Thursday, October 8, 2009

How smart are you?

What's intelligence? According to the dictionary Intelligence is:

a. The capacity to acquire and apply knowledge.

b. The faculty of thought and reason.

c. Superior powers of mind

It doesn't say anything about common sense. It doesn't say anything about how out of balance you might be. It doesn't talk about whether you use your intelligence for good or evil. So, intelligence can mean many things for different people.

The smartest person in the world may or may not believe in God. The smartest person in the world is capable of making foolish choices. Most intelligent people get married. Is there intelligence in getting married? What good would intelligence be if you are incredibly lazy? Some very smart people use their intelligence to get out of doing their fair share. Others use intelligence for the betterment of mankind. Still, others use their intelligence to fulfill their incredibly greedy ambitions. I often envy very intelligent people, but most often I admire wisdom and accomplishment.

Marilyn Vos Savant was, at one time, listed as the most intelligent person in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records. Her Intelligence Quotient is 228, for what ever that's worth. Most likely Vos Savant has spent her entire life answering other peoples stupid questions. What fun would it be to be intelligent if the whole population of the world is trying to think up questions, just to see if they can be answered. Then, if she does answer them, could the asker understand the answer?

But of course, the number-one question that everybody asks will always be; “Is there a God?” Vos Savant has always given a politically correct answer. When it appears that someone is sincere in asking, she gives an acceptable answer. Rather than just say flatly that there is, or is not a God, she says that it is best to believe. If there is a God, you get to be right, and enjoy everlasting life in heaven. If there isn't, you will just turn to dirt anyway. So there is no harm in believing in God. In fact she says, that it is best to believe in the religion that offers the most. That way, when you die, you get the most bang for your buck. Some religions preach that if you die for a holy enough cause, you not only get to go to heaven, you get 27 virgins. I don't want to believe in that one. First, I don't want to have to die for any “cause”. Second, living with 27 virgin women would make a person insane in short order. Think of all of the virgin women that you know. Could you live with twenty seven of them? I'd rather spend all of eternity with just one woman that loves me. And, I don't hold virginity in all that high of regard.

To understand what Vos Savant truly believes is subject to conjecture. She shows no outward signs of believing in any God, or religion.

Albert Einstein and Steven Hawking are both very intelligent people. Neither have been tested in any form for intelligence. But, they are estimated to have I.Q.s in the 180 range. Einstein gave us the most information about how the world around us relates to itself. And, he gave us many theories, yet to be proven, about very small particles. He was best at telling us how time, mass, speed, and distance related to each other. Most of his theories have proven to be correct.

There is more than conjecture that Einstein had Asperger Syndrome. (Autism) Einstein had intense intellectual interest in limited areas, but had difficulty relating in social settings, and he had great difficulty in communicating. He often became so interested in his work that he would not eat. What value is intelligence if you cannot apply it to your own personal world? He had difficulty in his marriages, and with his acquaintances.

Kim Peek has an I.Q. Of 73. He doesn't grasp the meaning of a metaphor. If he asked you if you wanted a beer, and you said “Does a bear poop in the woods?” He would be able to figure out that certainly a bear poops in the woods, but he couldn't figure from that, that certainly you wanted a beer. He never learned to walk until he was four. He can't button his shirt or dress himself. He can't tie his shoes, or take his own bath. But, maybe you've heard of him. He is the person that the movie “The Rain Man” was about. He was the man that was Dustin Hoffman's character's brother. He can remember vast amounts of information. He can read a book in about an hour. He reads the left page, top to bottom, by scanning down the middle with his left eye. He then reads the right page with his right eye. He reads at the rate of 8-10 seconds to the page. He retains an astonishing amount of what he reads. He has almost total recall of 12,000 books! Neither Einstein nor Vos Savant can do that. So, I think that all of the above only proves that everybody is smart in their own way.

The Real Rain Man - Kim Peek - The best bloopers are a click away

There is a young man in Garberville that frequents our store. When we have a keyboard on display, he will often began to play. He plays with great depth and feeling, just as you are busy being being amazed at how beautifully he plays, he will abruptly switch to another tune which he also plays beautifully, then soon to be followed by something poorly played. The simpler tunes that he plays seem to be the ones that he plays the poorest. When you ask him why he doesn't play the tunes all the way through he will reply “I did”. Soon you realize that he is playing tunes that he has heard. He replays them exactly like he has heard them. It shivers the spine.

