Noesis

The Journal of the Mega Society
Number 66
November 1991

EDITORIAL
Rick Rosner
5139 Balboa Blvd #303
Encino CA  91316-3430
(818) 986-9177

I hope you receive this before the new year, and that we start '92 only a month behind in issues of this journal.  I took the liberty of playing catch-up by calling the previous issue Sept-Oct. Obviously, the Sept-Oct issue WON'T count as two issues against your  subscription.  By the way, the number in parentheses to the right of  your name on your Noesis address label is the last issue through which your subscription is paid.

Fees remain $10 for six issues (even if it takes seven or eight months to generate those issues), payable to me at the above address.

If I become sufficiently energetic, I will start calling those of you whose phone numbers I have in order to pester you to submit  material.  Avoid such harassment by sending in some stuff.  Postcards work great.  If your writing fingers have been broken by the Mob, I'll even transcribe messages off of my answering machine.

000000000000000000000000000000000000000

Fake ID update:  I broke 1,000 fake ID's caught in 1991 shortly after midnight Friday, December 13 (bad omen?).  In my ID article, I said I'd like to catch 30 ID's in a single shift at the Sagebrush Cantina, but my highest one-day take was 29.  However, I caught 38 in a single night at the Malibu Adobe, a bar and bistro where beautiful Pepperdine students listen to live reggae.  The Adobe let me go after only a couple of weeks, probably since I wasn't good for business.

One very young-looking guy came up to me and I made him sign his name.  Each time, he misspelled his middle name.  He said he couldn't spell 'cause he got hit on the head damaged his brain.  My boss & I laughed at him & told him to take off.  Forty minutes later, the kid was back with medical documents attesting to his head injury. My boss let him in and bought him a pitcher of beer.

000000000000000000000000000000000000000

Sami, a reader from Helsinki, reports that Chris Harding is forming a group called the Omega Society, with a minimum score of five standard deviations above the mean (about one in three and a half  million).  Could Dr. Harding or any other knowledgeable person send some information to be printed in  Noesis?  Thanks.

000000000000000000000000000000000000000

Saw Oliver Stone's movie JFK.  I'd previously decided that the question of whether or not there was a conspiracy is an undecidable proposition, but seeing the film makes me think that someday there might be a definite answer.  Do you have strong stances on the issue? (Do you think the issue is ridiculous?)  Have you looked into this or any other possible conspiracies?  If so, or if you have an off-the-cuff opinion, send in your thoughts.

A LETTER AND TEST FROM DARYL INMAN

10/24/91

Dear Rick,

Enclosed is my latest test, the Quest Test.  I hope you will take this test.  [I doubt I will, though I will pause to be intimidated by it.  Part of the reason these issues are tardy is that I've returned to school for the first time in several years.  I was surprised to find that it is as tedious and time-consuming as ever. Plus, my wife likes me to find gainful employment.  Plus, having gotten lucky on a Hoeflin test, I run the risk of showing my true ignorance on other tests.  All these factors conspire to prevent me from pursuing my true desire, which is pounding through libraries in search of obscure references.  Ed.]  Also, I am enclosing some ISPE material in case you are interested.

Dr. Hoeflin informed the TOPS membership that the Mega Society's journal would be available to nonmembers for $10 for 6 monthly issues.  I am enclosing $10 for this purpose.

Also, please feel free to publish my test or copy and distribute it at your leisure.  I am, obviously, promoting my test any way I can.  I would like for all of the Mega Society membership to take my test.  Perhaps you could send each member a copy of my test, if you do not publish it in your journal.  Perhaps you could send me their names and addresses and I could send them each one.  Anyway, I would appreciate your help in this matter.

Also, for your information, Dr. Christopher Harding normed the Quest Test.  His IQ was listed in seven editions of the Guinness Book of World Records for highest IQ (Binet 197).

Sincerely,

Daryl Inman

THE QUEST TEST
**The World's Hardest Analogies Test**
by Daryl Inman

INTRODUCTION The Quest Test is an untimed, unsupervised analogies test for gifted adults.  It first appeared in several high IQ society periodicals as a longer test form and was taken by a sample of the HIQ membership.  It was eventually revised and then reduced to its present form after thorough research and analysis were completed.  This test is normed and is accepted for admissions purposes by the Top One Percent Society (99th percentile).  I hope you find The Quest Test an enjoyable challenge.

INSTRUCTIONS
ANSWER SHEET.  Type or print your answers on a separate answer sheet.  Please make sure that your answers are final as revisions will not be accepted.  Include your name and address on the top right corner of the first page.  If possible, also provide age, sex, and any previous IQ or aptitude test scores.
FEE.  There is a $10.00 scoring fee (cash, check, or money order) made payable to Daryl Inman.  Payments from non-U.S.A. participants should be made payable in U.S.A. dollars through any bank in the U.S.A.
TIME LIMIT.  There is no time limit, but it is suggested that you limit yourself to a completion time of one month.
ASSISTANCE.  You may consult any books you want, but you should not seek assistance from other persons and/or computers.
GUESSING.  There is no penalty for wrong answers or guesses.
SCORE REPORT.  Send your answer sheet(s) and payment with a self-addressed stamped envelope to Daryl Inman, P.O. Box 92, Mexia, Texas 76667 U.S.A.  You will receive your raw score, IQ, and percentile performance in relation to the general population.  Also, included is a list of several high IQ organizations with addresses. This test is only valid for high IQ admission purposes on the first try, so it is to your advantage to do your best.  The answers will, however, not be provided.  Please allow six weeks for a score report.

