Thursday, October 9, 2014

An Integrated Reality Assessment: How Much of a Grasp Do You Have On Reality?

Note: There is no ‘pass’ or ‘fail’. It is designed purely to assess the taker’s grasp of integrated reality – that is, the reality we inhabit integrating politics, deep politics, PR, economics, basic science and basic numeracy. Also, not all responses are all or none. In most responses,  marks (up to max. 4) will be awarded depending on the level of realism displayed.

1. One letter writer to the Denver Post wrote the following: “History is written from the perspective of modern day authors who don’t teach history as it happened, but instead from their own feelings and opinions.”  Based on her words one can rightly conclude:

A) She doesn’t understand what history is

B) History teaching as she requires would be an impossible standard to meet.

C) Nothing written in current history can ever be trusted

D) All the above.

 
2.If you make the claim that “revisionist history” is being taught or exists, what do you really mean by saying so?

A)The history written up or portrayed has been revised relative to the original documents.

B) The history written up or portrayed has been omitted relative to the original documents.

C) No original documents really exist so people – mostly liberals – make up their own history to confuse the rest of us.

D) Both A and B but not C.

 
3. An often quoted saying is “history is written by the victors” – what does this mean?

A)The people who ascend to power also have the power to record or write the history that most benefits them.

B)The people who win battles, or prevail in wars, have the power to write and publish whatever history they want.

C)The people who win wars have the guns to enforce the history they want recorded.

D) Losers lack the intelligence or power to write history.

 
4. You are shown a photograph of what is claimed to be an unidentified flying object (See  e.g. previous blog post). Your most rational and objective response to this would be:

A) Tell the loser who presented it to get a life, and also see a shrink.

B) Tell the guy he needs to do better when it comes to photo-shopping images if he wants to convince you.

C) You say nothing to him but report him to the nearest psych clinic as a possible threat.

D) You direct him to the Center for UFO Studies for a more capable assessment assuming one is to be made.

 
5. Dr. J. Allen Hynek (From his book, UFOs- A Scientific Inquiry) defined a UFO as:

“A UFO is the reported perception of an object or light seen in the sky, the appearance, trajectory and general dynamic behavior of which do not suggest a logical, conventional explanation and which is not only mystifying to the original percipients but remains unidentified, after close scrutiny of all available evidence by persons who are technically capable of making a common sense identification, if one were possible.”

 Based on this definition, one can conclude:

A)    Most unidentified objects seen in the sky really are UFOs.

B)    UFOs cannot exist, period, because aliens don’t exist and wouldn’t come to Earth anyway – too far!

C)    “Common sense” identifications of objects in the sky can’t be made if one doesn’t know what he’s observing.

D)   A and C

6. You observe a brilliant object moving in the night sky. What would be the most sensible way to rule out a UFO? (Note: "UFO" is taken here to be distinct in meaning from "alien spacecraft")

A)   Observe the path of the object, note the direction carefully then google “visible satellites” and see if its trajectory fits the profile for one of them.

B)    Check the angular speed of the object relative to the fixed stars, convert it from angular to linear measure (using the appropriate formula) and see if it is too fast to be Earth-based or a real unknown.

C)    Use (D) or (A). You can’t use (B) because one would also need to know its distance, which is unknown.

D)   Check its brightness against the magnitudes of known stars in the vicinity and if it is brighter than any of them it must be a UFO.

 
7. The equilateral triangle shown in Fig. 1(a) is rotated clockwise through 60 degrees, then 60 degrees counterclockwise, then through 360 degrees clockwise– what will the new orientation look like (Select option from bottom choices.)

 

A)………B)……..C)…..D)

 

8. In at least one Arizona case, a UFO was reported to have had a triangular shape. Which of the following behaviors might one conclude to be the most plausible from a dynamic and observational perspective?

A)   It is unlikely that a triangular object would have rotated while traveling at Mach 2 or greater because of the aerodynamics.

B)    It is much more plausible the single ‘triangle’ was in fact several distinct objects moving in formation.

C)    It is plausible it was one single object moving at high speed provide it didn’t rotate.

D)   Irrespective of what observers said, it is impossible to have a triangular UFO, they’re all round or like saucers!

 
9.   One plus one must always equal two! Your reply to this assertion would be?

A)   Of course!  Only a madman or math illiterate would say otherwise.

B)    It depends upon what numerical system you are using. For example, in the binary system 1 + 1 = 10

C)    This is too stupid a question to be considered.

D)   While it is true 1 + 1 can equal something else, e.g. in the binary system, the question’s context assumes we are talking base 10 system.


10) An Oswald double was observed by at least a half dozen people in and around Dallas before and after  the Nov. 22  Kennedy assassination. Later superposed photos even showed the real Oswald’s facial dimensions diverging from the double’s, e.g..
Overlapped image of the two Oswalds.
What would you consider a realistic response?

