Falling averages

There comes that moment in your relationship with any new computer when you lose a game of Freecell. No matter how well you do after that, your average will never again be 100%. Damn damn damn damn damn.

Same sort of thing today. Last week, the first postage-paid customer satisfaction postcard to be returned from our latest mailing gave the document in question 5/5. It gets no better than that. But a postcard received today for the same document merely gave it 4/5. One of the 1800 people to whom it was mailed thinks it’s only quite good. The swine.

Silly conversation of the day: a suggestion from a colleague that skyscrapers be built on hydraulic jacks, so that when a rival building beats it in height, yours can simply be jacked up a few further feet. In the same way, if a hijacked aircraft is detected in its vicinity, you let the jacks down and the aircraft misses. Same principle as Marineville, where the entire building was lowered into a bunker whenever battlestations sounded — like all the best Gerry Anderson, a tad over-engineered. It would be a lot easier to just have the headquarters in a bunker — unless (my hypothesis), due to planning restrictions, Marineville had to keep the same skyline as whatever earlier building it replaced, so they had to do it that way.

Sudden flashback by way of subject of terrorism to one of the more annoying times I’ve been badly edited. I used to write a monthly column intended to contrive humour from the content of various websites, usually where no humour was intended. One such website displayed results of a scientific survey showing that with the decline of air travel immediately following 9/11, even for a few days, the amount of vapour in the atmosphere from aircraft exhaust dropped noticeably. Important stuff, but because it was meant to be humorous I finished with what I thought a suitably flippant punchline. See if you can spot the subtle difference between what I wrote:

“Osama Bin Laden isn’t usually credited as an eco-warrior, but maybe the beard should have been a clue.”

– and their edited version:

“You have to wonder who can make scientific capital out of a tragedy like that.”

My but aren’t we righteous?