February 2, 2002

Tom Brady's Wonderlic IQ score

Superbowl Special! Are football players dumb? Actually, they are fairly smart. The NFL requires draft prospects to take the Wonderlic IQ test. Offensive guards averaged 107, centers and punters 106, quarterbacks and kickers 104. The speed positions averaged lower: halfbacks, free safeties, cornerbacks, and wide receivers averaged from 91 to 94. Still, at both the white positions and the black positions, prospects scored about a half standard deviation higher than the respective white and black national means.

Of course, IQ tests do a lousy job of measuring improvisational mental ability, which football players, especially the black ones, are particularly good at. (See my classic article "Great Black Hopes" for the full story.)

The Patriots are the underdogs, but they'd be favored if it was a debate tournament. Starting QB Tom Brady scored 126 (that's about what George W. Bush would score, judging from his 1206 SAT score), while backup QB Drew Bledsoe beat that with a 134 (Al Gore's IQ). 2/02/02

Richard Lynn's and Tatu Vanhanen's IQ and the Wealth of Nations

Irresistible upcoming book: Richard Lynn's IQ and the Wealth of Nations lists average IQ scores for dozens of countries.

C'mon, you know you want to to read its tables! For instance, those snotty French who think they are so smart? How do they really score? Or, if you've been wondering why so many people in so many Arab countries believe in so much dumb stuff, Lynn's book offers the most direct explanation: generally speaking, they ain't rocket scientists. Not surprisingly, the Northeast Asian tigers lead the world in average national IQ. (Lynn's mediocre score for Israel seems open to question.)

For the correlation between national IQ and per capita GDP, Lynn reports the kind of high number that social scientists normally only dream about finding. If all you know about a country is its average IQ and whether it has a free market economy, you can predict its income level with a surprising degree of accuracy. Of course, this doesn't solve the chicken or egg question. Are they rich because they are smart or smart because they are rich? From what I've seen so far out of the book, it looks to me like both are true.

Culture also plays a role. Lynn lists underachievers with high IQs and low incomes (e.g., perennial screw-up Argentina) and overachievers (e.g., Barbados, with its veddy, veddy English cricket-centric culture that makes it the best-run black country in the world.).

February 1, 2002

Zora Neale Hurston

Black History Month: Okay, I know your attention is wandering already. And, no doubt, having Black History Month immediately follow Martin Luther King day is overkill. Still, the topic can be fascinating, especially in the hands of someone with an independent perspective, such as, well, me. Here's my take on one of more delightful figures in American literature, Zora Neale Hurston. 2/1/02

My review of Nicole Kidman's Birthday Girl.

January 30, 2002

I predicted Bill Clinton's impeachment over sexual harassment in 1992

By the way, did I ever mention that way back in Dec. of 1992 I accurately predicted that Bill Clinton's Presidency would one day be threatened by a sexual harassment charge made by an Arkansas state employee (who turned out to be Paula Jones) and dredged up by an investigative reporter (which turned out to be David Brock of The American Spectator). Here's the remarkably prophetic article I wrote (but no one would publish) before Clinton was even sworn in. 1/30/02

January 29, 2002

Blondes' Darwinian Advantage

Faithful iSteve.com reader Nikki, who says she looks "like a Latin Dorothy Dandridge meets Jessica Rabbit type," writes to point out that while, as I theorized below, young blonde women may indeed have a Darwinian advantage in catching men's eyes, their edge fades:

While my [blonde] girlfriends admittedly wield what would seem to average looking girls of any race an enviable disproportion of sexual power in their teens and twenties, these Blonde beauties, especially the sun-goddesses, start looking a tad bit, well peaked, you know, past the sell-by date, once they hit their mid-thirties - unless they happen to be blessed with strong cheekbones and facial structure. Otherwise, Father Time does his cruel linear dance with crows' feet across Mother Nature's fair maiden's countenance, and watching that happen is heart-breaking without the aid of the Botox Wizard. It's like observing a nouveau riche tycoon devolving into a shopping-cart pushing crack head, not a sight for the faint of heart. Unless said fair maiden is married to a plastic surgeon like the fortunate Victoria Principal. I guess it all evens out in the end! YAY!