Provide the word that best completes each analogy.  For example, in the analogy American: (is to) Astronaut:: (as) Russian: (is to) ? the best answer would be Cosmonaut.

1.  Mother: Maternal:: Stepmother: ?
2.  Club: Axe:: Claviform: ?
3.  Cook Food: Pressure Cooker:: Kill Germs: ?
4.  Water: Air:: Hydraulic: ?
5.  Prediction: Dirac:: Proof: ?
6.  Raised: Sunken:: Cameo: ?
7.  1: 14:: Pound: ?
8.  Malay: Amok:: Eskimo Women: ?
9.  Sexual Intercourse: A Virgin:: Bearing Children: ?
10. Jaundice, Vomiting, Hemorrhages: Syndrome:: Jaundice: ?
11. Guitar: Cello:: Segovia: ?
12. Bars: Leaves:: Eagle: ?
13. Roll: Aileron:: Yaw: ?
14. 100: Century:: 10,000: ?
15. Surface: Figure:: Mobius: ?
16. Logic: Philosophy:: To Know Without Conscious Reasoning: ?
17. Alive: Parasite:: Dead: ?
18. Sea: Land:: Strait: ?
19. Moses: Fluvial:: Noah: ?
20. Remnant: Whole:: Meteorite: ?
21. Opossum, Kangaroo, Wombat: Marsupial:: Salmon, Sturgeon, Shad: ?
22. Clemens/Twain: Allonym:: Whitehouse/President: ?
23. Sculptor: Judoka:: Fine: ?
24. Dependent: Independent:: Plankton: ?
25. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John: Gospel:: Joshua-Malachi: ?
26. Luminous Flux: Lumen:: Sound Absorption: ?
27. 2: 3:: He: ?
28. Growth: Temperature:: Pituitary Gland: ?
29. Spider: Arachnoidism:: Snake: ?
30. Epigram: Anthology:: Foreign Passages: ?
31. Pathogen: Thermometer:: Lethal Wave: ?
32. Russia: Balalaika:: India: ?
33. Involuntary: Sternutatory:: Voluntary: ?
34. Unusual Hunger: Bulimia:: Hunger for the Unusual: ?
35. Blind: Stag:: Tiresias: ?
36. River: Fluvial:: Rain: ?
37. Country: City:: Tariff: ?
38. $/Dollar: Logogram:: 3,5,14,20/Cent: ?
39. Lung Capacity: Spirometer:: Arterial Pressure: ?
40. Gold: Ductile:: Ceramic: ?
41. 7: 8:: Uranism: ?
42. Judaism: Messiah:: Islam: ?
43. Sight: Amaurosis:: Smell: ?
44. Oceans: Cousteau:: Close Encounters of the Third Kind: ?
45. Diamond/Kimberlite: Perimorph:: Fungus/Oak: ?
46. Compulsion to Pull One's Hair: Trichotillomania::  Imagine Oneself as a Beast: ?
47. Cross: Neutralism:: Hexagram: ?
48. Wing: Tail:: Fuselage: ?
49. Bell: Loud:: Speak: ?
50. Benevolence: Beg:: Philanthropist: ?
51. 10: Decimal:: 20: ?
52. 5-sided Polyhedron: Pentahedron:: Faces of a Parallelepiped Bounded by a Square: ?
53. Motor: Helicopter:: Airflow: ?
54. Man: Ant:: Barter: ?
55. United States: Soviet Union:: Cubism: ?
56. State: Stipend:: Church: ?
57. Motorcycle: Bicycle:: Motordrome: ?
58. Transparent: Porous:: Obsidian: ?
59. pi*r2*h: pi/3*r2*h:: Cylinder: ?

 END OF TEST

Copyright (c) by Daryl Inman, Revised 1990

Editor's comments in the form of an article:

HIGH-END PROBLEMS

One problem with getting Mega members to take IQ-type tests is that we've already done just about as well as we possibly can.  I personally don't want to spend hours and days on a test just to be informed that I'm stupider than I thought and claimed (as happened the last time I took a Langdon test, scoring 158).  As Christopher Harding said in the previous issue, what you tend to get is regression to the mean.

Another related problem is with the sheer number of problems it takes most tests to reach an interestingly-high ceiling.  Most high-end tests have over 40 problems.  One's performance on a series of such tests might first be a measure of persistence followed by a measure of capacity for careless errors as one becomes overconfident or impatient.

I really liked Chris Harding's 10-item multiple choice Multimax Test, with a ceiling he claims is 211.  I might tend to agree with Ron Hoeflin that such a test might be psychometrically suspect, but I still like to claim that my IQ is the one given by my score on Harding's test.