One of my personal failings is that I am a terrible speller. I have noticed that my spelling has improved remarkably since I started this blog. I don't think that makes me any smarter, just more practiced. My wife can spell any word that she has ever seen in print, I often envy that. I worked as a Refrigeration consultant for Harold Murrish when he was going to build a new store in Willits. We were comparing six different bids. He would lean back in his chair, rest his arms on the armrests, touch all of his finger tips together in front of him, slightly look at the cieling, and slightly close his eyes. As I compared the value of each item on the bids, he would mentally add them up in his head. When we were all through, he would pick up his pen and write down how much each bid out-valued another. I couldn't do that if I had a pen, paper, and an adding machine. Even if I tried, it would take me all day. They were not simple bids. I was so amazed at his ability to compare large columns of numbers in his head that it actually gave me chills. Yet, to talk to him on the street he appeared to be a very common man.

Often, I am made to feel very insignificant when I am in the presence of someone who is remarkably talented in some way. Feeling my grinding inability to rise-above in so many ways used to bother me greatly. One day my wife told me that she could never understand electricity, or how a refrigeration system works. I told her that it was so simple that I was embarrassed to say that it was my profession. She told me that it must not really be all that simple, because a lot of people have tried to learn it and failed. I realized that she was right, that I'm able to do something that many others can't.

So now, when I read something that some genius or another has written, and I'm amazed by their talent, I wonder to myself whether or not they could build a refrigerator. I enjoy the gloat. I'll bet Vos Savant would break a nail just trying!

I went on to develope my own R.Q. test. (Refrigerator building Quotient) You've seen it here before, but I enjoy repeating myself so much that I going to post it again.

RQ rating system:
70-You can wipe your forehead with a wet cloth.

80- You can build an air-conditioner.

90- You can build an ice cooled box.

100- You can build a refrigerator.

110- you can build a freezer.

120- You can build a walk-in cooler.

130- You can build a walk-in freezer... and the drain works.

140- You can build a complete supermarket.

150- You can build a supermarket, and even know what the engineer designed wrong.

160- You can explain why you are too busy to fix a refrigerator while you are really playing on your blog.

Now that I know how smart Vos Savant is, maybe I should extend my rating system to larger numbers. But, as much as some of us would like to be smarter, it seems that most smart people are out of ballance in the world that they live in. Would you trade who you are to be smarter?




i like #160!!!

Ernie Branscomb said...

yeah, I like that one too, it's just that I've never quite gotten there.

Kym said...

IQ 170 You can explain that to Ernie that fixing a refrigerator isn't important because he's must write blog posts for you to read.

Ben said...

I was a lot smarter 20 years ago.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Actually Ben, you probably have more knowledge and memory than you had twenty years ago. Your brain has slowed down from having to move around so much knowledge in your “attic.” But, it really doesn't make much difference what you know, some people won't accept it anyway.

Our brains automatically throw some stuff out when they get too full. (My theory anyway)

Ernie Branscomb said...

I know that you have attended "sweats". What do you think went wrong at the Arizona sweat house where two people died? There were about sixty people at the sweat, did they suffocate?

Chris Crawford said...

Don't you find it mildly amusing that a woman with such as high IQ is named Savant?

Anonymous said...

i think the INDIANS had plenty of ventilation when pulling these stunts???probably in tee-pees???
PLENTY of air gaps in that kind of building!!!!

Ernie Branscomb said...

Chris, yes. At first I thought that it was some kind of stage name, because she answers questions directed to her intelligence. But, it is her real name. The following is from Wikipedia:
"Marilyn vos Savant was born Marilyn Mach in St. Louis, Missouri to Joseph Mach and Marina vos Savant, who had immigrated to the United States from Germany and Italy respectively. Vos Savant believes that both men and women should keep their premarital surnames for life, with sons taking their fathers' surnames and daughters their mothers'.[1] The word "savant", meaning a person of learning, appears twice in her family: her maternal grandmother's maiden name was Savant, while her maternal grandfather's surname was vos Savant. Vos Savant is of German and Italian ancestry,[2] and is a descendant of physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach."

Anonymous said...

Ernie, What the h-ll is patchouli oil???

Ernie Branscomb said...

From Urban Dictionary:

An annoying stank masking scent (commonly a scented oil) that subliminally causes internal cringing for members of the bathing community...A.K.A. - "Pseudo Bath", "Trustafarian Tramp Serum", "Hippie Stink" , "Soap Substitute", "Dopehead Dry-Clean", "Coward Shower", "Dank Stank", "Wanker-stank", "Hygiene Hi-jinks", "Greatful Dread", "Granola Grout", "Magnolia Mud-flap", "Drag-rat Sludge Fudge" ...Did I miss one?

