Statistics Saturday: How I Feel About January


Mostly: 'This is too warm for January'. A sliver: 'This is about right for January.' A small chunk: 'This is too cold for January'. An appreciable hunk: 'I miss January in Singapore.'
See, all through January in Singapore it would be 92 degrees Fahrenheit and muggy, with a rainstorm at about 1:30, and often as not the whole place would shut down for half a week for the Chinese New Year, and you could stay home watching Johnny English on the local broadcast stations, in case you wanted to.

Reference: Does Anything Eat Wasps? And 101 Other Questions, Mick O’Hare.

Statistics Saturday: Number Of Times I’ve Seen Builders Tea Since I Bought That One Box In 2015


This refers to a box of Builders Tea that I got in March of 2015.

Total

0.

In Detail

Year Sightings of Builders Tea
2015 (March-Dec) 0
2016 0
2017 0
2018 0
2019 0

Not included: 2020 figures owing to incompleteness of the year.

Reference: The Panic Broadcast: The Whole Story of Orson Welles’ Legendary Radio Show Invasion From Mars, Howard Koch.

Statistics Saturday: One Year Represented As One Year


January

1. 1st of January. Start of year.
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12. 12th of January.
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Continue reading “Statistics Saturday: One Year Represented As One Year”

Statistics Saturday: Some Fictional Municipalities


  • Klein, Pennsylvania
  • Braxton’s Glurge, Pennsylvania
  • Cadbury, Pennsylvania
  • Lansing, Pennsylvania
  • Vermont, Pennsylvania
  • Four Yoink, Pennsylvania
  • Paddlebonk Creek, Pennsylvania
  • Rowntree, Pennsylvania
  • Lesser Staple, Delaware
  • Josie and the Pussycats, Pennsylvania
  • Tweed, Pennsylvania
  • Other Hartford, Pennsylvania

Reference: European History 1648 to 1789,, R M Rayner.

Statistics 2010s: Top Words Cut From My Essays Of The Decade Just Passed


  • just
  • not to say it isn’t
  • really
  • almost
  • microphone
  • a sort of
  • somewhat
  • (really almost any 10% would improve things somewhat)
  • simply
  • heptic

Reference: Mind Partner and 8 Other Novelets From Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine, Editor Horace Gold.

Statistics 2010s: Ten Things Of The Decade Just Passed


  • August 22. everyone who had a part in this day, give yourselves a fresh round of applause without being unseemly about it.
  • Cheddar II: Cheddiest. From out of Nowhere, Connecticut, 06269, this new flavor, appearing in ouch-y sharp, dangerous in its pointedness, somewhat polyhedral, and mint, has taken over the world of cheese and opened up new avenues in being so much more than the inspirational cheddar that it’s not hard to see why old-fashioned cheddar is expected within the next two years to go the way of the original, almost forgotten ched.
  • once-in-shakespeare.com Where else but this scrappy new start-up can one get a convenient listing of all the words that appear in the canonical plays of William Shakespeare one time? Anyone can produce a list of all the words, just by shaking a collected edition on its side until the pieces fall out, but who’s going to take out the duplicates and grow new authors with them?
  • Raised Flooring. After years of drop-down ceilings being the cliche and overused answer to ways to make a room seem more claustrophobic we have this alternative. Unexpected bonuses include having more things to count while bored, and the improved sense of balance as people try to walk on those bar things from which the floor panels are hung. This will inspire grace in our walking like Groucho Marx if nothing else will.
  • How the English language has no solitary word for the feeling of uncertainty that accompanies thinking that one’s socks are damp when there’s no chance for taking one’s shoes off to check or to change them no matter how much we need a word for exactly this sensation. This single loss has saved millions of dollars and dozens of lines of newspaper type in just the past month. And think of all the people it’s inspired to try to buy less painful shoes. Yes, yes, you can put together a bunch of words to get the same sense across. It’s not the same.
  • Flatware. There is nothing which soothes the desperate need to buy flatware quite like flatware, and we should all be glad the flatware industry exists to satisfy this need. Be warned: much so-called flatware these days is not in fact flat, but extends into a third or even a fourth spatial dimension. If you have no choice but to purchase this imitation flatware do speak to the steamroller operator with whom you’re on good terms — you are on good terms with at least one steamroller operator, aren’t you? — to arrange for the appropriate enflattening.
  • March 10. Nobody’s saying it’s a patch on August 22, but it’s still really good all around and everybody deserves to take a bow for that too.
  • Adverbs. These sentence-stuffers had a great run and it’s a shame that we’re scheduled to lose them if the conversion to Modifiers.6 ever happens. Still, anyone who’s ever had to write to a specified word count has relied on their ability to be added to or removed from sentences and they will be missed, like when someone notices the `a’ or `an’ doesn’t match with the next word anymore.
  • Sriracha Automobiles. For the past fifteen years sriracha has been slipping almost unnoticed into everything, starting with sandwiches, then cooking shows, then books, then consumer electronics, and now into the important industries of Navy ships and personal automobiles. No one may know where sriracha comes from or what it intends, but we can be sure that it’s here and it’s unavoidable, and that with the proper setup it can be used for good or at least to not be so frightening, and that earns it a place on this list.
  • Simple Thermometers. Despite fears no important features of the weather developed into the imaginary and then the complex number plane. So despite the shortages in Complex Thermometers none were needed, except for that stretch in fall where the temperature became one of the principal roots of a heptic polynomial. But for the most part we got along just fine with the old-fashioned thermometers and isn’t that one of the ten things about the decade just finished?

