Monday, August 30, 2010

750 More Statistical Cheating

750 More Statistical Cheating

How do you quantify the age of an object whose major components were not made in the same year as one another? Suggestions are welcome.

The other day at a stoplight, the next car over looked like a mid-1950s MG from Britain. Asking the guy "what year's that beautiful car?" (And beautiful it is) drew this response: "It's a 1981, 1963 1953." Whut? He went on to explain (it was a long light) that the body was a replica of a 1953 MG made in 1981 and mounted on the body of a 1963 VW Beetle. Wasn't time to ask him what year was on the state registration.

Leaning against the wall in the office is a banjo. The "pot," the round part is labeled "Paramount," one of the group of brands made by the William Lange Company of New York and dated by the serial number as having been made in 1928. The neck, the part where the strings are fingered was made for your correspondent starting in late 1959 and finishing in 1960. What year do you call it?

On the other side of the room is the body of a 1946 Leica Camera, just acquired from a Chicago seller via e-Bay. But the lens is from dad's Leica, manufactured in 1936. What year is the thing? Fortunately, banjos and cameras don't require state registration. Otherwise the banjo would be 19281960 and the camera 19361946. And there isn't room on a state registration for more than a four digit year.

Then, there's the eyeglasses. The frame is from 2008, but the lenses are from 2010. Fortunately, there's no room on the driver's license for a year of manufacture under the requirement "Driver must use corrective lenses."

Maybe these multi-year things should be averaged out. That means the car was built in 1965.66. The banjo was made in 1949. The camera was made in 1941 and the eyeglasses in 2009. All of those statistics are meaningless at best and lies at worst. But they're numbers and numbers don't lie, right? Now, to average the ages of the implanted false teeth with the rest of the body. And then apply for a revised birth certificate, passport and driver's license. Anyone know a good plastic surgeon who takes Medicare?


Shrapnel:

--Lush Rimbaugh may be the smartest peripheral merchandiser since Walt Disney, but a newsman, he's not. This may shock you, but as of this writing there's nothing on Rimbaugh's website about the Glenn Beck rally. And here, Lush said he was all for the free exchange of ideas -- apparently except from rival broadcasters.

--The Oxford Dictionary says the next edition may be internet-only. Not a good idea. The thing may weigh 130 pounds in print. But it has its advantages over a website. You can search a website by query, but you can't scan it as you move through a book, picking up new definitions as you peruse.


I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2010

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