I would guess that among high-IQ test composers, Hoeflin takes norming to the furthest extreme.  He knows exactly which problems correlate with the highest scores on other aptitude tests.  I'd guess that other test makers have at least an approximate idea of which of their test problems are the strongest indicators of high scores on other tests.

It'd be good to know which problems these are before attempting a test.  It'd also be good to know what kind of ceiling we can shoot for.  Mr. Inman, if you have this info, please send it to me.

I know what I want in new tests--fewer problems and higher ceilings.  This isn't very fair to test makers, but I have little to gain except knowledge and pleasure gained through intellectual pursuit, and unfortunately my life isn't structured to allow much of that.

What I'm proposing is similar to what I've suggested before in a different context--that abridged versions of high-end tests be made available with high ceilings and high basements.  We need small sets of selected very hard problems.  We need credit given for having already done well on other tests.  (When it was suggested that credit NOT be given to some members, did y'all get pissed or what?)  If credit turns out to have been unjustified and we don't make it out of the high basement, it's not that big a deal to test makers or test takers.  I'm sure that each of us has achieved test scores we're not proud of.

To use a concrete example:  the Titan has 48 problems with a basement of around 120? and a ceiling of 190+.  Aren't there 10 or 12 problems which could be selected to make a short test with a basement of 150 and a ceiling of 185+?  Could The Quest Test be similarly abridged?

I hope members will try the analogy tests that frequently appear here because they're fun and challenging.  I hope test makers will offer us condensed tests with high ceilings.

CELLULAR AUTOMATA AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE III
Chris Cole

ORDER                       LIFE                DISORDER
------------------         -------------     ----------------
pattern                          fractal               random
trivial                            computable       incomputable
I(p)=O(1)                     I(p)=|p| I(p)=oo
tone                              music                noise
physics             biology religion
determinism                  free will            chaos
0                                  1/4                   1/2

Life (and intelligence) exists on the border between order and disorder. What do I mean by this?  And why do I say it?  This article, third in a series, will attempt to justify this statement.

Each row in the table above represents an example from a specific discipline that illustrates this principle.  The rows are from, respectively, dynamical systems theory, theory of computation, algorithmic information theory, theory of music, philosophy of science, ethics, and finally, the theory of cellular automata.  My thesis is that each of these trichotomies result from a common cause -- a universal truth about self-organizing systems.

I will use the (I hope) least familiar example, cellular automata, to explain all the others.  Suppose you build the simplest possible cellular automaton -- an infinite row of binary-valued cells.  The value of each cell at step N is determined from the value of its nearest neighbors and itself at step N-1 -- the simplest possible non-trivial program.  The program for each cell takes three binary inputs and outputs one binary value, so it can be represented by eight binary digits (bits) or one byte.  For further simplicity, suppose all the cells are running the same program.

Suppose we want to investigate self-organizing behavior in this cellular automaton.  We can do this by giving the CA (cellular automaton) a problem to solve that requires global cooperation.  For example, if the CA starts in a random state (the binary values are randomly set to zero or one in the cells), we can ask it to compute whether there are more zeros or more ones in the initial state.  This clearly requires global communication between the cells in an organized way.  How does the CA "compute" the answer?  We have a lot of choices here, so suppose we choose this:  if there are more ones in the initial state, we want the CA to become all ones; more zeros, the CA should become all zeros.

As you might expect, if we randomly choose a program for the CA and see how it does on our problem, it fares pretty poorly.  So we borrow a page from nature's book, and use simulated evolution.  We randomly select a few programs (read "gene pool"), test them out and keep the ones that are better than the others ("natural selection") with a few random changes ("mutation").  We run this process over and over, and soon we have evolved a program that does the job -- it solves the more-zeros-or-ones problem.

So, we change the problem and run the whole procedure over, and over, and after a while a certain pattern begins to emerge.  It always seems to work out that the programs that evolve have densities in their programs near 1/4.  In other words, of the eight bits in the surviving programs, on average either two are zero and six one, or vice versa. You never see a surviving program with high densities of zeros or ones, nor do you see a surviving program with equal densities of zero and ones.

Upon further experimentation, the reason for this becomes clear. Programs with densities near 0 (0 ones or 0 zeros) can only produce CAs that exhibit very regular behavior -- simple patterns or constants. Programs with densities near 1/2 (4 ones and 4 zeros) produce CAs that exhibit random, chaotic, unpredictable behavior.  Only programs on the edge of order and disorder produce CAs that exhibit self-organizing behavior.

Further experimentation shows that this principle generalizes to more complex CAs, with more complex programs, higher dimensionality, etc. This principle is much more than an empty tautology (in fact, as far as I know, there is no mathematical proof of it), since it provides strong guidance in selecting initial programs for CAs.  Such guidance is essential, since the number of such programs possible grows exponentially with the number of neighbors.  The rate of convergence of genetic algorithms is very slow, and without this guidance practical programs for many problems could not be found in a reasonable time.

