Also, they have more fun

The “dumb blonde” is a a stereotype of long standing, and apparently it has no scientific standing whatsoever:

Jay Zagorsky, a researcher at Ohio State University … has published a study showing that the discrimination against blondes isn’t just harmful, it simply isn’t founded in reality. Back in 1979, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics surveyed 10,787 people between the ages of 14-21 as part of the National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1979 (NLSY79). The participants all took part in the Armed Forces Qualification Test, which the Pentagon uses to determine the intelligence of new recruits. Zagorsky only looked at white people in his study because he wanted the results to reflect hair colour alone and not be influenced by ethnic differences (e.g. one ethnic group might have better access to education than another).

The study found that naturally blonde women had a slightly higher average IQ than women with other hair colours. This doesn’t mean blondes are necessarily smarter as the difference wasn’t significant. The key finding is that blondes aren’t any less intelligent than brunettes or anyone else.

Two points here:

  • As a soldier in the 1970s, I took the AFQT; it didn’t strike me as being culturally biased or anything, which of course could have meant that it was biased in my favor, inasmuch as I’m a whitish sort of guy.
  • No blonde woman has ever shown the slightest interest in me, which might indicate a tendency toward good judgment.

Shine in one’s step

I admit up front that I was prepared to hate this very concept:

I got these light up LED shoes from BEAM a couple of weeks ago and I couldn’t wait to wear them and share them with you! I just know that so many of you will love them. I fell in love with flashing shoes when I saw a girl dancing with them in a video on Instagram that had gone viral, then a week or two later, BEAM contacted me about modelling their shoes and I jumped at the chance. I chose the black pair as I thought they would be more suited to a fashion blogger than the white and silver and they would really show off the lights when it gets dark. I was right with that as when it’s dark and I’m wearing all black like I am here, all you can see is the lights!

And then I looked at the photoshoot, and what I saw wasn’t the extraneous silliness I expected: what I saw was exuberance, sheer delight in the experience. I’m not sure whether it’s that Lorna has great moves or that the atmosphere was just right or that the shoe lights were properly dazzling or some combination thereof, but somehow this look works, and the price point (£50ish) does not seem at all daunting. Very, very persuasive.

Are We As Smart As Cancer?

For a relatively small mass of cellular material, cancer sometimes seems awfully clever.

A Cold Eye

I have a split reaction to the rapid spread of Zika virus.

On the one hand, it’s terrifying, especially for the young and fertile. (I don’t have grown children hoping to reproduce, but I do have many nieces and nephews in that demographic.) Our natural self-interest as living organisms and members of a beleaguered species makes it imperative that we understand and control this threat: through immunization, genetic mosquito control, whatever it takes.

On the other hand, through a cold eye, such outbreaks, as well as the cancer plague that now afflicts about one in three Americans during their lifetimes, look like Earth’s immune system trying to control the cancer that is us — sometimes with whatever blunt instrument comes to hand, sometimes with an uncanny laser-guided focus: Zika targets the brain, which is, after all, the source of the trouble. It also appears to be transmitted by sex, the other source of the trouble (being, as…

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