Monday, January 19, 2009

Stacking Cats

Hello Friends. I've done a lot of soul searching lately. I've realized that most of the posts on this blog are about stuff that annoys me. I think I probably need to change that. Yeah, I could be more positive and talk about all of the great things in this world. But instead, I think I'll change it up by writing about something that annoys my wife instead.

Now as a loyal YIFY reader, you probably know that Kate is fine with most things and most people. There are only a couple of exceptions. Kate's stuff I don't like list is much shorter than mine. It's basically just cold weather, Angelina Jolie, and what I think is called dimensional analysis. 

If you've never heard of dimensional analysis, that's okay. Actually, I'm not sure if that's the term I'm looking for or not, but that's what we're going to go with, because it's late and I'm sick of looking at stupid math and physics websites. Stupid Google. If you figure out what the hell I'm talking about and want to tell me what the actual name for it is, that would be lovely. Anyway, the thing that annoys Kate that we're going to call dimensional analysis is something you probably hear everyday without paying much attention to it. It's basically when some type of commercial or newscast or discovery channel type program tries to explain how big or grand a specific number is. Something like: "We produce over 1 billion pounds of trash a day. How big is a billion? Well, if you had a billion cats and you stacked them on top of each other, they would stretch to the moon and back four times!" It usually involves stacking, or laying end to end or time. So hopefully now you know what I'm talking about.

These things get used all the time. Especially on some kind of math or science TV show that's probably designed for tweens. I think the one that gets used the most has something to do with your intestines. Something like "if you were to remove your intestines and lay them out end to end, they would reach from New York to Texas" or something like that. I don't think they ever specify if it's just the large intestine or if it's both the large and small. They don't really cite their sources on those shows.

Editor's Note: If you're wondering why I'm watching some math or science show that's designed as informational for tweens, please refer to earlier post about the lack of good cartoons on TV (especially on the weekends). 

So they've got these dimensional analysis things for just about everything. They seem to be especially popular with diseases and radio commercials. You know, stuff like "in the time it takes you to read this blog post, three people will die of lung cancer, four from heart failure, and a third of a person from bird flu. In the commercials or whatever they usually just limit it to one illness or cause of death. I think if they laid them all out in one commercial it would probably be more powerful, but might be overwhelming. 

So I've always heard these things and really haven't given them a whole lot of thought. I just shrug and say okay when the guy on TV tells me that Jello has sold enough pudding in the past 20 years to fill Lake Michigan.  Kate, on the other hand, gets just about as upset at these as she does when Angelina is on the cover of People Magazine. I'm trying to figure out why. I guess I could ask her, but she's asleep, so I'll just speculate. That'll make for better blog materiel anyway. At first I thought it was just basic skepticism. Maybe she didn't believe their math. Or maybe she figured that the people who come up with these comparisons just realize that nobody can really stack cats to the moon, or lay Twinkies end to end which means nobody can really call bullshit on them, so they just throw out some ridiculous comparison and call it a day. The theory that I've landed on is bringing together two of her top dislikes: dimensional analysis and space travel. I guess I should've mentioned space travel earlier in my list of things Kate doesn't like. But she basically thinks that space travel is dumb. Trust me on this one. So my theory is that since most of these dimensional analysis things involve stacking things, and the big stacks usually end up somewhere in space (the moon, mars, sometimes the sun) she's annoyed mostly because they are talking about space travel (sort of) which, as we previously established, she thinks is dumb. 

Wow, I just realized that the last sentence was really long. I could fix it, but my blogging time is up for tonight. Besides, if you stacked that sentence end to end, it would reach all the way to the moon, or at least all the way to the stack of cats, which reach the moon. 


LizC said...

Hahaaha. I love those dimensional analysis type of comparisons.

Do you ever watch the show Numb3rs? Its full of awesome geeky math analogies and metaphors. Kate would hate it

MaryBe said...

Ha I never knew there was a name for that dumb comparisons they do.
It's true, ignorance IS bliss!

PS I love Numb3rs. One time they really did stack cats

Kath said...

Hahhaha. I would have LOVED to see Kate's reaction as she read this post :)

Nate said...

I'm not sure if Kate has time for this blog. She's got lots of other blog commitments. I can tell you that she checks KERF before she checks mine. I'm coming to terms with this.

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