The “Any Smart Person Can Do Math” Lie

John writes:

This is very interesting. I’ve always kind of assumed the answer to be yes. Did you or anyone in your family attempt to go far in math?

Not really. I bombed hard in Algebra 2, and I never could pass Geometry.

My brother was pre-med, but he could not get through Physics I believe.

My mother and father both had a very hard time with Algebra and Geometry.

My sister hated Algebra and Geometry, and she had a very hard time getting through Statistics.

Everyone in my family except my late father has a genius IQ, and my father was not stupid (IQ 129).

Throughout my childhood, I disliked reading and writing but could keep good grades because of proper grammar and mechanics. My math scores were always 99th percentile or 100 in school/classes despite hating homework and studying. My SAT was 800m/590v, which is the largest gap I’ve ever heard of. I played lots of video games, Magic the Gathering, did logic puzzles, etc, but I rarely read anything besides things like strategy guides.

I wonder why someone would have a large gap in abilities. Were they nudged one way at an early age, or did the brain develop much differently before that path?

How could someone have a high IQ but poor math ability? I don’t know what a “standard” IQ test looks like, but those Hoeflin ones, besides the vocabulary problems, seem to favor mathematical types.

I agree that any smart person, not to mention a genius, ought to be able to do basic math. But since when is Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry and Calculus basic math?

To me it is all very simple. The way I see it is an IQ test simply measures how smart you are. In a phrase, how fast your brain works. I see it as a test of pure processing speed. And indeed, IQ correlates well with reaction time and how efficiently the brain uses glucose. It also correlates fairly well with brain size on MRI. High IQ people are just smarter.

They have faster brains, bigger brains and brains that work more efficiently. When you meet a high IQ person, it is usually quite obvious very quickly that you are dealing with someone who is very smart. Sometimes their eyes seem to move around very fast, and often their heads seem to move in small ways too.

They often blink a lot and move their heads a bit – that is because they are thinking very fast. They nod their heads a lot because they understand your sentence right away or before you even finished it, they finish your sentences for you, on and on. Also their emotional reactions are very fast. They react emotionally or give you nonverbal feedback to whatever you said or did almost as fast as you said or did it.

They are ahead of you.

You sometimes get the impression that the person in front of you is some sort of a mainframe or Cray computer buzzing away.

Slow people are just slow. They don’t get it. They don’t get jokes. They don’t get all sorts of things. You always have to be explaining what you meant to them. They don’t get it right away and they certainly are not ahead of you.

Now it makes perfect sense to me that very fast, smart and efficient brains might have strengths and weaknesses. One very fast and efficient brain may be very heavily loaded towards verbal and relatively weak in mathematics. Another may be superb at mathematics but relatively poor in verbal skills. Some very fast brains may be excellent at art or music and maybe not even so good at verbal or math, although excellent musicians and artists are often good at other things, especially verbal skills.

There is also a sort of a mechanical brain which is excellent in visuospatial skills. I have seen the statistics on IQ by profession and you would be stunned how many auto mechanics have IQ’s of over 130.

Why would a very fast and efficient brain be excellent at everything? I can barely draw a stick figure. I can’t play two notes on a guitar. I flunked out of high school Geometry. And I have a genius IQ.


Filed under Education, Intelligence, Psychology

Mother Water

Regarding poorly-named Pacific Ocean:

There is, one knows not what sweet mystery about this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath; like those fabled undulations of the Ephesian sod over the buried Evangelist St. John.

And meet it is, that over these sea-pastures, wide-rolling watery prairies and Potters’ Fields of all four continents, the waves should rise and fall, and ebb and flow unceasingly; for here, millions of mixed shades and shadows, drowned dreams, somnambulisms, reveries; all that we call lives and souls, lie dreaming, dreaming, still; tossing like slumberers in their beds; the ever-rolling waves but made so by their restlessness.

To any meditative Magian rover, this serene Pacific, once beheld, must ever after be the sea of his adoption. It rolls the midmost waters of the world, the Indian Ocean and Atlantic being but its arms.

