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Showing posts from December, 2010

A little bit late, I suppose...

...but a (late) Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

 YouTube, as we all know, is not a place famous for intelligent comment and conversation. But some posts just take the metaphorical cake...
 ...I am a proud atheist and former Dawkinstard (I've gotten better now though), but I enjoy singing hymns and carols because I consider them beautiful music. I know quite a lot of other people who do the same. So imagine how pissed off I get when on Christmas Day, some retard uses a carol as an excuse to tell us how much better Christian mythology is than other Abrahamic ones and how atheism is "nonsense".
 I'm not going to bother picking this statement apart in detail, because a full rebuttal could take up a series of volumes. What I am going to say is this: Christmas, as everyone who isn't selling us stuff is constantly trying to tell us, is supposed to be about peace and goodwill to all, not about one-upping everyone who isn't a Christian. This becomes even more e…

I actually found something quite cool today

See above. Strangely enough, it was from Middlemarch, which is laden with unnecessary quotes at the beginning of every chapter, some in French (which is not too bad) and Latin (which is worse) without translation, and also insists on capitalising words like Love and going off on long rants about the randomness of fate or self-absorbed young people *cough cough Dorothea*. The sad thing is, this would be excusable if it had no actual plot and was uniformly boring and badly-written. Instead, there are passages where I just keep turning and turning the pages followed by passages where I want to bash my head against the wall because of stilted dialogue and flowery prose.
Apologies for having done the very thing I was ranting against, but anyway, here's the quote. (It's actually a poem called The Character of a Happy Life by Sir Henry Wotton.)

How happy is he born and taughtThat serveth not another's will;Whose armour is his honest thought,And simple truth his utmost skill!Whose p…

Why Psychometry Tests Don't Work

Those of you who live in the UK may have heard of the CEM Centre and their baseline tests, which a lot of secondary schools force their pupils to take. Those of you who go to a secondary school in the UK may have taken one - sometimes multiple times.

What the tests are actually for is a mystery to some of us, especially those taking them. The answers are variously:

1) To measure actual ability against grades

2) To predict your grades

3) To measure how smart you are

In any case, whichever answer you pick, you're not going to get very good results out of the baseline tests.

"Gasp!" you exclaim. "Why not?"

Scroll down to find out the answer if you're that desperate, I say. I'll get there in my own good time.

There are a few different reasons why psychometry tests are flawed - about two main ones, I should say, and then some more. For simplicity's sake, I'm calling what are technically known as ability and aptitude tests psychometry.

The first reaso…