Philip Coates

Scientific Literacy? You Probably Won't Beat Me

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A challenge: I would be surprised if anyone on this particular list beats me on this "scientific literacy" quiz. I have very strong knowledge in the sciences.

See how high you score and take the Phil Challenge and knock him off his high horse ==>

"Are you scientifically literate? ...You may have an opinion on climate change, evolution education, stem-cell research, and science funding. But do you have the facts to back up your opinion? This quiz will test your basic scientific literacy." -- Christian Science Monitor

This is actually a reasonably good and fair test of general knowledge that most people would have been exposed to or should have been. Not much was 'trivial pursuit' or junk knowledge like "what is the 87th element in the periodic table?" It is more like: "What element is diamond made out of?"

The first, no one needs to memorize; the second, reasonably well-educated people should know. ==>

http://www.csmonitor...th-s-atmosphere

[or you can just enter 'csmonitor.com' and click on science up along the top row.]

Spend only a second or two on each question - you either know it or you don't; you can rule out wrong answers or you can't. No cheating just as a way to shut up the schoolmarm, else I expect Jonathan to claim victory. :-)

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If anyone finds other good, yet short 'general knowledge' quizzes in other important fields that well-educated people should know - literature, history, grammar, etc. - please post them in their own threads.

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45/50

I didn't know Watt gave the name "horsepower" to an energy unit. I thought it was BTU.

4 incorrect because my Greek and Latin are rusty.

Bob Kolker

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A challenge: I would be surprised if anyone on this particular list beats me on this "scientific literacy" quiz. I have very strong knowledge in the sciences.

See how high you score and take the Phil Challenge and knock him off his high horse ==>

"Are you scientifically literate? ...You may have an opinion on climate change, evolution education, stem-cell research, and science funding. But do you have the facts to back up your opinion? This quiz will test your basic scientific literacy." -- Christian Science Monitor

This is actually a reasonably good and fair test of general knowledge that most people would have been exposed to or should have been. Not much was 'trivial pursuit' or junk knowledge like "what is the 87th element in the periodic table?" It is more like: "What element is diamond made out of?"

The first, no one needs to memorize; the second, reasonably well-educated people should know. ==>

http://www.csmonitor...th-s-atmosphere

[or you can just enter 'csmonitor.com' and click on science up along the top row.]

Spend only a second or two on each question - you either know it or you don't; you can rule out wrong answers or you can't. No cheating just as a way to shut up the schoolmarm, else I expect Jonathan to claim victory. :-)

-----------

If anyone finds other good, yet short 'general knowledge' quizzes in other important fields that well-educated people should know - literature, history, grammar, etc. - please post them in their own threads.

What the hell? Why do you care if someone “beats” you on some quiz? Feel you’ve been unhorsed recently? Given up on the founding of Christianity? Need to reassert your superiority? What kind of reaction are you expecting? This reeks of social metaphysics.

This also calls to mind the story Jean-Jacques Rousseau told about his youth, when his foster mother stopped caning him after she realized that he liked it. It’s creepy, knowing you’re dealing with a masochist.

I was saving this for the next time you slaked this perverse thirst for attention through GHS, but now’s as good a time as any.

FeatheredPhil.jpg

P.S. Full disclosure, first of all here's the original, it comes from the Revolutionary period. Second, Jonathan did the actual, work, clipping, pasting, whatever; I contributed the idea, so you can call it a collaboration.

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"Are you scientifically literate? ...You may have an opinion on climate change, evolution education, stem-cell research, and science funding. But do you have the facts to back up your opinion? This quiz will test your basic scientific literacy." -- Christian Science Monitor

This is actually a reasonably good and fair test of general knowledge that most people would have been exposed to or should have been. Not much was 'trivial pursuit' or junk knowledge like "what is the 87th element in the periodic table?" It is more like: "What element is diamond made out of?"

31/50, most of my weakness being in chemistry. All of my chemistry knowledge post-dates schooling and is almost entirely from wikipedia.

Ironically, much of what I got right was also not real knowledge, the questions are giving a lot of hints.

I have some concerns about your praise of the questions other than that though. Although "What element is diamond made out of?" is something that even I would consider fairly standard, it doesn't say much about the persons understanding. I know plenty of people who score high on tests like this but still don't know the first thing about it.

Here are some suggestions for alternative questions, although it's difficult to put them in a practical quiz:

- The three-phase current connectors for your oven (in Germany anyway, don't know about the US) are 3 for each of the phases, one for earth and one for zero (excuse my English here, I'm guessing the terms). Should the zero cable be thicker than the others?

- If you're taking a bath and someone throws a plugged-in hair drying in, would you be in any danger?

- What is the difference between a crystal like salt and a crystal like a diamond?

- If you can play a concert flute, can you transfer your training to the alto flute or is that a completely different instrument? (question accompanied by pictures of both)

I would say those questions are not more difficult than the one in the quiz. In a way, they are easier, because they don't depend on any knowledge about how things are called in a particular language or who invented what.

