Thursday, June 27, 2013

We're Number Seven!

Amherst:  Where education is King (and Queen)

Yes, ever since some Search Engine Optimization geek discovered "top ten lists" (or even top 100) are hit magnets everybody in the Internet publishing world has a top list about something.

Last week it was a list of words used in emails or phone calls that would draw the attention of NSA snoops.  "Amherst" made the list.  Bad.

Today it's a much better list:  Business Insider is hawking a list of the "50 Smartest Cities in America;" and yes overly-enlightened Amherst comes in at #7.  Good.

Of course Amherst is a town not a city.  And to be more precise we're a "college town."  But that's why we're soooooo smart.

Now if only we could keep that tiny minority of students from painting the town red every weekend when schools are in session.

Maybe then we could move up the list a few notches. 


Anonymous said...

Smartest city.... dumbest blog.. ironic.

Larry Kelley said...

Actually methinks a CAN calling a blog he frequents all too often "dumb" is a tad ironic.

Transient said...

The search should have been top smartest "College Towns" in the country. Then you could even add top smartest "Multiple College Towns". As you can see these five bazillion polls and studies are very bias. If you search long enough you could probably find Amherst as the #1 in every category. The internet is not always the best place to do research. It's not to say we probably have our share of book smarty pants people here. But #7 I would have to see what they're sample pool consisted of.

Anonymous said...

Larry, did it ever occur to you why "Amherst" was a word that the NSA computers were looking for? WHY "Amherst" indicated a threat to national security?


Anonymous said...

I would also like to see how they are gauging "Smart" I really hope it's not by how many people in the Republic have a piece of paper framed hanging on the wall automatically qualifying them as smart. I think the poll takers should sit in on one of our town meetings then let's see where we rank LOL!

Tom McBride said...

Business Insider should disqualify us until the form of government is changed and we become a city.

I can't say we're an unenlightened bunch, but I'd like to know the parameters this business magazine was using when ranking towns or cities or whatever they were ranking.

Does the town manager get a raise now?

Anonymous said...

Going by his self assessment, it will be a hefty raise.

Walter Graff said...

"I would also like to see how they are gauging "Smart" I really hope it's not by how many people in the Republic have a piece of paper framed hanging on the wall automatically qualifying them as smart."

Geeks, that's how. Lumosity is a website where you do brain games that supposedly "improve" your brain power. Ha! And who do you think plays these "I am smart games"... College professors, who else. Lord knows they have little more to do in this town than read a book and after a while even that gets boring. Sort of like geek porn I'd say. As they say in Larry's article:

"Not surprisingly, college towns dominated the Lumosity rankings just like they did last year. Stanford was followed closely by Princeton, NJ, both home to two of the best universities in the country."

As I said, brain games instead of Nintendo and Xbox. Sounds more politically correct but it's a euphemism for video games for bookworms. Same results too.

A 2008 study(1) found that memory training increased intelligence and the author of the study implied that a person could boost their IQ by a full point per hour of training.

When a group set out to replicate the findings with tougher controls(2), there was no evidence for a rise in intelligence.

Then in 2010 11,000 adults where tracked over a six-week computer-based training regime designed to improve reasoning, memory, planning, visuospatial skills and attention.(3) The results... The authors saw benefits in executing the tasks themselves but little general advantage in other areas.

The authors concluded that regular players of brain games got better at the games themselves through familiarity rather than showing any marked improvement in fluid intelligence. So the ability to solve novel problems and adapt to new situations made a person feel smarter but they never really accumulated real and measurable knowledge.

Amherst might feel smart - and book smart is great - but it can't teach you how to turn the light on in a room or how to get the fireplace lit. That requires a differenttype of intelligence.

What the larger body of research shows is that emotional intelligence is the true marker of intelligence, but if it makes the geeks feel "smarter", let them feel smarter.

Lumosity targets their advertizing towards educators so it all works perfectly. Smart folks like smart games and the website sells advertizing to companies that like smart people.

My apologies to John Stossel. I worked with him for a number of years and I think his logic in a sea of mud wore off on me a bit.

Okay nameless folks, please start the attack. I don't bother to read them but I bet they make those who are afraid to use a name or take a stand feel better about themselves. The web is a great place to give the anonymous shiny armor to wear. Or as one writer tried to decipher:




Anonymous said...

We were number 7 because we had to subtract blowhards.

Larry Kelley said...

Oh I think if the researchers had perused comments from my CANs, we would be forever banned from the list.

Anonymous said...

They perused "your" CAN's comments but couldn't determine whether they were authentic or local. (Probably those crazy Princeton CANs trying to f up the data...)

Anonymous said...

My apologies to John Stossel. I worked with him for a number of years...

Now we can add "name-dropper" to the list.