Evaluating Population-Based Heat Distribution
Just How Hot is Tina Fey?
"For the truth of the conclusions of physical science, observation is the supreme Court of Appeal... and the Court has observed that Rosalind Franklin generates more heat than that bastard Schrödinger."
-- Arthur EddingtonPortions of this quote are widely known. The remaining fragment of the quote contains words and names which were perhaps spoken by Sir Arthur at other times, possibly in a different order.
Good science is based on quantifying phenomena. To derive sound conclusions from our observations, we not only need accurate data; we also need sufficient data. The local weatherman who insists that a massive snowstorm disproves global warming is not making an error because of faulty observation; he is making an error because of insufficient observation.Or perhaps a weatherman who would say such a thing is simply a putz.
How prevalent are these errors? Sadly, our ability to answer even relatively simple questions can often be marred by a failure to properly gather and evaluate observations.
This paper attempts to correct failures with regard to one such simple question: Who are the hottest women in the world?
Quantifying the Data
In casual conversation, we toss around adjectives like "hot," "sexy," and "babe-a-licious," but we rarely quantify exactly what those words mean.
What elements factor into hotness? There is, admittedly, some variability in this concept. However, since this paper is based on science, my opinion is the correct one, and others' opinion are correct or incorrect based on the extent to which they agree with me.
Having clarified this point, let's examine the elements of hotness.
A woman who radiates intelligence radiates heat. Smart is sexy.
Sense of Humor
Funny women are hot. The importance of humor cannot be overstated. An informal survey of women I've been involved with reveals a common thread: all of them had a great appreciation of comedy. Admittedly, this survey suffers from small sample size, and its informality is underscored by the fact that I didn't actually conduct it, but instead kinda thought about it and guessed what participants would have said. Nonetheless, I feel certain that these women would stress the importance of having a sense of humor when sleeping with me. They might also have added their own comments about "small sample size."
Dark hair and dark eyes are trump cards. Skin color is unimportant, unless it's that orange color that comes from fake tanning, which is very bad. Height and weight are also generally unimportant, as long as contribute to a general appearance of good health.
Strength and toughness are appealing qualities. I'm referring primarily to emotional strength, although physical strength is also a valuable attribute, because sometimes you really want to have some pickles and you can't get the damn jar open. The ability to deal with adversity, however, is generally more important than pickle retrieval.
There are many other traits which affect a woman's hotness. Kindness and sensitivity, a beautiful voice, a calm demeanor, an appreciation for twenty-year-old Maximas... these are only a few of the many variables that can influence a woman's overall attractiveness. Sometimes these attributes can affect scores drastically, as can be seen in the graph. An explanation of these sometimes unexpected results is detailed below.
Understanding The Results
The graph in Fig. 1 is effectively truncated, with results at or below the baseline (the "Meh" hotness rating) being allocated less space than the results at the top. Suffice it to say that hotness in general reflects the normal distribution of the bell curve, as seen in Fig. 2. If the graph in Fig. 1 were drawn to scale, one would see large numbers of women at or below the "Meh" baseline, and extreme outliers like Snooki or Ann Coulter would force the lower boundary of the graph down into the subterranean realm inhabited by C.H.U.D. That would have been hard to draw.
The Significance of Outliers
Concentrating on the results at the high end of the scale, we see results which demonstrate the effects of exceedingly high scores in areas generally assumed to be of lesser importance.
Consider, for example, the relative scores of Gillian Anderson and Angela Bassett. Basset scores exceptionally well in several areas: dark hair, dark eyes, excellent figure. A Yale graduate, she radiates quiet intelligence, and scores very, very well on the "Strength" criterion. (Her portrayal of Mace in Strange Days remains the gold standard for female movie bad-assery.) In spite of this, Gillian Anderson has a higher hotness rating. Why?
The answer lies in a value that is generally of only trivial importance: Geek Cred. Anderson's role as Dana Scully in The X-Files gives her a score that is exponentially higher than most women. Only Kari Byron has higher Geek Cred.
However, this raises a question: why doesn't Sarah Michelle Gellar score better? As the title character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she has substantial geek cred. In Gellar's case, the problem is that other cast members overshadow her within the context of Sunnydale. Robia LaMorte and Eliza Dushku were both substantially hotter, although consigned to smaller roles; and far and away the hottest of all was the evil vampire version of Alyson Hannigan's Willow, from The Wish and Doppelgangland. Why aren't LaMorte, Dushku, and Hannigan on the chart? Hannigan was in those dumb American Pie movies, which gives her "sense of humor" rating a negative value, badly damaging her score. LaMorte, meanwhile, appears to be bonkers, and not in a fun way. Dushku, however, clearly belongs on the list, but I was kinda running out of space. Ideally, she should be sandwiched between Karen Gillan and Rekha Sharma, which, come to think of it, would be really, really cool.
