IQ, So You Don’t Have To!

I read an interesting piece in Smithsonian Magazine about how often smart people get things wrong, and it got me thinking. Which is always a risky proposition. So I did a little digging to find some examples, and mango . . they were everywhere!

TESS is our space program’s satellite that searches for exoplanets hiding underneath our cosmic shag rug. They recently found TOI 700 d, which they describe as a habitable-ish planet that is a hundred  light years away. So while the research is kitschy, the reality is that we ain’t backing up the moving vans. And it begs the question as to why all the smart people here at home are sweeping our habitat under the carpet for the next generation to deal with.

What’s that you say? Looking for an example that’s a little less obscure? Okay, how’s about the fact that in 1932, Albert Einstein observed that nuclear energy will “never be attainable,”?

Or how about the Decca Recording Company’s decision not to sign four chaps from Liverpool to a record label back in 1962 because they claimed their sound would never work . . . less than two years before the British Invasion changed music forever.

Variety magazine predicted that Rock and Roll would be gone by June . . of 1955.

In 1830, Dr. Dionysius Lardner predicted rail travel at high speeds wasn’t possible because passengers would “die of asphyxia”.

Napoleon Bonaparte sniffed at Robert Fulton’s steamboat, calling it “nonsense”.

HG Wells claimed that submarines would never work in practice.

I checked out three of the biggest names in the NFL mock draft business, and the ‘winner’ scored twenty two percent on his 2019 picks.

Those mock experts are not alone. To wit, let’s look at five of the all time greatest passers in NFL history as an example. NFL general managers passed over Aaron Rodgers 21 times, Dan Marino 26 times, Drew Brees 31 times, Joe Montana 81 times and Tom Brady 198 times.

Most every sportswriter was picking the 2003 Lakers to win it all, while not a single sportswriter picked the 1969 Mets.

And if you’re like . . it’s sports! Who cares? Okay then, let’s look at a couple of political predictions for a moment.

In 1936, the American weekly Literary Digest predicted Republican Alf Landon would defeat Theodore Roosevelt. Apologies to Mr Landon, but he’s not even the most famous Alf in American pop culture. And do we really need to be reminded why Truman is holding that newspaper?

Image result for dewey defeats truman

And so yeah . . that was forever ago and technology changed everything. So let’s remember back to Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight giving Hilary Clinton a 69% chance of winning the 2016 Presidential Election. Old Nate wasn’t alone . . not by a long shot.

Speaking of technology, smart people get it wrong all the time. Darryl Zanuck was a pioneer of the Motion Picture Industry who helped blaze the trail from silent film to Technicolor. As such, he didn’t consider television to be a threat in the least. In 1946, he said Americans would get tired of staring at a plywood box in no time at all.

In 1966, Time Magazine observed that remote shopping was entirely feasible, but that it would flop. And in 2006, David Pogue of the New York Times predicted Apple would ‘probably never’ come out with a cell phone.

Homer said the world was flat. Mathematical economist Irving Fisher said the economy was a round bubble that would never burst . . three days before the stock market collapse of 1929.

Lots of smart people derided the Wright Brothers idea of flight, and a lot of those same smart people claimed the Titanic was unsinkable when it set sail from Southampton, England.

So the moral of the story is that you’re never as smart as you think you are, but don’t worry. Neither is anyone else.





88 thoughts on “IQ, So You Don’t Have To!

  1. B,

    I love how we can be inspired to write a post based on something we read or saw and expand it to share with our devoted following… And were you really surprised to find out the “experts” are a load of hooey?

    “… lying underneath our cosmic shag run…” you do these best! I like the “habitable-ish”. They sweep because they can and because they don’t care.

    So, by that measure, how many other things do the likes of Einstein get wrong, eh? Though, really, we have to understand that each new thing discovered brings new theories (I just feel I have to defend Albert.)

    Decca has been banging their collective heads against the wall for that one ever since.

    Rock ‘n Roll will NEVER die! Variety – you had no idea…

    Asphyxia at high speed, eh? Steamboats are nonsense, submarines unworkable? There’s a transportational oopsie trio!

    Love the football lookovers! Goes to show… and you have two outta five of my favourites (though Brady, should he come over to the dark side, can become a new one 😉 )

    You are pushing it mixing basketball and baseball in the same paragraph. But then, you do like to make sure your readers are actually reading…

    Love that newspaper shot of Truman. Makes me think of a movie – the name escapes me for now – where the newspaper prints two different headlines in preparation of the potential outcomes – probably was based on this particular story. There’s another Alf besides the lovable furry one?

    Politics – oy. Too many gave it to Trump and were right.

