Archive for July, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Name that Thing

I’m always fascinated by the Arizona landscape, when we fly over it on our annual trip to Las Vegas.
This year, however, was the first time that I noticed a big crater, a little south of where we were flying, to my feeling not too far from Flagstaff.
I knew there was a big meteor crater in Arizona somewhere and figured this had to be the one.
I just looked it up, and yes, it was the one!
.. learned some interesting facts about it.
I was also intrigued by its official name. Guess what it’s called?
Its official name is:

Meteor Crater.

You may think that this makes sense: calling ‘a’ meteor crater: Meteor Crater.
As it turns out, it is NOT called Meteor Crater, because it is, well, a meteor crater.
Names of natural features are determined by the “US Department of the Interior Division of Names”.
And the “US Department of the Interior Division of Names” has a simple formula for deriving such names: they simply use the name of the post office closest to the natural feature in question.
So, if this post office’s name would have been, say, “Canyon Diablo”, then the crater would now officially have been called “Canyon Diablo Crater”.
Which wouldn’t have been such a bad thing, because that’s exactly what the crater WAS called, before the “US Department of the Interior Division of Names” felt it necessary to change its name to the name of a nearby post office.
And, as it so happened, the name of the post office nearest to this meteor crater was, you guessed it: “Meteor”. Why this post office, located right next to a meteor crater, was called Meteor, is not hard to guess.

So, here we are, with a crater called after a post office, which derived its name from that very same crater.
A bit of a chicken-or-egg situation, although, unlike THAT proverbial problem, we DO know what came first. And even WHEN: some 50,000 years ago, and it wasn’t the post office.

So, what did I learn from all this?
That, apparently, post offices have names.

PostHeaderIcon The End of the World

I bet you have all heard the story that the Mayan Calendar predicts that the world will end on December 12th, 2012. (If not: Google Mayan Calender 2010)
Ha Ha Ha, all those people will feel REALLY stupid when the world actually ends October 21st, 2011!
THAT will teach those 2012 Mayan-End-of-World-ers not to make stupid stuff up!
See: When the World REALLY ends

Now, the Mayan Calendar ends on December 12th, 2012, so if the end of a calendar is to be taken as an indication for this world’s demise, then MY calendar predicts the end of the world to be on December 31st, THIS year!
THAT will teach those people from WeCanKnow not to make up silly stuff!

So, anyway, I’m obviously not buying a 2011 calendars this year!

(Because they’ll be much cheaper in January 2011)

There’s one thing that really puzzles me, though:

The WeCanKnow people are obviously very devout Christians with a very literal view of the Bible. But despite their self confessed claim of a strictly  literal interpretation of the Bible, they take a quote from the Bible, and then say: “Err.. NAH, that’s not true”.
Granted, there are some passages in the Bible that are quite nebulous, pure gibberish, actually, so it’s to be expected that people disagree about their meaning.

The mentioned quote however, is not one of those; it’s one of the more straightforward, to-the-point, clear, unambiguous statements. In fact, the WeCanKnow people admit that all the different Christian factions that fight over differences in Biblical interpretations, agree on this one! It’s THAT clear: NOBODY knows when the Rapture will be. NOT EVEN JESUS!

Mark 12:32 (KJV) But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

Then, given that one holds the Bible as the literal, infallible and inerrant word of an all-knowing and all-powerful Lord, how twisted a mind does one need, to then turn around, point at a VERY clear statement, and say: “Sorry, My Dear Omniscient Lord, but you’re wrong!”?

How can anyone say such a thing without myriads of very loud alarm bells going off and huge red flags being raised in the logic-and-reason department of his or her brain?

The mind boggles.

PostHeaderIcon T-Shirts

Oh MY! Have I neglected this blog or what? So much for all my good resolutions.
Let me quickly write something. Let me think. Ah, yes. T-Shirts!
Or rather T-shirt sizes.
There’s something terribly wrong with T-shirt sizes.

T-Shirts come in sizes like S (small), M (medium) and L (large).
These S, M and L sizes remind me of the clothing sizes we got to choose from in the military:
“too small”, “too big” and “WAY too big”.
It’s a known fact that the human species has grown taller over the past millennia, so I must assume that the S, M and L indications go WAY back in time.
Because these days there’s not a single Large person on this earth who would fit into an L sized T-shirt.
So, to allow for the ever growing height of the average human, they had to extend the size range: we now have: XL (Extra large), XXL, XXXL, etc.

I consider myself an average person in height and weight. I’m not tall, nor overly heavy.
My T-shirt size now is XL, and some of those are simply too small!
While it’s kinda silly that an average sized person like myself would need EXTRA EXTRA LARGE T-shirts, that, in itself, is not the problem. It’s just a name.
The REAL problem with T-shirt sizes is: they’re relative!
If you pick a Large T-shirt out of rack, then the L ONLY means that it’s (marginally) larger than an M, from the same brand, make, model and batch.
It does NOT mean that it is of similar size as a different L sized T-shirt.
I now use XL as a baseline size. But I have come across XL T-shirts that I couldn’t even get my head through, as well as ones that probably required me to have a camping permit.
Architecturally, a T-shirt is basically a two dimensional affair: length and width.
However SOME T-shirt makers seem to apply their sizes to only ONE of these dimensions: I have had XL T-shirts that could easily have fit people three times as ‘wide’ as me, yet it wouldn’t cover my belly button.
But I also have had XL T-shirts that were so tight I could barely breath, yet they reached till FAR over my knees.
Are there actually human beings involved in designing these things?
Then there is the type of fabric! While mine are ALL 100% cotton, not all 100% cotton appears to respond equally to washing.
I have had perfect shirts that, after their first laundry experience, would be something like an XXS if that size would exist.
Learning from experience you buy your next T-shirt slightly larger, but IT then emerges from the dryer big enough to cover the entire Statue of Liberty.

One step in the right direction would be to standardize these sizes for T-shirts:
S (M, L, XL, etc) simply means .. a T-shirt is THIS wide, THIS long, the sleeves are THIS wide, and THIS long. Period. Shouldn’t be too difficult: if they can do it for jeans, why not for T-shirts?
Call it a ‘Standard’ T-shirt.
Maybe I should do just that! Establish a set of fixed sizes, trademark them with the name ‘Standard T-shirt’, and sell the rights to use that indication, coupled to certification, to T-shirt makers.
I know ~I~ would only buy ‘Standard T-shirts’ from then on!