The "Final" lecture from a great professor

"Last lecture" is a common title for talks on college campuses today. Top professors are asked to think deeply about what matters to them and to give hypothetical final talks. For the audience, the question is this: What would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance?

At Carnegie Mellon, however, Dr. Pausch's speech was more than just an academic exercise. The 46-year-old father of three has pancreatic cancer and expects to live for just a few months. His lecture, using images on a giant screen, turned out to be a rollicking and riveting journey through the lessons of his life.

The full version is here. Youtube has partitioned it here.

Stupid International

Today I didn't feel like doing any work, so I idly surfed the net and accidentally wandered into MENSA Spain Website. (MENSA is a high IQ society. To be a member, you must have IQ score higher than 98% of the population.)

It has a "mini IQ-test" there -- 16 questions, 8 minutes. Naturally, I took it to see if I'm the "elite" 2%. Here is the result:

Agradecemos el esfuerzo y tiempo empleados en realizar el test orientativo que hemos colocado en nuestro web.Su puntuación ha sido de 16 aciertos sobre 18 posibles. De ello deducimos que cuenta con posibilidades para entrar en Mensa.

Si está interesado formar parte de nuestra asociación, puede solicitar realizar el test preliminar o el test supervisado.

Si reside fuera de España lamentamos tener que informarle que, debido a los estatutos de Mensa Internacional, sólo estamos capacitados para realizar el test a residentes en España. Así pues, para entrar en Mensa deberá dirigirse a la página web de Mensa Internacional

Having no knowledge of the Spanish language. I plugged this glob of text in the google translator.

The result is.... illuminating.

We thank for the used effort and time in making the orientative test that we have placed in our Web. Its score has been of 16 successes on 18 possible ones. Of it we deduce that it counts on possibilities to enter Stupid.

If it is interested to comprise of our association, can solicit to make the preliminary test or the supervised test.

If it resides outside Spain we were sorry to have to inform to him that, due to the statutes of the Stupid International, we are only enabled to make the test to residents in Spain. Therefore, to enter Stupid Web of the Stupid International will have to go to the page
Now I know why so few people has joined MENSA in Spain.

Memashow's new blog design

Head over to see!

This is my congratulation gift:

The Legend of 1900

This is (in my humble opinion) the most beautiful song ever written.
It's from the movie "The Legend of 1900." The Main Character (whose name is "1900"!) was born in, you guess, 1900, on the cruise ship. He was left there by his parents and was raised on the ship by the crew members.
Having born in the ship, he never set foot on land. Later on he became a genius pianist who could compose songs on the fly.

This scene is when he became famous and people asked to record his music. He started playing random tune but then it changed because he saw someone... his first love.

There are other memorable scenes too:

More on IQ and Extreme Intelligence

Here's an interesting question:
If there are a pill that will increase your IQ by 100 points, will you take it?
That would push your IQ into 200-300 range, making you the smartest human alive.

I would take it in a heartbeat, and I think most people will do the same.
What's not to like?

Upon some more thinking, I found that the cost might outweigh the benefit.

The Good:
You will have a much deeper understanding of the world. You will breeze through most of the stuff that normal people finds difficult.

The Bad:
You will lead a very abnormal life (by normal people standard.) It will be hard to find someone that has the same interest as you do. Most people will not understand you and might label you a madman.

The Ugly:
You can't talk to anyone openly. Being much smarter than the rest of the society, it's like you're living among chimpanzees.

People are social animal. We need to communicate. We need to be understood. We need to feel that we belong somewhere. And When we can't do that, we become a very unhappy person.

Here are some examples that support my point.

- William James Sidis, an american child prodigy with 200+ IQ. He first became famous for his precociousness, and later got shunned from the public media. He avoided mathematics entirely in later life, and would only take work running adding machines or other fairly menial tasks. Sidis died penniless in Boston at the age of 46.

- Theodore Kaczynski, A.K.A. "The Unabomber", is a Harvard graduates turned serial murderer who carried out a campaign of mail bombings that killed three and wounded 23. He sent bombs to several universities and airlines from the late 1970s through early 1990s. It is said that he has IQ in the range of 160-170.

There are also some movies and literature that reinforce my belief.
The famous ones are Flower for Algernon and Phenomenon.

However, there are also a lot of counter evidences. Many of the 180+ IQ individual seems to live very well in the normal society.(See the Termites.) Another famous high-IQ person, Marilyn Vos Savant, live a very normal (almost boring) life writing weekly magazine column.

After all these evidence, I would summarize as this:
Having extremely high IQ will not make you mad, but there is a extremely high chance that it will.

Update: This article has some intriguing analysis of the 180+ IQ individuals [specifically the termites] and their social (mal-)adjustment.

Interesting Note: I noticed that there are no "genius" or nobel prize winner that has 180+ IQ. (only in 120-150 range) Why so?

What's your IQ?

I used to write an IQ test when I was a little kid (10?) and got very excited about it.
The score is quite high -- 143. I printed the result, and to my dismay, the tested date is April fool! (The score was still valid though)

Since then, I've taken several online IQ tests, and scored between 130 - 163. Sorely inaccurate, I'd say. The S.D. is wider than the Pacific ocean.

Right now, I still really want to know my IQ. I read that if you want the score that you could brag about, you should have a real psychologist testing you. And so I found out how to do that...

1) Take a Mensa IQ test. 40$, and the testing sites is nowhere near my town.
2) A test Administered by Local Psychologist. 300$. That's right, three-hundred-dollars.

The common sense kicked in and said "look what you can do with all that money! Is it worth it --Going through all that just to know some esoteric score that's weakly correlated with my intelligence?"

Well, I figured that everyone who has an IQ of 120+ would choose:
3) Save the money for something else. And so I did. :)