What’s it like to have an extremely high IQ?
Years ago, aged eighteen, I joined MENSA. I left after a year, having seen ample evidence to support the old description of MENSA as “The society for people impressed by their own intelligence”. In truth, the whole organisation was creepy. Anyway, when I applied they sent me an IQ test which you sent in to be scored. If you scored highly enough they asked you to attend a monitored exam. I scored 158 on the test at home and 159 when I went to London to be tested.
I have never encountered anything, either at school, university or at work that has been intellectually difficult for me. I got an English degree and a law degree and barely worked to get either. My memory has always served me well. I quickly see patterns that others don’t seem to notice (that’s your IQ test sewn up right there) and just find concepts come easier to me than to a lot of other people. I do get bored with most subjects quite quickly but, so far, so good.
The problem, for me, lies in the fact that I never developed any sense of urgency about anything. People will be impressed by how hard I worked on something when, in truth, I zipped through it in no time at all, paying it almost no attention. I learned to let people think I have worked hard because it serves me well. I’m essentially, and incurably, lazy. I should have achieved so much more and I am bright enough to know it. I’m fifty years old now, have been married twenty years and have three beautiful children, so my life is no train wreck, but I know I have shortchanged myself and my family. I constantly look at others with envy; never of their material success but of their professional achievements and work ethic. I could have done pretty much anything I wanted to do, but have ended up drifting into a sales career which pays well but gives me not one ounce of professional satisfaction or pride.
A high IQ is a great advantage but, in later life, it will torment you in ways the young cannot imagine. If you don’t learn to make best use of it, a high IQ will remind you on an almost hourly basis that you threw it all away. This is why so many underachieving people are unable to shut the fuck up about it – we become addicted in childhood to praise which dries up once more diligent, if less intelligent, peers start overtaking us. Those who are not socially intelligent enough to recognise how obnoxious it is will mention their intelligence whenever they get a chance, imagining that other people care. I suspect we’ll see a lot of that in this thread.
The world and its prizes belong, quite rightly, to hard working people, not intelligent ones.
Why does it always look like construction workers are standing around doing nothing?
This is actually a combination of a few things. Firstly, most of the work we have to do is fucking hard as shit. I don’t know what you do for a living, and I’m certain that you hate it and it’s boring and you have to actually think sometimes. Actually thinking sometimes is what I did to keep myself sane while I was jackhammering concrete for hours in a row. We need to fucking stop for a moment a lot of the time just because we’re sore. And I don’t think you fully appreciate this. I could take you to a construction site, make you work for a day, and you’d be like “son of a bitch, this IS pretty hard!” However, you’d easily get through the day mostly working, with little just standing around. Recall we do this EVERY FUCKING DAY FOR 8 HOURS. I did it for under two months and I literally almost died on my way home this week once. From being hit by a car, not being tired. But I only BARELY got out of the way, and if there was much more ahead I likely wouldn’t have bothered!
Second is the actual work we do. It’s not just like, “BAM! Here’s the crew. FUCKING MOVE! Carl, grab that jackhammer, and start breakign all of this shit! Steve, go start paving where we need to pave! George, block off the area carl’s at. MOVE!” It’s more like, “Carl, I need you jackhammering. Umm, let’s see, Steve… You can’t pave anything until Carl’s- WOAH WOAH WOAH carl, you gotta block that area off first, dumbass!” Most of the work requires taking turns, and a large portion of it wouldn’t even look like work – one guy’s job was operation a crane. He was constantly on full alert, and it was very mentally exerting – if he failed, people could die. However, it looked like he was standing there with a controller belt watching the crane.
Next is Confirmation Bias. We only notice that which we want to. You see a bunch of construction workers standing around waiting to get the steam roller going, and making sure traffic moves correctly away from the site, and you don’t see the three guys jackhammering, the guy on the phone to the supply company, and the two guys trying to fix that god damned steam roller! In addition, when you do see five guys all working very hard whaling a wall, You do not remember it. So this is considerably smaller a problem than you realize.
There’s also, and I’ve already touched on this, supply. We can’t fucking work until those fuckers at Jenson & co. bring over the god damned plywood! So, we have to wait around doing nothing until they get there so that we can do our fucking jobs, which we’ll be glad to so that we don’t get yelled at by the idiot superintendent who’s never around and have to stay late.