My thesis is that this same principle explains the table at the beginning of this article.  Can this principle be put to practical use outside the CA field?  That remains to be seen...

A LETTER FROM KEVIN LANGDON
IN WHICH HE INCLUDES LETTERS FROM
RICHARD MAY
DON O'BRIEN
ED VAN VLECK

Mega members who give more than a cursory glance to  Noesis #64, the ``journal of the Mega Society'' which recently arrived in their mailboxes, will notice that my friend Ron Hoeflin is up to his old tricks again.

A merger between the Mega Society and the Noetic Society is proposed, but the terms proposed do not provide a level playing field. Those who qualified on the basis of Ron's Mega and Titan tests are O.K. but everyone else is subject to retesting.

Ron was among those who squawked the loudest when the ISPE leadership put arbitrary and unfair restrictions violating the society's own charter on newer members who attempted to become full participants in the affairs of the ISPE (leading to the founding of the Triple Nine Society by Richard Canty, Ron Penner, Ed Van Vleck, Ron and me, and to our expulsion from the ISPE), but he has been involved in attempts to redefine others' membership status without their consent and to elevate himself and his tests above all others on several occasions:

[I've left out two paragraphs on Ron Hoeflin & other high-IQ societies.]

He has claimed special powers, on the basis of his status as ``founder,'' in both the Prometheus Society and the Mega Society and has attempted to make his tests the sole psychometric instrument accepted, or to have them given greater weight than any other test or a special status not shared by any other test, in both societies, and resigned from the societies when he didn't get his own way.

All of which reminds me of a story told about the Middle Eastern folk hero Mullah Nassr Eddin....The Mullah was seen several times in the public storehouse pouring grain from his neighbor's jar into his own. He was arrested and brought before the magistrate. The magistrate read the charges and asked the Mullah to explain himself. ``I am a fool,'' he answered, ``I did not know his grain from mine.'' The magistrate was a shrewd man and asked, ``Then why were you never observed pouring grain from your jar into his?'' ``I'm not that much of a fool,'' answered the Mullah, ``I know my grain from his.''

Ron tried to take the Mega Society's name with him when he left and founded his own club, the Noetic Society (originally the Titan Society and known also, at various times, as the Hoeflin Research Group and the One-in-a-Million Society), which accepted only his tests and in which he made all the decisions.

Many members of the Mega Society objected to a name with which our own names had become associated through our membership being appropriated by a non-democratic group which espoused a psychometric position which our membership had voted to repudiate (the one-in-a-million cutoff claim), even though the Mega Society was dormant at that time. Jeff Ward resumed publication of the Megarian (albeit infrequently and with access to less material than that available to the editor of  Noesis) and Ron made use of another name for his group.

The proposals outlined in  Noesis #64 are the same thing all over again.

It is true that the Noetic Society publishes a larger and more frequent journal, containing more material from members, than the Mega Society, but I do not believe that ``all animals are equal but some are more equal than others'' and I don't believe in selling out the members of the Mega Society, who are entitled not to have their membership status put into question, and so I recommend to Mega members that they vote against the proposals outlined in  Noesis #64, but I am open to the idea of merging the societies if it can be done in a fair and reasonable manner.

My friend Robert Dick has shot himself in the foot in attempting to protect the interests of Mega members in response to my complaint to him in his capacity as Ombudsman of the society.

It is not sufficient that Mega members be protected from the expense of retesting and from public embarrassment. Members of the society have a right to expect to remain members, based on their unqualified acceptance into the society when they joined. It is unethical to violate that right. Therefore, no member may be required to jump through any hoops whatsoever to remain a member and every member has an obligation to resist the imposition of such tyrannical conditions on anyone in the name of the society of which we are members.

I understand that discussions have already proceeded in the direction of providing parity between the Mega and Noetic societies in a possible merger; I regard this as a hopeful sign.

If there is to be a merger between the two societies there are many difficulties to be resolved and this can best be accomplished through a dialogue including members of both societies. The letters from Mega members included in this issue of  Noesis are the opening remarks from the second pole of this dialogue.

There has been a good deal of discussion of the question of whether any other tests are as challenging as Ron Hoeflin's. This discussion rests on a false assumption, in my opinion: that the norming of the tests is reliable (or even properly estimated) at very high levels. My studies of this matter lead me to the conclusion that all the major tests created by Hoeflin and me have approximately 5.0- to 5.3-sigma ceilings.

This leads rather directly to the conclusion that the limit to where we can get good resolution is about .5 sigma below the mean ceiling of the tests we're using: 4.65 sigma, I.Q. 174, the 99.9997th percentile. This corresponds to about 41 on the Mega Test. It is now possible to invite only a limited number of LAIT qualifiers, because there are no 174's and only a few 175's, but the third norming of the LAIT will make possible somewhat higher resolution at the high end.

Now I would like to address directly a point which bears on the subject of admission standards which has been included only indirectly up until this point--the relative merits of the LAIT and the Mega Test (both Ron Hoeflin and I have other tests, but these are the best known and most widely taken). At the present time, in my opinion and those of most of the small number of people skilled in high-range psychometrics, there are no tests other than mine and Hoeflin's that can be taken seriously as instruments for discriminating reliably at very high levels, which makes it all the more important to understand this.

