continually living longer and better lives, you would think that waking up would be something of joy, but its not.  The bar for the day is set low for sure when you consider getting up to be a major accomplishment.

Who is in charge of setting the bar for today?  Certainly not me, or I would have put the bar somewhere under the bed.