Girls Who Want to Be Rich and Independent: Study Math,
Science, Go to College with Pre-Veterinary Program
■ The human brain is desperate to find order and, where it cannot find order, it finds order anyway. The eye tends to pick out linear patterns even in random noise.
■ Why did the Munchkins want to know whether Dorothy was a good witch or a bad witch? Why were they uncertain in the first place? Although we never saw more than the feet of the Wicked Witch of the East, she was the sister of the Wicked Witch of the West, and presumably bore a family resemblance. Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, was beautiful. Did the Munchkins not associate beauty with goodness and ugliness with evil? Or in their eyes, was Dorothy confusingly intermediate?
■ A subset of an infinite set can have as many members as the set itself, according to modern set theory. In this context, “modern” means capable of dealing with infinite sets.
■ A new sex has been discovered. The Financial Services Online site says that “The Federal Interagency Forum on Aging Related Statistics reports that of those age 65+ in long-term care facilities, 31% are women and 21% are men.”
■ Alan Lakein, time management guru and author of “How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life,” is credited with devising what has come to be called Lakein’s question: “What is the best use of my time right now?” Lakein’s question has been shown to be an effective delay-preventive mentifrice when used in a conscientiously applied program of mental hygiene and regular professional care.
■ The annual report of Berkshire Hathaway for 2011 set forth BH’s acquisition criteria, after which Warren Buffet said, “[BH Vice President Charles Munger] and I frequently get approached about acquisitions that don’t come close to meeting our tests. We’ve found that if you advertise an interest in buying collies, a lot of people will call hoping to sell you their cocker spaniels. A line from a country song expresses our feeling about new ventures, turnarounds, or auction-like sales: ‘When the phone don’t ring, you’ll know it’s me.’”
■ Australia has its own version of our expression “fit to be tied”: “ropeable.”
■ Even wise advice does nothing for the advisee, changes nothing inside, and can actually confuse an advisee who feels the chasm between the simplicity of the advice and the complex muddle of his own situation.
■ Sugar in a cake has several functions. One is to absorb moisture from the butter or shortening and release it over time. This keeps the cake moist. Using less sugar than the recipe calls for produces a dry cake. Anyone who still believes in giving advice should advise against it.
■ Wesleyan has the beautiful and powerful Reed Labyrinth on campus. Legend has it that if you walk slowly and awarely to its center and gently empty your mind, you can distinctly hear the thoughts of anyone simultaneously standing at the center of an identical labyrinth in England at the University of Wiltshire in Lesser-Grunting-by-the-Sea.
■ Real heroism has no admirers, no applause, no audience. No one lines up to see it. No one is interested.
■ Possum don’t play possum. They just are possum.