    The Zanuck story reminds me of the age of Blockbuster and all the other movie rental places saying the movie theatres would all die because who wouldn’t prefer to stay at home to watch movies instead of schlep themselves to the theatres – or even more so, the drive-in movies? Yeah, maybe there are less but when you see the numbers for opening weekends, let’s just say the industry is far from dead.

    Who coulda thunk remote shopping would become what it is. Sorry Pogue – they have and they cornered that market for a long time (not sad to see they have to fight to keep in the top three)

    Flat, bubbles, Boom!

    More transportation “impossibilities”. And there are more, less fantastic than these two.

    So, the moral of the story is this. When you write these fantabulous posts, you can bet on getting a long-winded response from that Q-Chica. The odds will always be in your favour.

    Perfect tune, of course.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Q,

      This post was supposed to be my “Annoyances ” post regarding the NASA discovery of a new planet. And then I read that article and I changed things up. LOL.

      Show me an ‘expert’ and I’ll show you someone who has used the dart method at one time or other.

      And really . . that’s what annoyed me. We’re searching the universe for what’s habitable? We GOT what’s habitable! Make it MORE habitable!

      I don’t think Albert needs defending. His quote was all about context. Genius doesn’t exist in a vacuum after all.

      Yep, those four chaps ended up forging a fairly impressive career as it turns out.

      In 1955, there were a LOT of people who wanted Variety to be correct. Because Rock and Roll was seen as ‘evil’. Now just imagine our perspective here. Music is evil but those bombs that leveled two cities on the other side of the world a decade earlier . . that was plenty fine.

      My favorite was HG Wells, because come on . . he wrote so vividly about these possibilities.

      Brady to the Raiders. I’m calling it now. 😉

      And the Lakers and Mets . . talk about diametrically opposite!

      And your comment reminds me as to how they print up championship t-shirts for both teams ahead of time and then ship the losers t-shirts to the remotest parts of the world. So yeah, somewhere in an ‘Istan’ or a ‘Slavia’ . . they’re wearing “Astros 2019 World Series Champions” t-shirts right now.

      Alf reigns supreme. The furry one.

      You mean Hilary. Right?

      I do miss Blockbuster. There was something kitschy about going to the video rental store on a Friday night and picking up a couple flicks with popcorn and candy.

      Nobody saw remote shopping coming. And many of those experts were STILL dismissing its impact many decades later. As for Pogue, he wrote that less than two years before the first iPhone came out.



      Hey, I watched Hunger Games the other night! LOL

      Love Edie, she never goes out of style.

      Gracias Q-Chica!


      Liked by 1 person

      • You’ll have other occasions, of that, I’ve no doubt 😉

        Oh, for shizzle!

        I know, right? Stop searching and fix what we have. Can’t help thinking of Wall*E.

        He doesn’t – and 1932 is a long way away. I definitely wish he was right, though.

        Indeed… They got by with a little help from another label.

        Rock ‘n Roll was the root of all evil, just like showing boobies in a movie is evil but blood and guts are not.

        Brady to the Alouettes.

        Hah! No kidding. ‘-istan’ and ‘-slavia’ wearing the “dead” t-shirts…Well, on the bright side, they weren’t just chucked and are keeping some peeps clothed.

        Alf had a certain somethin’

        Nope. I mean I would read about peeps calling Trump the winner and pffft-ing them. Dammit,

        I admit that it was fun to go to video rental stores. It often lead to watching something unexpected coz all the hits were gone…

        I am guilty of remote shopping – how can I resist? Technology goes so fast, I almost feel bad for Pogue.

        You wanna hear a good one? I’ve never watched The Hunger Games!

        She has such a style all her own – you do know how to pick ’em.

        Gracias a tu, B-Fab!


        • You’re right. I’m keeping my Annoyances post at the ready. 😉

          And not for nothing, but you notice how EVERYONE is an expert today? No matter what it is, you can find an expert. Duct tape? Experts. Spam? Experts. Lint in your pocket? I’m sure there is an expert for that too.

          It reminds me of when I get stuck whilst writing something and so then I start tending to shit I had put off. And I’ll be vacuuming before it occurs to me that I SHOULD be writing!

          Yeah, I wish Albert woulda been right on that one.

          Those chaps weren’t alone either. Look at Freddie’s “Rhapsody”.

          Which has always been a point of contention with me. I have always been of the opinion that it’s much easier to explain sex to kids, since it’s human and natural. Violence? We adults don’t even understand it most times!

          Do I have to break out the Ray Bans?

          Oh yes definitely. WAY better than killing trees in order to make two editions of the paper.

