Monthly Archives: February, 2010

Intelligence is a beach

Howdy lab rats.

Today we find that the universe has washed up two pieces of flotsam on my shore. Let’s take a look.

Flotsam #1

Is it dumb to start smoking? I happen to think so. But that’s just one pompous dork’s opinion, right? Maybe not. According to a story published by Reuters Health on Feb. 23, 2010, young men who smoked a pack of cigarettes a day (or more) had an average IQ that was 7.5 points lower than their non-smoking counterparts. The study was conducted on 20,111 young men, all 18-years old, who were recruited into the Israeli military.

Researchers have long known about correlations between smoking and other factors like age, education level, and economic status.

Age has a dramatic linear progression on smoking rate. By age group, the smoking rates reported by the CDC are:

18-24 = 28.5%
25-44 = 25.7%
45-64 = 22.7%
65 and older = 9.3%

According to the CDC, “Educational attainment has been associated consistently with adult smoking prevalence since 1983.” Persons with a GED had a reported smoking rate of 42.3 percent. For those with a high school diploma the rate dropped to 25.6% and the rate was only 7.2% for those with graduate degrees.

The poverty level also has a correlation on the smoking rate. For those above the poverty level the rate is 22.2% while for those under the rate jumps to 32.9%.

In addition to IQ scores, I think an argument can be make for “intelligence” in these other factors, too, like age, education level and economic status.

Flotsam #2

Just the other day, on Feb. 26, 2010, I saw a report on CNN that linked some other interesting factors to intelligence as well. They are: liberalism, atheism, and male sexual exclusivity. The non-smoking factor I can easily accept at face value, but this shit just got interesting!

According to the study these traits are not evolutionary in the sense that they would have “benefited” the survival of the species.

The reasoning is that sexual exclusivity in men, liberalism and atheism all go against what would be expected given humans’ evolutionary past. In other words, none of these traits would have benefited our early human ancestors, but higher intelligence may be associated with them.

“The adoption of some evolutionarily novel ideas makes some sense in terms of moving the species forward,” said George Washington University leadership professor James Bailey, who was not involved in the study. “It also makes perfect sense that more intelligent people — people with, sort of, more intellectual firepower — are likely to be the ones to do that.”

Flotsam #3

This one isn’t new, but I can’t help adding it to the mix. Vegetarianism also has a link to intelligence. A study found that children with a high IQ are more likely to become vegetarians later in life. You can read about it here on the BBC News web site as reported on Dec. 16, 2006.

Please pardon me while I pause to take a personal inventory.

  • Non-smoker? Check!
  • Liberal? Check!
  • Atheist? Check!
  • Sexual exclusivity? Check!
  • Vegetarian? For about 3-1/2 months now. Check!

Damn. I am one smart hombre. 🙂

YouTube skunked my prattle clip

It was a dark and stormy <embedded video>.

Yeah, that sounds good. Another blog post off to a great start. Sometimes only a video will suffice. Har.

So the other day I went and embedded an internet video and made it the sole content of a blog post. Oh, that is so creative! And I foolishly didn’t include any kind of preamble. I simply let the video speak for itself.

One of the best ways for a writer to deal with an empty blog space that is actively mocking them is to go somewhere else, presumably where they aren’t completely devoid of talent, type CTRL-C, then come back and type CTRL-V. Now that is writing!

Sometimes I just can’t help myself. I’ll find a video that I think is the bee’s knees and/or I’m just feeling lazy and insipid. Or that monster known as “time” has dined on my ass for lunch. For whatever reason I decide to take the easy way out. It’s time to recycle some content.

Do it, though, and YouTube just might get the last laugh. I’ve tried to come up with a sniglet to describe this phenomenon and got nothin. Let’s call it videosnook.

videosnook – an unappetizing or non-representative “thumbnail” or “preview” static frame of an embedded video clip, usually one that dramatically discourages viewing.

Example usage:

“The other day I posted a video of a really cool song but got videosnooked hard when YouTube chose a picture from the video that said KERRY’S GAY, even though the video has absolutely nothing to do with that! Therefore I don’t think anyone watched the video and the posting didn’t get any comments.”

Quick! Someone dial 9-1-1 for the whambulance. 🙂

If you ignored the video because of that damn screenshot and are willing to give it a second chance, read on…

It’s a song called “Garbage” that I originally heard on Saturday Night Live way back on April 17, 1976. The lyrics stuck with me all these years and the other day I googled them. Lo and behold someone had made a video for another version of the song as recently as 2008. Sadly I couldn’t find the original SNL footage.

It’s worth a listen, especially if you liked the Story of Stuff web site. It’s sort of in that same vein.

