Hehe. For the uninitiated, I suppose (which included me until about 20 minutes ago):
There are three types of entries. This one is of the “HARD” (Honest And Reliable Data) variety. Yeah. Hard. Long and hard. Anyway…
The data provided in the annex of the PDF has a link to each photo used to establish Obama’s MFH (Morgan Freeman Hair) percentage for that year/month. And at first glance each year/month hair sample does appear to be sourced from the mentioned link in the annex. That is to say, when I picked a few of the samples from Figure 1 at random and checked the supposed source image from the annex, the source image did in fact contain the sample. So perhaps the data really is honest and reliable…
The methodology, however, leaves something to be desired.
For each photo, we used the magnetic lasso tool in Adobe Photoshop to select Obama’s hair. We then obtained the Median Gray Value of the selection, using the Record Measurements tool. This Gray Value is a measure of brightness, and ranges from 0 (dark, or ‘black hair’) to 255 (bright, or ‘white hair’).
Utilizing the lasso tool in Photoshop has left a significant amount of non-hair pixels in each of the samples taken. Consequently, utilizing Photoshop’s Record Measurements tool to establish a Gray Value will be significantly skewed from sample to sample, as apparent from Figure 2. The paper does indeed mention this in its results:
The source of these fluctuations comes from some combination of: the differential lighting in the photos, error associated from measuring Gray Values in Photoshop, and whether or not Obama recently had a haircut.
I suggest that the authors obtain a DeLorean DMC-12, travel backwards in time to collect physical samples from Mr. Obama for each year/month, and reconvene in the present day with their updated findings. Obtaining access to Mr. Obama’s person may prove difficult. But I am prepared to present the team with a delicious and moist cake upon obtaining the samples and updating their paper to reflect the results of the more accurate data.
It’s always amusing to see how much passing legitimacy a properly typeset document and plausibly utilized technical jargon and techniques can give an otherwise satirical endeavor. And, really, this particular entry isn’t entirely facetious. We now have a semi-sorta-kinda-scientific baseline for the notion that a president’s hair tends to gray over time!
But really, how High Brow can you be when your acronym is a penis joke?