Statistics Saturday: The Comedy Of Will Rogers


60%: The Politicians They So Stupid (Also Annoying); 35%: The Foreigners They So Annoying (Also Stupid); 5%: But Not Me.
I know I’m making enemies with this chart, but I gotta be honest. Will Rogers: I’m just not seeing it.

Reference: Watt’s Perfect Engine: Steam and the Age of Invention, Ben Marsden.

Advertisements

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.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
31.

Even a year is a long time.

Statistics Saturday: Top Songs For Each Day Of The Week


Day Song
Sunday Blue Sunday
Monday Manic Monday
Tuesday Ruby Tuesday
Wednesday Winged Wednesday
Thursday Thumbtack Thursday
Friday Faïence Friday
Saturday Saturday In The Park

Reference: Nothing Like It In The World, Stephen E Ambrose.

Statistics Saturday: Tunes You Can’t Forget But Also Can’t Remember Well Enough To Identify


  • Doo. Doo. DOO. DOOOOO. Doodadoodadoo.
  • Dadada DAAA dedaDEDA daah.
  • Dada daah dum. Dadaa daaaah dum. Dadaaaa daaadaaaah dum dum.
  • Tum tedeedumde ta dum.
  • Dum dedalee DUM de da DUM.
  • Da de dum de dum de DA DA DUM dah de DUM dah de DUM.
  • Dadum. Dadehdum. DahDUM. DaDEHdadum.
  • DAAAA DAAAAAAH DUM-dededededah-dah-dah-DUM dededededah-dah-dah-DUM dededededah-dah-dah-DUM DEEE DUMM!
  • [ Theme to Chilly Willy cartoons ]
  • DAAAH de dum dah dum de dah dum dadaDEEDAAdum dee daaa dum dum.

Reference: The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, Diana Wynne Jones.

Statistics Saturday: Songs You Didn’t Realize Are Answer Songs


  • This Land Is Your Land
  • Judy’s Turn To Cry
  • Back In The USSR
  • In Fact We Have Plenty Of Bananas
  • Blister In The Sun
  • Bring Me Home From The Baseball Game as the Doubleheader Is Just Going On Forever
  • The Window Doggie Is Under Observation and Is Not Yet For Sale
  • Warlock Registered Nurse
  • Video Was Acquitted Of Killing The Radio Star But Falsely Convicted Of Shooting The Deputy
  • My Chewing Gum Is As Flavorful As The Day I First Chewed It, In 1957, Thank You
  • New Year’s Eve, You Can Be Late
  • Weiner Dog on a Motorcycle

Reference: Planet Quest: The Epic Discovery of Alien Solar Systems, Ken Croswell.

Statistics Saturday: Some Niche Satellite Radio Channels


  • The Beatles Channel
  • The Rush Channel
  • Comedians You Never Heard Of Complaining About Their College Audiences Channel
  • The Songs That, From The Other Room, Sound Like Golden Earring’s Twilight Zone Channel
  • Median 40 Channel
  • The Commercials From The 80s Channel
  • The Songs From Comic Strip Musicals Channel
  • The Karaoke Channel
  • The Cranny, Hollow, Crevice, or alternately Recess in A Wall Channel
  • The Cryptic Touch-Tone-Dial Codes From Local 90s Cable Programming Channel
  • This Date In 2019 Channel
  • The Channel That’s Always Playing “Take On Me”
  • Kids Arguing About The Rules Channel
  • The Nothing But Spoofs Of The Major-Generals Song Channel

Reference: Planet Quest: The Epic Discovery of Alien Solar Systems, Ken Croswell.

Statistics Saturday: Apollo Missions By Length


  1. Apollo Six (no crew)
  2. Apollo Ten
  3. Apollo Four (no crew)
  4. Apollo Five (no crew)
  5. Apollo Nine
  6. Apollo Seven
  7. Apollo Eight
  8. Apollo Eleven
  9. Apollo Twelve
  10. Apollo Fifteen
  11. Apollo Sixteen (yes crew)
  12. Apollo Thirteen
  13. Apollo Fourteen
  14. Apollo Seventeen
  15. Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

Not listed: Skylab 1, Skylab 2/1, 3/2, or 4/3, as those were generally regarded as Skylab rather than Apollo missions.

Reference: Tudor Historical Thought, F J Levy.

Statistics Saturday: The World’s Least Canadas


(In response to the numerous questions submitted by readers after last week’s piece that I’m sure they meant to send in but forgot.)