The same waves wash the moles of the new-built Californian towns, but yesterday planted by the recentest race of men, and lave the faded but still gorgeous skirts of Asiatic lands, older than Abraham; while all between float milky-ways of coral isles, and low-lying, endless, unknown Archipelagos, and impenetrable Japans. Thus this mysterious divine Pacific zones the world’s whole bulk about; makes all coasts one bay to it; seems the tide-beating heart of earth.Herman Melville, Moby Dick, 1851.

The sea. Once again the sea. Always again the sea. We always return to the sea. Our mother. Mother water.



Filed under Geography, Literature, Novel

Ferguson Verdict

The officer has been found innocent by the Grand Jury. There will be no indictment. The cop is innocent. I could have told you that.

There is apparently some rioting going on in Ferguson. People are in the streets and police have responded with tear gas. Police said they came under heavy fire from automatic weapons. Stores and police cars have been set on fire. People have gathered in many other cities but it is peaceful.

If you have any comments or updates on this, comment right here on this post.


Filed under Blacks, Law enforcement, Midwest, Race Relations, Race/Ethnicity, Regional, Sociology, USA

Noble Savages

In honor of Thanksgiving, I would like to make this post in honor of the Native Americans whose lands were stolen from them by European invaders:

“The surrender terms, however, gave nothing to the Native Americans who had fought alongside the French, some of whom had traveled from as far away as present day Wisconsin. Native American warriors would have expected scalps, captives, and booty in the wake of victory.

And so on the afternoon of the surrender, the French-allied Native Americans began to seize what they believed they were owed: entering the fort’s hospital, they killed the sick and wounded, taking scalps and possessions, and they dug up the recently buried and took their scalps, too, along with whatever clothing and blankets had been buried with the corpses. The next day they launched an attack on the departing evacuees, taking captives, more scalps, and more goods.”

- Fred Anderson. 2000. Crucible of War: The Seven Years War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766, pp. 187-189. New York.

“But some of those who had lain ill in Fort William Henry’s hospital and some of those whose corpses had been scalped had had smallpox. Consequently, the warriors carried more than scalps, captives, and booty with them; they also carried the deadly smallpox virus. Some warriors became ill en route, and halted to die at Fort Niagara; others reached their villages only to spread it to kin and neighbors.”

- R. Peter MacLeod. 1992. “Microbes and Muskets: Smallpox and the Participation of the Amerindian Allies of New France in the Seven Years War,” Ethnohistory 39: 42-64.

And don’t forget my own very popular and widely linked piece on the smallpox-infected blankets bullshit.

The real reason is alluded to above, among other things:

The real spread of smallpox was caused by the French invention of paying for scalps of English and Dutch colonists. Seems the Indians in the employ of the French were so eager to feast on French trade goods that they would dig up the recent graves of smallpox victims to scalp them. A scalp was treated like cash (which it was) and as cash crossed many hands before being retired by the French paymaster.

Smallpox-infected blankets, my ass.


Filed under Amerindians, France, History, Illness, Modern, Race/Ethnicity, The Americas, US, War

Are Smart People Automatically Good At Math?

Of course they are not.

bamboomedley writes:

I know this is quite old now but I’ve been very curious. Robert, do the people in your family tend to have unusually high verbal abilities but perhaps mediocre visual-spatial and perhaps even mathematical abilities?


All of us are geniuses except my late father.

Father: IQ 129**, high verbal, poor math, Bachelors Degree History, Masters Degree Counseling, teaching credential.

Mother: IQ 150, high verbal, poor math. Bachelors Degree English, two years law school (both @ Berkeley).

Me: IQ 147, high verbal, poor math, Bachelors Degree Journalism, Masters Degree Linguistics, teaching credential.

Brother: IQ 140+*, high verbal, poor math, Bachelors Degree Biology.

Brother: IQ 140+*, high verbal, poor math, Bachelors Degree Political Science.

Sister: IQ 140+*, high verbal, poor math, Bachelors Degree Sociology.

However, one of my brothers is an excellent artist. Not sure if that is visuospatial as most of the artists I have known sucked at math.

*Not sure what the individual scores of my siblings were, but my mother has told me that we all scored very high, and oddly enough, all of our scores were right around the same. No one was much smarter or dumber than anybody else.

**My father was a very smart man, but in some ways, he was a bit concretistic in his thinking. He just couldn’t seem to expand his mind all that much.