Click here for my post entitled Rockin’ the Garbage.

Guest Post: Husband Haiku

Another Guest Blog by Mrs. Abyss. For your enjoyment this week, I bring you “Husband Haiku.” A compilation of three forms (loosely based of course) of poetry (loosely based of course). Traditional style Hauku, Tanka and Katauta.

Haiku (5-7-5 onji format)

Camping Part Duex ~

wood is smoldering
my fire skills inadequate
wife starts huge bonfire

Tanka (5-7-5-7-7 onji format)

Veggie Pants ~

dirty pants on floor
a science experiment
how long will they stay
two month later pants grow mold
four months and have fresh mushrooms

In your Face ~

put leftovers in fridge
let husband know for lunches
husband dies of hunger pains
can’t see leftovers at eye level

Baby, it’s cold out there ~

forgot the jacket
doesn’t like to be mothered
it’s freezing cold out
pouts that I forgot jacket
calls mother to whine

Katauta (5-7-7 onji format)

Cry Baby, Cry ~

husband in much pain
much crying, moaning, whining
has paper cut on pinky

Do you live in the right era?

Ugga bugga.
Hale and well met!
Howdy, pardner!
Call me.
Text me.
Yo, sup.
Beam me up!
How you doin’?
We welcome you to Munchkin Land!

Any of these sound particularly appealing? If not, what can you come up with that is better for you?

Pictured on the left is Gerard Butler from the movie Timeline. This was an excellent book by Michael Crichton that was made into a mediocre movie. Like most of Crichton’s works, the books were practically born as screenplays. Not much adaptation was needed to bring them to the big screen. But not all adapted as well as others. Timeline was doomed to be average. But even with its flaws I still enjoyed the movie very much.

Butler plays the role of André Marek who is described as a “medieval enthusiast.” When the professor on their archeological dig in France disappears, it isn’t long until they discover his eyeglasses and a note in his own hand, and in the very chamber they were currently exploring, and somehow both are about 700 years old!

What you’ve got there is one whopper of a time-based puzzle. 🙂

Marek and his friends end up going back in time to 1357 France to find their professor, save the day and bring him back. (It’s a long story.)

The important point here, though, is that Marek is happy as a clam in the past. He fits right in. It turns out that he definitely had the right hobby. In fact, Marek likes the past even more than the real life he left behind. 1357 France is the time and place where Marek was always meant to be.

Given that golden once-in-a-liftetime chance, Marek doesn’t let it slip away. After the castle has been stormed and the professor has been saved, Marek waves goodbye to his friends and embarks on his new life. It’s poignant because we all know it’s a one-way trip.

So this got me thinking. Do you think that here and now is the best “era” for you? Or do you feel you were somehow meant to live in another time or another place? Or both?

Most of my life I considered myself a “futurist,” basically one who likes the latest and greatest. Especially computers and home electronics. But over time my relationship with futuristic things, like technology, has gradually waned, and I find myself looking more often to the past, simpler ways and simpler times. And I find myself thinking strange thoughts, like maybe I wasn’t meant for the future after all.

What do you think? Are you in the right place and time? If you could choose something else, what would it be?

Rockin’ the Garbage

Edit: This video has nothing to do with Kerry being gay!!

Eye in the sky

I was late. I dashed across the room to grab my topcoat and hat and then I really had to be going. From the front room the sound of the TV came blaring urgently, beckoning plaintively for my attention.

“I’d better take a look,” I thought, sparing a desperate moment to glance at the Mickey Mouse hands on my left wrist.

The TV was sitting in its customary place of honor, in the exact center of the main wall, on the magical dais that elevated it above all else in the room. The lights were dimmed so the set emitted an eerie glow. Something told me that I needed to hurry.

Past the TV I quickly strode to the other side of room and located the remote. “Which button?” I screamed furiously at myself as my tiny digits urgently scrabbled for a way to make the volume even louder.

Suddenly two full speakers of electronic goodness were pumping my ears full of sound and all was right with the world. And just in time, too.

A CBS television channel was running a CBS promo telling me that “CBS Cares.” The rest of my reality quickly faded away as I gave my rapt attention to the box dancing in front of my very eyes.

A woman, apparently a minor celebrity of some sort, was telling me about something really important. I wasn’t exactly sure what it was, but it was important for me to know that CBS cared about it. The trademark CBS unblinking eye logo was even there, on the screen itself, to make sure I realized the importance of the public service message.

Oh, and I almost forgot. They also wanted me to know about “The New Adventures of Old Christine.”

Wow. CBS really does care!

Calmed, I settled down into the comfy chair I was standing over, completely forgetting I had someplace to be.

Health reform not a priority?