Solid Ox, Slight Genius
Published on March 02, 2012


ROMNEY WOULD SAVE YOU, PERSONALLY, $149,477 A YEAR

More specifically, that would be the saving to you on average, according to this comparison of the Romney and Obama plans.  If you’re in the top 1%.  (If you’re barely in the top 1%, your annual saving would be less.  If you’re near the top of the top 1%, much, much more.)  Your $149,477 cut will simply be added to the deficit each year – or else paid for, in the main, by firing people and cutting benefits to the poor.

 

Guessing the Weight of an Ox

Wednesday in Long Beach, one of the TED talks was on the power of crowd-sourcing.  After an appropriate preface, and to the considerable trepidation of those on stage – especially the woman in the red dress – the speaker, Lior Zoref, caused a very large ox to be led out on stage. 

 

(This idea may not have been Lior’s.  Because his talk was to be on crowd-sourcing, he told us, he had enlisted his crowd of Facebook friends to help prepare it.)

 

It was a very large ox. 

 

We were asked to guess how much it weighs.  More than 500 of us turned on our cell phones, as directed, and went here to submit our guesses.  I figured that Lior, standing next to the ox, weighed about 215 pounds.  It looked to me as though you could pack a lot of Liors into that very solid ox.  So I guessed 2,457 pounds.

 

I remembered, as I did so, the story my dad used to tell of teaching officers how to estimate target distance in World War II.  They should ask their men all to guess.  My dad taught them to disregard the lowest and highest guesses, then average the rest.  It was remarkably effective.

 

Our top guess was 8,000 pounds (cars don’t weigh that much, but this was, I will say one last time, a most substantial ox).  The bottom guess was a somewhat perplexing (but let’s not judge) 318 pounds.

 

The ox was led off stage without incident. 

 

The average of our 500-odd guesses: 1,792 pounds.

 

Its actual weight: 1,795 pounds.

 

GUESSING THE WEIGHT OF TAYLOR WILSON

I’d say: 130 pounds.  He’s only 17.  Here’s his web page.  He came out on stage to tell us how, at 14, he had built a nuclear fusion reactor in his garage.  Popular Science tells the tale in more detail.  CNN notes his development of a patent-pending radiation-detection device that the Department of Homeland Security hopes may save it a great deal of money.  President Romney could use that saving either to reduce the deficit or to help fund more tax cuts for the best off.

 

RED BARAAT

Lots of music at TED.  This band was my favorite.

 



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