Filed under Education, Intelligence, Psychology

US, Canada, Europe Vote in Favor of Nazism at the UN

The UN had an absolutely amazing vote the other day. The Assembly voted on a measure condemning the heroization and veneration of Nazis by member countries. Most countries of course supported this reasonable measure, but the US, Canada and the Ukraine voted against it. In other words, the US, Canada and Ukraine voted in favor of Nazism at the UN. That the Nazi government in the Ukraine would against it is not surprising; after all, they are Nazis – what do you expect? However, the US and Canada vote is shocking. Think of the implications of this – the US and Canada just voted in favor of Nazism at the United Nations General Assembly. Why? Are the US and Canada becoming Nazi countries or do they just support Nazis. It is a known fact that the US and Canada are supplying military supplies to Nazi governments involved in wars against their own people. The US has also sent advisors, apparently to assist the Nazis with their genocidal project.

People wonder why I’m an America-hater. I would answer that if you’re a decent person no matter where you live on Earth, how could you not be an America-hater. I mean, come on – this is a government that is arming and advising Nazis as they commit genocide against their own people.

I must say I have never been more disgusted to be an American. Looking around the Net, I see a lot of Canadians saying the same thing. The Harper government just voted in favor of Nazism at the General Assembly.

Is the EU really the Nazi EU? The entire EU voted to abstain on the resolution. In other words, they didn’t want to take a position on whether Nazis were good or bad. Amazing! One wonders if the EU is becoming a Nazi organization.

Other nations that voted pro-Nazi by abstaining are Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, Japan, Libya, Mali, South Sudan, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Belize, South Korea, Samoa, and Yemen.

The Libyan government is nothing but a NATO colony right now. Australia and New Zealand are part of the Anglosphere, and the Anglosphere is leading the way with pro-Nazi sentiment these days. The votes of Turkey, Japan and South Korea are understandable, as all have long histories of being fascist countries. Samoa is a colony of the US. The votes of Chad, Mali, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Yemen are hard to figure.

This is truly a dark day in history. The West creeps onward towards fascism, slowly but surely.

The US, Canada and the Ukraine Refuse to Condemn the Heroization of Nazism

It is often argued whether the Ukrainian junta is Nazi or not. I would strongly argue that even though Poroshenko did not come out, make a Nazi salute and declare “I am a Nazi” all the signs point to the conclusion that the regime in Kiev has its ideological roots in the Nazi past. The latest example of that “filiation” can be found in this absolutely amazing event last week: only three countries – the US, Canada and the Ukraine voted against a UN Resolution condemning the heroization of Nazism. The EU was not much better: it abstained. This development is so crazy, so insane, that it is important to have access to the original document which was voted on.

Here is the full text of the Resolution:

You can also get this text from here:

Here is the official voting record:

To me, this is disgusting beyond belief. Here we have two countries who try to positions themselves as the most pro-Israeli on the planet (the US and Canada) and the EU which has even passed laws making not only Nazi propaganda illegal but jailing those who would dare investigate the mass murder of Jews by the Nazis in the Holocaust.

And yet these putatively anti-Nazi and “democratic” countries are now refusing to condemn the heroization of Nazism not so much because they particularly like Nazis, but because they want to “protect” the Ukrainian junta.

As for the Ukrainians themselves, they have suffered more from Nazis then any other country or ethnic group, and yet they also refused to condemn the heroization of Nazism. This makes a mockery not only of all their so-called principles and values, it also is an act of obscene disrespect for the millions of Ukrainian murdered by the Nazis. There is one good thing about all this: it shows clearly and unequivocally how much the western elites truly hate Russia and that this hate clearly trumps any other considerations or values.

Russian disgust

For the past few days, or weeks, really, I have seen more and more signs of total Russian disgust with the West. If, in the past, Russian diplomats and politicians were mostly trying to sound polite, now they are openly expressing their disgust. For example, they are now openly saying the Europe does not have a foreign policy or an opinion, that Europe is just a subservient colony of the US.

As for the US, the Russians are now openly saying that this entire Ukrainian crisis was just a pretext and that the US are really out there to submit Russia. Putin said that openly last week, adding that nobody had every succeeded in subduing Russia and neither would the USA. This goes further than words, Russia has already announced that she was going to boycott the 2016 Summit on Nuclear Security. This became known when the Russian informed the other members of this Summit that Russia would not participate in its preparatory work.

