Monday, October 27, 2008

Of faces and asses...

This is the kind of research that deserves a nobel prize. This is the kind of research that will probably end up winning the ignoble prize.

Often times we have some of the most brilliant ideas and imaginations and questions as kids. Then we grow up, and spend the rest of our lives re-inventing the wheel. For example, you might have wondered about the fact that humans look different from each other, while different members of other species all look the same. You might have further wondered whether other species can recognize each other. And then you might have gone off to play cricket. And totally forgotten about it till now.

Apparently some people did not forget. Messers Waal and Pokorny, who presumably had no access to cricket games in which to forget said ruminations, based their entire careers out of that question. How do chimps recognize each other?

Hypothesis 1: They don't give a chimp's ass.

Hypothesis 2: They actually do, quite literally, and recognize each other by their asses! And faces, of course.

Mr. Waal and Mrs. Pokorny then played the children's game of match the following with some chimpanzees, with column A showing a bunch of faces, and column B showing a bunch of asses, jumbled up, of course. And the chimps passed with flying colours!

Naturally, the question then arises, can us humans win at the game too? Of matching faces and asses? Perhaps. But it is not important. Because, you see, chimps move about on fours (legs, I mean, not the other sort). So of other chimps, they see: 1) faces (when face to face), and 2) asses (when butt to face). The research thus makes perfect sense. With chimps, it makes sense to match faces and asses.

Humans, on the other hand, evolved (if you are a conservative nut, please read to the end of the post before taking any action) to move about on twos (legs again). The unfortunate consequence was that asses were no longer in the line of sight of people. Women, generally being smarter than men, evolved further, and developed breasts as a feature that would attract mates.

With this background in mind, I propose a similar "match the columns" experiment on humans. Except, in deference to evolution, asses must be replaced with breasts. For the sake of thoroughness, I also propose part two of the same experiment with asses. The fun part is that in the original experiment, both columns were featured purely by the test taking chimp's acquaintances, for very obvious reasons. Therefore, said test on humans must also feature only acquaintances of the test takers. Further, since it is the women that evolved breasts (and since no one really wants to look at a man's breasts), they will provide the pictures, while the men will take the test.

Is it sexist? You betcha. Ironically, its the women who brought this upon themselves. Is it unscientific due sample bias cutting off half the population? Maybe. But evolution is to blame for that. Testing applicants are requested to provide names of atleast ten female acquaintances.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Remembering the Busby Babes

The Busby Babes
(Click here to listen to it sung at the Stretford End)

Oh Manchester,
Manchester United,
A bunch of bouncing Busby babes,
They deserve to be knighted.

If ever they're playing in your town,
You must get to that football ground,
Take a look and you will see,
Football taught by Matt Busby.

They are the greatest team today,
If you don't believe it go see them play,
The type of football, second to none,
'Cos they're at the top of Division One!

It's the greatest thrill that you've ever seen,
They are known as a soccer machine,
They are the best, there is no doubt,
So raise a cheer and give a shout.

Down on Maine Road's greasy pastures,
Play a load of dozy bastards,
Colin Bell, the City ace,
A ruptured duck has got more pace.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Great Rivalry?

Homer has pointed out the prophetic words of Uncle J Rod: Great sporting rivalries can’t be manufactured by administrators, they need to be fuelled by arrogance, cheating, choking, cockiness, sh1t hot performances and twats.

Great words of wisdom. The BCCI tried to manufacture a rivalry and almost, but not quite, succeeded. I have very good reasons to believe that this was actually manufactured. A great rivalry means more money, and I cannot believe that the BCCI were not quick to spot this marketing technique to create a rivalry.

The seeds were sown during the one day series in India. No one really cared about the matches. It was just a testing ground. The real action was to be in Australia.

Melbourne was just a starter, Australia humped India like the lords they are, and India barely blinked before it realized it had been had. The marketing machinery kick-started in Sydney. The Australians behaved like twats. Then they claimed that the Indians were behaving like twats. The umpires, not to be outdone, joined in. The match referee, not sure what the fuss was all about, decided that it was fun anyway, and went along. And the Indians claimed the moral high. Everyone hated the Australians at that point. Phase one accomplished.

The Indians took their cue at this point, and threatened to boycott the tour. The BCCI, ever the master of the misleading word, supported the players and claimed that there were other things more important than money. Surprisingly, the world fell hook, line and sinker for that. Now it was the turn of the Indians to become the hated party. Phase two accomplished.

Suddenly, Australia realized that the cute chick they had been eying was visiting, and like most school children, were on their best behaviour. And India took advantage and steamrolled Australia at Perth! (By Australian standards, that was a steamroll!) The euphoria of a victory at Perth drowned all other emotions. Most Australians were relieved that their team lost. Some others tried to play foot soldiers of the BCCI and duly blamed umpiring errors for the loss. But the signs were there, phase three was not going as expected.

And it all came apart in Adelaide. A typical Adelaide wicket with no third innings collapse led to a boring game. And the Australians continued to be on their best behaviour even though the girl had left long ago. And so, Indians (I generalize from a sample size of one!) now cannot be bothered to hate the Australians. And the idea of a great sporting rivalry is now left hanging by a thread. Unless they start behaving like arrogant twats again during the one dayers. For you see, it is just not a great rivalry if half the time the opposition tries to make sure you dont hate them.

However, as surely as I can identify the back of my palm, the BCCI will switch to plan B. In fact, plan B is already in action. Justice Hansen found the charge against Bhajji not proven, as Bhajji, very smartly, made his own words indecipherable. The Australian players are furious. Expect some rowdy action during the one dayers. Enough to keep the teams and fans simmering till October. Further, the BCCI, with a typical nudge-nudge message, has asked the franchise owners of the IPL to go easy on Australian player signings. Expect more fuel in April.

The prospect of a great rivalry is not dead yet. And no matter what Uncle J Rod says, in my book, this one has a directed by BCCI stamp all over it! The genius!