Patterico's Pontifications



Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:42 pm

FUN WITH STATISTICS: Here’s a fun site by a guy who failed high school statistics. This genius has computed the average age at death of rock stars (36.9) compared to the average age at death of most Americans (75.8). Quite a startling discrepancy, eh? He even lets you know that he is not stacking the deck: “NOTE: This is EVERY death of a Rock star we’ve found. This is NOT a ‘RIGGED’ list to produce FALSE numbers, but an HONEST observation.”

Problem: it’s an honest observation by a guy who is not very bright. Most rational people would look at this data and reach the following conclusion: “Not surprising. Rock-and-rollers haven’t been around that long, so the older ones haven’t died yet.” The conclusion reached by this genius? “The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.” Heh heh.

Still, some fun stats for the more morbid rock-and-roll fans among you.


Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:00 pm

GOOGLE SEARCH CONTEST: Following up on the last post, I should note that I have received no entries in my contest (announced in an April 29 post) for goofiest Google entry that pulls up Patterico’s Pontifications as #1.

However — in an illustration of the concept that reality often surpasses art, allow me to present to you some actual recent searches, done by actual people who visited this site as a result of their search:

Google search Scott+laci+Peterson+naked: Patterico’s Pontifications is on the fourth page of this search.

Google search spitting+while+talking: Patterico’s Pontifications is entry #6 on the first page of this search.

Google search homosexual+childbirth+photos: Patterico’s Pontifications is the last entry on the first page of this search.

Yahoo! search court+transcripts+of+adultery+cases+and+incest+cases: Patterico’s Pontifications is entry 30 in this search.

Yahoo! search southwest+naked+gay+pilots: Patterico’s Pontifications is entry 7 on the first page of this search.

And the grand prize winner is this Google search, conducted by someone who apparently really has it in for William Saletan of Slate: saletan+incest++-porn+-xxx+-personals: Patterico’s Pontifications is entry 12 on the first page of this search.

My thanks to Senator Rick Santorum for helping me introduce an international gaggle of perverts to my blog.


Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:43 pm

LACI DECAPITATED: Some of you may have read my post from April 28, in which I proclaimed my refusal to simply write the words “Laci” and “decapitated” numerous times just to get hits on Google from people putting in the search terms “Laci” and decapitated.” That post apparently had the unintended consequence of making this site #1 on Google for searches using the terms “Laci” and “decapitated.” “Laci + decapitated” continues to be a popular search, so I am probably getting a lot of visitors looking for information on whether Laci was decapitated — only to find that I refuse to write about whether Laci was decapitated. (Unless the subject of Laci’s decapitation occurs naturally.) I apologize for any confusion.

Still no word on whether Laci actually was decapitated.


Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:42 am

THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT GOD: Screeds like this one (by Robert Sneer) or this one (by Nicholas Kristof) annoy me. Sneer says: “If, in the end, Iraq is not shown to have had truly threatening weapons, it will be Bush who stands exposed as one who didn’t know how to tell the truth.” Kristof says: “Let’s fervently hope that tomorrow we find an Iraqi superdome filled with 500 tons of mustard gas and nerve gas, 25,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 29,984 prohibited munitions capable of delivering chemical agents, several dozen Scud missiles, gas centrifuges to enrich uranium, 18 mobile biological warfare factories, long-range unmanned aerial vehicles to dispense anthrax, and proof of close ties with Al Qaeda. Those are the things that President Bush or his aides suggested Iraq might have, and I don’t want to believe that top administration officials tried to win support for the war with a campaign of wholesale deceit.”

Why must it be “deceit”? What if the President knew what we all knew: Saddam provably had this stuff in 1998, nations in similar positions in the past (like South Africa) had proven that they had disposed of such weapons, and Saddam showed no interest in providing that sort of proof. I suspect that, while Bush had access to the specifics of intelligence, the basic picture was about what I just described. Isn’t that enough? And if we find no WMD, why does that indicate “deceit”? “Intelligence” is, as I have pointed out before, stuff that some guys in another country are telling you. You don’t know it’s true; you make your best judgment. Bush did. He may have been wrong or he may have been right, but he doesn’t know everything — and if he’s wrong that doesn’t make him a liar.

I think this attitude is symptomatic of a larger issue: people often assume that the Government is all-knowing (and all-powerful). Government is the capital-T “They” in the “they” that people always talk about with reverence and awe: “if they can put a man on the moon . . .” My experience and observations tell me that Government is full of people — i.e. beings that (while often smart) make mistakes.

I can’t find a link for my favorite recent example of this, but here’s the story. An Iraqi government building is on fire. An AP reporter drives up to an Army sergeant and haughtily demands of him: “Why aren’t you putting out the fire?” He responds, disgusted: “What do you expect me to do? Piss on it?”

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