Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Thursday, November 12, 2009

More Wrong

So I innocently clicked through from Grobstein's blog to this happy horseshit. I decided to give it a try - I think I'm fairly good at assessing my own likelihood of being right about things.

I took quiz 1. It says that, of the answers in which I was 96% confident, I got 12/13 (or ~92%) correct. Uh oh, looks like I'm not so well-calibrated after all!

Well I'm calling bullshit. Here are my 96% answers:

1. Who was the first woman to sit on The United States Supreme Court?

I said Sandra Day O'Connor.

2. What is the modern name of the city once known as Constantinople?

Istanbul. Istanbul was Constantinople, now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople, why did Constantinople get the works?

3. Which of these companies has the most U.S. commercial outlets?

The options were Macy's, Radio Shack, McDonald's, and Toys R Us. I said McDonald's.

I note that this is a stupid question because the correct answer could change. However, the internet tells me that Macy's has about 810 stores, Radio Shack has 6,757 stores, McDonald's has 12,804 restaurants in the US, and Toys R Us has 860 stores in the US.

Anyway I got it right.

4. Who was the only American president actually impeached by Congress?

I put Andrew Johnson. And I'm fucking right.

5. U.S. Marines fought in Peking in 1900 what military campaign?

I put Boxer Rebellion.

6. Sherlock Holmes was a fictional detective created by...?

I put Arthur Conan Doyle.

7. Who built and flew "The Spruce Goose"?

Howard Hughes.

8. What was the name of the woman who died at Chappaquiddick?

Mary Jo Kopechne.

9. Who is believed to have built the hanging gardens of Babylon?


10. What country began the digging of the Panama Canal in 1882?


11. In Roman mythology, who was the blacksmith of the gods?


12. How did The Lusitania sink?


13. What was Paul Revere's occupation?


So basically, I was 13/13. Now, one could quibble about some of these. For instance, the Lusitania was in fact torpedoed, but arguably the real reason it sank was that it caught fire, and it was a mere coincidence that it was torpedoed immediately beforehand. Or, you know, maybe some people believe King Tut built the Hanging Gardens, in which case King Tut would be a correct answer, notwithstanding that Nebuchadnezzar actually built them.

But going back and trying out alternative answers, I discover that it was the McDonald's question that tripped me up. I'm picturing him designing the quiz, chortling as he sets up a trick question based on the fact that McDonald's has restaurants, not outlets (or that they are franchises or something).

Basically, the lesson is, these Less Wrong people are fuckos, and you have no reason to trust anything they write about anything until you have independently verified it.

[UPDATE: According to quiz 2, Buenos Aires is bigger than Rio de Janeiro. Now, in some sense this may be true, but why would you write a question with multiple correct answers?]