The Ace and I were talking about just this sort of thing last night. I had received an e-mail solicitation from a company I’ve done business with in the past to contribute toward earthquake relief in Nepal. I would never funnel my charitable contributions through a third party, I would send my money directly to the charity of my choice. Look at that chart to see why.
1. Sometimes it’s this way, and sometimes it’s that way.
2. The data are insufficient.
3. The methodology is flawed.
As I’ve aged, I’ve come to embrace this sort of thinking about all the arguments I was so certain of 20 years ago. It is too bad that those that make policy have not learned any humility in their approach to problem solving.
I like to measure my food in calorie-days—the number of days of my full caloric requirement that the food represents. I calculated Chris’s calorie requirement as 3,300 per day based on his age, gender, a body weight of 145 pounds, and heavy physical activity, using guidelines from Grodner et al. (1996). This estimate is rough, and the true figure would depend on many unknowable variables. Still, my point is easily demonstrated: McCandless didn’t have nearly enough food. He began his journey on April 28 with a ten pound bag of rice—which constituted less than five calorie-days. By May 9, he had only killed one grouse and had written “4th day famine” in his journal. The rice was already long gone.
The squirrels that McCandless was eating (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) typically weigh five to nine ounces (Whitaker, 1996). Using seven ounces as an average, and realizing that after subtracting the skin, tail, head, bones, feet, and entrails, the edible flesh would constitute about 40 percent of that weight, or 2.8 ounces of meat per squirrel. This means that he would have needed to eat about twenty-five squirrels per day to meet his caloric requirement. If he carefully removed and ate the liver, kidneys, kidney fat, heart, lungs, and brain of each squirrel, he would have about doubled the calories that he received from each animal. Since he probably did this to some extent, I estimate that he needed roughly sixteen squirrels to equal a calorie-day.
Go read the whole post, it is fascinating. Thayer says McCandless, if he was eating just wild berries alone, would have to eat something on the order of thirteen pounds of blueberries to meet his daily caloric needs. I can’t even begin to imagine eating that much fruit in one day.
I was at the mall today. Right outside one of the entrances, there was a brand new Ducati Monster 821. As I was admiring the bike (I wish I still had my bike.), a young man that clearly worked at the Apple store came out to smoke a cigarette.
I said something about the bike being cool. The Apple kid said that it probably belonged to one of his coworkers. You know…, because…, “All of us Apple people are free thinkers.” Some little twerp that works retail for the most valuable company in the world considers himself a free thinker.
I hear discordant crap like this all the time. Maybe I look so old to these punks that they think I’m in serious mental decline. Anyway, I can’t believe how the Eye of Sauron’s gaze has fallen on Indiana and Arkansas.