The Lonely Lives of Scientists

Daily Best of the Web   —   Posted on March 17, 2014

The following is an excerpt from’s “Best of the Web” written by the editor, James Taranto.

The Lonely Lives of Scientists
“Argentine Scientists Discover What Makes Canaries Sing”–headline, GlobalPost .com, March 13

Question and Answer

  • “Rep. Henry Waxman: The Reason I’m Leaving Congress”–headline, Washington Post, Feb. 2
  • “Waxman to Open Restaurants in Toronto and Nashville”–headline, Eater .com, March 13

News of the Tautological 
“Election May Change Fulton Commission Makeup, Priorities”–headline, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 13

The Wisdom of Crowds 
In one of our headline gags yesterday, we noted that Ezra Klein had described the U.S. Constitution as having been “written 100 years ago.” That was a bit more than three years ago, which would put his current estimate of the Constitution’s age at 103.

It turns out that Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas earlier this week “declared the U.S. Constitution to be 400 years old Wednesday on the House floor.

She’s pretty far off too. The Constitution was actually written and signed in 1787, or 227 years ago.

But look what happens when you average the two estimates. Add 103 to 400 and you come up with 503. Divide that by 2, and you come up with 251.5–off by barely a generation. Alone, Klein and Jackson-Lee don’t know very much. Together, they could outsmart Nate Silver. [Nate Silver is an American statistician and writer who analyzes baseball and elections.]

For more “Best of the Web” click here and look for the “Best of the Web Today” link in the middle column below “Today’s Columnists.”