Sergei Lavrov also made a remarkable speech today, but since the pathetic website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not even bother providing a translation on the same day, we will have to wait before I can post it here.


Filed under Canada, Eurasia, Europe, Fascism, Military Doctrine, National Socialism, Nazism, North America, Nuclear Weapons, Political Science, Regional, Russia, Ukraine, USA, War

A Lost Shakespeare Play You Never Heard of


The title is Double Falshood; or, The Distrest Lovers, or Double Falsehood, or The Distressed Lovers in modern English.

The play was written by Lewis Theobald, supposedly based on three copies of what he said was a lost Shakespearean play. He never produced the three copies that he had access to, and their whereabouts are presently unknown. The play appears to be based on The History of Cardenio (often referred to as Cardenio), by Shakespeare and John Fletcher. Cardenio is a famous lost Shakespeare play based on a chapter in Cervantes’ Don Quixote.

There has been much controversy about whether or not Double Falsehood is really based on Cardenio, but the consensus now is that Double Falsehood is based on a play written by Fletcher and an unknown author. A recent essay claimed that that unknown author is Shakespeare.

The Arden Shakespeare Series of books recently added this play to the Shakespeare canon, causing quite a bit of controversy.


Filed under Literature, Theater

The Stupidity of Conservatism

The essence of conservatism: It was always better yesterday than today.

Against the malign domination of the present by the past Mr. Sinclair directs his principal assault. In the arts he sees the dead hand holding the classics on their thrones and thrusting back new masterpieces as they appear; in religion he sees it clothing the visions of ancient poets in steel creeds and rituals and denying that such visions can ever come to later spirits; in human society he sees it welding the manacles of caste and hardening this or that temporary pattern of life to a perpetual order.

- Carl Van Doren, Contemporary American Novelists (1900-1920), 1922, on Upton Sinclair, American revolutionary author and socialist.

How foolish. Clocks go forwards, not backwards, you silly people.

That quote is from a very famous book by the way. Van Doren was a great critic who lived around the turn of the century. That book is famous because it resurrected Moby Dick and Herman Melville. When Moby Dick first came out, it was met with bafflement. Nobody quite new what to make of this doorstop. His other books met much of the same uncomprehending annoyance.

So there they sat, the greatest American books of their time, for over a half century. A full 70 years had passed since Van Doren rose Moby Dick from the grave in the stacks and second hand stores. The book set off a Melville Revival which has not abated yet. There is a Melville Society and even an entire journal dedicated to Melville.

If you have never read anything by Melville, now is the time to start. If you can handle him, that is. He is not an easy writer, and if anything’s beyond highbrow, it’s that one great whale of a tale for which is remembered.


Filed under Conservatism, Literature, Novel, Political Science, Regional, USA

The Doctor Diagnoses the Bard

Dr. Samuel Johnson weighs in his verdict on Shakespeare’s flaws. Now to be fair I should note that in this same essay, Johnson also praises him to the skies, and I believe he says he is the greatest of all writers. But any criticism of Shakespeare is interesting. There is one point we need to note. How many people have written essays or books extolling the greatness of Shakespeare in one way or another? Can we even count them. The cynic might say that if you write a piece praising Shakespeare, nobody is going to read it as it’s old hat. But criticizing Shakespeare? That’s not something that’s often done! So many some of these critics were just trying to get eye mileage out of novelty.

Anyway, this is a gorgeous piece of writing from England before the American Revolution by one of the finest writers of our time.

I changed some of the archaic English, but I left in most of the British spelling.

Shakespeare with his excellencies has likewise faults, and faults sufficient to obscure and overwhelm any other merit. I shall show them in the proportion in which they appear to me, without envious malignity or superstitious veneration. No question can be more innocently discussed than a dead poet’s pretensions to renown; and little regard is due to that bigotry which sets candour higher than truth.

His first defect is that to which may be imputed most of the evil in books or in men. He sacrifices virtue to convenience, and is so much more careful to please than to instruct, that he seems to write without any moral purpose.

