Mark your calendars

Monday, 12 May, 2:30pm. This is your chance.

The Residence Hall Association on my campus is having a fundraiser to send some members to a national conference, so they’ll be selling pies … to throw at faculty. I’ll be standing there for that half-hour, so students and anyone else who wants revenge can join in.

I expect a long, long line now. I’ll be very disappointed if I don’t have a horde prepared to be mean to me. And do note that this will be especially messy: the beard, you know. You won’t be getting your money’s worth with those clean-shaven professors.

Gemini: Avoid reading anything about Cyril Burt. There’s a strong possibility you might vanish.

No, don’t google that name.

I’m warning you.

Dang, too late, you’ve just become a statistical anomaly.


  1. says

    Hmmm… Methinks a half an hour of pies in the eye is gonna hurt a bit more than that statistical anomalization you just endured.

    Good luck!

  2. Sili says

    Please, please have somebody at hand to check the pies for razor blades, anvils and cyanide.

  3. Bill Anderson says

    PZ, you’re shrewd – being in the line of fire for a worthy cause, and also now being the producer of horoscope readings. Who could throw a pie at you if you have such a strong connection to the unknown realm? That would be bold.

  4. Curt Cameron says

    I’m a Gemini, and since I don’t subcribe to astrology, I had to google Cyril Burt. From the wikipedia article, it sounds like his ideas have been pretty discredited. On the other hand, one of the prominent pages presented by Google was an article at the Discovery Institute site slamming him as a fraud, which makes me think he must have been a brilliant scientist.

    I don’t get the references about vanishing and being a statistical anomaly – can someone explain?

  5. Reginald Selkirk says

    And he’s giving over two weeks notice. I expect the entire crew of Expelled! to be there.

  6. Karen says

    Maybe the students could make an extra few bucks by selling tickets for the privilege of hosing down the bearded professors at the end of their half-hour.

  7. says

    Funniest. horoscope. evah!

    @Curt Cameron, Cyril Burt really was a fraud. Many of his twin studies were completely bogus – made up out of thin air.

  8. melatonin says

    I’m an psychology grad from Liverpool Uni, of which Burt was faculty. I remember finding a portrait of him stashed in the corner of a dusty unused room in the department. I guess he was seen as an embarrassment.

    His biographer, Hearnshaw, did OK though – he has a seminar room named after him. And Sherrington is the dogs bollocks having a whole building in his name.

  9. says

    Dammit! I’m a statistical anomaly again! That’s the fourth time this week!

    “Don’t Panic.” -Douglas Adams

  10. says

    Call me pedantic if you like, but isn’t simply reading that horoscope enough to make one vanish? After all, it is about Cyril Bur…

    (Actually, I am totally immune from the bodily dispersal effect of literary Boojums. So there.)

  11. says

    Oooh! A nice Cyril Burt reference for the Gemini horoscope. Clever!

    Of course, the notion that Burt was a fraud is based in part on the failure to turn up many of those twin subjects he reported studying. If those missing twins ever turn up, Burt could be vindicated! (Then maybe we could discover why his data was so suspiciously regular, too!)

  12. wazza says

    I guess you’ll have to expel all the creationists from campus

    if you don’t want to get bruises

  13. says

    I just got a new car (not so new, but a 2006 Monte Carlo SS) and am looking for an excuse for a road trip. I’d consider the 3 hour drive for that.

  14. Bill Dauphin says

    And do note that this will be especially messy: the beard, you know.

    It’s not the beard, it’s the moustache: I was a high school teacher in a previous life, and once participated in one of these abuse-your-teachers-for-a-good-cause pie-throwing deals. The “pies” were really just disposable pie tins filled with whipped cream… which I thought was fine when I was licking my lips, but not so cool when my ‘stache still smelled of sour milk a week later, despite a great deal of vigorous face washing!

    If you have a choice, get ’em to use shaving cream instead.

  15. wazza says

    Gerald, what was your nym before you were blocked?

    Also, this counts as morphing, which is a blocking offense

  16. wazza says

    Is there any way you can delete these two comments without blocking me? I just feel kind of stupid talking at nothing…

  17. Mike from Ottawa says

    If those students really want to raise money they need to set up a donation site so that Pharyngulites and anti-Pharyngulites can donate by CC or PayPal and have a student proxy throw their pie for them. Make it sweet for the donor by taking a pic of their pie being thrown and the aftermath and e-mail them to the donor for printing and framing.

    Of course, PZ, you might end up being under the (pie) gun all day if they took up that idea.

  18. philosophia says

    I just started commenting here and I get turned into a statistical anomaly. Honestly :P

  19. Inky says

    Watch out for brick pies.

    Seriously, though–where were all these cool professor pie playtimes when I was in college??

  20. says

    I did not become an anomaly, simply because I have enough experience with this crowd to know that someone would put an explanation in the comments. This tactic has, on various fora, saved me many the “shock photo”, “joke website”, or “statistical anomaly”.

    For those who must endure, so that I don’t have to, I salute you!

  21. Pocket Nerd says

    I smell a cash cow here. Given how often PZ has been the target of the daily Two Minutes Hate from the cdesign proponentsists behind Expelled, we should send gold-leaf invitations to the entire cast and crew. PZ, you could make thousands for the Residence Hall Association.

    We could even put up a sign:

    Throw a Pie: $5
    Scream Obscenities: $2
    Lie About PZ: $3 or two for $5
    Whine In Your Blog: $1
    Make Yourself Look Like an Ignorant, Anti-Science Bozo: FREE
    (All Nazi references require an additional $10 service charge.)

  22. Laser Potato says

    GEMINI! Your Your birthday party will be ruined once again by your explosive flatulence
    Your love life will run into trouble when your fiance hurls a javelin through your chest

  23. randy says

    Remember to trace a “Cross” in the whipped cream before you throw it. That is the only way to rid the world of PZ demons. :)

  24. BaldApe says

    “Dang, too late, you’ve just become a statistical anomaly.”

    And of course 98% of people don’t want to be a statistic.

  25. John Scanlon, FCD says

    The most sympathetic (and also most detailed) thing I ever read on Cyril Burt said that his entire pre-WWII database was destroyed in the Blitz, after which he imaginatively reconstructed it (along with coauthors and research assistants) by interpolation and extrapolation from the bits he’d already published or recorded elsewhere (I’m working from memory here, using the Burt method). How is that fraud? He was really just doing a Sokal, and inventing postmodernism at the same time.