Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, February 27, 2021

Is it common to go down in shoe size as you plow through your 30s?

For years, I’ve taken a US size 9 or 9.5 for my footwear. But a few weeks ago, while getting fitted for a new pair of dress shoes, I got measured with a size 8.

I figured that was an aberration attributable to that particular shoemaker. But in the last couple of days, I bought another two pairs of shoes — another for dress, and a pair of long-overdue snow/outdoor boots — and sure enough, I wound up with size 8 both times.

What gives? My feet don’t feel any different. I’d think my upright stride would be affected if there was some sort of pedal shrinkage goin’ on. But I’m not falling down or careening around lately (any more than normal, natch).

A mystery I’ll have to live with. It’s a pain, because size 8 doesn’t appear to be a “normal” size, so it’s harder to find most of the time. I could do without that complication.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/27/2007 09:01:00 PM
Category: General
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a moving feeling
The NHL trade deadline came and went today at 3PM EST. There was a scramble of deals toward the end, and most of the suspected buyers and sellers performed as predicted. Everyone is loaded up for either the postseason or next year, depending on the standings. Personally, I think there’s too much hockey left to be played before we can predict impact.

What struck me as strange: A bunch of players wound up getting dealt for their third or fourth time during this season alone. I can’t recall another year where so many guys changed addresses so much, often after very short stints with an acquiring club. Off the top of my head, the prominent much-moved during 2006-07 included: Jason Ward, Michael Leighton, Pascal Dupuis, Jason Krog, Dominic Moore, and Alexei Zhitnik.

What’s the deal? The cap certainly made dealing a more exacting science, with so many teams having so little salary room to play with. But I don’t see why that should account for so much pass-around for certain players.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/27/2007 08:52:08 PM
Category: Hockey
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Everyone knows the pattern of working your life away in the Northeast and Midwest, then moving to Florida to wait out the clock.

As people start living longer, that pattern seems to be reversing upon itself. Demographic data indicates that more senior folks are leaving the South than are moving in, and that they’re heading back to their former Northern stomping grounds.

Here’s the key driver behind this trend:

William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, said, “The South, and Florida especially, has been a magnet for yuppie elderly: younger seniors with spouse present and in good health.

“These are a catch for communities that receive them, because they have ample disposable incomes and make few demands on public services,” he continued. “The older senior population, especially after 80, are more likely to be widowed, less well off and more in need of social and economic support.”

The way I’m interpreting this is that Florida, with its low-low taxes and ample living space, is tailor-made for people in their 60s and 70s; they’re done with the rat-race but still have some quality living left to do. But when those same “yuppie elderly” get even older, start to lose their spouses and develop health problems, the infrastructure in retirementville just doesn’t address their closer-to-the-end needs. Plus family tends to be far away, making the situation even more strenuous. The upshot: Instead of being God’s waiting room, Florida is shaping up as a stopover on the later stages of life’s journey.

This isn’t necessarily bad news for the Sunshine State or the rest of the South. Seniors are a small percentage of the migration into the region, despite their prominence. More mainstream populations (i.e., young people and families) are filling up the region, transforming the landscape. It means that priorities in many areas are going to be reassessed, to be more in line with a balanced demographic mix.

Overall, this is another example of a round-trip dynamic that seems to be going around. A year ago, a drive by suburbanites to plunge back into New York City living suggested a desire by some to come back home, in a sense. Is this a symptom of what happens in an age of longer average lifespans — outliving surroundings that were supposed to be where roots were finally laid for good?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that I myself was a population statistic (ba-dum-dum) in this South-to-North (specifically Florida-to-New York) migration. I’m not quite ready to retire yet, though. But having all the old people around will impart a sense of familiarity.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/27/2007 08:27:09 PM
Category: Florida Livin', New Yorkin', Society
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Current-day discovery of unexpectedly advanced scientific/technological techniques in ancient societies tend to center upon the Greco-Roman world, to the point where you just assume that all the genius activity back when took place in Latin and Greek.

But there was plenty of genius juice to go around. One place where it flowed was in the medieval Middle East. A research study has found that Islamic architecture from that time, with its intricate geometric tile patterns, display an advanced application of a form of geometry and mathematics that modern scientists figured out only thirty years ago.

Some of the most complex patterns, called “girih” in Persian, consist of sets of contiguous polygons fitted together with little distortion and no gaps. Running through each polygon (a decagon, pentagon, diamond, bowtie or hexagon) is a decorative line. Mr. Lu found that the interlocking tiles were arranged in predictable ways to create a pattern that never repeats — that is, quasi crystals.

“Again and again, girih tiles provide logical explanations for complicated designs,” Mr. Lu said in a news release from Harvard.

He and Dr. Steinhardt recognized that the artisans in the 13th century had begun creating mosaic patterns in this way. The geometric star-and-polygon girihs, as quasi crystals, can be rotated a certain number of degrees, say one-fifth of a circle, to positions from which other tiles are fitted. As such, this makes possible a pattern that is infinitely big and yet the pattern never repeats itself, unlike the tiles on the typical floor.

This was, the scientists wrote, “an important breakthrough in Islamic mathematics and design.”

It’s no secret that Muslim culture kept the light on, so to speak, during a time of general decline in Europe. I can’t place the source, but I read at some point that the early rise and expansion of Islam a millenium ago could be characterized — given the geographic/demographic context — as a final flowering of Hellenism. That’s probably too tidy an attempt to rationalize those accomplishment in relation to the religion’s modern insularness. This evidence of technical proficiency points to ample institutional knowledge under a onetime-ascendant Islamic aegis.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/27/2007 07:58:23 PM
Category: Creative, History, Science
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Since moving to New York, I found I’ve been running late more often than not. That’s new for me, as I used to make it a point to arrive at appointments, events, engagements, etc. with plenty of time to spare.

I’m not completely comfortable with this time mismanagement yet. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I figured it was mostly due to circumstances beyond my control: Endless clusters of tourists jamming up the sidewalks, commuters clogging the roads, and other extra-metro annoyances.

But with news that riders holding the train doors open are a leading cause of subway delays, along with the surprising incidence of intra-city drivers being most responsible for Manhattan’s constant gridlock, I can’t toss the blame for my tardiness at xenophobic ghosts. (And I’m sure not going to pin it on myself!)

No, the problems of big-city transit primarily stem from the natives’ behavior. As the comic possum said, we have met the enemy, and he is us.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/27/2007 07:03:38 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Society
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