Nina's Stillwater Calendar

Tuesday, December 4

(Failing to) Measure Up

I mentioned my anti-Ken Jennings leanings (remember that guy who kept winning Jeopardy?) once before and my subesequent conversion. I was worried when I started reading his blog that the good posts were a fluke and pretty soon I'd be subjected to boring trivial facts. Perhaps he'd even do one fact for each letter in order like some chick did in her speech at my high school graduation. Right down to Y and Z. I nearly cried. But a month later and Ken Jennings' blog is consistently funny and informative. And he's rich. He's got me totally beat. Which is okay. My self-esteem can survive being less cool than some trivia nerd. Really, it can. What I'm struggling with now is measuring up to a chimp. According to recent studies, a 5-yr-old chimp can consistently beat college students at a computerized memory game. By consistently, I mean the chimp solved it 80% of the time compared to 40% for the college students. After they practiced. Following this brutal beating to my self-image, I have to go present a tricky proof this afternoon in front of three of my professors. My self-esteem is sure to be a twitchy puddle by 4:30.

4 comments:

iPhilip said...

You are one of the smartest people I know, after Scott that is. I would mention the Trivial Pursuit and how my wife and I beat you again, but that is immature and I'm trying to be more mature.

David said...

You'll do fine.

Megan said...

Well, we talked about the chimp news (the paper & movies at least) in my lab this morning. It is definitely impressive, but it's only memory. The fact that chimp can memorize what it saw on the screen quicker than an adult, doesn't really say too much except that they have good memories. The chimps were also trained, I'm not sure for how long since none of us had time to read the entire paper...

I'd like to see that same chimp do any sort of topology or other analytical work!

CresceNet said...
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