Statistics 2010s: Top Albums of The Decade Just Passed


Because I bought more music in the period 2010 – 2019 than I did just in 2019 is why.

  • Wonderlijke Efteling Muziek, ride music from De Efteling amusement park, Kaatscheuvel, North Brabant, Netherlands.
  • Three Willow Park: Electronic Music from Inner Space (1961 – 1971), Raymond Scott
  • Ball N’ Chain, Big Mama Thornton
  • Nickelodeon Player Piano, recorded at Knoebels Amusement Park
  • The Spotniks Greatest Hits, The Spotniks
  • Ferrante and Teicher Greatest Hits, Ferrante and Teicher.
  • Top 100 Classics: The Very Best of Frank Crumit, Frank Crumit
  • The Snow Goose, Camel

Again, I’m sorry, I didn’t buy very much music overall. And yeah, again, that Frank Crumit album? It’s really 1910s through 1930s so if you like that era great but, you know, if you’re not really into Stephen Foster medleys because of how the lyric always seems to go, he’s got a couple Stephen Foster medleys.

Reference: Science from your Airplane Window, Elizabeth A Wood.

Statistics 2010s: Top Fan Theories of the 2010s


  • Around the era of the Original Star Trek movies, but especially around Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, the Federation and the Romulans were on good terms, possibly even allies, which is why the Vulcans and Romulans congress together in the Khitomer conference and why Ambassador Nanclus is allowed to see plans for the never-executed secret retrieval mission in the Federation President’s office.
  • In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Valeris used the phaser seen in the galley to shoot that pot of mashed potatoes to kill crewmen Burke and Samno. And then Valeris staged her over-dramatic demonstation of why sensors would detect phasers so as to have an alibi for her fingerprints being on the phaser pistol in case it were discovered.
  • Also in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Burke and Samno were not the two murderers who beamed over from the Enterprise to Kronos One to assassinate Chancellor Gorkon, but merely two patsies put in place to throw the investigative trail further off.
  • Before the events of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Captain Sulu punched out every Admiral or something to get his first mission on the Excelsior to be three years of charting gaseous anomalies in the beta quadrant.
  • The veridium patch, detectable by sensors from two sectors away, per Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, was deliberately left on Kirk by the Rura Penthe guards, so General Chang would know if Kirk wasn’t killed escaping the prison compound, and would be ready to intercept the Enterprise en route to the Khitomer Conference with the fugitive and thus make for an even greater scandal.

Reference: Splitting the Second: The Story of Atomic Time, Tony Jones.

Statistics 2010s: Top Movies Featuring Racing Snails of the 2010s


  • Turbo II: First Snail On Mars (2014)
  • Turbo (2013)
  • Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (2010)
  • Turbo 3: Crashed (2017)
  • Turbo (2018 reboot)
  • Turbo: New Kid (2019)
  • Star Trek Beyond (2016)
  • Turbo 2250: Beyond the Veil of Time (2016)
  • Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (2015)
  • Epic (2013)
  • Turbo: The Teen Years (2016, direct-to-video prequel)
  • Turbo II 1/2: Chickipede’s Chance (2019, out-of-continuity sequel to the TV series)

Reference: The Kaiser’s Merchant Ships in World War I,, William Lowell Putnam.

Statistics 2019: Top Albums of 2019


  • Three Willow Park: Electronic Music from Inner Space (1961 – 1971), Raymond Scott
  • Ball N’ Chain, Big Mama Thornton
  • The Spotniks Greatest Hits, The Spotniks
  • Top 100 Classics: The Very Best of Frank Crumit, Frank Crumit

I’m sorry, I didn’t buy very much music this year so I don’t really know what’s out there. Also, uh, that Frank Crumit album is a lot of songs that all sound like the background music for Betty Boop cartoons, plus 168 versions of Abdul Abulbul Amir including like 14 sequel songs to it, but the guy was recording from the 1910s to 1930s so there’s some really, uh, yeah, let’s just call it uncomfortable stuff, okay? I mean uncomfortable.

