Last week I made a little boo-boo. I was talking about the Apollo Moon Landing missions and I got the number of men who had walked on the lunar surface wrong. I said there were six, but it was actually twelve. There were six successful Apollo missions involving a moon landing. There probably would have seven had Apollo 13 not had its problem.
The Bomba Squad And I’m Not Psychic
The Minnesota Twins are far ahead of the rest of the league when it comes to hitting home runs. As of this writing, the Twins have 201 homers for the season. They now hold two records related to this surge in hitting prowess. One: The most games in a season with at least five home runs (nine games, previous record was eight games). Two: The quickest to 200 dingers in a season (103 games, previous record 122 games). At this point, the Twins have 25 more home runs than the next highest team in the league.
I also talked about how my dire prediction ahead of the recent nine game home stand did not hold. But for the first five games I was looking like I might actually be psychic.
Multilevel Marketing, My Mom, & Me
I took some time to talk about multilevel marketing (MLM) schemes. (Don’t call these triangular-shaped business models pyramid schemes!) I warned against getting involved in an MLM. You will waste your time, alienate friends and family, and you will lose money. Don’ get involved no matter how enticing that “opportunity” may sound.
I talked about my mother’s brief involvement in Shaklee’s MLM. Fortunately, she did not get deeply involved and didn’t lose much money.
I also talked about being approached to partake in a couple such schemes. The first time I didn’t know what MLMs were, but I knew I wasn’t a salesperson, so I didn’t bite. The other times I was approached I had learned about MLMs and the folks who attempted to get me into their trianglar-shaped (I didn’t say pyramid) scheme received a polite, “Not interested.”
Wanna learn more about MLMs? Check out Brian Dunning’s InFact video, this Squaring The Strange podcast episode, this Last Week Tonight with John Oliver exposé, and the excellent podcast series The Dream.
A Dimland Radio Pedantic Moment: Penn Jillette’s Memory
|Don’t look so stern, Penn. It’s just a memory glitch.
On his podcast, Penn’s Sunday School, Penn Jillette recounted the tale of his and Teller’s second appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. In his talk, he also briefly mentioned their first appearance.
His stories were detailed, funny, compelling, dramatic, and wrong. Well, at least, certain parts of the stories were wrong. I go through his errors in memory (you’ll have to listen for those details), which I’m certain were honest mistakes, that he remembers those event just as he told them. However, video exists of those appearances and some of his recollections are not supported. See Cool Things 1 and 2 below to watch the videos.
The second appearance involved cockroaches. Penn’s memory says there were thousands of them. The video shows more like dozens. Penn said there were cockroaches all over Dave’s suit jacket. The video shows there were none. Penn said Dave was very upset and yelled at them when in commercial break. In the video Dave doesn’t seem angry at all and we’ve seen Dave angry on Late Night.
Manhunt: Unabomber And That Famous Sketch
My wife convinced me to watch the Discovery Channel miniseries Manhunt: Unabomber, which is streamable on Netflix. It’s an eight part series that dramatizes how the FBI were finally able to identify and capture Ted Kaczynski, who had been sending bombs through the mail for nearly two decades. The series introduces Jim Fitzgerald a very talented profiler who was able to create an accurate profile using the many Unabomber letters that been received by the FBI.
It’s a good series and Paul Bettany as Kaczynski is especially good.
|The famous sketch released in 1994.
There was a moment in the series that I found very interesting, when it comes to how memory is not videotape. In the scene in which Fitzgerald is trying to convince David Kaczynski that his suspicions of his brother being the terrorist were correct, he tells the brother that the famous Unabomber sketch of 1994 is not the suspect. Rather it’s more likely a sketch of the police sketch artist who had done the first drawing seven years earlier.
|The original sketch done right after witness saw suspect.
That’s right. There were two sketches produced from the descriptions of one witness. The first one was done by Robert Exter immediately after the suspect had been seen leaving a bomb in a parking lot. The second sketch was done by Jeanne Boylan seven years after the bombing. And it seems very likely the second time the witness described the suspect she was describing Robert Exter.
When watching the series, I was curious if the claim in the series was accurate or was it dramatic license? I looked it up. Turns out the claim is on the level. Click here to see a report from 1994 that explores the memory glitch.
I even consulted memory expert Elzabeth Loftus on this and she confirmed that “All other things equal, the earlier sketch should be the more accurate.”
Ah, memory. Such a tricky, tricky thing.
Three Cool Things
1) Penn & Teller’s hand-stabbingly great first appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. Note there is no fake blood on Dave’s face or anywhere else on him. Still, it’s cool.
2) Penn & Teller’s creepy, crawly second appearance on on Late Night. Note the total lack of cockroaches on Dave’s suit. This video’s first half has Penn telling the story of the first two appearances and his memories don’t quite match up to the video. But, still, pretty cool.
3) And to round out great early Penn & Teller TV appearances, here’s the link to their legendary upside down gag on Saturday Night Live. Super cool!
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