Entries from November 2005 ↓

Transhuman community IQs

A while back I asked people on ExI-chat and SL4 to do the Tickle classic IQ test for a bit of a fun since there were alot of discussions about IQ, personalities and child prodigies going on. There are also a large number of seemingly very intelligent people active and lurking on the lists, so I thought I’d see how they compare to the general populace.

Please note that this was all just for curiousity and fun. Thus it is not meant to be serious and I’ve included some general comments, some of which come from respondants.

The original email was:

Would anybody be interested in finding out just what the IQ distribution of ExI chat is?

If so, I suggest we use something like the tickle classic IQ test: http://web.tickle.com/tests/uiq/?test=uiqogt

To prevent this from turning into a pissing contest and decrease the likelihood of people lieing, I volunteer to collect peoples IQ scores via email and make some nice graphs of the distribution. Once done I’ll destroy the emails with your IQs and promptly forget the actual values.

Please only report the tickle IQ scores otherwise test differences may bias the distribution – and please be honest!

I got 18 replies from the extropy-chat and 11 from SL4. For extropy-chat the mean was 138.1, s.d. 3.9. For SL4 the mean was 137.9, s.d. 3.7. These values were not significantly different as judged by a two sample t-test. Below is a graph summarising these results.



  • After some discussion and rumours about what the limit of top IQ score was, I emailed Tickle and they informed me that 144 was the maximum possible score.
  • Knowing this, there was one respondant that lied about their score by claiming one above this limit.
  • There was some disagreement about just what the correct answers were. When you have to find the odd one from a group such as [ apple, peach, pear, grape ] there are multiple interpretations. All but grape grow on trees, apple is the only one beginning with vowel etc.
  • Because of the generally high scores and several people getting the maximum possible, Tickle probably wasn’t a good choice to get an accurate representation. Let alone the fact it is a product designed to sell intelligence profiles so could potentially be biased. One respondant suggested some high level tests which probably give more insightful results.
  • Lastly, I want to apoligise to list members as a large number of replies were sent on list rather than directly to me. Ah well, people never follow instructions even when they do top out IQ tests ;P

Monday procrastination

you are Hank Williams!
Hank Williams… you’re fucked up on drinks, pills
and a broken heart. You’ll die young and wild,
but influence more people than you could ever
imagine. If it wasn’t for you, rock n roll
would be nothing more than benign and insipid.

Which fucked-up genius composer are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

My life rated in a suitably simplistic manner

This Is My Life, Rated
Life: 5.6
Mind: 6.2
Body: 7.6
Spirit: 6.4
Friends/Family: 4.1
Love: 5.4
Finance: 8.4
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

I should have known each dress you own is a loaded gun

Depeche Mode – Playing the Angel

Depeche Mode are back, and I’m impressed.

Most bands that stay active for 25 years or so start to get old and stale. They seem to run out of ideas. That’s why I wasn’t expecting alot here, even though I enjoyed the last album, Exciter, but I should have epxecting good things.

This is the first album I’ve repeatedly had to listen to, each time it time it gets better, and that’s not to say it wasn’t good on the first listen. The huge horn like distortion dropping down in to sublime bassline on the first track, A pain that I’m used to, hooked me immediately. This is dirty Depeche Mode, the distortion sounds organic, and although the electronics are there, so is the rock.

The lyrics are better then ever. Dave Gahan’s vocals are superb despite people often complaining in the past about him needing singing listens. The album is quite dark, but powerful, and it feels like alot of emotion in lyrics is being drawn from Dave’s time of darkness in the 90s.

The only problem is that it is now stopping me from listening to other things.

Seven lies,
multiplied by seven,
multiplied by seven again
Seven angels with seven trumpets
Send them home on the morning train
Well who’s that shouting?
John the Revelator!
All he ever gives us is pain
Well who’s that shouting?
John the Revelator!
He should bow his head in shame

Goal overload

I’m a very driven person at times. At other times I fall into moody episodes where I just can’t deal with anything, generally this is called depression. I’ve slowly been able to manage it, the best part being that, even though hopelessness/pointlessness surrounds me, I now know as a truth that it will eventually come around. In addition to that there is regular exercise (stress release and endorphin promoting), Kung Fu (mental strength and calm), and daily St. John’s Wort.

But I still have moods. I think this is often to do with being too driven. I want to do everything in life, I want experience and achieve great things, but sometimes they feel so distant and remote that I give up, certain that I’m deluded to think I can achieve. I start to feel hopeless, and if I can’t experience and achieve everything I get immobile in thought and action, like a rabbit in the headlights. I become indecisive because my next action means everything, and yet seems like such an insignificant step.

So I will list my goals now, and then re-evaluate them at the beginning of next year. Since new years are meant to be the time of resolutions and all that.