Both the LAIT and the Mega Test correlate acceptably, though not extremely, highly with many standard tests (typically .4 to .6), though not with all the tests in common use, and somewhat more highly (generally above .6) with one another. Both are ``power'' (as opposed to ``speed'') tests. Both have high ceilings (though exactly how high is a subject of controversy).

It is apparent from the less-than-perfect correlation between them that the LAIT and the Mega are measuring somewhat different things. My tests have been intended from the beginning to measure what I call attention in reasoning, the ability to perceive and understand a problem, in all its aspects, to reason through the problem logic, and to arrive at correct conclusions. I have also endeavored to make the experience of working a problem reward the successful solver with a small epiphany as the elegance of the underlying logic is seen. Comments by many LAIT testees have confirmed my success in achieving this latter aim.

Ron's tests, on the other hand, while they certainly have a respectable g loading, rely heavily on familiarity with cultural information and tedious, mechanical computation of solutions to inelegant, computation-intensive combinatorial problems (which can often be solved more directly by those with strong backgrounds in certain areas of mathematics).

I prefer my own approach and so do many other people in the world of the higher-I.Q. societies, though I am not surprised to see a marked preference for the Mega Test among a group of high scorers on Hoeflin's tests.

My preference for my own tests does not extend, however, to attempting to block the use of Ron's tests, which are respectable forays into the field of high-range testing and are clearly measuring something interesting.

There is one other matter I would like to comment on. The question of the merger leads to another question having to do with the name of the society and that of its journal. ``Mega Society'' is the best society name of those which have been used for groups at this level (disregarding the questions about qualifying standard for the moment), but ``Megarian'' is a dumb name for the journal. Where did the ``r'' come from? The name is presumably intended to mean ``member of Mega.'' A member of Mensa is a Mensan, not a Mensarian. ``Megan'' doesn't do much for me; it's either a girl's name or some kind of monster. So let's either keep `` Noesis'' as the journal name or think about a new name altogether.

Kevin Langdon P.O. Box 795 Berkeley, CA  94701 (510) 658-1792

In regard to  Noesis #64, it seems as though someone is considering playing this entire scenario again, i.e., demoting members, retesting to establish ``psychometric purity,'' and maintaining that measurement is precise and meaningful at the highest levels of absurdity!

Richard W. May 279 Highland Avenue Buffalo, NY  14222

If they want to use the Mega Society name, I don't think they should be asking people to requalify. If they want to have people requalify, I think they can use a different name and that's fine.

Don O'Brien 10864 Alderbrook Lane Cupertino, CA  95014

If you want to see someone become ``un-dormant'' in a big hurry, just keep trying to ``limit members of Mega'' to ``those who have qualified through a Hoeflin test.''

The ecumenism of a merger between the Noetic and Mega societies may be commendable. But the idea of making old members ``requalify'' if the one-in-a-million score rises 2 points on Hoeflin's test is something one would expect from a neighborhood club or a high school clique, not a putative ``one-in-a-million society.''

It seems clear that what Ron Hoeflin was not able to accomplish within the Mega Society a few years ago he is now trying to bring about through a benign-sounding political ploy.

I did not apply for membership in the Mega Society. Instead I cooperated in the experimental ``norming'' of many ``high-level'' tests in the late 70's and early 80's and one day received a letter stating that it had been determined from my scores on several tests (presumably the Skyscraper, the W-87, the LAIT, the GRE, etc.) that my I.Q. was ``193+'' and that I was a member of the Mega Society.

Several years ago, I took many versions of Hoeflin's tests, mastering the psychometric theory and practice to make constructive comments, and participating in a very intensive debate within the Mega Society that concluded that no test yet measures or discriminates at the 1-in-a-million level; the members accordingly voted not to make that claim.

I chaired the Psychometrics Committee of TNS and was its Regent. As a result of these activities, I received many other participants' answers to Hoeflin's test questions in the mail, sans solicitation, and at one point had three complete sets of answers that were being circulated widely. Not only would this distort the ``norming,'' but it finally made it impossible for me to be ``tested'' by these Hoeflin tests.

If I were to ``requalify by taking an abridged, non-time-consuming version of a Hoeflin test'' what would it signify, if anything? It doesn't even mean my cognition matches Hoeflin's, since Hoeflin himself obviously has not qualified on a Hoeflin test, either.

If Dr. Hoeflin wants a new club with his home-brew tests as the only way to get in, he is free to start one. I may or may not choose to join. 

To ``renorm'' a Hoeflin test and eject anyone who fails to make the supposed new one-in-a-million cut would be like changing Hoeflin's earned Ph.D. to an honorary one if his university's accreditation were suspended at some future date for some technical reason. It's even worse, because: 1. Hoeflin's test has not been peer-reviewed or even published in the psychometric literature; 2. there is no valid research to determine what the one-in-a-million level is; and 3. there seems to be no way to get Dr. Hoeflin to take the counter-evidence seriously. There may be statistical techniques in the future that could reliably determine who is or is not at the 1-in-a-million level, but the Hoeflin tests, as they now stand, demonstrably do not so discriminate.

