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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Virginia Commonwealth University Professor Sheldon Jacobson. He gets the award for the following.

Here's another thing to blame on Americans' expanding waistlines: Fat people use more gasoline.

Americans are spending more money on fuel these days in part because adult men and women on average are at least 24 pounds heavier than their counterparts were in 1960, a new study by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has found.

Collectively, today's automobiles are burning more gasoline to haul all that extra weight around -- about 1 billion gallons more annually, in fact, than they would if drivers today weighed the same as drivers did in 1960.

At recent gas prices of $2.20 a gallon, that adds up to $2.2 billion more each year.

"Our nation's hunger for food and our nation's hunger for oil are not independent," said computer science professor Sheldon Jacobson, who co-wrote the study, which will appear in The Engineering Economist.
The project, which looked only at noncommercial travel, was based on the simple fact that heavier cars use more gas.

"We took today's cars and driving habits, and substituted people of average weight in 1960," said co-author Laura McLay, who was a doctoral student working with Jacobson and now is an assistant professor of statistical science at Virginia Commonwealth University.

In 1960, the average adult male weighed 166 pounds and the average female was 140. In 2002, the averages were 191 and 164, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
Apparently Ms. McLay and Professor Jacobson didn't look too hard. For check out this and this.

In 1960 a car's average curb weight was 3617 lbs
In 2006 a car's average curb weight is 3239 lbs.

What is bigger, the 24 human lbs gained or the 378 car lbs lost? Obviously the later, and therefore this study is bogus and more junk science.

Don Surber did the original research and I strongly suggest you read this blog post of his.(Thanks Don!) I did a little checking myself and found the second of the two weight links above. It took me approximately five minutes. What excuse does Professor Jacobson have for not finding it?

For passing off a badly researched science report as fact, Virginia Commonwealth University Professor Sheldon Jacobson is today's Knucklehead of the day.

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