Reference: Science from your Airplane Window, Elizabeth A Wood.

Statistics Saturday Bonus: Best Versions of A Christmas Carol (Reevaluated)


I thought I’d see how I felt if I looked at the question again.

  • Scrooge (A Christmas Carol)
  • Scrooge (A Christmas Carol)
  • A Christmas Carol
  • A Christmas Carol
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Scrooge (A Christmas Carol)
  • A Christmas Carol
  • A Christmas Carol
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Scrooge (A Christmas Carol)

Reference: The March of Folly, Barbara W Tuchman.

Statistics Saturday: Best Versions of A Christmas Carol


  • Scrooge (A Christmas Carol)
  • A Christmas Carol
  • A Christmas Carol
  • A Christmas Carol
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Scrooge (A Christmas Carol)
  • Scrooge (A Christmas Carol)
  • A Christmas Carol
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Scrooge (A Christmas Carol)

Reference: The March of Folly, Barbara W Tuchman.

Statistics Saturday: Pennsylvania Municipalities With Other States’ Names


  • Wyoming
  • Indiana
  • Delaware
  • Delaware Water Gap
  • California
  • Jersey Shore
  • East Washington
  • California
  • New Washington
  • Ohioville
  • Washington
  • Oklahoma
  • Ohio
  • Ohiopyle
  • Texas
  • Washingtonville
  • West Wyoming

Reference: History of the Hour: Clocks and Modern Temporal Orders, Gerhard Dohrn-van Rossum.

Not listed: North York, West York, Pennsburg, York.

Statistics Saturday: Your Christmas Special Viewing Schedule


Date Plan
9 December Frosty the Snowman
10 December Looking at the as-suggested #FrostyReturns to see what people did say about that awful awful awful awful awful thing.
11 December Spending more time complaining about Twas The Night Before Christmas than actually watching it.
12 December Half-hour thing based on some recent kids CGI movie you didn’t watch.
13 December How The Grinch Stole Christmas, the 60s one.
14 December Yelling at people in three different Facebook groups to just watch Arthur Christmas already.
15 December Trying to remember if we already watched Twas The Night Before Christmas and the DVR just spontaneously re-recorded it.
16 December Trying to work out what the heck The Leprechaun’s Christmas Gold was for.
17 December Misguided mid-90s thing that looks like the bad Animaniacs studio animated it and oh my goodness yes they have a Rapping Granny in it.
18 December Over-parsing of every single line in Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer.
19 December Oh wow that one You Can’t Do That On Television episode about holidays really shows how the program was like 400% more Canadian than you remembered.
20 December Can’t get the Snow Miser song out of your head.
21 December Inconclusive online argument about whether there was somehow a Far Side Christmas special in like 1988 or whether they’re somehow thinking of a Ziggy Christmas special from like 1982.
22 December How was there a Little Drummer Boy Book II? And it was Rankin/Bass’s only Emmy nomination?!
23 December Realization that you’re now too old to be able to follow the story logic of Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July.
24 December Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town

Seriously, though, Frosty’s Return was already so awful in every possible way and then they dumped that 1995 Cartoon Attitude all over it. Also, Arthur Christmas: worth watching.

Reference: Quiz Craze: America’s Infatuation with Game Shows, Thomas A DeLong.

Statistics Saturday: November Birthdays Per Year


Bar chart with horizontal axis of 1 through 30, with each bar a uniform height of 1.
Huh. Hey, would you believe as far as I can tell no countries changed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar in their November? Go figure, huh?

Reference: Signor Marconi’s Magic Box: The Invention that Sparked the Radio Revolution, Gavin Weightman.

Statistics Saturday: Occurrence of Thanksgiving, 2019 – 2020


Bar chart with two entries: one labelled 2019, which reaches to '1', and one labelled 2020, which also reaches to '1'.
Yes I know it could be more useful but what if I’m short of ideas for a Statistics Saturday post in November of 2021? You don’t want me to have no content to fill this hole then just because I foolishly made a chart that covered 2019 through to 2021, do you? I need to provide for myself too, you know. At that there’s like a 40% chance I already did this same joke and haven’t looked it up and I’ll find a nasty surprise in the Related Links section.

Reference: Moonport: A History of Apollo Launch Facilities and Operations, Charles D Benson, William Barnaby Faherty.

(Note: United States Thanksgiving, although similar results apply to Canadian Thanksgiving.)

Statistics Saturday: British Folklore Spirits That I Think Someone On Wikipedia Made Up


As opposed to being made up properly, for fun and to hurtle clothes at and stuff.

