Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Smartest Guy In the Room, Not

When I started studying physics in graduate school I initially thought I was one of the smarter guys around. It took less than a day to disabuse me of that wholly mistaken notion.

One of the professors was a woman in her late twenties who had her PhD from Princeton and was already becoming famous for her work on solid state materials. I shared pizza at the faculty-student get together with the man who won the Nobel Prize for proving the existence of neutrinos.

Even my fellow grad students would quickly show that most were far superior to me in the gray cell competition. One Russian kid — I call him that because he was literally about 19 — gave a talk to the professors and showed that he knew more about statistical physics that most of them. He was at the board and wrote something that created a literal, loud gasp in the audience it was so brilliant and unexpected.

Still, woefully inadequate as I was, I did manage to get in and could do most of the homework assignments. So, I have some reason to believe I'm not a complete dunce.

CNN apparently believes otherwise.
Obama's speech on the gulf oil disaster may have gone over the heads of many in his audience, according to an analysis of the 18-minute talk released Wednesday.

Tuesday night's speech from the Oval Office of the White House was written to a 9.8 grade level, said Paul J.J. Payack, president of Global Language Monitor. [Ed note: and keep in mind 10th grade ain't what it used to be.]
That is, as the saying goes, effing hi-larious. The day Obama says something that goes over my head — or that of the average American — I will kiss his butt. Somehow, I think the hygiene of my labia are safe for some time to come.

If Obama is the smartest man in the room, someone has been spiking the water supply with lead paint chips.


Anonymous said...

Given that 52% (roughly) of Americans voted for Obama, and 90% of those who didn't are so disgusted by him they won't tune in when he has more of his venom to spout, and most in the audience would have been journalists, it's quite likely the majority of those listening to him were less smart than him.

Says nothing about people in general, but a great deal about Obama supporters.

VH said...

Obama is good at reinforcing Americana myths to drive his agenda--we put a man on the moon, built ships to fight in WWII, against the odds, blah, blah, blah. I think a lot of Americans are starting to smell his B.S.

Jeff Perren said...

True, VH, true. Moreover, it's very easy to use that point against him, as many commentators have already done.

If 'we' can put a man on the moon, surely we can plug a hole in ocean sooner or later and clean up the mess.

That's not speculation, either. The Ixtoc spill in 1979 was very bad, took about nine months to contain, and the damage has not been long lasting.

And those responsible didn't offer - nor were coerced - into paying a huge sum for compensation.

But, of course, Obama is not about to bring up any fact that would weigh against his agenda.