Category Archives: Muddled Musings

The Sweet Science Versus Sour Apples

 

Last night’s fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor was a bit like our presidential election: Not the event we expected, but probably what we deserved.

On the one hand, you had the boxer, a veteran of combat whose success has actually had a souring effect on reputation, perhaps because of its regularity. On the the other: a loud-mouthed outsider whose success seemed primarily an architecture of hyperbole.

Wait. Where have I heard that?

The fight itself wasn’t much of a battle, either. The veteran made precision jabs, the product of relentless repetition and practice. The outsider was clearly uncomfortable in the ring and the gloves, though he did manage to land some solid roundhouses, perhaps because he threw so many.

Hmmm.

In the end, the boxer scored a technical victory, though the scrapper won the war of public opinion, carried on shoulders and hailed (incorrectly) for being politically incorrect, a scrapper deserving of worship because he took on the system.

Jesus.

When the final bell rang, the boxer walked to the center of the ring and announced his retirement. Mayweather complimented McGregor for being better than he thought, and said it was time to take his aging body into gentler waters. McGregor, too, complimented Mayweather, saying he always appreciated a good fight. He did not dispute the judge’s votes, which clearly went Mayweather’s way.

Forget that. The fight was nothing like the election.

Now, for less bullshit-ty analytics:

  • 42% of of highly-mobile and regular home workers worldwide suffer from insomnia, as opposed to 29% of regular office workers, according to a UN study.
  • Hydra, the quarter-inch invertebrate, is composed primarily of stem cells, meaning its lifespan is limitless.
  • The Kindlifresser, or “Child Eater”, is one of oldest statues in Bern, Switzerland, and nobody is sure why it has a baby half stuffed into his mouth, and three more over its shoulder.
  • Lee Harvey Oswald wasn’t arrested for killing JFK. He was actually arrested for fatally shooting a police officer 45 minutes after the death of Kennedy.
  • Austria, Belgium, France, and Germany hold elections on weekends or have made election day a holiday. All surpass America in voter turnout.
  • Similar to “fake news”, the “Lügenpresse” accusation was used by the Nazis to discredit unsupportive media outlets.
  • Down syndrome has been disappearing in Iceland since prenatal screening tests were introduced in the early 2000s. Almost 100% of women who had a positive test for Down syndrome decided to terminate their pregnancy.
  • Robert E. Lee himself, after the Civil War, opposed monuments, specifically Confederate war monuments.
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A Life in the Day

 

By 11:35 a.m. PDT today, the ballyhoo had turned to bellyaching.

“I’m glad we all took the day off,” one miffed TV reporter snarked Monday from Boise, Idaho. “Obviously, I’m being sarcastic.”

Leave it to local TV news to explain the joke — and miss the point. We have evolved from beholding a total solar eclipse was The End of Days to a disappointing End of Lunch phenomenon. One CNN report actually quoted Twitter (has Trump somehow made that a legitimate source) who cracked that the eclipse was “Like Y2K, without the drama.”

A nice quip, but like the newscaster, it fails grasp the expansive truth of time, and our role in it. Today’s eclipse did happen, and it was rare.

Tomorrow it will be forgotten. But today, let the occasion be a reminder of little miracles, ones that add up to less than we expect in a year, but more than we could dream in a decade.

  • Depending on the geometry of the Sun, Moon, and Earth, there can be between 2 and 5 solar eclipses each year.
  • Totality occurs when the Moon completely obscures Sun so only the solar corona is showing.
  • A total solar eclipse can happen once every 1-2 years. This makes them very rare events.s.
  • The longest a total solar eclipse can last is 7.5 minutes.
  • The width of the path of totality is usually about 160 km across and can sweep across an area of Earth’s surface about 10,000 miles long.
  • Almost identical eclipses occur after 18 years and 11 days. This period of 223 synodic months is called a saros.
  • During a total solar eclipse, conditions in the path of totality can change quickly. Air temperatures drop and the immediate area becomes dark.
  • If any planets are in the sky at the time of a total solar eclipse, they can be seen as points of light.
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The Cold Hard Factslaps

 

Before the nuclear winter, a few Factslaps, los perras:

 

  • Iceland imports ice cubes.
  • The Netherlands closed eight prisoners in 2013 for lack of criminals.
  • France paid the highest taxes in Europe in 2016, with a real tax rate of 57.53%.
  • Marie Antoinette’s last words were “Pardon me, sir, I meant not to do it,” an apology to her executioner for stepping on his toes.
  • Ancient Egyptians had a 70% accurate method for detecting pregnancy: a woman would pee on some seeds. If they sprouted, she was pregnant.
  • The last car to have a cassette deck come standard was the Lexus SC430 in 2010.
  • Mice sigh up to 40 times an hour.
  • It is illegal in Saudi Arabia to name a child Sandy, Elaine or Linda.
  • A group of ladybirds is called a loveliness. 
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