Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Enhanced dogs are one step closer now.
In a recent post on Roger Simon's blog the highly intelligent, extraordinarily gifted, and ever-interesting poster John Moore makes the argument for the use of the IQ test as a reasonable measure of intelligence. John Moore's blog Useful Fools is one of the better ones on the internet. Now I personally would hesitate to claim to have the ultimate answer as to whether IQ should be used as a "valid" or "reasonable" test of intelligence. I do however have some objections to its use which I wanted to air.

John says: "IQ is a rock solid psychometric measure." John's argument, as I understand it, is twofold: 1) that IQ is a very well-tested and reasonable test, and 2) that most of the objections to IQ are due to the fact that the results it gives are not political acceptable and so are suppressed.

I readily concede the second point. In today's highly politicized world in which most university professors believe that politics, rather than scholarship, and most journalists believe that politics, rather than getting the facts out, are their true professions, there is no doubt whatsoever that any and all facts deemed inconvenient to the ruling political elite can and will be suppressed. It happens all the time. Just try publishing a study which casts doubt on global warming in the all-new, politically correct Scientific American.

Let's assume for the sake of argument that IQ is a "rock-solid" test. Well, so is head-size. This can be measured quite accurately, with very little variation from measurement to measurement. But that isn't what people care about. What everyone wants is a proxy for "intelligence". Everyone wants to

Monday, October 25, 2004

There's something in the psychological literature apparently called "Narcissistic Personality Disorder". Here are the symptoms:
The essential feature of the narcissistic personality disorder is a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy (DSM-IV?, 1994, p. 658).

Gunderson,, (Livesly, ed., 1995, p. 208) notes that the grandiosity may not be overt or may involve arrogant and haughty behavior.

Kantor (1992, pp. 203-204) describes the clinical characteristics of NPD as:

* inordinate self-pride;
* self-concern;
* an exaggeration of the importance of one's experiences and feelings;
* ideas of perfection;
* a reluctance to accept blame or criticism;
* absence of altruism although gestures may be made for the sake of appearance;
* empathy deficit; and,
* grandiosity.

Frances, (1995, p. 374) add:

* entitlement;
* shallowness;
* preoccupation with fame, wealth, and achievement;
* craving admiration, attention and praise;
* placing excessive emphasis on displaying beauty and power.

Beck (1990, p. 49) describes the key elements of NPD as presumed superiority and self-aggrandizing behavior. These individuals also give evidence of intense motivation to seek perfection and a feeling state of emptiness, rage and envy (Masterson, 1981, p. 7). They are vulnerable to the most negligible slights and are prone to withdraw and become inaccessible when feeling offended (Benjamin, 1993, p. 141).

That doesn't remind you of one of the Presidential candidates, does it?

Friday, October 22, 2004

Singapore to the Rescue

Progress marches slowly on.

The world's first one-atom-thick fabric has been created. Can single-atom-thick threads for daily use be far away? They would be the sharpest knives physically possible.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Can You Say "Victory"?

I came across a brand new blogger today with a brand-new message about what's missing from Kerry's speech.

Friday, October 08, 2004


Here's a wonderful article which perfectly summarizes my views on the War on Terror.
You Can Trust Us, We're From Microsoft

One of my colleagues came into my office this morning and informed me that we had a problem, a really big problem. He has been working on a multi-multi-million dollar proposal for months. The proposal was written over the course of months using Microsoft Word. He came in this morning to pull it up and... the file was corrupted. Microsoft Word could no longer read the file that it itself had created last night. In a sudden sweat, he tried opening up the backup which Microsoft Word had created. No dice.

No previous version had been saved off.

Thus was the equivalent of two years' revenue about to disappear down the bit bucket never to be seen again.

In desperation, nay panic, he sent the apparently corrupted file to me, in hopes that OpenOffice could open the binary file and save the day. Accordingly I clicked on the file and directed that it be read with OpenOffice. Nothing happened at first, then OpenOffice came up with one of those messed up windows that indicates that the program isn't working, and then suddenly it opened up the file. I saved it off in RTF format for my colleague and the proposal is in the hands of the customer.

This anecdote should give serious pause to everybody who runs a business based entirely on using Microsoft Office. Knowing as we all do the low quality of Microsoft software, does it really make sense to have all of the business's documents dependent on this one buggy program? A program like OpenOffice which writes out its data in a publically available format which can be read by any editor, not just OpenOffice itself, seems vastly preferable.