Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, February 23, 2021

I’m not sure why this just occurred to me, but:

Could Michael Jackson’s current legal problems be stemming from the hair-on-fire accident he suffered during the filming of a Pepsi commercial 21 years ago?

As far as I can recall, Michael presented a fairly normal (for a celebrity) public face prior to the head-burning. But it seemed that things started going downhill for him shortly thereafter.

Just a thought.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/23/2005 10:24:57 PM
Category: Pop Culture, Celebrity | Permalink | Feedback (2)

our sea
The company cafeteria announced a tease to a theme offering scheduled for a couple of weeks hence: “Taste of the Central Mediterranean”.

I’m nothing if not well-read, and I have to say, I’ve never heard of the term “Central Mediterranean”, in gastronomic, historic, cultural or political terms.

Referencing the map above, I’d judge this Central Mediterranean to be, simply, Italy. And so I wondered: Was the cafeteria just going to serve up Italian food, and try to pass it off as something more exotic by tagging it with a new label?

Then I considered that this designation could include the southern portion of the Mediterranean, i.e. Libya and Tunisia. I’m not terribly familiar with North African cuisine, but I’d imagine it would include hummus and couscous. That would be a weird amalgam of dishes: Spaghetti and hummus?

I asked a few people today about what came to mind when I posed the term “Central Mediterranean” to them. To my surprise, they all cited Greece. This might have been because I was the messenger… But I always considered Greece to be Eastern Mediterranean; and indeed, the old geopolitical designator “Near East” used to include Greece and the rest of the Balkans (that’s no longer the case), thus reinforcing the “easternness” of that country.

But actually, referring again to the map, I guess I could see how Greece could be placed into a “central” grouping. I think Italy isn’t considered that way due to the persistence of Cold War thinking: Italy was on the right side of the Iron Curtain, so subconscious political thought would continue to place it more alongside France and Spain than with the other side of the Mediterranean. (Of course Greece was also with the West during the Cold War, but I digress.)

I originally thought using “Central Mediterranean” as a descriptor was a dumb move. But, as I’ve obviously put far too much thought into this, it’s turned out to be an inspired action, because it got my attention like nothing else could have. Now, I’m extremely curious to find out what food they’re going to be serving up to fit into this label (maybe they’ll be especially daring and include some southern French bouillabaisse in the mix). It doesn’t mean I’ll actually eat the stuff, but my interest is certainly piqued.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/23/2005 10:05:47 PM
Category: Food, History | Permalink | Feedback (2)

What exactly is a “dark galaxy”?

“The ratio of dark matter to regular matter is at least 500-to-1, which is higher than I would expect in an ordinary galaxy,” [Cardiff University astronomer Robert] Minchin said. “However, it is very hard to know what to expect with such a unique object — it may be that high ratios like this are necessary to keep the gas from collapsing to form stars.”

Other potential dark galaxies have been found previously, but closer observations revealed stars in the mix. Intense visible-light observations reveal no stars in VIRGOHI21.

The invisible galaxy is thought to lack stars because its density is not high enough to trigger star birth, the astronomers said.

I didn’t realize it was possible to define a galaxy without the presence of stars. The definition of “galaxy” is an aggregate of stars, dust, and gas. In light of this dark matter body, maybe a redefinition is in order.

This dark stuff is a pretty big deal, on a universal level:

Dark matter makes up about 23 percent of the universe’s mass-energy budget. Normal matter, the stuff of stars, planets and people, contributes just 4 percent. The rest of the universe is driven by an even more mysterious thing called dark energy.

Puts things a bit into perspective.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/23/2005 07:45:00 PM
Category: Science | Permalink | Feedback (1)

givers, not takers
The above pin button won’t mean anything to you unless you happened to attend a certain liberal arts college located in St. Petersburg, circa the early 1990s. I particularly like the “Absolut Eckerd” bottle.

Perhaps the alumni association would like this artifact for their archives. If so, give me a hollah.

I’m kinda hoping Dean Sorochty comes across this. It was a thrilling three years, Roger.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/23/2005 07:09:02 PM
Category: College Years | Permalink | Feedback (2)

I was recently caught in the middle of this office cross-chatter:

Woman #1: Kristy?

Woman #2: What-y?

(Spasmic giggling)

I rolled my eyes and offered up, “Jesus, I’m surrounded by women!”* Which, of course, elicited another round of giggling.

Yes sir, the estrogen levels can get mighty high hereabouts. Not that I’m complaining.

*That’s not the goldmine that it sounds like, since all of them are married.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/23/2005 09:58:15 AM
Category: Women | Permalink | Feedback (2)