William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Page 147 of 425

Men’s Fashion & Style Dos and Don’ts

Fashion: Don’t.1

Just wrong

This outfit is what happens when people watch too much television. Or substitute fashion for style. Everything save this gentleman’s shoes is two sizes too small—and on purpose! It looks like the suit his mother bought him for high school graduation dug out of the closet for his first job interview after college. We know it is an interview because he clearly has no job otherwise he could afford to buy socks. The shoes he evidently had to borrow from his Old Man.

Never, unless you are doing a guest stint with the Blues Brothers or are wearing a tuxedo, have black in your tie. Purple neither. If you must have black, have all black. Black in a tie is depressing, not to mention ugly and cheap looking.

The flat, rectangular belt buckle is also from high school, perhaps left over from his Boy Scout days. Not much wrong with the shirt, except that for a man with a neck like a giraffe, it should have a taller collar. The beard is either Hipster Chic or pure laziness. Either grow the damn thing out and trim it properly or learn to shave!

And did you notice his right hand is missing? Photoshopped into oblivion. It was supposed to be nonchalantly resting in his trouser pocket, but his pants were so tight he couldn’t squeeze it in.

From J. Crew, The “Ludlow Suit” in wool flannel.

Style: Do.

Just right

This an instance of facial hair done properly. This look is not for every man, because not all of us can grow a moustache as luxuriantly thick. But on this young man it is particularly apt, especially since he, too, is obviously on his way to an interview and the moustache gives an air of maturity instead of frivolity as in the example above.

Which man will get the job? If the position is as a staff writer for the New York Times on the Tech beat, of course it is man number one. Another victory of style over fashion (the second man gives the air of not needing a job, and so it likely to secure a better one).

The suit here is classic and never out of place. Adding that “extra breast” turns an ordinary jacket into something twice as dressy. The lapels might, just might, be an inch wider, and the sleeves removed of a shade of extra material: but these trivial “flaws” are a matter of opinion after all. Notice the soft but still structured shoulder, and the—finally!—cinching at the waist. For too long have men been unthinking slaves to the sack suit. Time for a return to shape!

Whenever you see a plain tie, like this one, snap it up. They are surprisingly difficult to find. They are the easiest to match and are a reminder that ties are decorations for our necks and not for our bellies or crotches. Modern ties are long because men often (inexplicably) go jacketless.

Hands in the pockets again, but this time they have been spared the knife. The pocket square is a better match here too.

From Bergdorf Goodman.


1These images appeared as advertisements in the Wall Street Journal; I haven’t a scanner, so I photographed them.

1 Billion To Die By 2030: Global Warming’s Deadly Rampage!

You read that number right, friend. One billion—that’s billion-with-a-Carl-Sagan-B—fresh corpses will pile the streets by 2030. A billion! During these same years, global warming will be among us, hiding, seeking; also lurking. Is this a coincidence? Draw your own conclusions. Go ahead: draw.

Drawn them yet? Then let me give you another alarming statistic, one more frightening than the last! Between now and 2030, two billion—yes, billion again; but doubled, friend; timesed by two—fresh babies will push into view. And don’t forget that this will be the same time period when climate catastrophe starts its ballyhoo in earnest. Coincidence?

If my arithmetic is right—and this is me we’re talking about—there will be a balance of one billion bodies; not dead ones, alive ones. Global warming thus appears to aid fecundity. Conclusion: climate change is good for making babies.

I emphasize that this is my arithmetic. For there are other groups with different math. For example, Reuters reported on a report conducted by the “humanitarian organisation” DARA, which said, “A combined climate-carbon crisis is estimated to claim 100 million lives between now and the end of the next decade.”

DARA is silent on the important question of the number of births, but in their Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2nd Edition they boast climate change is “a leading global cause of death.” And you guessed it: minorities and women are the most “vulnerable.” (Perhaps sweaty white men are able to keep cooler?)

How about that discrepancy in deaths? DARA’s numbers are an order of magnitude cheerier than mine, though theirs are couched in far gloomier language. What gives?