A)   There is no such thing as an “Oswald double”  - it is all made up by conspiracy nuts.

B)    The evidence seems compelling but I’d need to see a bit more to make a decision.

C)    The Warren Commission already proved there was no Oswald double – there was only one Oswald and he did it.

D)   The witnesses who claimed to see an Oswald double were all mistaken. A simple case of mistaken identity.

11) Many authors now concur Lyndon Johnson had the most to gain with Kennedy dead, and the most to lose if he remained alive. For one thing, he faced a Senate trial and a full investigation into his finances because of the Bobby Baker scandal. He also faced being dumped from the 1964 ticket. A later (1984) grand jury also found LBJ guilty of the murder of Henry Marshall. Your take on this without knowing anything else?

A)   Nonsense! There is no way a former President – especially one who fought for civil rights legislation – would have wanted to kill JFK!

B)    It doesn’t matter what sanctions or punishments LBJ faced, or what other crimes he committed, he’d never have had a hand in Kennedy’s murder!

C)    LBJ’s role might be dismissed except the Warren Commission was his own creation, and he also destroyed physical evidence (limo windshield, JFK’s suit coat etc.) that prevented a conspiracy conclusion in the Commission’s report.

D)   Anyone who would suggest a role for LBJ is out of touch with reality.

12) “Staff D” was a special assassinations program developed under the NSA and William Harvey.  As pointed out by researcher  Peter Dale Scott (Deep Politics Quarterly, Jan. 1994): “In 1961, when William Harvey headed Staff D, he was assigned the task of developing the CIA Assassinations Project, ZR/Rifle”. It was believed to target heads of state and Oswald had ‘D’ stamped on his CI’/SIG files. Which one of the following would you extrapolate from the given information?

A)    You would allow yourself only minimal critical input into the assassination since you clearly don’t know enough about the critical fine details.

B)    You would still maintain all conspiracy thinking is ‘off’ and it’s really a misguided effort to see patterns in life where none exist. The JFK assassination is no exception.

C)    You would allow that there could be something to the Kennedy assassination you might have overlooked and you should not generalize regarding it.

D)   A and C.

 
13) Consider these operations:

Let addition by 1 be denoted by A
Let multiplication by 2 be denoted by S
Let division by 4 be denoted by F
Let subtraction by 1 be denoted by T
Then given the sequence of operations: 28 SFATS, the result one obtains is:

A) 14..... B) 28...... C) 56........ D) 7

 
14) Columnist Matt Ridley has written (The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 10-11, 2011):

“How do we know that our own rational rejections of conspiracy theories are not themselves infected with beliefs so strong that they are, in effect, conspiracy theories too?

What can you interpret his words to mean?

 
A)    People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. (Conspiracy phobics shouldn’t hurl insults at conspiracy proponents.)

B)    Those who invest an unbalanced energy in rationally knocking conspiracy theories are themselves guilty of a conspiracy theory, i.e. that “there can be no such things as conspiracies.”

C)    Inordinate use of false logic to reject all conspiracies can signal one is infected with beliefs  so powerful that they also amount to conspiracy theories.

D)   Either (B) or (C) are both realistic takes.

 
Assess each of the following using a scale of 1 through 5, where 5 denotes the highest level of agreement that the example exposes an economic lie or biased procedure. A ‘1’ denotes the least agreement.

15) The unemployment rate in the U.S. is computed by dropping anyone still unemployed after six months as "discouraged".

16) The current U.S. poverty rates are designated as: $21,000 for a family of 4 and $12,968 for an over-65 couple.

17) The "high income group" for seniors has been defined as four times the poverty line or almost $52,000 for an elderly couple in 2009. This is being used to argue that cuts can be made to entitlements like Social Security and Medicare with no untoward effects.

 
18. Jan and Roger have saved $295,000 in their combined 401k retirement accounts. Their Social Security payments will total roughly $2,900 a month, total – given they are retiring at age 65. If you were their financial advisor, your advice would be along the lines of:

A)    You have all the bases covered, go and enjoy yourselves.

B)    You need to invest a bit more in the stock market then you can retire.

C)    Don’t ditch your day jobs yet – you need to save lots more for a comfortable retirement.

D)   After planning for future medical expenses over 25 years, you will have only about $75,000 left and that may not be enough to live on with only $34,800 a year in Social Security coming in. You may want to work a bit longer.

19. Your daughter received a scholarship to Harvard a year ago and wants to be an astrophysicist. Unfortunately, the scholarship only covers 90 percent of her expenses, tuition, room and board. After a year she still owes $15,000 and her GPA is 2.6. (She needs at least a B to continue with the scholarship.)  Your advice to her would be:

A)    It’s time to transfer to a state university since you’re likely to lose the scholarship and the expenses will only mount.

B)    Stay the course at Harvard but get that GPA up so you are assured of the scholarship at least because otherwise it’s unaffordable.