  1. Mayotte
  2. Adanac, Ontario
  3. Tromelin Island
  4. Manalapan, Florida
  5. Canada, Oiratno
  6. Canada (asteroid)
  7. Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania
  8. Adanac, Oiratno

Reference: Exploring Space with a Camera, Edgar M Cortright.

Statistics Saturday: The World’s Top Canadas


  1. Canada
  2. Canandaigua, New York
  3. Little Canada, Chua Chu Kang New Town, Singapore
  4. Canada Township, Pennsylvania
  5. The Due South interactive dark ride at Universal Studios Vancouver
  6. Canada Township, North Carolina
  7. Canada (lunar crater)
  8. Canada Township, Nebraska

Reference: Charlie Chaplin And His Times, Kenneth S Lynn.

Statistics Saturday: Some Fake Roman Numerals And What They Mean


  • T (twelve)
  • E (three)
  • W (six)
  • F (ten)
  • R (twenty but with the wind chill bringing it to the low teens)
  • Γ (π)
  • K (nine hundred ninety-nine)
  • A (regnal years of the current emperor, to date)
  • L (3014 RKCB, referencing the lowest step response to the 4NT key card asking bid in a right jolly game of bridge)
  • U (ninety, but with the connotation of talking sarcastically to the Etruscans)

Reference: The Zimmermann Telegram, Barbara W Tuchman.

Statistics Saturday: The Weather, Over The Year


January - mid-May: I have to wear a hoodie because it's way too cold outside. Mid-May to Mid-October: I have to wear a hoodie because it's warm outside so everywhere I go has too much air conditioning. Mid-October to December: I have to wear a hoodie because it's way too cold outside.
The months are numbered starting at zero because I couldn’t figure how to make Apple Numbers do a little spreadsheet where the major axis is ‘months’ and finally decided, you know? Making a stacked bar chart as a timeline is such an obvious and useful application that I am not spending the time it takes to figure out how to do it. I only this week learned if you hold down ‘option’ while clicking on file formats in Preview you suddenly can save files as GIFs or Microsoft BMPs or any of like a dozen other formats. I can’t learn another new thing so soon.

Reference: Look, I’m just a little chilly is all, okay?

Statistics Saturday: Some Fictional Greek Zodiac Signs


  • The Horse
  • The Chariot
  • The Philosopher
  • The Hydra
  • The Tyrant
  • The Swan
  • The Anktikythera Mechanisms
  • The Olympic Wreath
  • The Agora-Quarreller (sometimes regarded as just The Philosopher again)
  • The Tyrant-Overthrowers
  • The Bull-Headed Snake-Tailed Basilisk-Bodied Lion-Footed Off-Road Multi-Use Form
  • The Sailor

Reference: X-15 Research Results, Wendell H Stillwell.

Statistics Saturday: Things That Non-Vegetarians Think The Rest Of Us Need To Hear


  • Salad isn’t food! Salad is what food eats!
  • You know, chickens are really mean to other chickens.
  • I’d love to be vegetarian but then I couldn’t put bacon on everything.
  • You know, the Indian word for ‘vegetarian’ is ‘bad hunter’.
  • Yeah, that’s cool but some of us have to be the carnivores.
  • You know, the Humane Society of the United States is a lobbying group, not an animal shelter.
  • Oh, yeah, this is a vegetarian-friendly restaurant. They make a great tuna steak.
  • So when you go for fast food are you, like, just there to be all smug about everyone getting their chicken nuggets or stuff?
  • I couldn’t possibly keep up with all the measurements and supplements and stuff you have to do to be a vegetarian. I’m impressed.
  • You know, you get E coli from lettuce.
  • You know, almost nobody actually has a problem digesting gluten, you can just eat whatever you want if you haven’t actually been to an allergy specialist.
  • That’s all right, I’ll eat enough sausage for both of us!
  • Wait, that’s got cheese on it, you can’t eat cheese, right?
  • It’s so weird you want, like, burgers that taste like meat but that nobody has to kill a cow for, instead of something really vegetarian.
  • You know, hamsters will eat their own babies if you let them.
  • So when you go for fast food do they, like, just throw a handful of yard clippings in your face?

Reference: The New York Public Library Desk Reference, Paul Fargis, Sheree Bykofsky.

