Open thread: The Rubik’s cube would have made a good culture reduced test of super high IQ

rubik's cube

A member of a super high IQ society once stated that the Rubik’s cube would make a good measure of extremely high IQ if no one had ever seen it before.  If only cube inventor Ernő Rubik had cared as much about psychometrics as he cared about making money, instead of releasing the cube as a mass market game for billions of kids to play with, it could have been a top secret subtest on a professionally administered IQ test, only witnessed by psychologists and those exceptional individuals referred for individual testing.

Actually there is a subtest on the Wechsler intelligence scales involving blocks that measures the same type of spatial reasoning that the cube measures,  though at a lower level of difficulty.  The day I took that test was the day I fell in love with the Wechsler, because for the first time in my life I was taking a standardized test that I felt was measuring real intelligence as opposed to acquired knowledge and skill.

The distinction between tests measuring intelligence and those measuring knowledge have a lot of different names in psychology: Aptitude vs achievement, fluid vs crystalized, culture reduced vs culture loaded.

However the distinction is far less clear than we’d like.  Crystalized Knowledge achievement tests like vocabulary often turn out to be more heritable than so-called culture reduced fluid aptitude tests which is ironic, given that the former seems more removed from the underlying physiology.   So-called culture reduced tests like the Raven Progressive Matrices often show the biggest improvements as countries complete the industrial revolution; something you wouldn’t expect if these tests measured abilities unaffected by culture.

The Raven fails as a culture reduced test in my opinion, because although the content includes little knowledge and language, understanding the instructions and being motivated and confident enough to concentrate on such abstract patterns is culturally loaded.

The Rubik’s cube and other more hands on pure performance tests are different.  They are considered fun, interesting and understandable by virtually all cultures.  Even if you went back in time 40,000 years, you could probably interest a Neanderthal in doing the Rubik’s cube.  He might get frustrated after he failed to make progress after a couple minutes though, which is why time limits of about 2 minutes are essential for culture reduced testing.

Of course virtually no human in history would have been smart enough to solve the whole Rubik’s cube on first try in just two minutes, but many could have solved at least one side so partial credit would be given if it were an IQ test.

But even though I think the Rubik’s cube would have made a great high level culture reduced spatial IQ test, there are many brilliant people who would do poorly on culture reduced tests because they excel on the very abilities so related to culture and intelligence itself: language, concepts, abstractions.

And while a culture reduced test of vocabulary is a contradiction in terms, I am working on a culture reduced test that measures the abstract conceptual ability of language,  without requiring the person to know a single word.  Of course the Raven tried to measure conceptual ability but failed as a culture reduced test because it requires certain cultural habits, but I’m hoping my test will not fall into the same trap.



Open thread: A very unique & quick General Knowledge test

Everyone get out a piece of blank paper, a pen, and a stop watch.

In two minutes, write down as many of the most important people in the history of the World you can think of.  Make sure to name the most important people you can think of from all of world history.  Don’t worry about spelling or neatness, as long as the person’s name is recognizable, it counts.


When the two minutes elapses, check to see how many of the people on your list made historian Michael Hart’s famous list.  Give yourself 1 point for each name on your list that made Hart’s list.  Maximum score 100.

Don’t read the comments until you’ve taken the test as people might discuss names.

Open thread: Name that face

Please test your knowledge of famous people by trying to name as many of these 25 numbered famous people as you can (answers below).  Only last names count.  Each correctly named last earns 1 point (even if you don’t know the first name).  If person has more than one last name, use the better known one.
















  1. Z
  2. Kennedy
  3. Rose
  4. Lovato
  5. Chesney
  6. Aniston
  7. Baldwin
  8. Lagasse
  9. Tubman
  10. Cosby
  11. Wilde
  12. Twain
  13. Harrison
  14. Williams
  15. Reagan
  16. Diamond
  17. Washington
  18. John
  19. Wayne
  20. Newman
  21. Shatner
  22. Madison
  23. Dylan
  24. Wahlberg
  25. Barrymore


Open thread: 96% of people with math IQs above 154 are male

An interesting quote I discovered about the old math SAT:

Although the normative reports for the PSAT and the SAT do not indicate the number of boys and girls earning the highest scores on these tests, Dorans and Livingston (1987) reported the number of very high scores earned by boys and girls on the SAT-Mathematics for all English-speaking examinees tested in June 1981 and May 1982. When the examinees from the two test administrations were combined, 96% of 99 scores of 800 (the highest possible scaled score), 90% of 433 scores in the 780-790 range, 81% of 1479 scores between 750 and 770, and 56% of 3,768 scores of 600 were earned by boys.