The manner in which very high scores in one area can compensate for mediocre scores in others is also demonstrated by Vicky Sunohara's exceptional hotness rating. Her physical appearance is slightly above average, but as one of the history's greatest female hockey players, she has a strength/toughness quotient that buries the needle. Also, "Vicky Sunohara" is a really cool-sounding name, and she's got a really yummy smile. And even though she's tough as nails, she can still cry.
The important thing to remember when examining the chart is Fig. 1 is: Science does not lie. Jennifer Aniston? There's nothing wrong with Jennifer Aniston, but there's nothing particularly right with her, either. She's a solid "meh." She's the Pulp Fiction of hotties... by which I mean Pulp Fiction is the "meh" of supposedly great movies.
There are times when hotness ratings are entirely counterintuitive. Often, this reflects unforeseen influences. Let's consider an example, using a question considered in depth by every male over the age of 35: Ginger, or Mary Ann?
Considering the intrinsic superiority of dark hair and dark eyes, Mary Ann would seem to be a clear-cut winner. But remember: the Ginger vs. Mary Ann question is predicated on our status as castaways on a desert isle. This means: you are NOT taking her home to mother. Go for the slutty one. Ginger wins, end of story.
Crazy Hot Hotties
With the basic concepts thus clarified, let's discuss the hottest of the hot.
We have now arrived at the central question that prompted this research: Just how hot is Tina Fey? A cursory examination of the evidence reveals the following:
- Dark Hair: Yes
- Dark Eyes: Yes
- Intelligence: High
- Sense of Humor: High
The only area in which Fey does not score exceptionally high is physical strength. Head over to Home Depot with Vicky Sunohara, and she'll haul the big-ass bag of Sakrete for you. Go with Tina Fey, and, sure, she might try to help, but come on, look at her. For all practical purposes, you might as well be putting that thing in the trunk by yourself. (The lesson, perhaps, is that if you've spending the weekend with Tina Fey, don't spend it at Home Depot.)
Let's consider some of Fey's accomplishments, all of which enhance her general hotness:
- Served as head writer for Saturday Night Live
- Created 30Rock
- Wrote BossypantsHere is my in-depth review of Bossypants: It's really, really funny. Admittedly, it's not quite as funny as Bill Bryson or David Sedaris, but it ought to put to rest that Christopher Hitchens blather about how women aren't funny. (Here at Mekong.Net we already knew that Hitchens is an unreliable source.) And, aside from being amusing, Fey touches on some of the same important hotness-related questions discussed here. She notes, for example, the inexplicable manner in which men are attracted to yellow hair: "You could put a blonde wig on a hot-water heater and some dude would try to fuck it."
- Ridiculed Sarah Palin
Plus, she's sooooo nice to look at.
Before there was Tina Fey -- OK, long before there was Tina Fey -- there was Suzanne Pleshette. She co-starred with Bob Newhart in one of the best comedies of the 1970's, and we were left asking one question: "How did that mousey psychiatrist wind up with such a hot wife?" Pleshette was funny, holding her own against solid comic performers like Newhart and Bill Daily, but the first thing you noticed about Pleshette was sheer, unadulterated hotness. When it came to pure physical beauty, few women could compete with Pleshette. Unlike Fey, Pleshette didn't write her own material, so on the "sense of humor" index, the advantage goes to Fey. Nonetheless, Pleshette has the distinction of appearing in the scene that provoked the biggest laugh in the history of television. Absolute truth: In all my years of watching television... and believe me, I've spent a bunch of time on my ass in front of the TV... nothing has ever made me laugh harder than the final gag on the final episode of Newhart.
Moreover, it's worth pointing out that Pleshette portrayed a nymphomaniac in the 1965 film A Rage To Live. This raises the question: where's that "life imitates art" crap when it really, really matters??
Still, while the beauty advantage goes to Pleshette, and the humor advantage goes to Fey, Fey wins on other criteria. Ask Suzanne Pleshette to help you with that bag of concrete at Home Depot, and she's gonna give you a look that will castrate you.
