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:
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}