But they are not well in line with how science is taught, and I remember having debated them with fairly knowledgable people. It's weird how easy it is to throw professionals off-balance with fairly basic stuff as long as it's not covered by the classic text books. (The first question is probably covered in engineering, but not physics.)

And of course none of this has anything to do with opinions on climate change, evolution, stem-cell research or science funding.

That would be like saying: "You might have an opinion on the existence of God or funding of churches, but do you have the knowledge to back it up? Participate in our bible quiz..."

Christians fundamentalists don't only reject some corollaries, they often reject the very foundations. And to some extent, in a different way, so do I.

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My historian, youngest daughter is going to Jeopardy Nights at local pubs and she is excellent within most categories and even better at Wheel of Fortune. She is considering re - taking the Jeopardy challenge. The last time she did was when she was in High School, but alas, with no call - back in the night.

I am most satisfied when I can answer a Jeopardy question none of the other three contestants can answer, which happens frequently. I am not as fast as the younger challengers but I still win maybe once or twice a week when I keep score.

Here is an interesting idea for a scifi novel. Aliens are saved from a crash by an American and in gratitude he is granted the knowledge they possess in their computer and one stealth shuttle craft. The American, during WWII “disappears” Jews from Nazi gas chambers before they are murdered and transports them to an earthlike planet, light years away, where they set up a civilization.

Peter Reidy mentioned that some of his Non-Science courses were as important as Science. What do you guys think? What would be of value on the new planet? What would be most valuable?

Definitely Mechanical engineering, but Philosophy too?

Peter

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I got the first 15 right and quit because the presentation was painfully slow on both my Mac and my PC. It was clearly just a trivial pursuit game, after all. I mean, you can look up any of the information if you care to. A test of reasoning would be more appropriate.

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I got 29 right, which staggered me as I did not know I remembered any of that stuff. It was great fun taking the quiz, it reminded me how much I enjoyed chemistry .

thanks Phil-- I suppose you got all 50 right? Go ahead and tell us, never mind ND and Jonathan. If you can't be immodest rationally proud of your knowledge on an Objectivish site, where can you be?

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> Go ahead and tell us, never mind ND and Jonathan. If you can't be immodest rationally proud of your knowledge on an Objectivish site, where can you be?

Thanks, Daunce. :smile:

Whoa! No possible way to get 50! I got 47 out of 50, but I have steadily read science books over many decades, etc. and always keep trying to "push" my knowledge.

Re Michael's point about just look up any information, I wonder if he would say that if the subject were historic literacy (name three things Abraham Lincoln is famous for, what was the Dred Scott decision about....) or literature or philosophy (how do Plato and Aristotle differ most fundamentally and how are they influential on the modern world, or other areas of what E.D. Hirsch calls "Cultural Literacy"? Don't need to know it? Or don't need to know -anything- about, say, the atom than the differences between proton, neutron, and electron?

In fact, no one can know equally well all the arts, all the sciences, all the humanities -- so don't worry mcuh if you are comparatively weak on science or on literature or whatever -- but stocking your mind with more in each sphere is always helpful: not just 'rote memorization of data' but integrated in explanatory, logical and causal ways.

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Oh, no! It's the Invasion of the Renaissance Men! Run , run!!

No, I'm not that scientifically literate. The test was simple. Perhaps I just have good memory of what I learned back in junior high science classes?

J

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Oh, no! It's the Invasion of the Renaissance Men! Run , run!!

No, I'm not that scientifically literate. The test was simple. Perhaps I just have good memory of what I learned back in junior high science classes?

J

Let me guess .. you can skate too, right? Play backgammon? Recite Swinburne?

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Let me guess .. you can skate too, right? Play backgammon? Recite Swinburne?

None of the above. I was always made to play goalie when we played hockey in P. E. class because I was such a bad skater. Never played backgammon and wouldn't know Swinburne from a hole in the ground.

J

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Let me guess .. you can skate too, right? Play backgammon? Recite Swinburne?

None of the above. I was always made to play goalie when we played hockey in P. E. class because I was such a bad skater. Never played backgammon and wouldn't know Swinburne from a hole in the ground.

J

Well, then I guess I don't need to be so ascairt of you. Also I know that you have a lot of tolerance for (most of) us who merely consume but do not create art. "They also serve who only punctuate", I firmly believe.

I can't skate either (weak ankles) or play anything more complex than Hearts. I can however recite Swinburne, a lot of which sort of resembles a hole in the ground with dank dark weeds in it. But I only do that to people who I think need it or who really, really annoy me.

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He inspired this painting! Hmmm

1.jpg

Damon and Aglae

Simeon Solomon (1840-1905)

Exhibited: Royal Academy, 1866, No. 555.

Oil on canvas?

35 x 23 1/2 inches, 89 x 60 cm.