          Alf MIGHT have had a better chance of winning an election too. The furry one, I mean.

          Me too. When someone would talk about Trump winning, I would shake my head. And then he won the Republican nomination and I was like . . . “Oh . . shit”.

          There was always that. Options two, three and four when your “New Release” was long gone, LOL.

          Pogue was looking at technology from a pragmatic point of view. Which was his first mistake.

          Funny thing about the Hunger Games. I watch it whenever it’s on, even if it’s just bits and pieces while I’m doing something else.

          Edie was her own style, wasn’t she?


          Liked by 1 person

          • Of course I’m right! Da hell? 😉

            Honestly. We are overloaded with supposed experts – it’s why so many peeps end up more sick than they should as they refer to things like Web MD instead of going to a “live” MD.

            But the fact you walked away and did something else is what triggered the “what comes next” in the writing so… win meet win (as someone I know would say).

            Yeah. Dammit.

            Exackery! That song is too long, no one will play it on the radio, don’t bother. Uh. hello? Who doesn’t know the words to that beauty?

            So true. When you teach kids about sex, you are preparing them for the future. What the hell to do about guns and violence? No matter what we try to teach, it’s everywhere, glorified.

            What? You don’t like the idea of Brady playing in Canada? Remember – you hate him 😉


            Maybe. Alf did have his smart moments.

            I would tell them to stop being so ridiculous. What where the chances of Trump winning? Well. Shit.

            Sometimes you had to go even further down than four! Great way to discover stuff, though. Kinda like trying to find something on Netflix, eh?

            Yes, there is that. When it comes to technology, pragmatism takes a back seat.

            I figure one day, I’ll watch it – like I did for Kill Bill – finally.

            Absolutely. Jeez! You made me google her coz the way you phrased this, I thought she was no more!


            Liked by 1 person

          • I know, what was I thinking? Of course you are. 😉

            I steer away from Web MD as every time I go there, I swear I must be dying!

            Yeah, I think this post worked out well. It was more interesting than listening to me rail on about why I hate the sound of keyboards in movies. So There? meet Is That.

            Why do all the necessary predictions always fall so flat?

            My son, who is no Queen fan, knows the words by heart. Such is the influence of that song and that band. Nuff? Meet said. Okay . . I’ll stop those now. LOL

            I never knew quite how to begin a conversation about violence without tripping over my words. Because it’s impossible to explain that which we can’t rightly explain to ourselves.

            Hate is a strong word. And I am just kidding when it comes to the hateration. I hate how he has lorded over my team for two decades. It’s more a begrudging respect. One that would disappear immediately if he signed up with the Dolphins.


            Well, he wouldn’t even NEED his smart moments in order to be President. I have proof of that!

            Gaining ground in the debates? Nah . . until he did. Winning the GOP nomination? Nah . . until he did. And the rest is, as they say . . .

            Yes! Eggsactly like trying to find something to watch on Netflix! So it’s a good thing there’s Birdbox. 😉

            Technology reminds me of that Mark Twain quote about the weather. If you don’t like the current technology, wait five minutes.

            It’s LONG! All of them. There are three movies. I watched them after reading the books and enjoyed them equally.


            Long live Edie!

            Liked by 1 person

          • It happens. Sometimes we “forget”…

            Honestly. My sister goes there all the time and gets herself all up in a tizzy! I avoid it.

            It did. (Or while chatting on HO)

            I dunno. But boy do they ever.

            Hey, We were once 28 on a bus in Antigua and the whole lot, from 50 to 10 sang along!

            Violence is so difficult to explain. Because it always feels so nonsensical.

            Hate is a strong word and I know we are using it in jest and jealousy 😉 Of course you will love him when he joins the Dolphins or be in total disgust with him should he come north of the border 😉

            There is that. No smarts needed, apparently.

            Until he did and those of us who couldn’t believe it would happen, sat there slack-jawed.

            Good thing there is Birdbox 😛

            Yes. this weather thing applied in many regions.

            Then, eventually, I shall anyway.


            Liked by 1 person

          • You sassing me?

            So many peeps do, because it’s SO easy. But it’s also so problematic.

            That’s different. 😉

            And the ones we really can’t afford to be wrong, ugh!

            Everyone gets it. To use an old sporting term. That song travels well.

            And usually, most usually, is.

            You’re not giving up on that dream of Brady crossing the border to play in Canada, are you? Reminds me of my daydreams about how Michael J is really from Ohio . . .

            Smarts are not in the job description, evidently.

            Slack jawed yes. And still!

            Yeah really!

            Everywhere even.


            Liked by 1 person

          • Damn straight!