Statistics Saturday: Animals We Can Say The Guy Who Draws Beetle Bailey Has Or Hasn’t Seen


Animal Can we say the guy who draws Beetle Bailey has seen this?
Duck No because why aren’t its feet webbed and do they even rest in trees? But if that’s not a mallard then what is it?
Squirrel Still Not Yet
Snake Yes
Another duck or maybe a badly colored pigeon? I guess? I’m stuck figuring out what it’s holding.
Horse Maybe?
Bear From the front and only the front
Mouse Also only from the front
Butterfly Yes
Uh … is … that one of those comical fish lures you see in 1950s cartoons and sitcoms about marginally competent fathers? I guess so?
Whatever kind of bird that is standing on the edge of the large tub there? No
Raccoon Turns out, yeah
Dog? Maybe? In that lower right corner? Or maybe it’s another bear? Y … uh … yeah? Maybe?

Reference:

Cookie: 'I thought the men would like a vegetarian meal for a change.' Sarge: 'Well, they didn't go for it.' Cookie: 'But it's a hit with the herbivores.' They look, in silhouette, over a number of animals drawn in that worn-down mid-century-modern style of Beetle Bailey; the animals include several birds, a horse, at least one bear cub, a squirrel, a raccoon, a mouse, a snake, and some flying insects.
Greg Walker’s Beetle Bailey for the 14th of May, 2019. So, mallards, bears, and raccoons are omnivores. While mice and squirrels are mostly herbivorous, they’ll eat meat given the chance. I’ve heard rumors of an herbivorous snake but I’m not believing it before I see Mark Trail introduce it in a Sunday panel. And if that’s a dog instead of another bear cub under the table, that’s not an herbivore.

Statistics Saturday: 80s Computer Magazine Titles, So Far As You Know


  • Pet Finder (1978 – 84)
  • TI Times (from 1982, TImes)
  • CompuMonthly
  • Adam’s Friends
  • bits (1976-86; BITS2000 1986-93)
  • Mo/Demonstrator
  • Save**
  • DigiToday
  • P.O.W.E.R. (1981-84; P.O.W.E.R.plus 84-86)
  • CompuMonthly’s Apple IIGS Galleria
  • Lotus 1-2-3 Gazette
  • Transputer WorkLife
  • baud121
  • CHKin
  • SoftWhys
  • CompuPlus (1980-84; P.O.W.E.R.plus 84-86)
  • Maryland 8 Bit Computer User Group Quarterly (1982?-85?; disputed 87?, possibly M16CUG Quarterly 1989?-??)
  • TRS-81 (1979-81)
  • DigiTomorrow
  • ML Express

Omitted for clarity: Hires and STart which I thought I was making up but turned out to actually exist.

Statistics Saturday: Reasons To Believe The Person in Charge Of Quaker Oats’s Cereal Mascots In 1996 Had Already Taken A New Job


Characters introduced to the Quaker Oats lineup in 1996:

  • For Marshmallow Safari: “Rhinocular is a pink-colored Rhino. He wears a pith helmet, and looks ready for safari.”
  • For Sweet Crunch: “Schnoz is a pink-colored shark. He wears a yellow sun hat and glasses. He surfs standing up on a surfboard.”
  • For Sweet Puffs: “Cat-Man-Do is a cool brown cat (who looks a lot like a fox). This cool cat wears sunglasses, a green suit and hat, and a red tie with white polka-dots. He plays a mean sax.”
  • For Apple Zaps: “Duckbert is a red-haired duck who loves soccer. He’s wears a red soccer uniform complete with soccer cleats. He’s shown kicking a soccer ball.”
  • For Frosted Flakers: “Brewster MacIvory is a walrus. He wears a ski cap and sunglasses. He surfs belly down on his surfboard.”
  • For Fruitangy Oh!s: “Koolio is a brown swinging monkey. He wears a backwards red baseball cap, untied red sneakers, and sunglasses.”
  • For Cocoa Blasts: “Kamicowzi is a brown and white flying cow with horns and wings. She wears an old-style brown aviators cap and sunglasses.”

All of these texts, and mascots, are as quoted from Topher’s Castle’s magnificent, and genuinely delightful old-school-Internet compilation of breakfast cereal characters.

Also, reasons to believe that Topher’s Castle is making up some breakfast cereal mascots in order to prove copyright infringement by disreputable web sites like mine:

  • For Apple Zaps: “Duckbert is a red-haired duck who loves soccer. He’s wears a red soccer uniform complete with soccer cleats. He’s shown kicking a soccer ball.”

