Yep, you are always in the slower lane

Office Space had it right. Cars in the next lane really do go faster.

This is one example of selection bias. Selection bias is when the probability of something being chosen in a random sample is related to whatever you’re measuring. Let’s say you’re measuring the average wealth in the USA. But instead of using the census, you just ask a bunch of people at a yacht club. Your sample will obviously be biased, because someone at the yacht club is more likely to be rich. Or say you conduct a survey to see how phone numbers an average person has. You do this by selecting seven random digits and calling them. This is also biased. Those with more phone numbers are more likely to be picked for the survey.

More germane to the article I linked to, when you run or bike outdoors, you really are hitting the hard parts more than the easy. Let’s say you bike a circular course in and around the city that eventually takes you home. Obviously your net elevation change was zero. You went just as far down as up (after all, you ended up at the same point). So how can I say more of it is uphill? Because when the course is downhill, you go fast. When it’s uphill, you go slow. So at any given time, you’re more likely to be going uphill than downhill. You spend more of your time struggling up than coasting down.

There’s probably a life lesson there somewhere. Take your pick!

1) Everyone must persevere against what life offers, the struggle is what makes the race worth running.
2) Everyone’s life stinks just as bad as yours.
3) No one said that life isn’t fair.
4) Exercise is for chumps.

Update: Or another example, a CNN poll showing that 79% of those watching Bush’s speech approved of it. Gee, you think there might be a connection there of some kind?

A couple of golf jokes

I’m not a big golf fan, but two of my favorite jokes take place on the golf course. Without further ado…

A pastor, a doctor and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers.

The engineer fumed, “What’s with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!”
The doctor chimed in, “I don’t know, but I’ve never seen such ineptitude! Let’s have a word with the greens keeper. Hi George! Say, what’s with that group ahead of us? They’re rather slow, aren’t they?”

The greens keeper replied, “Oh, yes, that’s a group of blind firefighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime.”

The group was silent for a moment.

The pastor said, “That’s so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight.”
The doctor said, “Good idea. And I’m going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there’s anything he can do for them.”

The engineer said, “Why can’t these guys play at night?”

Three men tee off on a tricky hole, the green is on an island surrounded by water.

The first man steps up and swings, and the ball dives right for the water. He sighs, and spreads his arms. The water miraculously parts, he steps out and chips the ball up on to the green.

“Nice shot Mo!” the second man says. Then he takes his turn. His ball goes into a shallow part of the water. He sighs, steps out on to the water, casually walks to where the ball lies, chips under the water and gets the ball up on the green.

“Nice shot J.C.!” the first man replies.

The last man steps up for his turn. His ball lands right in the lake. He sighs. Nothing happens.

Then, a fish jumps out of the water with the golf ball in it’s mouth. As the fish jumps around, a hawk flies out of nowhere and seizes the fish in it’s talons. It heads skyward, but as it does a golden eagle flies out to attack it. As the hawk turns to fight the eagle, it drops the fish. The fish drops on to the green. The impact knocks the golf ball out of it’s mouth, and the ball rolls into the cup, for a freak hole-in-one.

Jesus says, “Nice shot Dad… now why don’t you quit screwing around and play golf, huh?”