A Saturday collection of fun and interesting stories sent in by readers.
Larger Breasts Pay Off for Waitresses
Reader Katie sent in this breaking news: a professor from Cornell’s Hotel School finds that big busted, thin, blond women earn more tips that their opposites. The professor, a certain Michael Lynn, said, “Ugly people are not a protected class, legally. It is not in fact illegal to hire only attractive waitresses.”
To which, depending on your temperament, you shout either, “Injustice!” or “Amen!”
Shock: Race, Sex Matter
Reader Webbed Pete sent in this story from the ABA Journal: “Race & Gender of Judges Make Enormous Differences in Rulings, Studies Find“.
Two studies looked through trials ruled over by the men and women of different races; the studies concluded that the sex and race of a judge matter. The conclusions:
In federal racial harassment cases, one study (PDF) found that plaintiffs lost just 54 percent of the time when the judge handling the case was an African-American. Yet plaintiffs lost 81 percent of the time when the judge was Hispanic, 79 percent when the judge was white, and 67 percent of the time when the judge was Asian American.
A second study (PDF), looked at 556 federal appellate cases involving allegations of sexual harassment or sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The finding: plaintiffs were at least twice as likely to win if a female judge was on the appellate panel.
Note the criterion of success switched between the two paragraphs: in the first, it was “plaintiff losing”; in the second “plaintiff winning.”
Your optimal strategy—if you’re the female plaintiff complaining of “discrimination”—is to seek out a sister: black female judges give you the best chance of sticking it to the man. But keep away from white or Hispanic male judges.
I have not read these studies, so I can’t comment on their veracity. But I would be shocked if there were no differences.
Reader Sean Inglis sent in this link to the U.K. Royal Society’s “Handling uncertainty in science” series of lectures.
My favorite: Uncertainties of quantum mechanics â€“ faith or fantasy? Sir Roger Penrose OM FRS, Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, UK.
Incidentally, if you haven’t read any of Penrose’s books, you’re in for a treat.
Half of All People Make Less Than the Median Income!
Reader Jim Fedako sent in this curiosity: “Obesity as an Educational Issue.” Unfortunately, the period to view the article without paying has expired, but Fedako was able to copy this quote earlier: “Today fully one-third of children and adolescents are obese (having a weight to height ratio at or above the 95th percentile for age and gender) or overweight (85th percentile).”
That seem right to you? 33% are greater than 95% or 85%?
This is either another case of statistical hilarity, or the author of the study was using very old tables of percentages, or possibly those tables represented what some human agency decided was “optimal.” I was unable to discover which.
Ryan Alexander, Campaign Manager for Balanced Education for Everyone, asked me to give a plug to that organization. He says:
The Independent Women’s Forum has launched the Balanced Education for Everyone Campaign that calls for balanced education of global warming in public schools. We’re encouraging encouraging parents and local activists who are interested in this issue to approach their schools. On Earth Day, schools often show films like An Inconvenient Truth or do some activity to suggest that humans are recklessly destroying the planet and will all die off if we don’t take drastic measures. Not all schools are like this of course, but we’ve heard enough alarming stories to realize this trend is happening in many parts of the country.
We’re just asking for a more balanced and appropriate treatment of environmental education. We’ve built a website that gives parents some resources and suggestions to approach their schools and ask for balance (www.balanced-ed.org). It also has a place for parents to share their stories/experiences.
EPA Posts Four New Fact Sheets on Climate Change
An anonymous reader alerted us to the EPA’s efforts to regulate anything to do with climate—-which, by logic, is everything. Start here.
I’ll let readers peruse the site: I don’t have the stomach for it.
Reader John Moore points to a National Review pleasant interview with Sister Prudence Allen, R.S.M. What’s the difference between a nun and a sister? This is the place to learn.
Statistical Models and the Census
Reader Al Perrella points us to this article in the Washington Post, in which author Jordan Ellenberg calls anybody who’s against statistical manipulation of census figures a mathematical Luddite.
Ellenberg is wrong: there are plenty of reasons not to trust us statisticians to fiddle with the numbers.
Reader Nate Winchester shows us how paranoia can lead to bad math: Your Tax Dollars at War: More Than 53% of Your Tax Payment Goes to the Military. Sheesh.
Fun Fact: New York City Population
New York City (~8.3 million) has twice as many people as Ireland, about twice as many as Norway, a third more than Denmark. We have more folk than Israel, Finland, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Switzerland, and are about tied with Austria. In fact, NYC tops about 40% of other countries in the world in population.