PS... A Column
By Paul E. Schindler Jr.
Some things are impossible to know, but it is impossible to know these things.
August 6, 2001
Dog Days Of Summer
I have a day job, so I need to make it clear to anyone who comes here that the opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent those of my employer, my family, or your great-aunt Mathilda. Offer not valid in Wisconsin. You must enter to win.
Some Material in this column comes from anonymous incoming e-mail; such material is usually reproduced in the Arial (Sans Serif) type font to distinguish it from the original material
Table of Contents:
I always thought the dog days of summer was a folk saying of some sort, but I've recently been informed they are the hottest days of the year in the northern hemisphere, that they are some very specific dates, and they have something to do with Sirius, the dog star. All I know is, I don't feel I have much to write about, but my friends and colleagues keep sending me great URLs I want to share. And I saw a couple of movies this week.
The California Ripoff
Read all about it in the San Francisco Chronicle. We weren't just imagining it, El Paso was ripping off the entire state last winter. The business of America really is business.
Bush and his Brains
I sure wish this was true, but I'm afraid it's just an elaborate hoax, albeit very well written. There is no Lovenstein Institute, no Swanson/Crain system of intelligence ranking, at least not that I can find on the Internet. So, as far as I am concerned, that's the final word.
However, while I was searching, I ran across an intelligent and provocative essay on the subject of U.S. Presidential Intelligence, attributed to Steve Sailer, a Hudson Institute Adjunct Fellow, and so, by implication, a conservative (and then there's the picture of him on his home page with Maggie Thatcher). But I will give him this: his analysis is much more dispassionate (albeit, to me, less entertaining) than this clearly partisan one.
I print this here because several of you have told me you've seen it and wished you kept it. Now it will be here forever. Uless someone gets ahold of me and complains of copyright, but I didn't see any other copies on the web. Let me note one more time: this is a hoax folks.
In a report published July 9, 2001, the Lovenstein Institute of Scranton, Pennsylvania detailed its findings of a four-month study of the intelligence quotient of President George W. Bush. Since 1973, the Lovenstein Institute has published its research to the education community on each new president, which includes the famous "IQ" report among others.
According to statements in the report, there have been twelve presidents over the past 50 years, from F. D. Roosevelt to G. W. Bush who were all rated based on scholarly achievements, writings that they alone produced without aid of staff, their ability to speak with clarity, and several other psychological factors which were then scored in the Swanson/Crain system of intelligence ranking.
The study determined the following IQs of each president as accurate to within five percentage points:
The six Republican presidents of the past 50 years had an average IQ of 115.5, with President Nixon having the highest ! IQ, at 155. President G. W. Bush was rated the lowest of all the Republicans with an IQ of 91. The six Democrat presidents had IQs with an average of 156, with President Clinton having the highest IQ, at 182. President Lyndon B. Johnson was rated the lowest of all the Democrats with an IQ of 126.
No president other than Carter (D) has released his actual IQ, 176.
Among comments made concerning the specific testing of President GW Bush, his low ratings were due to his apparent difficulty to command the English language in public statements, his limited use of vocabulary (6,500 words for Bush versus an average of 11,000 words for other presidents), his lack of scholarly achievements other than a basic MBA, and an absence of any body of work which could be studied on an intellectual basis. The complete report documents the methods and procedures used to arrive at these ratings, including depth of sentence! structure and voice stress confidence analysis.
"All the Presidents prior to George W. Bush had a least one book under their belt, and most had written several white papers during their education or early careers. Not so with President Bush," Dr. Lovenstein said. "He has no published works or writings, so in many ways that made it more difficult to arrive at an assessment. We had to rely more heavily on transcripts of his unscripted public speaking."
The Lovenstein Institute of Scranton Pennsylvania think tank includes high caliber historians, psychiatrists, sociologists, scientists in human behavior, and psychologists. Among their ranks are Dr. Werner R. Lovenstein, world-renowned sociologist, and Professor Patricia F. Dilliams, a world-respected psychiatrist.