It's embarrassing and unnecessary to subject the current members of Mega to this kind of arbitrary exercise. The members of Mega have gone through a lengthy democratic process to determine what kind of society they want; the current proposals would disenfranchise us and deprive us of both autonomy and dignity.

Some 25 years ago, I joined the old MM Society, which made claims to be a one-in-a-million society, or at least ``the top 2% of Mensa,'' and later, depending on the whim of the leadership, a one-in-100,000 society. When the founder passed away, the society, which was then quite active, was simply abolished because a clause in the will stated, ``I do not want the Society to exist without me.'' Later I was expelled from the ISPE in a star-chamber proceeding, apparently because the leadership objected to my role in co-founding TNS.

Now I'm retired and feel that it's time to take a stand against this arbitrary nonsense. Let's get some daylight on these home-brew tests!

How's that for getting ``revitalized''?

Ed Van Vleck

[Editor's comments:  I didn't want to piss anybody off; I still don't, but I probably still will.  I pulled some stuff out of both Hoeflin's and Langdon's letters in the hope of reducing rancor; let me know if this is acceptable.

Hoeflin had nothing overt to do with our (Cole's, Ward's, and my) stupid decision to require all members to achieve a minimum score on a Hoeflin test.  Our only consideration with regard to Hoeflin is that he is a sensitive man, and we want to keep him as a member of this organization (which consists primarily of sensitive men--what's the point of high-IQ if it doesn't include sensitivity?).  We could have used some additional sensitivity ourselves when considering the idea of requalification.  Let me apologize again to all members and subscribers.  I hope that we can form an organization that has room for all past, present, future members.

Mr. Langdon and Mr. Van Vleck--I changed "106" to "million"  in the two places it appears in Van Vleck's letter because I can't handle exponents from my terminal.  Only then did I notice that you'd done some formatting to allow the exponent to print out nicely. Sorry.  (I have fake ID that says my name is Gilligan, due to my capacity for screwing up.)]

A LETTER FROM DIRK SKINNER

Dear Rick:

I am an apparent "near miss" qualifier for the Noetic (and I guess, the Mega) Society, with Titan scores of 41 or 40 (for the "Omni and Pre-"Omni" versions, respectively).

Although I interpreted the Torus-Mobius Strip problem similarly to Steve Sweeney and obtained the same answer as he did (17), and even though I have a question regarding the apparent incorrectness of one of my verbal responses, I would suggest that you NOT allow "second attempt" scores for membership qualification, even though I might be a prime beneficiary of such a policy.  That policy would effectively negate the "one in a million" requirement for membership, particularly since norming data are derived from first attempt scores.  The availability of several tests (and I agree that Hoeflin tests only should be accepted) should provide adequate opportunity for "near missers", such as myself, to qualify.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Dirk E. Skinner, M.D.

A POSTCARD FROM JEFFREY WRIGHT

Dear Rick

The idea of merging the Mega and Noetic Societies is attractive.  I don't have any idea what Mega is like but I know that other IQ societies have self-destructed from power struggles and personal attacks, often over qualifications of members.  "Mega" and "Mega Society Journal" are preferable.  I don't think anyone should have to retest to stay in, but I have no problem with limiting attempts on a given test to 2 or even 1 and only using Hoeflin-type test for future members.

Jeff

P.S.  Here is a tough one, complete the analogies below:

15 : ?
20 : ?
57 : ? :: 100 : Sleeping Beauty

[Answers next month.  Ed.]

A POSTCARD FROM KJELD HVATUM

Dear Rick,

I like the idea of merging the Mega Society with the Noetic Society. The Megarian is good for the journal, and "Mega Society" for the combined group.  A mega merger, indeed!

Rick, I sent you e-mail, but I haven't received any response. skh@draper.com should work.  Otherwise, you might try uunet!draper.com!skh

Sincerely,

Kjeld Hvatum

[I barely know how to type on the computer, much less deal with e-mail.  However, I'll get help from Dean and Chris.  Also, the system to which I'm connected tends to kick me offline every few minutes, which bums me out (Knocked offline four times in this sentence alone! There's a windstorm which is somehow messing with modem transmission.) and serves as an excuse to stay away from the computer for weeks at a time.  I'll try to be a better computer citizen.]

A LETTER AND ARTICLE FROM ROBERT J. HANNON

10/18/91

Dear Rick,

Thanks for sending info on the society!  I think I'll give a non-member subscription a try.  I consider IQ tests at the upper levels very dubious.  I've enclosed a check for $10.00 for 6 issues.

I've also enclosed an unpublished article, IS SPECIAL RELATIVITY REAL?, which your members may find interesting.  You can publish it if you like.

Best regards,

Bob

IS SPECIAL RELATIVITY REAL?