Here is how I calculated my deaths. Every day people die. Lots of them. They have been doing so since our species made its way onto Mother Earth. And this remains true even though many earnest people have tried to “raise awareness” of the various causes of death. From this we learn that raising one’s awareness of a cause does not actually remove that cause. But never mind.

About eight people for every 1,000 hand in their dinner pails yearly, a number which has diminished by half this last century, but will not, because of the human condition, ever fall to zero. Now there are about seven billion of us roving to and fro over this temporary home of ours, and there are 18 years before 2030, numbers which taken together show that about a billion of us won’t live to see Super Bowl LXV.

It is also inescapable that each of those billion souls will have died of something: some by heart attacks, others by cancer, still more by direct and indirect acts of government, etc. Also true is that those who make it to 2031 will also eventually keel over and add tick marks to the columns of causes of mortality. These tidbits may be summarized thusly: he who is born dies. Some live longer, some shorter, but none escape.

DARA says that 100 million funerals in the next eighteen years will be chalked up to climate change. And this might even be right because, as we have just agreed, everybody has to die of something and that something may as well be “climate change.” Plus, DARA’s people are earnest and caring, and earnestness and caringness are all that counts in these kind of calculations.

But DARA also suggests that if “investments” are made—the current favored euphemism for government spending—these 100 million lives will be “saved.” And this is false. No power short of Omnipotence will save these lives, nor can anything save the other 900 million who tickets are already pre-punched.

There is a colloquial sense in which to “save somebody’s life” makes sense (you pull them from the path of a speeding bureaucrat, say). But this always strictly means “to extend somebody’s life so that they die later.” Discussing “saving lives” in the statistical sense is never right, particularly in cases like DARA’s report which is based on models which themselves are cobbled together from a series of assumptions, guesses, maybe-sos, rules-of-thumb, and nobody-said-this-was-wrongs.

We have already seen that, in absence of catastrophic climate change and given historical trends, about a billion people will die by 2030. Similar calculations show that about two billion will be be born: a surplus of one billion. Since DARA’s moral calculus is merely numbers of bodies, to make its case it has to show how its model changes these background rates, including the births. Do they mean 100 million more than the one billion scheduled will die? Or do they mean the cause of death of the 100 million of the billion will be put down to climate change? Or is it some combination? How many of the two billion to be born won’t be? Or will births increase? How many people will live longer because of climate change? Or do they claim that every human must live a shorter life (something that is extraordinarily impossible).

Update The typos inserted by my enemies have been corrected.

Anno Aetheris Scriptori XLVIII

jus soliWhat we see in today’s title the result of a lack of education. Latin nouns have more declensions than Chicago Aldermen have ways for a dead man to vote. I am at sea.

Incidentally, the gentleman who runs Scriptorium suggested a title replacement of in aethere scribo, which has its merits, before arriving at blogere, which is readily grasped though it lacks music.

Anyway, amidst the general gaiety of this happy day, and because I am on the road, there shall be no post, except to recall the words of Pascal:

Truly it is an evil to be full of faults; but it is a still greater evil to be full of them, and to be unwilling to recognise them, since that is to add the further fault of a voluntary illusion. We do not like others to deceive us; we do not think it fair that they should be held in higher esteem by us than they deserve; it is not then fair that we should deceive them, and should wish them to esteem us more highly than we deserve.

Thus, when they discover only the imperfections and vices which we really have, it is plain they do us no wrong, since it is not they who cause them; they rather do us good, since they help us to free ourselves from an evil, namely, the ignorance of these imperfections. We ought not to be angry at their knowing our faults and despising us; it is but right that they should know us for what we are, and should despise us, if we are contemptible.

Therefore dear readers, besides the many common sins of man of which I am most guilty, and which are none of your business, I confess to you that I have used p-values publicly and in private, acts which fill me with a burning shame. I beg your forgiveness. It won’t happen again.

There: I feel better.

Ta for now because, like Rumpole warned, my blood alcohol content has sunk to a dangerous low. The series on the Summa Philosophica resumes tomorrow. I hope.

