Things 12: Gender Parity, Violet Outbreak, Analemma

(Originally sent May 2008)

This week’s film – one line review
I felt Persepolis made excellent use of the animated medium, making very effective use of distorting reality to a stronger effect, and although the beginning and the end were inconsistently paced it still had a very compelling overall message.

Next week’s films
I’m going to see Iron Man at the weekend, because it sounds very much as if the mythic power of a superhero story is being leveraged correctly for once.

IMDb rating: 8.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating:


Video from The Onion making a hilariously over-the-top philosophical point about fan expectations:

Wildly Popular ‘Iron Man’ Trailer To Be Adapted Into Full-Length Film

(also notice how advertising visibility is rising to meet the bandwidth demands of online video)

A Puzzle
Last week I asked why mammals are 50% male and 50% female. I’ll give you this one as although it took me many years to fathom, I think it’s an important example for better understanding evolution.

If any one sex occurs less than 50% of the time, because of pair-bonding in mammals those born that sex will have a reproductive advantage, while the others will have a reproductive disadvantage. As a result, a given organism will have a better chance of reproducing its genes by producing offspring of the minority sex. This creates an evolutionary pressure to increase the percentage of the smaller group, making 50% the only stable point.

Just to complete this thread, this week’s puzzle is to explain the deviations from gender parity (here represented by 100) in the following history and forecast from the UN’s fascinating website

UN World data:
Year Sex ratio
1950 99.8
1955 99.9
1960 100.2
1965 100.5
1970 100.8
1975 101.2
1980 101.3
1985 101.5
1990 101.7
1995 101.7
2000 101.7
2005 101.6
2010 101.5
2015 101.4
2020 101.2
2025 101.1
2030 100.9
2035 100.6
2040 100.4
2045 100.2
2050 100

A Quote
Nick, another of my friends with a reputation for mangling metaphors:

“Ah, he’s on thin ground there.”

A Link
Alan Moore’s “Outbreak of Violets”:

with missing card backs at:

A video
Someone found the perfect soundtrack for those crazy Tube Men (takes about 30 seconds to kick off properly):

A picture
An analemma:

More detail here: