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Category: Fun

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

March 1, 2008 | 7 Comments

People take off their shirts when it gets hot: peer-reviewed study

I am finding it difficult to breathe after reading this abstract from a peer-reviewed scholarly article in a respected journal1.

This paper describes the application of a methodology designed to analyse the relationship between climatic conditions and the perception of bioclimatic comfort. The experiment consisted of conducting simultaneous questionnaire surveys and weather measurements during 2 sunny spring days in an open urban area in Lisbon. The results showed that under outdoor conditions, thermal comfort can be maintained with temperatures well above the standard values defined for indoor conditions. There seems to be a spontaneous adaptation in terms of clothing whenever the physiological equivalent temperature threshold of 31?C is surpassed. The perception of air temperature is difficult to separate from the perception of the thermal environment and is modified by other parameters, particularly wind. The perception of solar radiation is related to the intensity of fluxes from various directions (i.e. falling upon both vertical and horizontal surfaces), weighted by the coefficients of incidence upon the human body. Wind was found to be the most intensely perceived variable, usually negatively. Wind perception depends largely on the extreme values of wind speed and wind variability. Women showed a stronger negative reaction to high wind speed than men. The experiment proved that this methodology is well-suited to achieving the proposed objectives and that it may be applied in other areas and in other seasons.

(All emphasis mine; visual proof of their findings is here.)

In case you are not used to parsing academicese, I have take the liberty of re-writing this abstract in plain English.

We went to an open-air cafe in Lisbon on 2 sunny spring days and asked people if they were hot or cold. People were happier being in the sun than indoors. When it got hot, people took their shirts off. People generally did not care to think about out questions about the difference between perceptions of temperature and wind. It was always hotter sitting in the sun. People didn’t like when the wind blew away their newspapers and napkins. Women complained more than men about the wind. We plan on asking these questions in Hawaii in January if we can get another grant.

Remember this! It isn’t true unless a study says it’s true.

1Sandra Oliveira and Henrique Andrad, 2006 (may they forgive me). An initial assessment of the bioclimatic comfort in an outdoor public space in Lisbon, International Journal of Biometeorology, 52, 69-84
February 23, 2008 | 7 Comments

Vegetarian Intestines

You know how it is. It’s dinner time, but you’re tying to cut back on the red meat. So what do you do? That’s right. You reach for a big ol’ bag of vegetarian intestines:
Vegetarian intestines

Look carefully at the bag. Two things are striking. The first is obviously the pile, the loops and loops, of fake intestines. You ask yourself: how did they ever get them to look so lifelike? Chinese attention to detail!

The second, noted by the caption “The picture is for reference only”, are the two exquisite bottles of wine, which, as everybody knows, go perfectly with boiled intestine.

Many of you by now want to know where to find this delicacy. Go to the Hong Kong Supermarket, frozen food aisle, in Elmhurst, Queens, right off the R, V, or G subway lines. Only $2.45, an exceptional bargain.

February 17, 2008 | 5 Comments

800 gram balls: Key words in my log files

Every now and then I have a glance at my log files to see what kinds of key words people type into sites like Google and who are subsequently directed to my site. It won’t surprise you that I see things like briggs and bad statistics examples. But there is a class of keywords that I can only describe as odd, even, at times, worrying. Here are those keywords (all spellings are as they were found), split into rough categories. My comments, if any, appear in parentheses. Each of these keywords are real.


  • don't forget about us model (I could never)
  • great statisticians (flatterer)
  • how to exaggerate (think big, think big)
  • i need to be statician (it can be a powerful force, it’s true; learning to spell it correctly will help)
  • some pictures of statistician (here’s somebody with a lot of time on their hands)
  • statisticians aviod doing things because other people are doing it (I think he has us confused with accountants)
  • statistician god exists (His name is Stochastikos)
  • virginity statistics (score: 0 to 0)
  • lifelong virginity statistics (score still tied)
  • what to look for in a statician (get one of the tall ones; we have a sense of humor)
  • why do statisticians love tables? (because we can’t help ourselves)
  • you cannot be a scientist if you are not a good mathematician (I have the feeling that this person desired a negative answer)


  • factors that cause zombism (blogging…)
  • recorded zombie outbreaks
  • what year will zombies take over the earth? (has to be soon)
  • wild zombies (as opposed to domesticated?)
  • will zombie attacks happen
  • zombies can happen (he might have been trying to answer the other guy)
  • zombies in nature
  • zombies true or false


  • 800g balls (mine are only 760g–in petanque, of course!)
  • anything (I can see Google knows where to go…)
  • beer does not have enough alcohol (which is why I tend to stick with rum)
  • home is where the heart is william briggs (somebody’s trying to give me a lesson)
  • horizontal alcoholic (is there any other kind?)
  • how does pseudoscience effect the mind (badly)
  • lee majors george bush (you can’t go wrong aligning yourself with the six-million dollar man)
  • man's got his limits briggs (true enough; must be same advice giver as before)
  • purposely causing someone to get cancer (oh my…no murder tips here)
  • sentence with the word, "impossibility" (shouldn’t be hard to come by)
  • what can we do not to be poor (get a job)
February 13, 2008 | 18 Comments

Global Warming Stress Syndrome Increasing, Psychologist Says

There has been a disturbing increase in Global Warming Stress Syndrome (GWSS, pronounced gwiss) according to Dr. Ron N. Hyde, a clinical psychologist at the prestigious McKitrick Center for the Especially Disturbed.

“Since April, there is been a 32.817% increase in public cases of GWSS,” he explained. “The rate now is almost double what it was this time last year.” He added the trend was very worrying to his colleagues.

According to literature provided by the McKitrick Center, GWSS was at first a disease confined to academics, where it was thought to be controllable. But somehow it became public in the mid 1990s and struck those whose minds were weakest and easiest to influence, such as celebrities. Since GWSS is communicable, the next to be infected were those in the media in contact with celebrities.

“Entertainment news reporters have become increasingly integrated into ordinary news organizations, which made it easier to disseminate much-needed celebrity gossip and tittle-tattle. But it also meant that ordinary reporters soon became infected,” explained the brochure.

“After the mainstream media contracted GWSS, it was only a matter of time before politicians displayed symptoms of GWSS.”

Dr. Hyde described typical symptoms: “A belief that mankind causes every bad event, excessive hand-wringing, frequent bowel movements, a tendency to lurk on internet message boards and post things such as, ‘There is a consensus! There is a consensus!’, an irrational desire to measure one’s personal ‘carbon footprint.'” But the most worrying of all is the, “Urge to make idiotic comments in public tying global warming to any event.”

As examples, he cited Loch Ness Monster hunter Robert Rines, who has publicly claimed that global warming has killed the monster, which is why nobody can find it.

And the recent comments of New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg who likened global warming to terrorism. Bloomberg said, “terrorists kill people” and global warming “has the potential to kill everybody.” “We should go after terrorists every place in this world, find them and kill them, plain and simple,” Bloomberg said.

Dr Hyde explained, “All the classic manifestations are there. Mayor Bloomberg didn’t actually say—yet—that we should hunt down and kill those who exhale exorbitant amounts of carbon dioxide, but he implied it.” At the United Nations forum where Bloomberg spoke, also in attendance were film actress Daryl Hannah and Virgin Atlantic Airways founder Richard Branson. “It’s always the contact with celebrities that does it,” Hyde explained. Bloomerg’s statements are “strong evidence of a seriously addled mind.”

Dr. Hyde ended his statement on an ominous note, “So far, there is no known cure for GWSS.”

For the record, the only official program Mayor Bloomberg has announced so far is to reduce the use of hardwoods on city park benches.