Mammals Monday (on a Tuesday)

As we gear up for the holiday season, this  week’s mammal from the popular Mammals of North America App is the Caribou — also known as a reindeer! Caribou are found in Northern sub-polar regions including Canada and parts of Alaska, though they are endangered in certain areas.

Fun facts: The earliest fossil evidence of caribou comes from Germany and has been dated to about 440,000 years ago! Caribou are also the only species of deer where both sexes have antlers.

Check out some of the previous “Mammals Monday” posts:

the chipmunk

the blue whale

Mammals Monday!

This week’s featured mammal from the Mammals of North America app is the Eastern Chipmunk. As the weather gets colder, you might see chipmunks collecting food to store for the winter in their extensive underground burrows — these burrows can be up to 3.5 metres long, and often have multiple entrances.

Fun fact: a chipmunk is a kind of squirrel!

Previous Mammals Monday posts:

The blue whale




Mammals Monday!

Mammals Monday is back! Tune in every week for a screenshot from our exciting new app, Mammals of North America. The app, available for Android and iPhone, is an essential field guide to the land and marine mammals of the USA and Canada.

This week’s featured mammal is the balaenoptera musculus, also known as the Blue Whale. Blue whales are a protected species, and can be found in the Gulf of Maine, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and off the coast of Southern California.

Fun fact: Blue whales can live to be over 80 years old!

Video Series–Daniel Hamermesh explains why “Beauty Pays”

Scarcity of Beauty

The marriage market, employment, and how we judge each other: UT Economist and PUP author Daniel Hamermesh on the scarcity of beauty.

This is the last of five videos in which Hamermesh explains some of the research he did for Beauty Pays. If you missed the others, find them at the links below!

Beauty and Happiness

Why Beauty is Good for Business

Why Economists care about Beauty

The Economic Benefits of Beauty

Video Series–Daniel Hamermesh explains why “Beauty Pays”

The Economic Benefits of Beauty

Could looks amount to a 12% difference in wages between two people?

Consider what UT Economist and PUP author Daniel Hamermesh has to say about beauty’s impact on economic benefits:

This is the fourth of five videos in which Hamermesh explains some of the research he did for Beauty Pays. Tomorrow: “The scarcity of beauty.”

Video Series–Daniel Hamermesh explains why “Beauty Pays”

Why Economists care about Beauty

Did you ever think beauty might have a direct effect on national policy?

Consider what UT Economist and PUP author Daniel Hamermesh has to say about why economists should care about beauty:

This is the third of five videos in which Hamermesh explains some of the research he did for Beauty Pays. Monday: “The economic benefits of beauty.”

PGS Mathematics: Guesstimation, A Pumpkin Purchasing Guide

Here’s a great post courtesy of our Math Editor, Vickie Kearn with special thanks to authors Larry Weinstein and John Adam.


It is almost Halloween and if you haven’t bought a pumpkin yet, here is a handy guide to help you pick out the perfect one—that would be the largest one you can actually afford (and pick up without a forklift.)

This pumpkin is of course priceless…

Guesstimation method

Since you probably won’t have too many tools with you in the pumpkin patch, I recommend this approach: A gallon of milk is about the same shape as your average pumpkin and it weighs 8 pounds.  So, all you have to do is decide about how many gallons of milk your pumpkin is equal to and multiply by 8. You need to remember that a pumpkin is filled with a lot of low-density seeds and pulp and the skin is only an inch or so thick. I suggest that you divide your total by 2 to account for these factors. If your pumpkin is smaller than a gallon of milk you will need to be a little clever. (I doubt this is necessary since you should be able to pick up and pay for something this small!) Now that you know the weight of your pumpkin, you will know whether or not you can carry it to the car. Now, multiply the number of pounds by the price per pound and you will know whether or not you can afford it.

More precise method

If the pumpkin you are considering is really big, you might prefer this method.  You will need a tape measure or a piece of string (and some Guesstimation skills) to measure your pumpkin. Measure the circumference of the pumpkin at its widest part. Next, measure from the ground over the top of the pumpkin to the ground again. Do this for both the long and short sides of the pumpkin. Now, add your three numbers together.  Find your number in the chart below and you will have a very good estimate of how much your pumpkin weighs. Now you can go back to the final steps under the Guesstimation method.

Thanks to Larry Weinstein and John Adam for the Guesstimation approach. If you like to Guesstimate, you will want to read Guesstimation: Solving the World’s Problems on the Back of a Cocktail Napkin.   You might also enjoy Question 32 in A Mathematical Nature Walk by John Adam.  It is the super scientific method for pumpkin weighing.

The table (above) used for the “more scientific method” was developed by David Martin from Little Britain, Ontario using multiple regression analysis. This method is further explained at

Happy picking from your friends at PUP!

Special thanks to jacket designer Jason Alejandro for allowing us to use the lovely image of his daughter in this post.

Adam and Weinstein Test Your Estimation Abilities in the NYT

The smarty-pants staff of PUP is impressive, but are they good guesstimators?  Naturally, numbers and complex word problems intimidate those who consider themselves verbally inclined (I count myself among the intimidated, for the record) so I decided to test my skills with a little online featured linked to this fabulous March 31 Science Times piece which features GUESSTIMATION authors John Adam and Lawrence Weinstein.

Follow the link below and click on the interactive mulitmedia quiz to see how your abilities measure up. 

Check it out!

I’ll be the first to admit, most of it was more blind conjecture than deductive, informed reasoning.  But the point, I think, is to make a “monster of a ponder” approachable from all sides.  You don’t have to be Rain Man to make a reasonably educated guess and that, friends, is the fun of GUESSTIMATION.

Guesstimation: Solving the World’s Problems on the Back of a Cocktail Napkin
Lawrence Weinstein & John A. Adam

<br />