In the Sotheby's catalogue, the following lines accompany the painting, presumably from the RA catalogue:

"Sweet for a little even to fear and sweet,

O Love! to lay down fear as Love's fair feet;

Shall not some fiery memory of his breath

Lie sweet on lips that touch th elips of death?

Yet leave me not; yet if thou wilt, be free;

Love me no more, but love my love of thee,

Love where thou wilt, and live thy life; and I,

One thing I can, and one Love cannot die."

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Damn annoying people would certainly deserve this!

Swinburne’s first roundel was called THE ROUNDEL:

A roundel is wrought as a ring or a starbright sphere, (A)

With craft of delight and with cunning of sound unsought, (B)

That the heart of the hearer may smile if to pleasure his ear (A)

A roundel is wrought. ®

Its jewel of music is carven of all or of aught - (B)

Love, laughter, or mourning - remembrance of rapture or fear - (A)

That fancy may fashion to hang in the ear of thought. (B)

As a bird's quick song runs round, and the hearts in us hear (A)

Pause answer to pause, and again the same strain caught, (B)

So moves the device whence, round as a pearl or tear, (A)

A roundel is wrought. ®

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And DID you know that Rand liked Swinburne? Hospers talks in his memoir about trying to sell her on the superiority of Shakespeare and failing utterly.

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He inspired this painting! Hmmm

1.jpg

Damon and Aglae

Simeon Solomon (1840-1905)

Exhibited: Royal Academy, 1866, No. 555.

Oil on canvas?

35 x 23 1/2 inches, 89 x 60 cm.

In the Sotheby's catalogue, the following lines accompany the painting, presumably from the RA catalogue:

"Sweet for a little even to fear and sweet,

O Love! to lay down fear as Love's fair feet;

Shall not some fiery memory of his breath

Lie sweet on lips that touch th elips of death?

Yet leave me not; yet if thou wilt, be free;

Love me no more, but love my love of thee,

Love where thou wilt, and live thy life; and I,

One thing I can, and one Love cannot die."

He was a kinky guy, a death-obsessed masochist in youth, fated to live out a long dull old age.

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Well, then I guess I don't need to be so ascairt of you. Also I know that you have a lot of tolerance for (most of) us who merely consume but do not create art. "They also serve who only punctuate", I firmly believe.

Have I offended you? I don't remember ever having any serious arguments with you about art. My thing isn't "tolerating" those who only consume art, but laughing at those who only consume it yet believe that their rules about art should be taken seriously, and who pose as experts and want to save the world with their tastes as consumers. There's a lot of that in Objectivist circles. But I don't remember that you've ever displayed that attitude, or that I've ridiculed you for it. The only thing that I've ever "tolerated" about you is your Canadianism.

J

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And DID you know that Rand liked Swinburne? Hospers talks in his memoir about trying to sell her on the superiority of Shakespeare and failing utterly.

Good grief, is that right? Did she recognize a fellow submissive, "weary of tears and of laughter"?

What amazing things I learn on this site!

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Subject: Character???

Here's what I said/predicted in post #1:

"No cheating just as a way to shut up the schoolmarm, else I expect Jonathan to claim victory."

(The fact that 1/ he posted the test was "simple" and 2/ that he suggests these questions were addressed in his "junior high science classes" is also a big clue as to honesty.)

As for Mr. J the "artist", who likes to post many things which are false, and who wants us to believe that he has -retained- all this science from junior high, do you want to ask whether I believe a word of it?

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Subject: Character???

Here's what I said/predicted in post #1:

"No cheating just as a way to shut up the schoolmarm, else I expect Jonathan to claim victory."

(The fact that 1/ he posted the test was "simple" and 2/ that he suggests these questions were addressed in his "junior high science classes" is also a big clue as to honesty.)

As for Mr. J the "artist", who likes to post many things which are false, and who wants us to believe that he has -retained- all this science from junior high, do you want to ask whether I believe a word of it?

I didn't retain all of it. I got one question wrong.

J

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Well, then I guess I don't need to be so ascairt of you. Also I know that you have a lot of tolerance for (most of) us who merely consume but do not create art. "They also serve who only punctuate", I firmly believe.

Have I offended you? I don't remember ever having any serious arguments with you about art. My thing isn't "tolerating" those who only consume art, but laughing at those who only consume it yet believe that their rules about art should be taken seriously, and who pose as experts and want to save the world with their tastes as consumers. There's a lot of that in Objectivist circles. But I don't remember that you've ever displayed that attitude, or that I've ridiculed you for it. The only thing that I've ever "tolerated" about you is your Canadianism.

J

No, of course you haven't offended me. I was making reference to your sometimes impatience with others, yes, but in fact I was backhandedly acknowledging your accomplishments, as an artist and composer, which I admire.. Obviously my slapdash conversational style of posting gave the wrong impression , not for the first time, I apologize if so. And thanks for your acceptance of my gloomy northern ethnicity - it is appreciated that the stranger in your midst can wander the great bazaar, unmolested.

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