Thus, the degree of male overrepresentation was directly related to the level of SAT-Math performance. However,  the population of adolescents was not examined. Different percentages might be found for the subset of high-ability youths who did not take the SAT. But given the high correlation found between ability and SAT completion, it is doubtful that there were enough unrepresented youths to bias the reported percentages.


Source:  Feingold, A. (1988). Cognitive gender differences are disappearing. American Psychologist, 43(2), 95-103

If 96% of 800 math SAT people were male, it’s interesting to ask what an 800 math SAT score equated to on the IQ scale in the 1980s.  The New York Times states:

Out of about 1.5 million students who took the S.A.T. in 1982-83, 749 got a perfect score on the math section, according to the Educational Testing Service.

According to Ron Hoeflin, during the 1980s, roughly one third of American 18-year-olds had taken the SAT and virtually all of the top talent had, so a perfect math score was not just the 749 best out of the 1.5 million who took the test,  but the best out of all 4.5 million in that age group, and thus equates to the one in 6000 level, or math IQ 154+ (U.S. norms)

Although I think the math SAT measures only one kind of math IQ.  Women are perhaps better at more intuitive math like statistics.


Open thread: Steve Hsu comes to Netflix!

I wasn’t going to post anything tonight, but I was searching through Netflix to find a good horror film and suddenly I noticed the title The Evolution of Us in the recently added section.

Since I love documentaries about evolution, I decided to click on it and the synopsis of the first two episodes came up.  Beside the description of episode two was the image of someone who looked exactly like Steve Hsu.  I clicked on episode two and started fast forwarding until the person appeared, and sure enough it was Steve Hsu being interviewed for this series.

I find it interesting how on Steve Hsu’s blog, he describes himself as “Physicist, Startup Founder, Blogger, Dad”.  So many people act like becoming a parent is their greatest accomplishment that it’s refreshing to see a parent who dares to mention that last.  Indeed it’s almost as if Steve’s listing his identities in order of intelligence.  Since being a physicist requires the most IQ, that’s listed first, but to quote Barack Obama, any fool can make a baby, so dad is listed last.

Did David Gordon Green subtract 19 points from Michael Myers’s IQ?

I’ve long argued that the original Michael Myers character (as conceived by John Carpenter, not to be confused with the Michael Myers of the Rob Zombie films) had an IQ around 90.

My logic is simple.  The average IQ of white Americans with zero years of completed education is likely 72 (borderline intelligence),  yet the average IQ of white siblings of the National merit finalists is 119 (Bright Normal intelligence).  Someone who belongs to both these groups has a statistically expected IQ of 91 (white norms).

Carpenter’s Myers arguably belongs to both groups.  He has zero years of completed education because he’s confined to a mental hospital at age six, where he spends the next 15 years just sitting in a room, staring at a wall, never speaking or moving.

And yet in Halloween II (1981) we learn that he’s the brother of heroine Laurie Strode.  We’re never told that Strode is a national merit finalist, but it’s likely she is.  She studies chemistry, is able to correctly answer her teacher’s question about fate despite not paying attention, and is always babysitting because guys think she’s too smart to date.  Add to that the fact that she’s played by Jamie Lee Curtis who is half Ashkenazi Jewish (a high IQ group), though it’s unlikely Strode is genetically Jewish since she’s supposed to be a Midwestern girl next door type, and these tend to be WASPs.

However David Gordon Green’s Halloween (2018) is a direct sequel to the original Halloween (1978) and ignores Halloween II (1981) and all the other sequels, which means Myers is no longer related Strode, and thus no longer shares her IQ DNA.  Thus he goes from being a zero education sibling of a National merit finalist, to just a guy with zero education, and as stated above, these average IQ 72.

Even though the film writers likely gave no thought to Myer’s IQ or what his relationship to Strode implies for it, it’s interesting how ignoring all the sequels not only lowers Myers’s likely IQ, but also causes his body count to drop precipitously (which is exactly what you’d expect since low IQ people are less competent at achieving all goals, even evil ones).

