Friday, September 28, 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fitting In

In this time of political turmoil, I need to speak to you about a matter of pressing importance. I'm referring, of course, to the subject of underwear. Specifically, men's underwear. Despite years of research, I'm not sufficiently qualified to address the topic of women's undergarments, except to note that nobody calls them undergarments anymore.

For historical reasons, men's underwear is divided into two camps, both modelled after professional sports. Specifically, there are jockey shorts and boxer shorts. Apparently the movers and shakers of the underwear world think we should be suitably attired for either horseback riding or punching the crap out of each other. I never see packages of hang gliding shorts or bungee-jumping shorts, though I think these would be a welcome addition to the underwear repertoire.

I have observed lately a kind of hybrid underwear known as boxer briefs. By hybrid, I don't mean that they're more fuel efficient, though that may also be true. Hybrid here means they're like a combination of jockeys and boxers. I'm not sure what athletic performance is the goal of boxer briefs. Perhaps very short boxing matches ... say, for example, five rounds.

Our research suggests the rising (or low rising) popularity of boxer briefs may be due to the appearance of the models on the packages. Regular boxer shorts packages feature models who, despite their carefully cultivated physiques, can not help but look like your grandfather. Models for jockey shorts, on the other hand, look like the men who didn't make the cut for Buns of Steel magazine. Boxer briefs provide the perfect wardrobe ... neither too modest nor too showy.

Unfortunately, the briefs only look like that for the duration of the photo session, if that. The problem arises once you try to put on pants. The short, snug-fitting legs of the boxer briefs get rolled up from the action of donning trousers, and consequently cease to be snug-fitting. In fact, when you take off the pants, the underwear look like mini bell-bottoms. (For those of you born after 1973, check Wikipedia.)

This stretching, and the attendant containment issues, make these underwear unsuitable for any sport except the one in which I happen to excel ... synchronized TV-athlon.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Nerd Word

Monday, September 24, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Net Worth

So as far as we can tell, Mitt Romney is worth roughly 200 of you, and Bill Gates is worth about 200 Mitt Romneys, or 40,000 yous. Have a nice life.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Living Proof

By the way, all the equations in the first panel are from the paper The Mathematics of M-Theory, by Robbert Dijkgraaf, available at

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

Friday, September 7, 2012