Home Improvement, Post-9/11; Part I: Wood Chips Tell A Sad Story

It's not always easy to understand the numbers we read about in the papers. Perhaps this short article will help.

You can read it here and/or comment below.


Great article, Winter

It goes a long way to making numbers real. Your last line is a stunner!

thanks, James

I appreciate your kind words. Sometimes, even though the bulk of my academic background is in math, I have trouble understanding the enormity of these numbers as well.

What is a trillion barrels of oil? Is it worth killing for?

That depends on who you are, doesn't it?


I'm still having trouble with my back/neck/arms/hands, but it seems to be getting better, although the improvement is very gradual. And I am spending hours every day stretching and exercising, so the gradual improvement has come at a big cost: it's eating up all the time I formerly spent blogging.

I was hoping to get back into writing in a big way a long time before now, but it's just not in the cards ... not yet, anyway. I do hope to be a bit more active here again soon.


Once again I thank NJT for creating and maintaining this space, and those who have been contributing to it. I'll rejoin you again when I can.

Bob in Prague's picture

Wood chips...

Hey Winter! Stunning! Really! Too bad you're not a full-time teacher. I'd drop what I'm doing and go enroll! I hope the improvement continues for you. True, it's mainly selfish - we miss your wit and wisdom.

McJ's picture

The landscaper meets the mathmetician

What a creative and interesting meeting that was! Thanks for the visuals.

"If each cubic inch of wood chips represented three people killed, at least six others injured, and nine more refugees, the chips on that path -- four inches thick, three feet wide, from one end zone to the other -- would show just some of the damage we have done to Iraq."

I'm echo Bob and James, those are just stunning statistics.

Glad to hear you are feeling a little better!

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

"why the Iraqis suffer"

This post was linked by BuzzFlash.net and drew the following comment from "southtpa"

"I don't have a lot of sympathy for the Iraqis. The Declaration of Independence states the duty of citizens to over throw unjust governments. I don't believe we should have over thrown Sadam. Only that the Iraqis suffer because they did not do their duty."

It's tough to know where to start on this one. I can't help thinking it might be a good thing if "southtpa" could get an education: perhaps he could experience for himself a little taste of what the Iraqis have suffered.

And I wonder: What if his house were destroyed and his family were murdered and he were captured and zip-cuffed and hooded and hung from the ceiling of a dungeon while the guards beat his legs with baseball bats? How much of that would he need before he started to feel some sympathy for the Iraqis?

I am of course of a contrary opinion. I have great sympathy for the Iraqis, and I believe that in large part they suffer because people like southpta have not done their duty. And of course this is what makes me "anti-American".

The Puddle Duck

southtpa wrote, "I don't have a lot of sympathy for the Iraqis. The Declaration of Independence states the duty of citizens to over throw unjust governments."

This is beyond ironic. Poor old southtpa doesn't see the puddle of shit he's sitting in.

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