The only other woman who seriously challenges Fey's status as Hottest Woman Ever is Kari Byron. Byron comes perilously close to accomplishing the paradoxical feat of simultaneously being the Coolest Woman Ever, and the Hottest Woman Ever. This is not only a woman who shoots things and blows stuff up... this is a woman who was shooting things and blowing stuff up while she was pregnant. The fact that she is a mother (like Fey) does not in any way detract from her hotness. In short, she's a "MILF," an abbreviation which I'm pretty sure stands for "Mom I'd Like To Follow," a term that was itself shortened from the rather unwieldy "Mom I'd Like To Follow On Twitter If I Were On Twitter Which I'm Not Because It's Stupid And Pointless." (MILTFOTIIWOTWINBISAP, pronounced "Milt Fotywot Winby Sap.").
Aside from being very fine to look at, and kinda funny, Byron is clearly extremely smart. And she's got the world's coolest job.
Occupying a slightly lower rung on the scale are the women in the "Way Hot" range. Gillian Anderson, Angela Bassett, and Vicky Sunohara have already been discussed. Of the remaining hotties, Karen Gillan scores exceptionally well in several areas. Her role as Amy Pond in Doctor Who gives her substantial geek cred, driving an already high score -- based primarily on physical appearance and a cheerful, deliciously seductive manner -- to the very edge of the "Crazy Hot" range.
Rekha Sharma's score is based on nearly identical ratings in the very same categories. Physically, Sharma is drop-dead gorgeous, and she carries formidable geek cred as a result of her role in Battlestar Galactica. In the end, however, Gillan scores slightly higher. The deciding factor? Their roles. Sharma's Tory Foster was conceited and egocentric, and slept with slimy weasel Gaius Baltar. Amy Pond, meanwhile, flies around through time and facilitated the reconstruction of the entire universe from the dreams in her head. Also, she can make fish custard.As of this writing (May 2011), if you Google "Rekha Sharma" one of the autocomplete options that appears below the entirely predictable "rekha sharma nude" is the much less predictable "rekha sharma feet." I do not know what this means. Perhaps "Rekha Sharma Feet" was a song similar to "Bette Davis Eyes."
Two authors also attain "Way Hot" status. Sarah Vowell's dark hair is particularly striking when contrasted with her pale skin, and her general demeanor is appealing in a slightly neurotic, "I-only-do-it-with-the-lights-off-and-NPR-on" sort of way. Her books, including Assassination Vacation, The Partly Cloudy Patriot, and Unfamiliar Fishes are excellent.I would like to apologize to Ms. Vowell for an error in an earlier draft of this article, in which her book The Wordy Shipmates was mistakenly listed as The Wordy Shitpile. The Wordy Shitpile is a forthcoming biography of Newt Gingrich.
Plus, she was in The Incredibles. Nonetheless, she can't quite match science writer Mary Roach. Both women are equally funny, and equally brilliant, but only Mary Roach had sex in an MRI machine in the name of Science. At least, as far as I know, Sarah Vowell hasn't had sex in an MRI machine. If she has, then she might actually be on top of Mary Roach.
Rounding out the dataset are the women in the "Pretty Hot" category. Even at the low end of the scale, these women are pretty hot; the late Catherine Zeta-Scarn serves as an example. At the upper end of the range, they're pretty damn hot. Caroline Dhavernas, for example, was so perfect in Wonderfalls that, in a sane world, "surly gift shop clerk" would easily eclipse "flight attendant" as the world's most inherently sexy occupation. Grace Park, meanwhile, does for robots what Dhavernas did for women who talk to wax lions. Guys who were dreaming of their very own Buffybot suddenly started pining for a Model 8 Cylon. An Internet rumor Research on lame Internet memes indicates that this rumor originated on a website article about how hot Tina Fey is.
claims that the popularity of Battlestar Galactica resulted in a substantial spike in Roomba sales, fueled largely by single males who noted that, although the Roomba didn't look as good as Park, it could also be used for vacuuming floors.
It is widely understood that false beliefs can withstand massive amounts of contrary evidence. (See, for example, the research of Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler.) More to the point, however, investigations of hotness have historically been flawed by a focus on factors which are of only trivial importance in the larger picture. Sadly, there will always be misguided individuals who think that Pamela Anderson or Gisele Bundchen are among the world's hottest women, just as there will always be people who think that there can't possibly be global warming if there is snow in Chicago.
The authors of this report are confident that additional research will support the conclusions outlined in this article.
As with any important scientific research, the authors of this article will gratefully accept for review manuscripts on this topic. In addition to technical manuscripts, the author of this article will also gratefully accept lingerie from any of the women on this list. Vicky Sunohara is also welcome to submit a Team Canada jersey, and Kari Byron can send one of those cool welded "Mythbusters" signs.
Document Revision: 20110520aThis document is subject to ongoing revision. The full document history traces back to Revision 19770725a, which was handwritten on notebook paper and hidden under my mattress.