Rhode Island Schools Forbid Gender, New York Schools Sneak Drugs To Students

No more shall the Cranston, Rhode Island public schools allow the ignominy of father-daughter dances. The horrible public spectacle of mother-son outings shall cease forthwith! Any reliance of gender—that awful, culturally derived artifact—is hereafter banned.

Yes, the ACLU—champion of the Exceptionally Nervous, facilitator to the Perpetually Outraged, suer of the Least Suspecting–has won for us another glorious civil rights victory!

Steven Brown, executive director of the Rhode Island ACLU and cause of the glad tidings, explained to us, “Not every girl today is interested in growing up to be Cinderella.” This being true, and it being implied that he, Brown, does not share that same dream, the legal brain reasoned that none shall ever consider it.

He magnanimously allowed that Rhode Island may “remain free to hold family dances and other events, but the time has long since passed for public school resources to encourage stereotyping from the days of Ozzie and Harriet.” Heretofore, father-daughter dances have been a scourge, an affront to all right-thinking people who are repelled at calling the man that sired his genetic offspring a “father” and the offspring itself a “daughter.” After Brown, we have learned a better way.

How did the glass-slipperless counselor hit upon the idea of disparaging father-daughter, mother-son pair ups? He, and not the school, received a (one) complaint from a “single mother.” About this he said, “The woman’s daughter had no father in her life so she was precluded from attending the father-daughter dance.” Brown wept.

And then threatened to sue. If one pre-woman doesn’t have a father, then none do, he reasoned. Or at least, none should be so gauche as to mention they do.

Yet in his earnestness, this suited interpreter of culture, when telling us of the complaint, has evidently forgotten that the words mother and daughter reek of gender specificity. Once he becomes aware of this misstep, he will surely correct it—and also lead the fight against the use of such charged, biased words.

Meanwhile, back in the city, the New York Board of Education decided it would ban sodas over 20 ounces. No, wait: that was a different branch of this most beneficent government. The schools will hand out “free” birth prevention drugs, “morning after” pills in the lingo, for those underage, ineligible-to-vote pre-women who have, through no fault of their own, had mornings after.

The best news is that the parents of these children are not to find out about the drugs. That would be wrong, sayeth the government. The government has the idea—it is full of experts, certified, degree-holding experts—that it knows better than parents what is best for the pre-women.

Sure, parents are allowed to “opt out” of having their children given drugs, but only if they can discover the way of doing so on their own, it not being immediately obvious. Not all are pleased with this new policy.

“We can’t give out a Tylenol without a doctor’s order,” said a school staffer. “Why should we give out hormonal preparations with far more serious possible side effects, such as blood clots and hypertension?”

Because, my dear, side effects in abortions and caused by birth prevention drugs, are like gender in Rhode Island schools: they shall not be mentioned. Activist figure that if these words are proscribed, then their referents do not exist. Ban the phrase “side effects” and therefore none exist. Forbid “gender” and biological sex disappears.

Will the Doctrine of Unintended Consequences strike in RI and NY? Could the banning of father-daughter dances and the free and secretive use of birth prevention have unanticipated ill effects? Proponents argue, “Nay, fear monger. For to claim facetiously ‘What could go wrong?’ is to utter a fallacious argument.”

Incidentally, the picture above is a slippery slope; the kind your mother warned you to stay away from because if you weren’t careful, one step over the edge and down you’d go. Slippery slopes exist and can be deadly (this one was).

Update Half way down the hill we see this: Teenage Girls Should Get IUDs or Hormonal Implants for Birth Control, Says American College of OBGYNs.

In the near future, if we are not careful, the word parent will degrade to a synonym of government. And people will flee from “doctors” bearing syringes uttering, “We’re from your parents and we’re here to help.”

Best statistical advice: Do not read “5-star” reviews, glowing recommendations, or positive plugs. Go straight to the sourpusses, the rants, and the ravings. If you already want the thing, the thumbs ups tell you what you already believe, but the thumbs downs tell you something new. Plus, the positives are often fakes, frauds, or fleshed-out flimflam filed by PR flacks.

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