Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid | AspenTimes.com

Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid

Todd HartleyThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

Here at “I’m With Stupid,” we realize that the bulk of what we write about isn’t exactly big news. Chances are that knowing about a plant in Queens that looks like the Hindu god Ganesh or finding out that motorcycle taxi drivers in Nigeria wear pumpkins on their heads instead of helmets probably isn’t going to change many readers’ lives or even their travel plans. Mostly we just like to make fun of stupid people, and we think that’s OK.Every now and then, though, we have a crisis of conscience, and it dawns on us that what we’re doing is ultimately pretty shallow and possibly even a little mean-spirited. At times like this we come awfully close to feeling bad about what we do, but then the feeling passes, and we go blithely back to mocking nitwits.This week, however, we’ve decided to put our cynical ways behind us and bring you, our faithful readers, news you can use. Will the following information change your life for the better? Almost definitely. No need to thank us now, but if and when these little tidbits save you from the miserable existence you’re currently leading, we will accept your gratitude in the form of money or first-born children.The first piece of useful information is the startling revelation that coin tosses, long thought to be the epitome of randomness, aren’t actually random at all. It turns out that the chance of a coin landing in the same position as it started is actually about 51 percent. Starting with heads up predicts heads, and starting with tails up predicts tails.This shocking discovery was made by a team of mathematicians at Stanford University who determined that the physics of spinning and flipping skewed what was always believed to be a 50-50 proposition. Of course, one of the researchers was a former professional magician who could make a toss come out the same way 100 percent of the time (I kid you not), so if his results were included, the skewing itself might have been skewed. Nevertheless, the Stanford team’s findings are quite astonishing.So what does this mean for you, the common man who probably isn’t a former magician? Well, the next time you play a football game, if you can get a look at how the referee is holding the coin before you call heads or tails, you can virtually guarantee a victory for your team. It’s widely believed that this is how renowned cheater Bill Belichick led the New England Patriots to an undefeated regular season in 2007.Even more important than the coin-toss news is the recent discovery that blue M&Ms may be capable of reducing the damage caused by spine injuries, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center.The science behind the study was rather complicated and involved big words like adenosine triphosphate and a molecule called P2X7, but the gist of the results was that rats injected with the food dye Brilliant Blue G (BBG) after suffering a spinal cord injury were able to walk again.Why anyone would think to inject an injured rat with the dye used to make M&Ms blue is beyond me, but I think we can all be thankful that someone did. I think, too, that in this case we can overlook the fact that some scientist must have been deliberately breaking the spines of laboratory rats. Normally one might worry that such a person was headed for a career as a serial killer, but since some of the rats were healed I say we just let it slide.The one drawback to the treatment was that the rats who received the injections of BBG temporarily turned blue, which I imagine they considered a small price to pay for being able to walk again. Also of note was the fact that the injection had to be delivered immediately after the injury to be effective, which I’m guessing some unfortunate rats had to learn the hard way.So how can you put this knowledge to use? Well, obviously, you need to start carrying thousands of blue M&Ms around with you at all times in case you’re struck in the back by a car or some masochistic scientist. In the event you are injured, immediately eat M&Ms until you turn blue, and then simply get up and walk away. Oh, and remember to send us your first-born child as a way of saying thanks.

Todd Hartley assures you that most “Blue Man Group” members aren’t recovering from spine injuries. That’s just paint. E-mail comments to toddmhartley@gmail.com