In Halloween II (1981), Myers was able to continue and more than double his killing spree after escaping from the mental hospital at age 21, but now that Halloween II (1981) is no longer canon,  Myers’s night of terror ended early, and he was returned to the mental hospital after killing only four people, and killed no one since until he was 61.  It seems like without Strode’s high IQ DNA, Myers is a far less prolific killer who shows none of the technical savvy he showed in the now defunct sequels such as inserting an I.V. drip into a nurse’s vein and draining of her blood.

Not only does this new timeline rob Myers of 19 IQ points, it also robs him of his autism.  When Myers had the bizarre sister obsession, I argued he showed classic autism, but with the sister plot removed from the story, he’s a more run-of-the-mill serial killer, but with an extremely low IQ.  Indeed you can tell from the grunting, whaling, and inefficient behavior in the classic closet scene in the original Halloween, that Myers was mentally disabled, while high IQ Strode was adaptable enough to turn the situation to her advantage (the ultimate measure of intelligence).



Open thread: Excellent podcast on the Halloween films

Nothing better than falling asleep to a good podcast.  Indeed I’ve reached the point where I almost can’t fall asleep without having a really good discussion to listen to.  If you’re a hardcore fan of the Halloween franchise, I can’t speak highly enough about the Halloweenies  podcasts at

These guys talk for three hours and 18 minutes about David Gordon Green’s Halloween (2018) (which they call Hallogreen, get it?) and it never gets dull, especially since they have the intelligence to realize it’s not a good movie.

You feel like you’re in the room with them, just hanging out with friends you’ve known your whole life (it helps that at least some of the hosts have been friends since childhood, where their Halloween obsession began) .   They have a whole series of three hour discussions devoted to different Halloween films which I can’t wait to listen to.


Open thread: The TERRIFYING opening of Rob Zombie’s Halloween

Many fans of the Halloween franchise would love to forget Rob Zombie’s 2007 remake (and its 2009 sequel) because it gave the mysterious slasher Michael Myers a backstory and turned him into white trash.  However I see Zombie’s versions as an interesting alternative and there’s something very creepy about a white trash family so consumed with their own dysfunction that a budding serial killer just gets lost in the chaos.  And from an HBD perspective, it’s only logical that someone as messed up as Michael Myers would be born in a low class home: the genetic garbage of society.

In the above scence, William Forsythe does a great job as Ronnie White, the boyfriend of Michael Myer’s mother.  It’s hilarious watching him mock the crying baby and the way young Michael says good morning to it.

While Myers’s mother is in denial, Ronnie has the social intelligence to realize young Michael is one messed up kid who will grow up to be some kind of freak, though not even he can see imagine the brutal monster Michael would one day become.

Mostly he just makes fun of young Michael for seeming gay.

If young Michael had been administered the WISC-R intelligence test, I think he would have scored around 80.  Obviously an IQ test can’t tell you a kid will grow up to be a serial killer, but it can roughly predict whether you will rise or fall in social class.

Since Michael had a low IQ in my opinion, even compared to other children of “white trash”, one would have predicted that he would fall even further in social class, which is exactly what happens.  Michael’s violent rage leads him to a life of mental hospitalization and in Zombie’s vastly underrated sequel, homelessness.  And low scores on certain Wechsler subtests, especially one involving verbal abstraction, might reveal young Michael’s detachment from reality.  Indeed Wechsler saw his scale as a psychiatric tool, in addition to an IQ test.



Open thread: Halloween 6 The Curse of Michael Myers

Pumpkin Person rating 7.5/10

I used to hate this movie with a passion,  but compared to the new Halloween (2018), it’s a masterpiece.

The film was written by Daniel Farands who was just some 20-year-old nobody at the time,  but he had an obsessive passion for horror films, and sent a letter to the series’ producer  Moustapha Akkad, and somehow managed to land an interview circa 1989.  During the interview Farands presented his encyclopedic knowledge of the series and all his ideas about where the story could go and Akkad, his co-producer and his son listened politely and then thanked him for coming by.

For four long years, Farrands heard nothing, and then one day in the mid 1990s, Farrands was suddenly hired to pen the latest Halloween film.  Akkad had never forgotten the obsessed fan boy who knew more about the series than anyone he had ever met and Akkad was desperate for good ideas on where to take the series after the bizarre ending of Halloween V.

