Wednesday, August 30, 2006


The altitude record of a bird is held by a Rüppell's griffon Gyps rueppelli, a vulture with a 10-foot wingspan. On November 29, 1975 one was sucked into a jet engine 37,900 feet above the Ivory Coast in West Africa. The plane was damaged but landed safely.

That altitude is over 7 miles high, and is 1.3 times as high as the summit of Mt. Everest.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Sexual Selection

Here's an interesting little thing I recently read in The Economist. I am always fascinated by nature, and more specifically, the intense power and drive of a species to reproduce. Things we never think of, such as a rugged v. effeminate face, are instrumental in promulgating a species.

It is well established that facial features rated as masculine (square jawed, rugged, that sort of thing) are the result of high testosterone levels. There is good evolutionary reason why such features should be attractive, and it is that such faces also indicate a strong immune system.

One of the unfortunate side-effects of being male is a higher death rate, at any given age, than if you are female. Part of the cause of this is that testosterone suppresses the immune system, leaving high testosterone individuals particularly vulnerable to infection. So a man who has made it to sexual maturity despite his high testosterone levels probably has a particularly good immune system, which he can pass on to his children.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Smirnoff Raw Iced Tea

This video is hilarious. As a sidenote, it is part of Smirnoff's new ad campaign for "Raw Iced-Tea" found on YouTube. The fact that this ad is being distributed on YouTube made it into an article in the WSJ, praising the innovativeness of Smirnoff to use YouTube as a means of advertising.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


I have been in Iowa the past couple days on business, and thought that I would give a little report. I started out in Cedar Rapids, and then drove westward, across vast amounts of land, to the state's capital, Des Moines. The state is pleasant...acres upon acres of corn fill up the land in all directions. The Capital building in Des Moines has a distinctive golden dome, which stands out in the horizon of the land. The land is not quite as flat as I thought it would be - certainly no Kansas. I just missed the Iowa State fair, which has been growing in popularity in recent years. this year, over 1 million people went to the fair. I was a couple days late.

There was an enormous Quaker Oats production facility in Cedar Rapids, which probably employed a fair percentage of the city's population. The mass amounts of corn being produced are more and more being used for ethanol (of which Iowa has over 20 production plants). That's all I have on Iowa.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Need a Friend?

Here is a guy on e-bay, who will be your friend for 30 days...for $19.69 . Here is what you get:

The lucky
Winning Bidder and RENTAPAL will exchange unlimited emails for a period of 30 DAYS on any subject that you like. RENTAPAL will provide you with a compassionate ear, good conversation, feedback and advice - the kind that could only come from a close, caring friend.

Amazingly, there is already a bid.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

College Football Time!

I just read an article on that has really got me excited about the upcoming football season. Ivan Maisel talks about the rivalries, tradition, bowl games, and marching bands, that all put together, make our hearts pound in the excitement and glory that football. I have really been excited about the season for several weeks now, but with fall practice well under way, you can really feel football season in the air. Here's a link to the article that really made me realize that college football is indeed upon us.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I'm Back, Folks

For anyone that even reads The Mint Julep anymore, I would like to extend my deepest apologies for not maintaining it for the last month or so. I have been extremely busy acclimatizing myself to a new city and a new job, and have not had adequate time to talk about interesting/controversial/hilarious items on this blog. In the future, I will make a concerted effort to post more frequently on here.

With that, here is a good article discussing the prevailing sports scandals which have plagued various universities this summer. The article focuses on the segregation of athletes from the general student body, asserting that this practice gives athletes a false sense of power and authority. Add this to the common irresponsibility of the typical college kid, and trouble is sure to brew. Below is a brief excerpt from the article.

The segregation of athletes from students dramatically increases the chances of outrageous behavior such as the allegations facing Duke, Auburn and Montana State. When 18-, 19- and 20-year-old young men and women are thrust onto quasi-professional sports pedestals, some will mistake the limelight for the green light.

It’s not simply a limited group of unfortunate schools. Many Division I colleges and universities have been ensnared by sports scandals in recent years. From allegations of improper recruiting practices and hazing incidents to steroid use and academic misconduct, the list of recent Division I sports scandals is as lengthy as it is disgraceful. Why the common problems? The runaway desire for a national sports championship — and the corresponding jackpots that accompany the likes of Final Four appearances — has led too many schools to create a parallel campus universe for athletes that rarely, briefly, and then only by necessity, intersects with the world of their student peers.