From his writings indeed a system of social duty may be selected, for he that thinks reasonably must think morally; but his precepts and axioms drop casually from him; he makes no just distribution of good or evil, nor is always careful to shew in the virtuous a disapprobation of the wicked; he carries his persons indifferently through right and wrong, and at the close dismisses them without further care, and leaves their examples to operate by chance. This fault the barbarity of his age cannot extenuate; for it is always a writer’s duty to make the world better, and justice is a virtue independent on time or place.

The plots are often so loosely formed, that a very slight
consideration may improve them, and so carelessly pursued, that he seems not always fully to comprehend his own design. He omits opportunities of instructing or delighting which the train of his story seems to force upon him, and apparently rejects those exhibitions which would be more affecting, for the sake of those which are more easy.

It may be observed, that in many of his plays the latter part is evidently neglected. When he found himself near the end of his work, and, in view of his reward, he shortened the labour to snatch the profit. He therefore remits his efforts where he should most vigorously exert them, and his catastrophe is improbably produced or imperfectly represented.

He had no regard to distinction of time or place, but gives to one age or nation, without scruple, the customs, institutions, and opinions of another, at the expense not only of likelihood, but of possibility. These faults  Pope has endeavoured, with more zeal than judgment, to transfer to his imagined interpolators. We need not wonder to find Hector quoting Aristotle, when we see the loves of  Theseus and  Hippolyta combined with the Gothic mythology of fairies.

Shakespeare, indeed, was not the only violator of chronology, for in the same age Sidney, who wanted not the advantages of learning, has, in his Arcadia, confounded the pastoral with the feudal times, the days of innocence, quiet and security, with those of turbulence, violence, and adventure.

In his comic scenes he is seldom very successful, when he engages his characters in reciprocations of smartness and contests of sarcasm; their jests are commonly gross, and their pleasantry licentious; neither his gentlemen nor his ladies have much delicacy, nor are sufficiently distinguished from his clowns by any appearance of refined manners.

Whether he represented the real conversation of his time is not easy to determine; the reign of Elizabeth is commonly supposed to have been a time of stateliness, formality and reserve; yet perhaps the relaxations of that severity were not very elegant. There must, however, have been always some modes of gayety preferable to others, and a writer ought to choose the best.

In tragedy his performance seems constantly to be worse, as his labour is more. The effusions of passion which exigence forces out are for the most part striking and energetic; but whenever he solicits his invention, or strains his faculties, the offspring of his throes is tumor, meanness, tediousness, and obscurity.

In narration he affects a disproportionate pomp of diction, and a wearisome train of circumlocution, and tells the incident imperfectly in many words, which might have been more plainly delivered in few. Narration in dramatic poetry is naturally tedious, as it is unanimated and inactive, and obstructs the progress of the action; it should therefore always be rapid, and enlivened by frequent interruption. Shakespeare found it an encumbrance, and instead of lightening it by brevity, endeavoured to recommend it by dignity and splendour.

His declamations or set speeches are commonly cold and weak, for his power was the power of nature; when he endeavoured, like other tragic writers, to catch opportunities of amplification, and instead of inquiring what the occasion demanded, to show how much his stores of knowledge could supply, he seldom escapes without the pity or resentment of his reader.

It is incident to him to be now and then entangled with an unwieldy sentiment, which he cannot well express, and will not reject; he struggles with it a while, and if it continues stubborn, comprises it in words such as occur, and leaves it to be disentangled and evolved by those who have more leisure to bestow upon it.

Not that always where the language is intricate the thought is subtle, or the image always great where the line is bulky; the equality of words to things is very often neglected, and trivial sentiments and vulgar ideas disappoint the attention, to which they are recommended by sonorous epithets and swelling figures.

But the admirers of this great poet have never less reason to indulge their hopes of supreme excellence, than when he seems fully resolved to sink them in dejection, and mollify them with tender emotions by the fall of greatness, the danger of innocence, or the crosses of love. He is not long soft and pathetic without some idle conceit, or contemptible equivocation. He no sooner begins to move, than he counteracts himself; and terror and pity, as they are rising in the mind, are checked and blasted by sudden frigidity.