At the end of Halloween V,  Michael Myers is captured and placed in jail, only to be freed by a mysterious man in black who obliterates the entire police station with a machine gun, allowing Myers to walk free.  Unfortunately the people who made Halloween V just pulled this out of their hat and had no idea how to explain this odd ending.

Only Farrands had the passion to salvage the narrative.  He decided that the man in black was actually the head of the mental hospital where Myers had spent his childhood, and he was the leader of a secret cult that worships and helps Myers do his killings.

But now that Myers is getting old, the man in black is stalking a six-year-old boy named Danny who moved into Myers’s old house and is hoping to turn Danny into the next Michael Myers (who killed his first victim at age six).  The family thinks Danny is having nightmares, little do they know the man in black is literally hiding in Danny’s closet telling him to kill people.

Danny’s mother is horrified to learn that half the town seems to be part of the cult, including the sweet old lady who lives across the street, and suddenly pulls out a knife and says “Hello Dear”

Despite the totally contrived story-line and the  poorly edited climax, this is rapidly becoming one of my favorites in the series because of the memorable characters like the verbally abusive John Strode who buys the Myers house for cheap, neglecting to tell his family that a mass murderer used to live there, or the creepy Tommy Doyle, played by Paul Rudd before he was famous.

I also loved the Halloween atmosphere they were able to capture by shooting the film in Salt Lake City Utah in November,  unlike the original Halloween shot in South Pasadena.

And above all, the mask in this film was the best it’s looked since Halloween II (1981) and the actor playing Myers had the height and bulk to look scary on screen.


And last but not least, this was the last film of the great Donald Pleasence,  who died before ever seeing the film.  A decade later Moustapha Akkad would die in a terrorist attack.

May both men Rest in Peace.



Open thread: Halloween 2018

pumpkin person rating: 6/10

Went to see this last night.  Unlike Hellfest which I saw with a group of coworkers, I went to see this film alone so I wouldn’t be disturbed.  Unfortunately the 7 pm showing was so packed with white people that I couldn’t get a seat that was both in the back of the theater, and in the middle of the theater, and with no people sitting near me.

I decided to watch the 1978 Halloween at 7 pm (even though I’ve seen it so many times as a kid I still have virtually every word of dialogue memorized) since I’ve never seen it in a theater and then reserved myself a great seat for the 10:55 pm showing of Halloween 2018.

But as more and more people entered the building, I worried even at the later hour I’d be crowded between other viewers which would be problematic because I needed the seat beside me for popcorn and snacks.

One nice thing were the reclining chairs which I figured out how to use immediately, even as most others in the theater struggled.

The only thing I loved about the movie was the performance of Jamie Lee Curtis and the look of Michael Myers.  I loved the way he looked with the mask on.


And I was freaked out by the way he looked with the mask off.  Of course we never completely see him with the mask off, but we do view just enough to see that after 40 years in the mental hospital, Michael is old and grey, yet very tall, robust, strong, and bearded.


Just the thought of someone who looks like that spending 55 years in a mental hospital and not speaking a word in all that time, only to escape and brutally kill people is incredibly creepy.

The marketing for this film made much of the fact that they were bringing back Nick Castle who played masked Michael Myers in the first film but apparently that was just a way to lure the hardcore white fan boys to the theater, and in reality,  James Jude Courtney played Myers for 99% of this film and Castle was just a consultant with a brief cameo.  I assume that at 5’10” and 170 lbs, Castle is just not big enough to scare audiences in 2018, so they replaced him with the 6’3″ 210 lb Courtney.

But other than nailing the physical appearance of Myers and his mask, this film was mediocre.  The script by  David Gordon Green , Jeff Fradley, and Danny McBride.was poorly organized with too many unneeded characters and subplots, and the whole thing felt rushed and poorly paced, and the ending was just lame.  I don’t think most of these guys have much experience making horror, but the genre gets so little respect that if you’ve made a good film of ANY kind, it’s assumed you can make a good horror film.

Despite their mediocrity, it looks like Halloween 2018 will be a box office smash thanks to great marketing, gushing critics, the star-power of Jamie Lee Curtis, and the non-discerning public, and so we’ll probably get a sequel by the same film makers.

However I did find one critic on the internet (Cody Leach) smart enough to see this film for the disappointment it was.