Like in:
"There goes another Trustafarian Granola. That patchouli scent almost ALWAYS precedes pretentious hygienic procrastination and self-righteous drivel !"

spyrock said...

alot of those things the indians did in the old days were pretty dangerous. how many people do you know that can sit on a cold mountain top for 3 days without food and just enough water to get by. a lot of ceo's out there doing vision quests paying big money for the priviledge. no, i've never have been to an indian sweat nor do i have any plans to attend one. i have been in saunas at hotels and resorts like most people. i'm not really interested in getting a vision that way nor do i like to be in places that i find it hard to breath in. the only thing i do is go in the ocean and only on less than 6 foot waves. and lately i haven't had much time for that. nor do i have time to keep track of how many people died doing this or that. there's lots of things i haven't done. like walk on hot coals, get tattoed, bungee jump, or parachute out of an airplane. don't have no piercings either.
there's a price to pay when you try to do something different like living. doing something new. doing something dangerous. i spent my years doing dangerous already. so yes i would warn people to be careful that they could die of doing practically anything at all. but its up to them to make their own choices and be responsible for their own actions.

spyrock said...

there's a movie coming out the first week of november called "men who stare at goats" about how the u s military tried out many so called new age ideas to see if they would help men in combat. the man who started it all was an army officer who was in chage of 3 rifle battalions in nam. the people they were fighting we called communists but they have been buddists for hundreds of years. my girlfriends husband was one of the teachers of this experiment that may still be going on. he was helping teach green berets meditation techniques. a former navy seal in nam, he ironically died in a boating accident in the san joaquin delta. i have actually been to the ex officers house in hawaii for dinner that this movie is about. so this may just seem like a big joke to most people, but the u s military decided to go outside the box because of this dude. they may have even used patchoulie oil to disquise soldiers in combat simulations.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Spy, you are a very wise man. Some of the Indians seeking "Vision" died on those quests. For the most part, they didn't seek visions on a lark. I think that they had deep seated problems that they wanted to solve, and they weren't afraid to die seeking wisdom.

spyrock said...

james arthur ray is a marketing guy who is into making money. he was charging $9500 for this spiritual warrior retreat. so he grossed over $600,000 for this event. they say that this was the 7th year that he rented that resort. so that's over 4 million cramming rich white people into a sweat box. the sherrif was saying that he didn't have a building permit for it. so probably the only result of all this because he probably made all his guests sign a release of liability is that now the indigineous sweat lodgers will have to get a building permit and pass code to do this in the future. capitalism reigns over indigenous culture again. james arthur ray will probably do the david letterman show and explain his vision of what happened and perhaps offer a free seminar to the survivors of the victims.

Robin Shelley said...

Wasn't there some kind of disciplinary camp type thing for wayward boys (or maybe just teenagers) in the 1970s called Vision Quest? I vaguely remember something about that from my old newspaper days... not as intelligent as I used to be, I guess, since that info is not at the front of my brain.

Will Rogers said we're all ignorant... just about different things.

Joe Blow said...


Genius according to the dictionary:
a person having an extraordinarily high intelligence rating on a psychological test, as an IQ above 140.

140 is kind of low for a refrigerator repairman or an old logger, don't you think?

Joe Blow said...

I overlooked this pearl. This is why we have gridlock, Ernie. You say:

“But, as much as some of us would like to be smarter, it seems that most smart people are out of ballance [sic] in the world that they live in. Would you trade who you are to be smarter?”

Did it ever occur to you that “most smart people” are the only ones that actually see the “real” world we live in? And that it is all you “real worlders” that live in a believer's fantasy world?

That's not my problem with what you say, however. It is that your kind of thinking, (or should I say ideological assumptions and beliefs?) is why the smart, intelligent kids growing up in this country are loath to be seen and known as someone that might have something really going for him or herself. They're way too interested in getting “in balance” with this “world” brilliant individuals like you screwed up. It's also why there is more emphasis, specially in the so-called education system, on learning how to get along and how to go along in this “out of balance world we live in” rather than encourage and challenge smart, intelligent children to push the envelope. That's why it's more important to look like some dope-dealing punk or some retardant gang member, to drop out of school and just hang out. When all else fails in this “balanced world” of yours it's why there's such a high rate of suicide, of one form or another, among genius quality young people. And that's the real tragedy.

Personally, I'll take the smart people any day, that is if I can ever find any anymore. At least they understand what I say and when they don't, they know how to figure it out. And if that doesn't work, they're “savvy” enough to come back and ask questions.