But to be sincere, the site has a heartening number of characters tracked down and described, with pictures for a lot of them. It really makes you appreciate how many breakfast cereals have tried to make a kangaroo mascot and how somehow it just never takes. I am so happy this person put this work into this project.

Box front for Meijer's Cinnamon Swirl Crunch, which features an overjoyed, big-eyed raccoon thrilled at the cereal.
Rory Raccoon says that yeah, mascotting for store-brand cereal isn’t as glamorous as his 1960s work for Post Sugar Sparkled Flakes, but it’s much lower-stress and honestly more enjoyable. The low stakes mean he’s able to put more of himself into the performance. But he would like to work with Claudius Crow again, if the project presented itself.

Statistics Saturday: Some Fictional Road Signs


  • Caution: Road
  • Stock Photographs next 3 miles
  • No Weather Zone
  • Keep Right Except To Giraffe
  • In-Jokes
  • Mediocrity Far As The Eye Can See
  • Dental Technicians And Supporters Only
  • To The South Is
  • Impertinent Scoundrels, All
  • Wark Zone Ahead: Watch For Seagulls
  • Save Your Files
  • You’ll Make It Through This
  • Orbs, Mister Christian. Orbs
  • Perfected Frost Zone
  • Nostalgic Haze – Visibility 15-20 Years Ago
  • You Had Your Chance
  • Monitor Helicopters For Speeding
  • It Made Sense In Context
  • Welp
  • A NEW CAR!

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

Statistics Saturday: When Easter Is Scheduled To Occur, 2020-2038


  • 2020: Sunday
  • 2021: Sunday (Western); Sunday (Orthodox)
  • 2022: Sunday
  • 2023: Sunday
  • 2024: Sunday
  • 2025: Sunday
  • 2026: Sunday (Western); Sunday (Orthodox)
  • 2027: Sunday (Western); Sunday (Orthodox)
  • 2028: Sunday
  • 2029: Sunday
  • 2030: Sunday
  • 2031: Sunday
  • 2032: Sunday
  • 2033: Sunday
  • 2034: Sunday (Western); Sunday (Orthodox)
  • 2035: Sunday
  • 2036: Sunday
  • 2037: Sunday (Western); Sunday (Orthodox)
  • 2038: [ Will not occur due to the Year 2038 or “Chuckletrousers” bug ] (Western); Sunday (Orthodox)

Reference: Look sometimes you’re trying to develop like four ideas and every one of them seems promising and like it should work and then it turns out none of them are coming together and deadline is and you have to go with the thing you have that is the least not-satisfying, all right? That’s my reference.

Statistics Saturday: Some English Words That Amazingly All Share A Common Proto-Indo-European Root


  • father
  • paternal
  • fraternity
  • pitter-patter
  • pastie
  • infatuation
  • contrapunctual
  • spats
  • twelve
  • pantropy
  • paddleboat
  • burrito
  • fatuousity
  • potato
  • waters
  • expropriation
  • factithesis
  • disappearance
  • burritino
  • Thursday

Reference: Report of the Apollo 13 Review Board [ The Cortright Commission ]

Statistics Saturday: The Seven-Day Minus-Forecast


  • Sunday: 1st April
  • Monday: 2nd of April
  • Tuesday: 3rd of April
  • Wednesday: 4th of April
  • Thursday: 5th of April
  • Friday: 6th of April
  • Saturday: 7th of April

Reference: The Mathematical Experience, , Philip J Davis and Reuben Hersh.

Statistics Saturday: The Seven-Day Forecast


  • Sunday: Early April
  • Monday: Early April
  • Tuesday: Early April
  • Wednesday: Mid-April (already!)
  • Thursday: Mid-April (seriously?)
  • Friday: Mid-April (just, wow)
  • Saturday: Mid-April (I mean, 2019 started so recently it’s still like 2018)

Reference: The Rocket Men: Vostok and Voskhod, The First Soviet Manned Spaceflights, Rex Hall and David J Shayler.

Statistics Saturday: The Seven-Day Forecast


  • Sunday: This Coming Saturday
  • Monday: This Coming Sunday
  • Tuesday: This Coming Monday
  • Wednesday: This Coming Tuesday
  • Thursday: This Coming Wednesday
  • Friday: This Coming Thursday
  • Saturday: This Coming Friday

Reference: Redcoats and Rebels: The American Revolution through British Eyes, Christopher Hibbert.