Hm. I hate to point it out, but your 'easy to read' Ruby one-liner was and remains utterly incomprehensible to me, full of thoroughly opaque punctuation, probably just as incomprehensible as the shell equivalent was to you: the presence of the occasional comprehensible word does not help much. The last time I saw that much nested foo().bar().baz().quux() was when building menus using Borland's Turbo Vision library. It is very much not intrinsically easier to follow than pipelines: at least with pipelines you know that what is being transported is text with a print syntax that you can easily examine, rather than some intricate datatype which you have to look up the various functions to figure out.
Your entire argument boils down to 'things that are familiar to me are intrinsically easier to read for everyone than things that are not familiar to me', which is not at all valid.
I'd agree that for larger programs, the shell is hardly ideal: datatyping is worthwhile -- but for quick one-liners to answer quick questions, it's exactly as valid as a bunch of other vaguely-scripty languages. Ruby is not magically better just because you know it better than the shell (and your claim that more people know Ruby than know the shell is unsupported, and to me sounds dubious in the extreme).