Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday Quick Hits: Percentage Inflation, Snake Oil, and Immigration

-The WSJ's Numbers Guy had a nice post today about the inflation of percentages and goes on to point out some of the more egregious examples of ridiculous percentages: Fortune's use of 1,000,00 percent to describe Warren Buffett or a clergyman pledging 1,000% commitment. Of course, he left out the most off the wall and insane inflators of percentage, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul from American Idol. If a contestant is good, rarely will they be let through with anything less than 1,000,000 percent. In fact, if Paula (who, by the way, is crazier than a cage containing both Michael Jackson and Mike Tyson) really likes you, she'll pull out the made up numbers like one million bajillion percent. I'll say this right now, I'll never give more than 100%. Not because it's not possible (although it is) and not because it's stupid (although it is). It's because saying things like that actually makes you dumber. As Jackie Moon would say, "that's a fact."
-My mom just spent $4,000 on a machine that "makes water alkaline." According to people who don't have a chemistry degree, water is acidic. If you drink it, you'll die (slowly, but just the same). On the other hand, if you drink alkaline water, you'll cure your cancer, gangrene, mental illness, regular illness, and a whole host of other things. In fact, it's a miracle cure. According to people who have taken a chemistry class, it's a load of crap. As someone who has taken chemistry classes, I remember the last ionizing wave - that little ball you put in your laundry machine that ionized the dirt off your laundry and cleaned them without detergent. We had a good laugh at the idiots who bought that (and yes, my Mom was one of them) because it's sheer hucksterism. The difference here is that those laundry balls were only about $15 whereas this is 4 large. What's really amazing is that the actual science won't change people's minds here. When you say that it's impossible, they just roll their eyes and go on about how science can't explain the mysteries of the Orient. I would proffer another supposition: the mysteries of the Orient are the same mysteries of the guy from Nigeria who keeps trying to get his money out of the country. In a related story, I bought $2 worth of pH strips on Amazon.com to prove my point.
-We had caucus training this weekend and as usually happens, we talk politics afterward. One of my precinct chairs is insanely against illegal immigrants. (I think I've mentioned here in the past that he would put soldiers on the border in concrete towers manned with .50 caliber machine guns and a shoot on site policy. Apparently he thinks that the Berlin Wall was a great idea.) We talked about the LDS Church policy towards illegals (essentially "leave them be or help them out") and the Apostle who signed the letter representing the Church's position, M. Russell Ballard. We are both Mormons and he called Elder Ballard "a traitor to his country." He might disagree with the opinion, but that's a bit ridiculous. I suppose it's possible that he believes the Constitution is a higher authority than God's servants here on Earth, but why is he still a member if he believes that? Wouldn't calling Him out (assuming that you believe an official - or very close to official statement was infalliable) be a tipping point? I think that he's just a half a bubble off plumb in this area. It's opinions like that that drive illegals to become a permanent underclass, dependent on crime or criminals to survive. Let's get rid of the mote in our eye before we start going for the illegals' slivers.

4 comments:

Cheeth said...

Please please please let this be the most severe separating of the wheat from the tares that we run into, so (a) I'll be safe, since I am siding with the Church, and (b) we can thin our ranks of more racist freaks than ever before.

Sorro said...

For some reason, Utah is a hotbed of racist freaks right now. Of course, it could just be that they are more visible because they are more racist and therefore more freaktastic. The minority almost always is the more vocal. We can take comfort that the least bigoted Republican candidate (Chris Cannon) has survived as long as he has with the anti-immigrationistas gunning for him every year.

Cheeth said...

I agree Cannon is better than most on immigration. I just wish he weren't such a snake oil freak (surely you saw the SL Tribune article).

I also agree that it is the vocal minority that makes Utah seem like a hotbed. I see some of these racist LDS trying to play the "shoestring" card, or simply unable to get rid of their pride in being racist, and leaving the fold. Don't let the screen door hit you, boys.

Sorro said...

I think there are a lot of Utahns into the snake oil, which is part of why we have every supplement company known to man headquartered here. I suppose the Japanese like that stuff more, based on the drugstores there. It is a little sad that he loves the bags of the stuff, but I'll take someone who guzzles kangen water to someone who wants to toss Hispanics in it.