Photo of the day

Wow– just discovered “The Lively Morgue.”  The NYT’s tumblr of it’s photo archive.  Pretty cool.  Really liked this one:

July 21, 1993. “Where Sharks Face Off With Gentler Souls,” read the headline on an article published that month about the New York Aquarium in Coney Island. “This is a bargain for those in search of the deeper perspective,” wrote the reporter, who traveled there with his son. Or maybe just a scare: “If you were to mix one drop of blood with a hundred million drops of salt water,” he noted, “a shark could detect that drop of blood as far as a quarter mile away.”Photo: Andrea Mohin/The New York Times

Chart of the day

Paul Ryan hates poor people and loves Ayn Rand (okay, maybe he doesn’t hate poor people, but he’s certainly convinced they are all unworthy, lazy leeches holding on remora-like to great people like him).   And Ezra has a nice chart to show just how much his budget hates poor people– any any part of government other than national defense and social security:

Boombox Nation

Fasted adopted gadget of the last 50 years?  Color TV?  Cell phone?  CD player?  Nope.  It’s the boombox.  Via Alexis Madrigal in the Atlantic:


It’s worth noting that all five of the fastest-adopted technologies were for the consumption of entertainment not communication or production of media.

Ah, the good old days.  I thought my dual cassette (!) boombox was so cool.   And, of course, without the boombox, we could’ve never had this:

White men can jump (better than white women)

Nothing racial here, this Slate article about gender and dunking in basketball just reminded me of the 1992 film starring Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes as a couple of basketball hustlers.

Anyway, it’s not news that various physiological differences give males athletic advantages.  What was particularly interesting to me is that this difference is unusually large in the area of vertical leap.  Combine that with the rather significant height differences between men and women and it helps explain why the ability to dunk is such a rarity among women:

There are multiple dunks in every men’s game. Why are there so few jams in women’s basketball?

Leaping ability. The average WNBA player, atjust under 6 feet, is about 7 inches shorter than her male counterpart. (Average data for all collegiate female players isn’t available.) Height is only part of the problem, though—plenty of 6-foot male players can dunk. The gender gap in vertical leaping ability is also substantial. The average female college basketball player has a vertical leap of approximately 19 inches, compared with more than 28 inches for the average male player. Since you have to get your fingers about 6 inches above the rim to have a chance at dunking, a female player of average leaping ability would have to be around 6-foot-6 with a standing reach of 8-foot-11”—the approximate measurements for Michael Jordan. (His Airness reportedly had a 48-inch vertical leap.) Few female players are that tall, and none of those giants is exceptional leapers…

According to a 2004 study of medical students and their spouses, the average male in his 20s can out-jump 95 percent of females in the same age group. And men seem to have a peculiar advantage in jumping compared with other athletic pursuits. According to a study of world records for track and field events as of 2004, men had a 15 to 16 percent advantage(PDF) in high jump, long jump, and triple jump. The gender gap in running events was only 10 to 13 percent.

I wonder what percentage of women in my age group (40) I can out-jump.  Whatever it is, they’re not getting very far off the ground.

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