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Category: Fun

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

June 16, 2017 | 18 Comments

I Applied To Make Our Planet Great Again

In need of a job and having a fondness for cheese, wine and pétanque, and knowing the difference between gauche et droite, and seeing the sad, pleading, almost tearful look of Président Macron as he begged for American scientists to save France, I knew what my duty was.

I applied to Make Our Planet Great Again.

The call is an extraordinary one. Président Macron was unhappy that President Trump withdrew from the Paris thingeemabob. So he put out the call for American scientists to emigrate.

And he put it out in English!

This may be the most astonishing event in modern diplomatic history. Not the plan to spend government money on an impossible task. That happens daily. No. A sitting French president asked Americans in English to come and show France a better way!

I was so overcome by emotion, that I ran to the site and answered the series of preparatory questions, which you can see below.

After those wisdomy words, I was invited to input my personal details, and then up popped these words:

“I’m a researcher / teacher from United States of America coming to France to fight climate change.”

I was told I would hear back within a few weeks. Undoubtedly, Macron himself will swoon when he sees my words. Thus I am announcing now that I will be moving to France.

Join the la résistance! Fight the nasty climate invaders! Let’s stop forever the climate from changing!

June 9, 2017 | 4 Comments

E-Classes (& Other Changes) Coming

Many changes coming..

Site fixes

You’ve seen the new theme by now. Many more people were reading on “devices” and the old format was not well suited. Plus, the typography on this new one is pleasing.

All pages have been updated, especially the Classics page, which has an entirely new format. I have too much material to put up “best posts”. Besides, I have a something in the works for those.


I have decided to make formal the lessons taught here under the title “e-classes”–which is, I know, an awful name. I am willing to consider others.

I went with “e” prefix because (above, on the menu bar) if you saw only “classes” you might assume these are links to classes taught in some physical location. This aetheric non-location is (now, anyway) the only location at which I teach.

In order to discover the class lessons a link on the relevant menu page will appear, but so will a new category. This drop down select menu is located to the right on large screens, and at the bottom on small ones. This feature was too little used before. The category will be ECLASS NAME. These will be obvious when they start next week.

Classes will show about once every week or two. We’re starting with Applied Statistics, which assumes that the material of Uncertainty is known. Which is to say, I won’t spend any time proving why the philosophy of probability I use is the one and only true one. We’ll just start with “analyzing” some data under this philosophy. R code will be provided as necessary.

I warn readers that how I teach statistics is not how statistics classes are taught at typical universities. The emphasis there is on the math, and proving this and that. Fine stuff. But math doesn’t help much in understanding what models mean, and what uncertainty is. Probability isn’t math, though math is useful in some aspects of probability. (This is proved in Uncertainty.)

Thus, though the course says “Applied Statistics”, it’s more applied epistemology than anything else. All this will make sense.

The lesson order will be more-or-less serial, but I don’t want to lose the possibility of mixing in timely posts with the class. This is so for the first lesson, which is the Gremlins of MCMC, or Why Simulations Don’t Do What You Think.

There is no way to charge for these classes, but I have beefed up (and am beefing up) the Donations page.


These will be returning in a new format. The old one had its merits, but it wasn’t working. They’d be fine as lectures in classes, but they weren’t gaining a casual listenership. I hope this problem has been fixed. Stay tuned for details.

Thanks to a generous reader, the podcasts might graduate to videocasts, but only after the bugs are worked out in the new format.


I have a number of talks upcoming, about which more when the dates are near. But here a reminder that I’ve available for more. (The topics will be obvious to regular readers.) Use the Contact Page to inquire.


This is how I make my living. I don’t know where, but I don’t mind making more of it! Again, use the Contact Page and send them my way.

June 1, 2017 | 11 Comments

Covfefe Sing-A-Long

Sung to Shaving Cream. Covfefe = cov-fee-fee.

The night Donald Trump took to Twitter
Elites had a terrible fit
Trump warned the world of covfefe
And Tweet streams were filled up with sh—

—Shaving cream.
Be nice and clean.
Shave everyday and
you’ll always look keen.

There came many calls for impeachment
Reporters were having a snit
But sane men dismissed these as ravings
Made by weak minds stuffed chock full of sh—

—Shaving cream.
Be nice and clean.
Shave everyday and
you’ll always look keen.

Yet Trump had not finished his trolling
He came back on line for a bit
What’s “the true meaning of covfefe“?
All reason and calm went to sh–

—Shaving cream.
Be nice and clean.
Shave everyday and
you’ll always look keen.

Elites were sure covfefe was code
A secret Trump had to admit
It’s true the meaning’s encrypted:
The elite Left is clean full of sh–

—Shaving cream.
Be nice and clean.
Shave everyday and
you’ll always look keen.

April 22, 2017 | 30 Comments

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.