  • Complete my PhD – which is composed of many many other things like writing papers and conferences.
  • Finish my DNA analysis program – although this will be ongoing I want to make a prototype and set up a website offering a trial version to labs until I have a version 1.0, also have to write a paper on this so that people have something to reference when they use the program.
  • In conjunction with the above, start a business.
  • Black belt in Kung Fu – I maybe being a little optimistic here, since I’m only yellow belt
  • Run a marathon – missed the Christchurch one this year, but that was due to travelling overseas interrupting my training.
  • Set up the ultimate home entertainment box using mythtv – arcade system, tivo-like behaviour in NZ, movie and music library, web browsing via remote.
  • Become a rock star – In seriousness, I know this is unlikely and I’m not really on the right path, being that I told my friends I was too busy to be the bassist/singer. Sometimes I think that the above things like a PhD and starting a company is what people expect you to do to be respected and successful, and that I’m really just chasing an impossible happiness trying to acquire greater achievements. When really, just playing music and rocking out would be excellent.

All your base are belong to us

The Age of Spiritual MachinesRay Kurweil

Not long ago The Singularity is Near was released, which is Ray’s latest offering. I was interested in reading some of his writing before I decided whether to buy it, and found that the Lincoln University library had The Age of Spiritual Machines (AoSM).

Kurzweil is probably the most prominant futurist around at the moment, predicting the ever approaching radical changes that are coming our way this century. He has had some success in his educated predictions before, and has founded multiple companies based on inventions he was responsible for. So basically what I’m saying is that he is not a crack pot, which is important to keep in mind because he deals with alot of ideas that would be unsettling to the public of the present day.

AoSM talks alot about AI, specifically 3 paradigms he thinks are important to its inception: recursive programming, neural networks, and genetic algorithms. While these all have their use he makes it all sound so simple. But I guess this isn’t a flaw since this is popular science, and the thing that the book does best is get you enthused about the future. Immortality, abundance of resources, expanding your mind – all this can be yours… assuming you can last the next 20-30 years. This is probably why one of Ray’s other books is Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever.

Ping ping

Email tics I’d love you to lose

And for Jon ’cause I feel bad for bailing on our band plans (due to not enough free time): Productivity for the practising musician

People sometimes comment that I’m young for a PhD candidate, well 8 year old physics genius enters University

Anonymous donor donates $1 million dollars to the Methuselah Mouse Prize – in a similar vein to the X-prize, but this is for whomever can develop the longest living species of mouse.

For a giggle: The artist formerly known as USB

Letter from Utopia

Mail Alert.

You have 1 new message.

From: yourself@the.future.org
Date: 200 years AP (after present)
Subject: Letter from Utopia


For those who have known me for more than a year – you’ll know that I always enter this silly thing called NaNoWriMo. The aim of which is, quite simply, to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. I’ve entered year after year, I’ve even bought a tshirt and stickers, but I never complete it. Once I didn’t even start it. The furthest I got was 10k words.

So can you guess what I’m about to say now? Yes, I’ve signed up again. We’ll see if this is another one of those silly “that’d be cool” moments that I don’t actually have the energy or time to put effort into. We’ll see…

(expect to see excerpts here if I do get round to it)

It’s a lonely journey from death to birth

Last week I went on a bit of a movie binge. I hadn’t been to the movies in some time, and I have some free tickets that are going to expire soon since whenever I go to the movies it is always to one that has “no complimentaries” stamped next to it.

So first up was…

Last days

If you hadn’t already heard, Last Days is a movie inspired by the last days of Kurt Cobain, lead singer of Nirvana, before he came to a tragic end (which is still rumoured to have been a murder rather than suicide). It is a Gus Vant Sant film, which means that if you hated Elephant you should avoid this movie whether you like Nirvana or not, don’t waste your time. The movie is slow and ponderous, and really is about the last days of a musicians life – it draws you in and makes you feel his isolation. Blake (the movie version of Kurt), despite being a successful musician, has no one there for him, his band members, his wife, the yellowpages man, they don’t care what’s wrong.

I liked the movie, even though the long drawn out scenes were sometimes tedious. I especially liked Michael Pitt as Blake. He does the singing and wrote the songs. In particular there is a emotion driven acoustic piece which is played in its entirety with Blake sitting in the same place the entire time and nothing else happening. Sound is important in this film – and I’m sure there were wierd noises going on in the background which added to a general unease.

Don’t expect to leave in a bouncy mood, but if you don’t mind long scenes and minimal amounts of dialogue then you may just feel moved at the end of it.



So in complete contrast to Last Days this is a action horror movie and despite being a fan of the original game series I wasn’t expecting much. Lo and behold I was proven slightly wrong. Which means it was good, with the caveat that I mean good for an action movie.

I was slightly annoyed at the decision to use genetic engineering as reason behind the bad guys instead of the more story-correct hellspawns. But ah well – the public is already riled up about GE as it is, what difference does making them think it will turn us all into zombies make?

There are nice but predictable twists at the end, and I like the marines are not, for the most part, actually nice people. All in all it is a bit of fun and the first person mode is a good laugh.