Spirit Spirit’s Deal
Cellar Ghost Guards wine in cellars from would-be thieves
Lazy Lawrence Protects orchards
Awd Goggie Scares children away from unripened gooseberries
Melch Dick Guards nut thickets
Kilmoulis Has no mouth; inhabits mills

Reference: A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, Barbara W Tuchman.

Statistics Saturday: Top United States Of The World


  1. United States of Mexico
  2. United States of Central America
  3. United States of Brazil
  4. United States of the United Provinces of the Netherlands
  5. United States of America
  6. United States of Greater New Zealand
  7. United States of Mongo
  8. United States of the United States of Travancore and the United States of Cochin
  9. United States (2007, Smashing Pumpkins)
  10. United States of Mexico 2.2

Reference: Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World, Margaret MacMillan.

Statistics Saturday: The Humor Of Fred Allen So Far As Anyone Remembers


Small wedge with Allen's quote about `I've discovered why they call [television] a medium: because nothing is well-done'; an empty quarter; a bigger wedge of Kenneth the Page, on 30 Rock, looking at the photo Fred Allen autographed to him; then an even bigger empty space.
Not pictured: that line about a committee being a group of men who individually can do nothing, but who collectively can decide nothing can be done, because I want a better reference than Brainyquote saying he said it. The television-is-a-medium thing at least he said on The Big Show, for the 5th of November, 1950, at just past 1:00:08 and you can check.

Reference: History of the Second World War, Basil Henry Liddell-Hart.

Statistics Saturday: The Humor of Benjamin Franklin


Witty observation of human folly; small slice. Ok, a recap for the people in back; small slice. This is some more words then; bigger slice. Oh, it's a whole homily. Well, then; bigger slice. Gosh who knew you had another heap of words; enormous slice.
Here I go again, boldly taking on people who even as you read this you remember much better than you ever will me.

Reference: Living Dolls: A Magical History of the Quest for Mechanical Life, Gaby Wood.

Statistics Saturday: Unhealthiest Cookies, According To Nutritionists


  • Lady Middle Fingers
  • Quicksandwich cookies
  • Bleak-and-white cookies
  • Laser biscotti
  • Oatmeal/rusty-nail cookies
  • Gingerdead
  • Antimatter macaroons
  • Southern Pecan Mouth-Sealer
  • Anhydrous pfeffernüsse
  • Mega-Shrapnel Oreo
  • Linzer Taipan
  • Dynamite-and-custard cream

Reference: Einstein’s Clocks, Poincaré’s Maps, Peter Galison

Statistics Saturday: US Acting-Presidents Under The 25th Amendment Name Lengths Over Time


Three data points: Bush, Cheney, and then Cheney. Names are represented as blue dots; the average length (5.333) as green dots.
I know what you’re thinking: wait, didn’t George H W Bush serve as Acting President twice while Ronald Reagan was under anaesthetic for colon surgery? No, it was just the one time. Dick Cheney served as Acting President twice, for two of George W Bushs’s colonoscopies. I don’t know how you and I both got this mixed up. Yeah, Bush should have been Acting President while Reagan was in surgery after getting shot but nobody was on top of things enough to organize that at the time.

Reference: Measuring the Universe: The Historical Quest to Quantify Space, Kitty Ferguson.

Statistics Saturday: US Vice-Presidential Name Lengths Over Time


Chart showing, in blue, the length of the names of all US Vice-Presidents in order. In blue is the less fluttery chart of five-Vice-President running averages. The average length rose slightly from Colfax through Coolidge and has mostly declined since then.
I know what you’re thinking: wait, there was a vice-president named ‘Johnson’ before Dallas and King? I know, I was shocked too. Turns out the United States has had THREE vice-presidents named Johnson. George Clinton and John C Calhoun are counted only the once because while they each served parts of two terms, for different presidents, their times in office were continuous.

Reference: Keeping Watch: A History of American Time, Michael O’Malley.

Statistics Saturday: US Presidential Name Lengths Over Time


The rise and fall of US Presidential name lengths, per successive administrations. Also included is a five-president running average. The average name length is rather higher from Garfield-to-Kennedy and has been in a long-term decline since Eisenhower.
Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking: I’m treating successive presidential administrations as a proxy for time, as though the term of office of, say, Zachary Taylor were equal to that of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Believe me, I thought about weighting this against term of office and then literally everybody I know wrestled me to the ground and slapped me silly so this is what you’re going to get.

Reference: Stages to Saturn: A Technological History of the Apollo-Saturn Launch Vehicles, Roger E Bilstein.

Statistics Saturday: A Selected History Of The Universe (To Date) Represented As One Year


As of the 24th of August, 2019.

January

1. 12:00:01 am. The Big Bang.
    12:14:23.20 am. Recombination. Space is no longer an opaque plasma; the cosmos is, for the first time, transparent.
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Even a year is a long time.