Yaw of Averages Copyright © 2005 by Paul Niquette.  All rights reserved. "When the Okies left Oklahoma and moved to California, they raised the average intelligence levels in both states." -- Will Rogers, commenting on geographic migration  during the economic depression of the 1930s.
 or an exercise in the metric system, a certain teacher asked her fourth-grade students to calculate their respective heights in centimeters.  As they left the classroom for recess, she wrote their names on the blackboard alongside their heights in two lists as follows:
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 Okies Calies Wailyn  144 Nollyn  135 Pailwyn 137 Courtlyn  124 Soulyn  140 Gladwyn 128 Ashlyn  122 Ravyn  139 Ulewyn  142 Qualyn  138 Zalyn  147 Jenwyn  131 Xelwyn  145 Marlyn 134  Irwyn  146  Haldwyn  129  Edwyn  126  Yawyn  130  Kamlyn  132  Louryn  133  Fairlyn  127  Oldewyn  136  Dallwyn  125  Terryn  141  Vallewyn  143  Brandyn  123

"Which group is taller?" asked the teacher, when the class returned.

The students immediately set about to calculate the average heights of the two groups.  They determined that the Okies were taller than the Calies by 3.6 centimeters (136.3 vs 132.7).

The teacher smiled and took chalk in hand.  The students watched as she crossed out a name from one of the lists and added it to the other list.

"Do the calculations again," she said, clapping the chalk dust from her hands.  "You will see that the average heights of both the Okies and the Calies have increased!"

 Which name did the teacher select?

William Penn Adair Rogers, American humorist, was born in 1879 in Oklahoma and known to the world as "the cowboy philosopher."  Indeed, he worked as a cowboy in Oklahoma and performed cowboy rope-tricks in vaudeville, joining the Ziegfeld Follies in 1915 and was a great hit.  He traveled all over the world, wrote books and columns, acted in movies and talked on the radio, joking incessantly about politics and customs of the times. An early aviation enthusiast, Will Rogers was killed with Wiley Post in a plane crash in 1935. {Return}
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