Most powerful species on the planet?

“Which of you can add an inch to his stature?” We humans are not quite as clever as we sometimes think. A little arithmetic will show what I mean.


Suppose you are learning a language. Let's give you a superb brain, so you can meet a new word and within 5 minutes have it COMPLETELY memorized, forever, for the rest of your life.



They estimate that a poorly-educated person knows about 20,000 words – around the vocabulary of the average 12-year-old. (Professors and playwrights may know 300,000.) Some newspapers are deliberately written in 12-year-old English, so everyone can read them.



So - how long until you'll have a 12-year-old's grasp of French or Swedish? If you really burn the midnight oil, say putting 2 full hours a day into it 7 days a week, it will take


(20,000 x 5 mins) /(60 x 2 x 7) weeks


- that's more than TWO YEARS, even with the brain of a genius and the determination of Napoleon!  Maybe 10 years for the rest of us?



Or suppose you decide to lose weight, say 50 lbs to look younger? You don't have time for the gym, so you disregard medical advice and STARVE yourself, drinking only water, day and night (and go on working).



If you're fairly active, your body uses up about 2,000 calories a day. Body fat contains about 9 calories per gram. So losing 50 lbs will take you


(50 x 16 x 28 x 9)/2000 days


= more than 3 months of total starvation. Us mere mortals might cut our food intake by half, to 1,000 cals a day (a really drastic diet), but then we'll lose less than 25 lbs a year! If you start at 300 lbs, and want to get back to 200 ... a drastic diet for FOUR WHOLE YEARS? Who can do that?



I am not Napoleon, nor a genius. In fact, I have only just realized why Jesus died at the annual Jewish festival of Passover. Hey - it's a perfect analogy. They celebrate shed blood (painted on the front doorpost) to save them from God's wrath, and rescue them from slavery. ... And so do we!


Did you ever wonder why people didn't recognize Jesus after Easter? Mary thinks He's a gardener, and the guys travelling to Emmaus even sat down to eat with Him and didn't realize. Why?



It's simple. Suppose you bury your father. A couple of days later you see a man walking down the street who looks quite like him. Will you run after him to see?



Of course not. You KNOW your father is dead. You saw him in the coffin, lowered it into the ground, shovelled some earth on with your own hand. Seeing a look-alike may make you sad, remembering what a great man your father was, but you'll know for certain it's not really him.  The disciples KNEW Jesus was dead.  Thank God they were wrong!


Best movie quote: (from Diehard)

Prisoner heroine sees baddie furiously smash furniture as he passes, and erupts in joy - “He's alive, he's alive! Only my ex-husband can make someone that angry!”



Best acting: an utterly convincing drunkard ...



Best word derivation: “propaganda” (or “meme-engineering” if you like buzzwords). The Latin verb “pangere” means to fix. So a “page” is something fixed into a book. To “propagate” is to fix forwards – to spread, or inherit. Well, in 1622 the pope set up in Rome the “Collegio di Propaganda Fide”, to propagate the faith through oversee foreign missions. And a new word was born!

Isn't life wonderful?  Tony