William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Category: Fun (page 1 of 129)

Two cannibals are eating a clown and one says to the other, “Does this taste funny to you?”

I’m No Longer At Cornell

I got fired about a month ago. This would ordinarily fall under the categories, “About time” or “So?”, and thus it is not worth mentioning. Except for this.

I had a spate of radio shows lately about the March “for” “Science” and the public relations dossier on me still had that I taught at Cornell. Some of the radio hosts said things like “He’s a professor at Cornell” or “He teaches at Cornell.”

I was mostly able to correct this on air, but since I’d hate for anybody to think I’m claiming a false credential, I wanted to set the record straight. (The dossier has at last been updated so there should not be new instances.)

Through last summer (2016), I taught in a graduate program and was an Adjunct Professor of Statistics at Cornell. It’s unclear to me exactly when the Adjunct status expired, or even if it’s expired now. But if it did it might have been a couple of months back, since about then one of Jerry Coyne’s readers noticed I was not listed on the Department’s website. Up until about a month ago, I thought I’d be returning to do my usual summer duty—and was indeed informed by the program director that I would. So my claiming Adjunct status was in good faith. (I’ve put in a request to see if I’m still listed or not.)

As far as I know, mine wasn’t a political firing. I was told by the director: “After our meeting last week, I had another meeting in the dean’s office about the…program. There was a strong opinion that if any resident faculty wanted to teach in the program, I should give them preference over non-affiliated faculty.

“Unfortunately, someone from statistics has asked me to teach in the program, and I am in the position of needing to let them, which means that we will not be able to offer you a position teaching this summer in Ithaca.”

The lady who is replacing me, God bless her, and who will now teach the Masters-level statistics course is a lawyer with a specialty in sexual harassment. She isn’t a professor, but she is local. (I don’t live in Ithaca. I’ve not met my replacement.)

Now if that news was underwhelming, this next announcement will be even less interesting than discovering how much loose change was discovered in my couch.

I will not be seeking any future university employment. It is obvious to friends and enemies alike that just about exactly none of my opinions are welcome in or around any American campus. I mention this only to stave off kindhearted emails saying “Did you see State U was hiring?”

“Oh, Briggs, what have you to worry about? Didn’t I hear you were being funded by the oil companies?”

I am. For my work in fooling the public about global-warming-of-doom, I have a lifetime coupon that lets me shave off that annoying nine-tenths of a cent added to the cost of every gallon of gasoline, up to ten gallons. Once per week (cash only). Big Oil knows how to take care of her own.

“No, I have it wrong. You’re a paid shill for the Discovery Institute. At least, that’s what you were accused of in comments at Stream.”

I am? Say! Terrific news. I’ve always wanted to be a shill; it’s been kind of a dream job for me. The DI is a bonus: everybody I’ve ever met from there has been a sweetheart.

I first tried a government sinecure, but all the good ones were taken by Harvard and Yale graduates (Cornell is low on the list). That’s when I decided to become a shill. After all, I possessed in abundance the two most desirable traits for shills: laziness and blowhardedness.

I haven’t been entirely successful landing shill positions. I do have that Big Oil deal, but what I didn’t tell you is that I don’t have a car (and haven’t for twenty years), so the payoff is not as exciting as it first sounded. And though it seems I am a “paid” shill for DI, somehow the pay hasn’t reached me yet. (Is this the fault of the Post Office or IRS?)

Since shilling isn’t doing the trick, I suppose the next natural step for a fellow of my unique qualifications is inheritance. Now since none of my relatives are rich, if this is going to work I’m going to have to be adopted, Roman style, by some wealthy individual. All offers considered.

Happy Easter!

Hidden in this post is an Easter egg of sorts. Searching for it will be easy for experts, difficult for puzzle novices. This is the kind of brain teaser easily dispatched by veterans. The sole clue that I will give you is that the solution involves a simple progression.

I search for these sort of things systematically, and so should you. Break in a new pencil, for you’ll need some sort of writing tool; maybe a scratch pad.

Letters? There are ten—in the solution, I mean.

Oh that’s a new clue, I just realized. Happy muff!

Finally Revealed: How Russia Rigged The Election

Finally Revealed: How Russia Rigged The Election: Shocking new details emerge.

Early on the morning of 6 July 2016, in the heat of the election battle between the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Yuri Svetlopov made his way from the Motel 6 off of Interstate 77 to the Johnson Exhibition Hall in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. FBI surveillance tapes indicate Svetlopov arrived at 10:13 AM, a little over four hours before a scheduled joint speech by Hillary Clinton and then-president Barack Obama.

Security footage taken outside the Johnson Hall, recently released by FBI Director James Comey, indicates that by 10 AM on that morning a large crowd had already gathered to hear Mrs Clinton speak. Crowd estimate experts put the figure in the two to three-thousand persons range.

But then Svetlopov arrived. He is a small, ordinary man, and tapes reveal that morning he was wearing a black baseball cap (the letters on the cap could not be made out), jeans, and an Iron Maiden t-shirt. The tapes clearly show Svetlopov lighting a cigarette in the parking lot. At 10:14 AM, Svetlopov was seen walking into the crowd.

From that point, his movements cannot be exactly traced. But one thing is certain. By 10:15 AM, the crowd waiting outside the Hall began to diminish steadily. At 10:13 AM, there were between 2,000-3,000 people. By 10:50 AM, footage reveals about 1,500 people.

And by 12:58 PM, there were only about two hundred fifty individuals left.

The FBI isn’t certain, but security camera footage also showed the arrival and departure of three semi-trucks from the Crimean Meat Co. that entered and left the Exhibition Hall’s parking lot. At the time, nobody thought anything about it, because this is the company contracted to provide the pigs-in-a-blanket sausages that Mrs Clinton insists be made available at every venue at which she appears.

Only now a more horrific theory has emerged.

A source high up in the FBI was able to reveal that the same Crimean Meat Co. trucks were spotted at nineteen of twenty-three events in June and July of 2016. These events include a 14 July Seattle book signing and fundraiser. Publishers anticipated “maybe a thousand [people]” would show to the book signing, but only “some two dozen” did.

The source could not place Svetlopov at the Seattle event, but said that what they knew of his travel did allow him sufficient time to arrive at Seattle and later appear in Miami, Florida at another Hillary event, where agents are certain they spotted the same Iron Maiden t-shirt in the small crowd.

“Nothing else but sinister Russian activities could account for the lack of enthusiasm for Hillary at these events,” said the source.

Director Comey corroborated this theory when he revealed an early photo of a man who was a known Hillary supporter, and a later photo of the same man now wearing a “MAGA” hat. MAGA was shorthand for Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again.”


Go there to read the rest. But make sure no Russians are looking over your shoulder.

Holy Matrimony!

Today is the wedding feast of my Number Two Son and his Beautiful Bride.

Yeehaw! (This cheer originates from Texas.) Drinks are on me!

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