The IQ Test – How To Fail Gracefully

Sparked by a website that purported to rank the world’s nations by their IQ…as a result of seeing  an amusing display of Ghanaian military equipment…I fell victim to a 40-question IQ test.

It was free and an amusing exercise in spatial and pattern recognition. I dutifully plodded my way through it into the very hard ones, and finally got to the point where they were going to tell me my IQ.

All I needed to do to learn this was divulge my name, email address, age…and they promised to never use it for bad purposes. I declined to do so and clicked out of the site.

I found out how smart I am by doing this…but I also discovered that I am not smart enough, soon enough – I should have recognised the thing for the data harvester that it was at the very start.

It now calls into question the entire premise of its ” Map Of World IQ’s “. I shall think better of the nations who scored poorly, in the absence of better evidence. If they were smart enough not to participate in the thing at all, they are smarter than I.

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Which Is The Organ Of Truth?

And anyone who says ” Wurlitzer ” can leave the room.

No, which of our various parts can be said to be the best suited to determine truth or falsehood.? It’s a good question in an age riddled with fake news, click bait, and product-placement advertising. Here, hold my can of Valley Dew ™ sparkling pea-flavoured, famous throughout the world, beverage and I’ll type out the answer…

Is it the eyes? No, they are transparent structures – designed only to pass information in bulk as it is encountered. They make no judgements, being equally prepared to look at men, women, or Justin Trudeau. You can slip anything past the eyes.

Is it the ears? No again. The ears pick up anything within range – though there is the saving grace that they wear out faster than the eyes. The frequencies of sound that pass through them may stay the same but as people age, they are unable to hear the higher ones. If the makers of pop music and rap could be persuaded to raise their voices three octaves, we oldies would find the world a better place. We are prepared to help them to do this with a pair of bolt cutters.

Is it the sense of touch? Possibly – we can tell a rough surface from a smooth one for the most part, though again as you get older things become much the same. And as you become older, your opportunities to touch soft things diminish. A lot of us have to make do with cardboard cutouts of famous aviators and bagpipe salespeople.

Is it the sense of taste? Taste? That thing with the tongue? Have you ever tried some of the concoctions that a modern cocktail bar serves out? Raspberry Cointreau Rutabaga Surprise? I have no idea whether there was more surprise on the part of myself or the rutabaga. And who would willingly taste a modern politician? Apart, of course, from a White House intern…Ptui…

No, children, the organ of truth is the nose. When something you read, see, hear, or touch has an odour about it…whether it be an odour of fish, horse manure, or sanctity…it is false. Your nose does not lie – it can pick one molecule of rancid oil out of a million clean ones and the same with thoughts. If it stinks, it’s rotten.

Can you smell something? Is it my can of Valley Dew™?

The Experiments – Part One

My friends on Facebook have seen a little graphic experimentation conducted on that social media site over the last couple of weeks. It’s time to explain what they saw and why it was there.

It started here on WordPress a few weeks ago when I posted a column about a collection of toys at a model car club. They were tiny replicas of the Dodge that featured in the ” Dukes Of Hazard ” television show. It’s the orange one with the Confederate flag on the top and ” General Lee ” on the side. The column was headed by this image:

Pretty small and awfully fuzzy – I forgot to focus – but sharp enough to trigger some sort of response in the Facebook machinery*. When the column was automatically shared to Facebook the image was replaced with a generic picture of my studio card.

I was pretty sure it was the blobs of pixels representing that flag, as it is so controversial in America. But I was amazed that such a small and innocent picture could get banned. And it raised the question of whether someone sits in an office somewhere tut-tutting and blue penciling everything that comes by  – or if there is a computer program that searches pixel by pixel.

And further – if there is a magic eye censor peering all the time, what exactly is it peering at? Colour? Shape? Pattern? Position? Is it looking at all the faces on Facebook and censoring out the ones it doesn’t like? I determined to experiment by posting a patch of colour or a pattern each day on their main site to see when and if it would be removed. And I didn’t just use the colours of the flag – I used colours that had been chromatically reversed in the Photoshop palette as well.

Note for the virtuous: I do not condone the use of the Confederate flag for nastiness in North America at all – I think it is abhorrent. Outside of that continent it is irrelevant – and I note that nearly everywhere has some graphic design that might be historic but is liable to be used for politics and social behaviour. We’ve got one that’s been seized upon down here:

That’s a Wikipedia image of the Eureka flag first flown in Ballarat during a 19th century gold-digger’s rebellion. It was a small flag and a small rebellion, but recently it has been used for a lot of union politics and pressure groups. It’s not a myth – you can actually go see the real thing in the museum there.

*  Note: If this panel of this WordPress posting is blank on Facebook, we’ll know the graphic censorship extends into the body of the essays as well as the header.

Enter The Clear Plastic Car

I’m sure it must be possible to make a car with a plastic body now. A clear plastic body that is flexible and bouncy. One that springs away from bumps and does not rust. We’ve got plastic bumpers front and back for most cars now – time to extend the material to the rest of the vehicle.

I don’t say that a clear plastic body has to be perfect – it’s not going to look like Diana Prince’s Invisible Airplane in the Wonder Woman comics – and there are going to have to be some metal supports in there to hold up the sides and enclose the passengers.  But heck, we had polycarbonate bodies for our slot racing cars when I was a kid and the mechanic’s magazines were promising them for full-sized cars 50 years ago.

I’m not too fussed about the rust aspect – most cars are kept for a smaller period of time these days and we live in a land that has no snow – hence no ice on the roads. My cars have never rusted out – though that ’75 VW Passat probably would have tried to do so just to add to its flaws.

And the flexi-bump part is not all that necessary – I drive so as to not run into people. But I do want everyone who drives an SUV, tray top ute, or van to have clear plastic back sections to their vehicles…so that I can see to back out when the sods park next to me at shopping centres.