Finally, where the work is done. You only see the three guys standing over a manhole to make sure nobody does anything to it, not the fifteen down there fixing the fucking wall that, if it collapsed, would cause a cave-in destroying the road and sewer system. You don’t see the fifty guys at constant work on that huge university, because there’s part of a huge university in your way and you can’t see them. You only see the site safety/first aid guy looking around to make sure no dumbfuckery is going down. You don’t see the 18 guys at the top of the building jackhammering the overspilled concrete and whaling a wall, you only see the crane operator and foreman talking to the delivery guy about where the fuck our plywood was in the last two hours, and why we only have half of it.
Why do pro baseball players require so much more minor league time and levels compared to other major sports?
Well one thing is the way the game is played. With football, it is such a physical sport that you dont have time really develop guys because of the beatings those guys take week in and week out. Running backs typically fall apart when they hit the 30 year old mark. The only positions where you can be successful for a long time are qbs and kickers because they do not typically take a beating. College is basically the minors for football. You dont have the body or time to go from college to the minors to develop because one hit in football and your career is done. With baseball you can see guys playing well into their 40’s so they have time to develop their game before going pro.
In basketball, athleticism goes a very long way. There is only so much you can learn after college ball in the pros that you haven’t already learned. Big man can learn post moves yeah but they typically can contribute right away with rebounds, put backs and easy dunks. Guards are pretty much who they are going to be when they come out of college. They are good shooters who only get better with time, passers and those you get the whole team involved really happens with playing with the actual team you will be on and not a D-league team. Most basketball players fit a typical mold of a player. And also with their bench being as small as it is, usually the people in front of the incoming player is not going to be as good as the college player.
Now with baseball, it is more of a finesse game. Sure athleticism and raw talent do go a long way but fine tuning of your swing, or your pitching mechanics is what makes you great but it also takes time and patience. Hell the best player ever Babe Ruth wasnt a shining example of athleticism. It takes time to turn the raw talent into good baseball mechanics and it easier to take those guys in early and teach them how the coaches want them to be taughtand not some highschool or summer league coach who probably is giving them bad advice. It’s really hard to change a good swing that gave you good success in high school or even college into a great swing that can compete in the pros, especially when they’ve probably had that same swing their entire playing career and muscle memory is a hard thing to change. Also the season is REALLY LONG. Looking at pitchers alone, a 5 man rotation will probably have a lot of changes through out the year from injuries, guys not doing so well, weird scheduling that makes them call up guys for a game or two. That’s starting pitching alone. Now take into account most teams will have a bullpen of 7 or 8 guys that only go out between 1 to 5 times a week and you have a lot of potential for injuries. Also, guys just lose their spots to better players in the minors. Now take into account a 25 man roster over the course of 162 games and you can see why teams need minor league teams. Also, like i said before the lingevity of a baseball career is what keeps younger players in the system longer. You may have a good 20 year old prospect but the position he plays is taken by your all star caliber player. Its not like in basketball or football where you can sub him in and sub back the other starter. Once a starter in baseball is subbed out he’s done for that game.
Historically, why have Jews been so mistreated, blamed, and oppressed?
1) Jews were outsiders.
They (pretty much) originated as a nomadic people. They kept wandering around to places that other people already called home, places like Egypt and Babylon. We’ll call these non-nomadic people “landed people.” Every time Jews showed up to a new town, village, or city, everyone already there saw them as outsiders that wanted to profit from what the “hard-working” landed people had made. “The Jews wanted to take their jobs,” as the landed people saw it.
2) Jews kept to themselves and kept their own traditions, even when living inside of landed peoples’ cities.
From their beginning, people of the Jewish faith were a “devoutly insular group.” They did not typically marry “outsiders,” nor did they stay anywhere for too long, and they commonly didn’t invite any outsiders in to participate in their “Jewish games” and other fun times. This made landed people feel like the Jews thought they (the Jews) were better than them (whichever landed people were currently getting pissed off at them, be it the Egyptians, the Babylonians, etc). So, during a time when a lot of areas were becoming more ethnically diverse (from wars, political maneuvering, etc.), Jews remained mostly ethnically insular. You can find this with the first few generations of almost any immigrant population in the world. The Jews kept it going strong for about 2,500 years though.
3) Jews only had one God, whereas a lot of people had many.
People hate it when you don’t believe the dumb shit they believe.
4) Roman authorities told Christians that Jews were to blame for Jesus’ death.