            It’s easy, yet oh so dangerous.

            OF course it is 😉

            Funny how that works…

            It has travelled for quite some time and will continue to do so for a much longer one,

            Yes. Usually, it is.

            You know I have to tease you about the Brady thing – I did, after all, send you that article 😉 Yes, it is a little tit for tat over Michael J.

            Nope. Makes me wonder why I am having so much trouble finding a decent job! I should dumb down…

            Yes. And now we can add flabbergasted and dumbfounded.

            Birdbox, it is!


            Liked by 1 person

          • Thought so.

            Like going out for Mexican.

            Yeah, funny. As in ironic.

            For? Meet ever. Okay . . that really is the last time I do that. In this comment thread anyways.


            And here I was, falling for it. At least initially, which STILL count. And to which I might never hear the end of it. And I knew there was a little Michael J comeuppance in that whole Brady thing.

            After which you run for political office.

            All good words for an otherwise forgettable situation.

            Better than RedBox!

            Liked by 1 person

          • I don’t even know why you are questioning it.

            Yeah, stay away from the chili flakes – they can be nasty.

            Exackery. Ironically funny.

            Enough already! 😉

            Very sad.

            So good. And I love that you fell for it. And maybe it is a bit of a tit for tat for Michael J.

            Oh hells no, I shall never stoop so low. I’d rather serve plates.


            I dunno… What’s IN the RedBox?

            Liked by 1 person

          • Never again. Howzat?

            No more chili flakes for me, sadly.

            Yes and yes.

            Well I never! 😉

            So sad.

            I totally fell for it. I was like . . is Daily Bonnet one of those Onion sites? Dammit! You even had me asking someone!

            Don’t do that, please . . .

            Nuff. See? I didn’t do that thing!

            Are you going to make me go to YouTube for my reply to that question?

            Liked by 1 person

          • ‘Til next time 😉

            Not necessary. You can get much better from the fresh stuff 😉


            Booyah!! Score!

            I won’t. Well….stooping that is…

            Boy oh boy that was close.

            It was an honest question… is RedBox a thing?

            Liked by 1 person

          • Mebe?

            And that’s how I roll from now on. No more cans or canisters when the produce section or the market downtown can provide much better.

            That was sassy.

            Biscuit in the basket!

            Careful with the stooping anyways. Stretch first.

            Ya think?

            It is. Was? Not sure if they’re still around. But yeah, they were like vending machines where you put a CC in and pick your movies. You’d find them outside grocery and convenience stores.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Hah! 😉

            Good. Glad to hear it.

            Moi? Sassy? Maybe just a li’l…

            Yeah, stooping can be dangerous. Shall stretch from now on.

            I know.

            Oh. My bad, I had no idea! Guess they didn’t make it to my neck of the woods.

            Liked by 2 people

          • I heard tell you like punks…


            Do you know how many miles of exchanges I gotta go through to go to the first reply?

            Yes. They are both on my to-do.

            No doubt

            Well there ya go. Didn’t miss anything then.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I might have a thing for punks, yeah. Not sure who told you so . . .


            Miles is the key word. Because yes, there are miles to go before you sleep. Miles to go before you sleep.



            It was all well and good, but none of the kitsch that Blockbuster had.

            Liked by 1 person

          • A little birdie.. 🐦


            We do go on for miles and miles..


            Ah well… and now Blockbuster is a thing of the past… or is it? I know we still have Videotron where you can rent movies…

            And, coz I’m on your page, I see the Seven video! Oy!

            Liked by 2 people

          • Those things are like a sewing circle.


            No kidding!

            The last video rental store in the county closed up shop last year. So unless someone comes along to provide six months worth of “Remember When?” nostalgic effect, it seems we have moved on.

            I used to say that to my kids every time they received a package in the mail.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Woot! No, but seriously, remember when we copy/pasted and got something else completely? 😉 This time it worked.. Phew!

            I dunno. It’s been a battle…

            Liked by 1 person

          • It was a joke. I dunno how that kept happening but this time, I copied, pasted and held my breath, half expecting that other one (that for the life of me I cannot remember what it as!)


            Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the collection of examples. I’ll add one for you. You are old enough to remember the Sears Catalog. Think about all the stuff in there. Let’s see … they had the products .. they had the infrastructure … they had the public’s trust … they had a good brand identity … and they could have been Amazon before Amazon was Amazon. … and now they are fading away into oblivion.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Perfect song to
    Go with your article my friend –
    And I know the song well – you brought back sweet late 80s memories for couple friends –
    But I have never seen the video and so enjoyed every minute
    And good message here in so many ways –


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