[Editor's note:  Throughout his article, Mr. Hannon has used boldface for emphasis.  My machine doesn't do boldface, so I've used caps instead.  I'm sorry it doesn't look as professional.]

In 1905 Albert Einstein published what is now called his Theory of Special Relativity.  It was not entirely original, but it did include some new ideas.  the central premise is that the laws of nature are the same for all observers, even if the are in constant, linear, relative motion.  Einstein's sole physical postulate in this theory is that the velocity of propagation of light in a vacuum (C) is a constant.

The basic mathematics of the Special Theory is contained in four simple equations called the Lorentz Transformation (LT).  HA Lorentz was a mathematician who had contributed much to the line of thinking which resulted in the Special Theory.  The LT permits one observer to relate the dimensions of space and time in his own (to him) stationary locale to the dimensions of space and time he observes in another locale which he perceives to be in linear motion relative to him.  The ability to perfectly make all measurements involved is assumed.

The relationships defined by the LT have little effect unless the two locales (also called inertial frames of reference or inertial coordinate systems;  inertial means unaccelerated) are moving relative to each other at very high speed, that is, at a large fraction of the speed of light (which is 300 million meters per second).  Such speeds are not met in our everyday experiences, but they are important in the microworld of electrons and atoms, and, to some extent, in the macroworld of stars, galaxies and quasars.

While the LT equations are simple, they lead to some puzzling, often paradoxical situations.  while the original four equations deal only with the three dimensions of space (x, y and z) and the one dimension of time (t), they have been extended to include other parameters such as velocity/speed and mass.  These extensions lead to other puzzles and paradoxes.

ACCORDING TO THE SPECIAL THEORY OF RELATIVITY AND THE LT:

1)      If you were moving at 90% of the speed of light relative to me, and you were carrying a rod exactly 1 meter long, aligned in the direction of our motion, it would appear to me to be only 44 cm long. If I also had a rod exactly 1 meter long, aligned in the direction of our motion, your would measure my rod to be only 44 cm long.  (How can we make these measurements?  That is assumed to be possible.)  But as far as we are concerned, we see our own rods to be exactly 1 meter long regardless of our relative speed.  If we were moving at 99.5% of the speed of light, we would see each other's rods as being but 10 cm long.  If it were possible for us to move at the speed of light relative to each other, we would not be able to see each other's rods at all because their apparent lengths would be zero!  We would observe the same order of change in each other's bodies.  If you were moving so that your height were aligned with mine in the direction of our relative motion, at 90% of the speed of light we would see each other as being only 44% of our normal height; at 99.5%, 10% of normal; and at 100% of the speed of light we would both appear to have zero height!  Note that this seeming change is measured only in the direction of our relative motion;  our other dimensions are not affected.  Neither of us would, of course, notice anything different about ourselves.

WE WOULD BE EXPERIENCING AN ILLUSION AS TO EACH OTHER'S RODS AND EACH OTHER'S HEIGHTS.

2)      If we both had perfect clocks, I would observe that as our relative speed is incrementally increased, your clock would slow down relative to mine.  You would observe that my clock would slow down relative to yours.  at 99.5% of the speed of light, we would see each other's clock to be changing its reading at 10% of the rate of our own clock.  If we could move at 100% of the speed of light, we would observe each other's clocks to be completely stopped.  regardless of our relative speed, we would observe our own clocks to be ticking away at their normal rate.

WE WOULD BE EXPERIENCING AN ILLUSION AS TO EACH OTHER'S CLOCKS.

3)      If we could measure each other's mass, I would measure yours to increase as our relative speed is incrementally increased.  You would measure mine to increase as our relative speed is incrementally increased.  If we could move at 100% of the speed of light, we would then observe each other's mass to be infinite.  We would not be aware of any change in our own masses; moving about would require no more effort than normal.

WE WOULD BE EXPERIENCING AN ILLUSION AS TO EACH OTHER'S MASS.

(Note:  all measurements involved in paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 are assumed to be perfectly accurate and to be possible without the measuring instruments being moved from one frame of reference to the other.  All measurements are made at times when the relative speed of the reference systems is constant.)

 

IS ANY OF THIS REAL?

It is often said that the experimental evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the Theory of Special Relativity, which is accepted as virtually established fact by most physicists.  Actually there is NO experimental evidence, pro or con, based on measurements taken under conditions that are fully in accord with the premises of the LT.  The LT does not deal with observations WITHIN and inertial frame of reference.  Measurements made on the Earth do not qualify, as the Earth and its vicinity IS our local inertial frame of reference. measurements made on the Earth are made WITHIN an inertial frame of reference.  Measurements made on Earth satellites do not qualify, as their motion is not linear and is accelerated.  Measurements made her on earth, and usually taken as confirmation of Special Relativity, are in need of another explanation.

The LT and Special Relativity are almost always used to assert that the changes we may observe in x,y,z,t, and m, (in an entirely separate and independent inertial frame of reference that is in constant, linear motion relative to us) are real.  In fact, the LT only describes illusions in our perceptions of things WITHIN A SEPARATE FRAME OF REFERENCE arising from its apparent motion.  No changes actually take place in any other inertial frame of reference because of its motion relative to us.

