Galton's Belt

Though Sir Francis Galton pioneered the use of fingerprints for human identification, not all of his work was equally practical. In 1850, Galton traveled to southwest Africa, where he devoted his time to the production of an analytical paper on "the measurement of black African ladies' bottoms."

He also published studies on the exact length of rope required to hang a man (without decapitating him) and on the statistical efficacy of prayer (concluding that it did not work). His greatest achievement, however, was yet to come: Galton soon produced a map of the "European Belt of Ugly Women." It started in Germany and ended right at home -- in England.

[While studying the Ovampe tribe, Galton was "accidentally" married to the king's daughter. Galton realized it was time to split -- when his blushing bride showed up on her wedding night covered in "reed ochre and butter."]

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