After the Roman Catholic Church came to power under the Roman Emperor Constantine, they attempted to solidify power among their ruled. Their ruled being Christians (which “all” the Romans were supposed to be now). Other religions were seen as a threat to their power. Since Jesus was actually Jewish himself, these usurpers quickly needed to find a way to dissuade converts to Christianity from being sympathetic to Jewish people and their faith. “I know! Let’s write them in as the people that killed Jesus. Somehow. Even though it doesn’t really make a lot of sense.”
5) Jews could loan out money and charge interest. Christians couldn’t.
During the rise of Christianity in Rome and then throughout almost the entirety of Europe during the Middle Ages, it was forbidden for Christians to practice “usury.” Meaning, a Christian was forbidden to “loan” money to others, and then charge them interest on the loan. You know, that thing that every single bank, credit card company, and Wall Street businessperson does all the time now.
However, Jews were NOT required to obey this mandate. So, a lot of Jewish people ended up getting VERY wealthy by cornering the market on banking. Even to this day, a lot people believe there is some kind of global conspiracy that the Jews are out to steal everyone’s money.
So, there you have it. Jews were outsiders that kept to themselves that people in power used as scapegoats because they were the ancient world’s equivalent of zombies. It was ethically okay to hate them because they had only one god that they totally believed was better than all of your gods and could beat them up in a fight. And then, because of a loophole in the dominate religion’s fiscal doctrine, Jews got really wealthy while simultaneously making others in debt to them.
People fucking hate being in debt to others.
What exactly does a Senior Staff Software Engineer do at Google?
I’m a Senior Staff Software Engineer at Google. This means that a) I have an engineering, not management, role, and b) that I’m pretty senior (in particular, the most senior engineer in my office – Warsaw).
I’m working on the Cloud Console team – the team responsible for building the UI for the Google Cloud Platform. I am a Tech Lead of an 8-person team focused on infrastructure for the Compute, Networking and Kubernetes sections of the console.
This answers what my role is, but not what do I really do. This is a somewhat complex question, because I do a lot of different things, so I’ll just give a rather long list of various things I did over the course of the last month.
- I co-organize the work of my team. Google typically plans work on a quarterly cadence, and so we spent a few days discussing what are the important things for us to focus on, and what can we achieve. I was preparing the questions, asking them, driving the conversations, mediating when doubts show up, clarifying what do individual items actually mean – both in terms of benefit, and in terms of the actual work that needs to be done.
- I spent a considerable amount of time in mostly informal conversations with team-members around design choices, both on a small scale (how do we attack a particular problem), and on a larger scale (designs that will take a quarter or a few quarters to come to fruition).
- A large part of my time is externally-facing; both towards the broader Cloud Console community, and towards the backend teams we build frontends for. I’m writing this from Seattle, where I visited mostly to talk with the backend teams, listening and understanding various changes coming up and how they affect us, as well as explaining what makes our work harder, and collaborating on designing solutions – both short-term (things that can be implemented in a month), and long-term (things that are year-long programs). Similarly, I engage on a comparable level in some work that other Cloud Console teams do.
- I effectively serve as a source of answers for our management. I do deep-dives into hairy topics, where there’s a lack of clarity what should the long-term direction be, and come out with designs. This, in terms of actually doing stuff, involves thinking, talking to people, prototyping things in code, leading others to prototype things, talking to people more, thinking, writing up documents and presentations, presenting the ideas, and ending up with answers.
- I also engage in areas outside of the Cloud Console – over the last month, I’ve spent something like 4–5 days in one of the products I’ve been working on previously, figuring out a load-testing strategy (so, again, understanding the architecture and pain points, trying to make an informed guess of what’s most likely to break, and thus what really needs to be pressured with tests, overviewing the tools to test we have, and helping choose correct ones, and talking to various product-oriented people to figure out how much load do we have to be ready for).
- I do a certain amount of community contribution. This covers interviewing, talking with people who want to go up for promotion about how to present their case well (and sometimes, unfortunately, telling them I don’t think there’s a promotion case to present), giving talks to the office I’m in, etc.
- Finally, I sometimes code. Less often than I’d like, unfortunately. The most common case when I code is when I find something in the code that I think should be fixed, and I figure it’s probably simpler to just fix it than to organize the process that would lead to fixing it.
I hope that gives a decent overview