Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Well, that was helpful
Headline of the day:
7-foot-5 NBA prospect has pituitary disorder
You don't say.
So for the past week or so, there's been a rather large herd of goats peacefully grazing on the hillsides of the lab. This is actually a pretty clever idea, since the hillsides are pretty steep (although when I actually took a close look at the goats one day while walking to work, it looked like the vegetation was at more risk of being slept on and crushed than actually eaten).

According to the lab e-mail newsletter, the herd is provided "by Goats R Us of Orinda". I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that such a thing exists, but I am amused.
Oh, by the way, you're all cowards
Since no one is apparently brave enough to try my Simpsons quiz, I'll post the answers. See the comment box.
Tinker, tinker
I think my archives should be fixed now; if you're still having problems, let me know. External links should also be fixed, too (I noticed that Matt's link here was broken). The ants link is properly posted in the appropriate post.
Sports rant of the day
So I was reading this game recap, and I happened to notice this quote:
"The shell-shocked right-hander was safely back in the dugout by the time center fielder Jeromy Burnitz misplayed back-to-back line drives by Tim Salmon and Anderson with one out in the fourth, when the Angels scored three runs off Jeremy Griffiths to pad their lead to 10-3.

Salmon's drive went off the glove of the charging Burnitz for a two-run triple, and Anderson's deflected off the beleaguered outfielder's glove for a double as Burnitz tried to one-hand it on the run in right-center. Burnitz, who lives about a 1 1/2-hour drive south of Edison Field in Poway, Ca., has been charged with only one error this season."

Does it strike anyone as just a little bit wrong that an outfielder can "misplay" two balls, and yet both of them get scored as base hits and he escapes with not a single error? This is why the concept of "error" is essentially a completely meaningless one.
I shouldn't even dignify this by linking to it
So, the other day, I was reading Slate, and I was bored -- but I repeat myself. Anyway, I noticed in the margins an ad for this Emode IQ test, and being bored, decided to try it.

Well, let me tell you: I've seen a lot of bad things purporting to measure one's intelligence over the years, but this one is awful even by those standards. Let's start with an example:

8. A fallacious argument is: Disturbing, Valid, False, Necessary

This question would be fine (if vacuous) on the SAT. It has absolutely no place on a test purporting to measure "intelligence". It's pure knowledge. But it gets worse. Consider, for example, this question:

2. Which one of these five is least like the other four? Mule, Kangaroo, Cow, Deer, Donkey

This is far, far worse. Not only is it also another pure-knowledge question, but like any really bad question, you can make pretty persuasive arguments for more than one item in the list: is it a kangaroo, which is a marsupial? Is it a mule, which is a sterile crossbreed? For that matter, is it a deer, which has antlers? Who the hell knows?

But the question that really set me off was this beauty:
25. A cynic is one who knows the price of everything and the ________ of nothing. Emotion, Value, Meaning, Color, Quality

An intelligence test is not a complete-the-proverb exercise. What were they thinking?!