This study was commissioned on February 13, 2001 and released on July 9, 2001 to subscribing member universities and organizations within the education community.
The Ethics of Copying
I think it is interesting and well written. It starts like this:
In the interest of deciding whether or not i should feel unethical when i download MP3s, i've asked myself and others to evaluate the ethics of certain situations, such as:
- Alice is about to buy a book, but then decides to read it at the library instead.
- Bill is about to buy a book, but then finds out that his friend already owns it. So he just borrows it from the friend instead.
- Connie is about to buy a book, but then finds a copy on the Internet and reads it instead. She immediately deletes it after reading it.
- Dave is about to buy a book, but then discovers that a friend on another continent already owns it. His friend scans it and sends the file to Dave over the Internet. Dave reads it and immediately deletes it afterwards.
I've found that most people seem to draw the line as follows: "When a person purchases a copy of some content, they can ethically make as many copies as they want and distribute them to whomever they want so long as only one of those copies is in use at any given time."
But rather than settling the matter, it seems to open a Pandora's Box of new questions….
Fellow UPI Alumnus Dick Taffe offers this:
A Boston Globe "media critic"column on how that paper, and others, can evolve to attract next-generation readers?
Planet of the Apes
You want the facts? Go to the Internet Movie Database
Great special effects, in service of a so-so story. The sad story of so much of this summer, I am afraid. Huge and spectacular, with a handful of excellent performances. The apes are definitely meaner this time, Mark Wahlberg is a way-better actor than Charlton Heston, the ape makeup is more plausible, the actors act more like apes and the triple-twist ending is superb and surprising, and I'm sure not going to be the first person who gives it away on line. But all in service of what? This whole "can't we all get along" thing, this allegory about racism, was probably pretty hot stuff when Frenchman Pierre Boulle first penned it back in the 60s, but it all seems rather tame now. Not that the issues of racism are no longer with us, far from it, but we no longer need allegories, we need to have our noses rubbed in the facts. An OK film, too violent for the little ones, too dumb for the intelligent older ones. Mildly entertaining, not really insulting to your intelligence. And when the ape says, "Get your filthy hands off me, you damn dirty human," you just gotta laugh.
You want the facts? Go to the Internet Movie Database
Great special effects, in service of a so-so story. If you are any kind of animation fan, you were flooded this spring with preview information about this movie, and particularly the female star, Aki Ross (voice of Ming-Na). Nine months to animate her hair! The computer-animation people developed a version of her in a bikini for a men's magazine top 100 women of the year issue. Her freckles. Her eyes. It was all explained in exruciating detail.
So, I went to see it. Also, besides the animation stuff, James Woods is the voice of the bad-guy general. Woods is an MIT alum, and even though he rarely has a good thing to say about his alma mater, I feel we have to stick together.
But I belong firmly to the camp that says hyper-realistic animation is a mistake. In the past, I made an exception for science fiction, since you could do stories in animation you couldn't do with live action. But with computer-generated graphics, if your story is about people, there is nothing and I mean nothing you can't do with live-action. See The Matrix. So, I felt this movie would be a mistake from the git-go, and I was right. It is an impressive technical achievement, and the human movement is not as realistic as you could get with adequate actors. The present use of CGI in live-action films is the very best contribution animation can make to realistic movies.
Animation should be saved for subjects like Shrek, or The Little Mermaid. Not just Disney, not just comedies, but films in which the characters are exaggerated and doing things that would be completely implausible if performed by live actors. The Emeror's New Groove would be another good example. You want serious? See if you can find a copy of Fritz The Cat. I suspect, in the end, that the live-action Lord Of The Rings will not be as good as a good animated version would have been. That may even be true for Harry Potter. We'll see.
This is a film for the serious animation fan only, not for kids, who'd be bored out of their minds.
Waiting for Larry King and Rae
Larry King and Rae said they'd write…
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