A quibble is to Shakespeare, what luminous vapours are to the traveller; he follows it at all adventures; it is sure to lead him out of his way, and sure to engulf him in the mire. It has some malignant power over his mind, and its fascinations are irresistible. Whatever be the dignity or profundity of his disquisition, whether he be enlarging knowledge or exalting affection, whether he be amusing attention with incidents, or enchaining it in suspense, let but a quibble spring up before him, and he leaves his work unfinished.

A quibble is the golden apple for which he will always turn aside from his career, or stoop from his elevation. A quibble, poor and barren as it is, gave him such delight, that he was content to purchase it, by the sacrifice of reason, propriety and truth. A quibble was to him the fatal Cleopatra for which he lost the world, and was content to lose it.

It will be thought strange, that, in enumerating the defects of this writer, I have not yet mentioned his neglect of the unities: his violation of those laws which have been instituted and established by the joint authority of poets and critics.

For his other deviations from the art of writing I resign him to critical justice, without making any other demand in his favour, than that which must be indulged to all human excellence: that his virtues be rated with his failings: But, from the censure which this irregularity may bring upon him, I shall, with due reverence to that learning which I must oppose, adventure to try how I can defend him.

His histories, being neither tragedies nor comedies are not subject to any of their laws; nothing more is necessary to all the praise which they expect, than that the changes of action be so prepared as to be understood, that the incidents be various and affecting, and the characters consistent, natural, and distinct. No other unity is intended, and therefore none is to be sought.

In his other works he has well enough preserved the unity of action. He has not, indeed, an intrigue regularly perplexed and regularly unraveled: he does not endeavour to hide his design only to discover it, for this is seldom the order of real events, and Shakespeare is the poet of nature: But his plan has commonly what Aristotle requires, a beginning, a middle, and an end; one event is concatenated with another, and the conclusion follows by easy consequence.

There are perhaps some incidents that might be spared, as in other poets there is much talk that only fills up time upon the stage; but the general system makes gradual advances, and the end of the play is the end of expectation.

- Samuel Johnson, Preface to The Plays of William Shakespeare, 1765.

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Filed under Britain, Europe, Literature, Regional, Theater

Hallelujah! A God Is Born!

See here.

God is born! Glorify him!

God is born! Glorify him! Praise Vishnu! Doesn’t that look like Lakshi Mata?

From the link:

When he first came out we couldn’t believe it. The nurses said he was badly deformed but I could see that this was a sign from God.

Hundreds are crying in the streets, hundreds of others are praying and setting up camp here. Some are even panicking and believe this is a sign of the end of the world.

LOL @ people worshiping abominations.

Indians are now worshiping a pollution-created mutant and crying that this means it’s the end of the world. That’s some funny shit!

Incredible as it seems, this country will become a superpower in your lifetime. Yes, I am shuddering too.

If he’s a Hindu, he gets reincarnated, right? What will he come back us? An octopus? No, wait, that’s not possible. He already is one!

Just think of it. Look at all those limbs! Damn! This guy can jerk off, type with both hands and eat food all at once! I think this guy is destined to rule the world, honestly.

I think we all need to meditate on the image in this photo.

And when he grows up, he will be able to outclap any man on Earth.

I can honestly see a doomsday scenario of this kid though, so maybe the end of the worlders are right after all. It goes like this:

  • Parents turn their village into a tourist attraction for all the pilgrims who come to worship the Mutant Freak God.
  • Parents become millionaires.
  • They use their money to have a whole bunch more kids.
  • They spread lots of their mutant genes.
  • Their mutant children come of age, start having lots of sex and making lots of kids on their own because after all, everyone wants to fuck a god.
  • After a while all of India is full with these mutant creatures.
  • Any sense of government collapses in India as a result, and mass anarchy spreads through the land.
  • Bethesda Game Studios launches a new video game based on the mutants in India and calls it “Fallout Park.”
  • Enterprising American Babbits get the bright idea of selling tours to American gun nuts so they can go on an Indian safari to hunt the mutants.
  • Large numbers of American gun kooks travel to India on safari so they can hunt mutants.
  • After they hunt them for a while, the gun nuts start arguing about who shot the most mutants.
  • American guns nuts all start shooting each other in India.
  • The end of the world commences.


Filed under Asia, Hinduism, Humor, India, Regional, Religion, South Asia