C)    Take a couple of easy, notch ‘em courses next semester to bring the GPA up – so you can limit the debt burden.

D)   Change your major! Astrophysics jobs are almost non-existent and you’d need a Ph.D. anyway- where are you going to get the money for 4 more years?


20. Terrence is determined to be a college professor of astronomy. He has one more year to finish the Ph.D. which will cost him an additional $25,000 added to his already large $150,000 college loan debt. When he contacts the university jobs counselor he’s informed the only positions he’d be able to get after graduation are a post doc for maybe two years, or as an adjunct. But nothing is available as a regular astronomy professor – anywhere.. Your advice to Terrence would be:

A) Cut your losses and drop out, then get whatever job you can with your existing qualifications. You can’t afford to be an adjunct prof owing $175,000.

B) Stay the course and get your Ph.D. Take the available post doc positions and something might turn up…eventually.

C) They are hollering for advanced physics-astronomy Ph.D.s in finance. Go that route – to Wall Street – instead of being a lowly untenured adjunct living off food stamps.

D) Follow you bliss and be an adjunct in astronomy if that’s all there is. Better to do what you love and eat cat food instead of just living to make money – even if you have a large college debt.


21. In a recent paper appearing in The Harvard Law Review, the following passage was found concerning gun rights and the 2nd amendment:

"Surely not every 'cause' is 'good' enough to trigger Second Amendment coverage.  If a person turned in a concealed-carry application with the explanation, “I need to carry a gun in public so that I can hijack a plane with it,” few would think that denying the license would violate his Second Amendment rights.  It is not clear why the result would be any different if the insufficient cause were conveyed through evidence other than an outright declaration."

On reading this passage one should be able to conclude that a realistic stance on 2nd amendment rights would be:

A)   People will say anything to justify owning a weapon.

B)    “Good” or “middling” cause requirements for a gun can be constitutional but lousy ones are not.

C)    Self-defense would be one good cause justification for owning a concealed carry weapon but not “to go hunting”.

D)   Both (B) and (C) are realistic takes.

 
22. Compiled statistics of elections in 23 states over the past 15 years disclose that barely 1 in 1200 instances entail actual voter fraud using a false ID or voter impersonation. Given this, what would be a realistic or rational take on “Voter ID Laws”?

A)   They are all bogus and lawless and ought to be scrapped!

B)    Voter ID laws are generally a smokescreen for justifying voter suppression, mainly for those with darker complexions  - look at Florida in 2000.

C)    The sample given is partial only. Voter ID is only semi-supportable in states that have proven high incidences of actual voter fraud using fake IDs, and even then ID laws should be rational and not punish people – especially elderly African-Americans - who may not be able to obtain an ID because of lacking proper birth certificates (births at home)

D)   Both (B) and (C) apply.

23. Solar physics papers published over the past 15 years have shown no significant contribution by the Sun to global warming. Estimates are that the increase in temperature owing to the Sun is no more than 0.07 K (Kelvin) over any given solar cycle. Over the same period the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased from 370 ppm to 396 ppm and the mean global temp. has risen 0.1F. Given this information, how would you account for the receding glaciers on Earth such as the one shown below?
Phil Stahl's photo.
      A)   It’s just a coincidence.

B)    It would seem to be a result of humans adding CO2 to the atmosphere from fossil fuels.

C)    It’s probably from too many big volcanoes blowing up and adding CO2 since human effects are too small to be responsible.

D)   It’s a result of the Earth’s orbit shrinking – getting closer to the Sun – or its axis tilting too much toward the Sun.

24. A glass bottle of water is placed in the freezer of a fridge and forgotten. It’s recovered after 24 hours and found to be broken. The most likely reason for breakage is:

A) The bottle expanded as it cooled

B) Water expanded more than the bottle as it froze

C) The bottle contracted as it cooled

D) the water and bottle both expanded as they cooled


25. A mass of water and an equal mass of an unknown substance are both heated equally then allowed to cool to the same steady temperature. It is found that the mass of water takes roughly four times longer to cool as the unknown mass. Which statement can be made regarding this experiment?

A)   The water has a higher heat capacity than the unknown substance.

B)    The unknown substance has a higher heat capacity than the water.

C)    The heat capacity of the unknown substance must be about one fourth the heat capacity of the water.

D)   It is impossible to make a determination of any true statement from the information given.

E)    Both statements (A) and (C) are true.

 
(Answers in two more days! Are you mostly out of touch with reality or not?)
 

2 comments:

Joshua Beer said...

Quite interesting. However your answers to Q9 are not correct. Since you stated "One plus one must always equal two" in linguistic terms then it doesn't matter which numerical system you choose. In binary, "1+1=10" is equivalent to the statement "one plus one is equal to two"

Copernicus said...

Point well taken: I should have posed it in consistent terms, so:
1 + 1 = 2 not the linguistic form. All those who attempted it, can given themselves a '4'!