Solipsism Gradient

Rainer Brockerhoff’s blog

Browsing Posts published in August, 2003

Off again…

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We’re packing for another trip… this time a short one, to Buenos Aires (Argentina). We’re leaving tomorrow (Friday, Aug.15th) very early in the morning and return next Tuesday (Aug.19th) around midnight.

Chances to get to an Internet Café are low, as Monday is a national holiday. But expect some nice photos to be posted later next week.

"Scientific" IQ…?

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The subject of IQ tests came up the other day while chatting with a friend – and promptly I found some people linking to The Original IQ Test. It had been many years since my last such test, so I tried it. Some questions were extremely simple, and others were culturally biased – you need to complete some popular sayings, a couple of which were unfamiliar to me.

Soon I was rewarded with the message:

Congratulations, Rainer!

Your IQ score is 133

This number is the result of a formula based on how many questions you answered correctly on Emode’s Ultimate IQ test. Your IQ score is scientifically accurate…

…We also compared your answers with others who have taken the test, and according to the sorts of questions you got correct, we can tell your Intellectual Type is a Facts Curator.

This means you are highly intelligent and have picked up an impressive and unique collection of facts and figures over the years. You’ve got a remarkable vocabulary and exceptional math skills – which puts you in the same class as brainiacs like Bill Gates. And that’s just some of what we know about you from your test results..

They asked for my e-mail address and several demographic data, and offered to e-mail me a 15-page report detailing my results. For $14.95; while I’d like to know which answers I’ve gotten wrong, this is way too much. I also declined an offer to get a newsletter containing horoscopes (!) and information about further tests such as Do You Have a Sixth Sense, What’s Your Superpower and Find Your Ideal Sexual Partner.

While the “133” figure matches about what I expected (an IQ test I took as a child came up 140, and I seem to recall that others I took later also fell into the 130-150 range), the overall tone is extremely phony – the insistence on “scientific”, the gratuitous invention of this “Fact Curator” name, the reference to “brainiac” Bill Gates (with an image, yet!), and the ubiquitous merchandising of other products make this a site not to be taken too seriously.


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I’ve just closed a deal with a Brazilian website to write a more-or-less monthly column. Names, topics and URLs will be released around September 1st.

This will be a bilingual column. The Portuguese version of each article will appear on said website, while the English version will appear here (although in a separate topic). It’s a first for me; until now, I’ve written occasional articles and papers in English, and articles in Portuguese for Macmania magazine.

Writing the same article in two languages will be a valuable exercise, I think. My usual modus operandi is to read some reference material, let the information percolate through my subconscious until a few hours before the deadline, and then produce the article in a single (albeit somewhat panicky) sitting. I suppose this won’t work for two languages, and I’m busy reviewing some reference material on writing.

One of my favorite books about writing is Lyn Dupré’s “Bugs in Writing“, and it’s long overdue for rereading. By a coincidence, a post at Ronaldo’s Superfície Reflexiva led me to Crawford Kilian‘s Writing for the Web; Crawford is one of my favorite “alternate history” authors, although it’s been years since I found any of his books. Also coincidentally, he taught a webwriting workshop in São Paulo, Brazil, around the time I was there, and lives in Vancouver, a favorite city I visited a couple of months before that. Anyway, Crawford’s articles are a great resource for writers and I’ll be reading them most carefully…


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So I’ve got everything fired up and running – Panther, XCode, and so forth; and I’m slowly getting used to programming again. Expect updates and announcements in a few weeks.

Unfortunately, this means less time devoted to posting stuff here. I still have photos from the Europe trip to post. Unfortunately several panorama shots came out much worse than I expected. Unless some better QTVR stitching software turns up, I won’t be publishing these; Pentax has PhotoStitch for Windows only, and the Mac version that comes with Canon cameras really didn’t cut it.

Dr. Weinberger calls our attention to John Rooney’s CrashBonsai, where very small cars crash into very small trees.

No passengers have been injured in CrashBonsai accidents, although some drivers have reported a brief, even euphoric loss of consciousness.

…what’s that? Off-topic? I don’t think so… icon_smile.gif

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Heat exchanges

Rainer’s decided he’s a “bright”.
Not white, not quite a sight, not even alight, but a … what?

“One of the advantages of the word ‘Bright’ is that it allows a really simple and straightforward assertion. You state

The Bright Stuff

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I just signed up as a bright.

The term “bright” first came to my attention through an essay by Richard Dawkins on Edge, one of my favorite sites.

…A triumph of consciousness-raising has been the homosexual hijacking of the word “gay”. I used to mourn the loss of gay in (what I still think of as) its true sense. But on the bright side (wait for it) gay has inspired a new imitator, which is the climax of this article. Gay is succinct, uplifting, positive: an “up” word, where homosexual is a down word, and queer, faggot and pooftah are insults. Those of us who subscribe to no religion; those of us whose view of the universe is natural rather than supernatural; those of us who rejoice in the real and scorn the false comfort of the unreal, we need a word of our own, a word like “gay”. You can say “I am an atheist” but at best it sounds stuffy (like “I am a homosexual”) and at worst it inflames prejudice (like “I am a homosexual”).

Paul Geisert and Mynga Futrell, of Sacramento, California, have set out to coin a new word, a new “gay”. Like gay, it should be a noun hijacked from an adjective, with its original meaning changed but not too much. Like gay, it should be catchy: a potentially prolific meme. Like gay, it should be positive, warm, cheerful, bright.

Bright? Yes, bright. Bright is the word, the new noun. I am a bright. You are a bright. She is a bright. We are the brights. Isn’t it about time you came out as a bright? Is he a bright? I can’t imagine falling for a woman who was not a bright. The website suggests numerous intellectuals and other famous people are brights. Brights constitute 60% of American scientists, and a stunning 93% of those scientists good enough to be elected to the elite National Academy of Sciences (equivalent to Fellows of the Royal Society) are brights. Look on the bright side: though at present they can’t admit it and get elected, the US Congress must be full of closet brights. As with gays, the more brights come out, the easier it will be for yet more brights to do so. People reluctant to use the word atheist might be happy to come out as a bright.

So, I’m out of the (dark) closet…

Right in my own neighborhood I noticed a strange trend for names of real estate agencies:

I wonder which marketing genius dreamed these up… icon_rolleyes.gif

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