The LT does not prove or even imply that a material object can not travel at a speed equal to or greater than C, it does tell us that we will observe some peculiar illusions as to an object that is moving near, at, or above C, relative to us.

Bob Hannon 4473 Staghorn Lane Sarasota FL  34238-5626

 

[Editor's comments:  I'd guess that most  Noesis readers take length contraction for granted, with a standard picture of stumpy spaceships shooting through space.  There's a surprising lack of exploration of the exact implications of relativistic transforms on objects.  They don't just shorten in the direction of relative travel--they rotate away from the viewer, they curl away from the viewer like fried pork rinds.  And most people conversant in relativity don't even realize that such objects would be observed with almost insurmountable difficulty.  Of all the books on relativity, not more than one in twenty discusses any of the surprisingly weird aspects of length contraction.  For most books, length contraction itself is weird enough.  I had a really cool article with weird effect diagrams, but if I pause to search, the computer will offline me.  I'll try to dig it up for next issue.  Anybody else, such as Marshall Fox, M.C. Price, or P.A. Pomfrit know any good sources?

And by the way, can any reader offer us an explanation/clarification of Hawking's imaginary time and baby universes?  I've tried to read his papers, but they're too dense with  symbols.  (I'm too dense.)

Anyway, the relativistic universe adds insult to injury by being velocitally segregated.  Beyond having a limited conception of relativistic transforms, physicists aren't given a chance to correct their ignorance because objects with similar velocities naturally cluster together!  I challenge  Noesis readers to name two macroscopic objects within our solar system (each with mass greater than one kilo) that have, relative to each other. velocities of even one half of one percent the speed of light!  How are we going to observe good stuff (atoms, molecules, dust, pebbles, aliens, not kaons or pions or whatever) moving fast relative to us when all the fast stuff is some honking number of light years away?  We have to stick with imaginary rods & such.  Where's the fun, the challenge, the big budget disaster movie?

And speaking of such, Einstein always seemed to picture trains whipping around at near-light speeds.  He might have done some of his thinking while actually ON trains, trains that generally stay on their tracks, that don't generally wreck spectacularly.  But if he was doing his theorizing today, he'd have to use planes or spaceships--stuff that goes WHOMP! when serious errors are made.  There's no way he could run two 747's past each other at .8 the speed of light; the possibility is just too scary.  Imagine doing high-vee gedankenexperiments while on a jam-packed post-deregulation near-bankrupt airline.  Terrifying, to me at least.  I guess it's a good thing the Wright Bros flew only two years before Einstein published, and that all the really good drugs for train drivers to abuse didn't show up 'til this half of the century.]
BUILDING A SHORT HIGH CEILING TEST
(and having some fun doing it)
Chris Cole

Our Editor is on record decrying the lack of a short, high ceiling test.  This test could be used as a means of recruiting people of high intellect who are not willing to put in the grueling effort required by tests such as the tests of Ron Hoeflin and Kevin Langdon.  Ron and Kevin formulate their tests by publishing long trial tests and selecting the best questions from them.  Can we use this same technique to build a short high ceiling test (and have some fun doing it)?

What constitutes a good question for such a test?  It is easy to formulate questions that are too hard -- pick your favorite unsolved problem of elementary arithmetic (e.g., Fermat's Last Theorem).  It is also easy to formulate questions that are too easy -- pick up your favorite Mensa puzzle book and open it to a random page.  We want a question that is just right.  An idea: a question is just right if exactly one member of the Mega Society can solve it within a reasonable time.

It is hard to formulate such questions.  Some people, such as Ron and Kevin, are very good at it.  It goes without saying that answering such questions is challenging.  It seems reasonable that such Herculean effort should be rewarded.  But how?

Suppose we charge a scoring fee for people who wish to take our hypothetical test.  This is certainly reasonable and customary.  Suppose that we charge $10 to score the test.  Suppose half of this figure ($5) goes to the person actually doing the work of scoring the test (to cover expenses, mailing costs, labor, etc.).  This leaves $5 per question.  Suppose 1000 people take the test.  This seems reasonable, since several thousands have taken previous tests that were much longer.  1000 takers times $5 per equals $5000.

I propose that we distribute this $5000 evenly over the twenty questions on this hypothetical test, paying equally to the author and the solver of each question.  That would be $125 for either creating an ingenious question, or coming up with an ingenious answer.  I propose that authors send their submissions (limited to one question per issue--don't forget to include your solution) to the Editor.  Each issue, the Editor will publish our best questions.  Solvers have until the next issue to submit answers.  If no one can answer a question, it is disqualified; if two or more people can answer a question, it is disqualified.  As soon as twenty questions qualify, the contest is over.

The Editor will then attempt to get the resulting test advertised and to get someone to serve as the scorer.

So, fellow members, rev up the little grey cells and send your best questions to the Editor.  By the way, if any of you previous test publishers wish to submit questions from test that have already been published in Noesis, that is fine.  You of course run the risk that people have been working on them for awhile.