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I'm watching (in the background) The Wizard of Oz. I just noticed that when the wizard hands out the diploma to the scarecrow to give him a brain, the scarecrow says (apparently as evidence of his newfound knowledge) that "...the sum of the squares of the sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square of the other one."

The problem being, of course, that it's not true, at least not in Euclidean geometry. Pythagoras' Theorem applies to right triangles, not isosceles triangles (triangles with two equal sides).

But then, perhaps the movie was making a subtle statement that having a diploma and spouting intelligent-sounding nonsense is all that constitutes smarts...

Posted by Rand Simberg at November 13, 2005 09:38 PM
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I think he even said, "square roots" which is worser still.

Posted by David at November 13, 2005 09:56 PM

In addition to the glaring mathematical errors, I find that Intelligence (without pompousness) is one of those traits that mainstream hollywood cannot understand, and rarely portrays accurately.

see also:
courage (without bravado)


Posted by Stephen Kohls at November 13, 2005 10:23 PM

Ya, but the aliens are really creations of Satan, so the technology probably is a bad thing.

Plame here is pretty interesting. If you recall the Plame in Asia, Bush had commented that the US was not involved in Tiawan because of China. The US chose good relations here and most things fell on the British. The operations officer was doing the same thing Plame was doing to the US, only between China and Tiawan. She was probably 'blown' during her visit to Britain and Blair had some involvement. She really was not a Plame, just operted the same. Got politically connected, attacked the respective governments and blew 20-20 'spies,' alot like how Plame rolled up Spain in Iraq, after going to 'Vanity Fair.'

The Asian Plame operated the same, but did'nt seem to be as powerful in the community as Plame. The example here would be the Isreali Plame using the retired Mossod and military to attack the Isreali PM. It's diffuclt to find a better 'copy cat' than the Isreali Plame. Both used the reitred intelligence community to 'go bad,' although apparently the Isreali Plame operation did'nt appear to roll up like the Asian Plame and Plame in Iraq/Spain.

As Bush goes to Asia, we should remember how smart he was to not get involved in Tiawan and the CIA. Both were publicly addressed by Bush asw things to avoid before Plame and the the similiar operations officer tactics of using 'spies' and rolling them up when done.

The CIA is not covered by the Pentagon's agreements that have been worked out over the last few years to make the US military immune from the UN and prosecution. Congress just ordered the DOJ and Pentagon to report to CIA, a conflict of interest investigatin Plame, CIA and the 'CIA prisons' exists to protect them from criminal conspiracy investigations from DOJ(how a bad agent is prosecuted) in the future, unless Congress creates a new investigative agency. So, even if there is an investigation it is illegal because of conflict of interest and will not be taken seriously by the intelligence community. Plame cost the US alot in foreign policy.

Plame working out of the NASA EXECUTIVE PROGRAM that moved to CIA to do all the time and teleportation stuff usually handled by astronauts?

Posted by anonymous at November 14, 2005 06:49 AM

(As the Principal from “Billy Madison”): [...] what you've just typed is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent story were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having read this. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Posted by JP Gibb at November 14, 2005 09:42 AM

I think that "Anon" should be given a guest spot on this blog. Obviously his tinfoil hat is leaking.

Posted by Fred Kiesche at November 14, 2005 10:56 AM

I think "Anon" should be given a guest spot on this blog. However, it looks like his/her tinfoil hat is leaking.

Posted by Fred Kiesche at November 14, 2005 10:58 AM

JP Gibb, you should never respond to a comment that fails to pass the Turing Test.

Posted by Icepick at November 14, 2005 01:08 PM

Icepick, that was an excellent opportunity for a ood quote though.

Posted by Karl Hallowell at November 14, 2005 05:43 PM

He actually says, "The sum of the *square roots* of two sides of an iscoles triangle is equal to the *square root* of the remaining side." I remember noticing that error when I was in about the 6th grade. I think your last paragraph is spot on about why they wrote the line that way. It fits exactly with the speech the Wizard had just given as he presented the diploma.

Posted by Michael at November 15, 2005 02:17 PM

Technically, it may be possible to interpret the scarecrow's statement as true. When he says "AN isosceles triangle" maybe he is referring to a specific case, where one side is of length zero, which is called a degenerate triangle. Let side a be of length zero, and the two equal sides are both of length b (and on top of each other.) Then sqrt(a) + sqrt(b) = sqrt(b). So, this is clearly a subtle statement about the degeneration of society.

Posted by David J. Bush at November 18, 2005 12:45 PM

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