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17 Oktober 2006 @ 16:42
A meaningless metaphor (or, Why his friends should say Michael Ignatieff has an IQ of 12)  

In a profile of Michael Ignatieff in the Grope & Flail [thanks be unto the Idealistic Pragmatist for the link], Michael Valpy writes (amid various other lionizations):

His IQ is off the Richter scale.

Note to Mr. Valpy: The Richter scale has no upper (or lower) bound. The only way to be off the Richter scale is to be orthogonal to it. As the Richter scale does not measure intelligence, anybody's IQ is, trivially, off the Richter scale in that sense. If you wish to suggest that Mr. Ignatieff's intelligence is of earth-shattering magnitude, then you might situate it somewhere around twelve ("the equivalent of a fault half way to the center of the earth or about the same amount of energy as the Earth receives from the sun in a day") on your metaphorical Richter scale. I admit that that doesn't have quite the same ring to it, but it has the distinct advantage of being meaningful.

Nuværende humør: nerdypedantic
Nuværende musik: These go to eleven.
Prof. Bleen6_bleen_7 on 17. Oktober, 2006 21:02 (UTC)
The asteroid impact that presumably caused the Cretaceous/Tertiary extinctions is thought to have triggered magnitude-12 earthquakes. I can't imagine anyone being that devastatingly intelligent.

By an astonishing coincidence, Mr. Ignatieff's IQ is also right off the Mohs Hardness Scale.
Q. Pheevrq_pheevr on 18. Oktober, 2006 02:47 (UTC)

If anyone is that devastatingly intelligent, they should probably be discouraged from thinking too hard....

w1ldc47w1ldc47 on 18. Oktober, 2006 13:07 (UTC)
The Richter scale has no lower bound? But what if the thing ain't movin?
Q. Pheevrq_pheevr on 18. Oktober, 2006 17:06 (UTC)

Well, that sort of depends on how many decimal places it ain't movin' to. It's a logarithmic scale, so an earthquake that measured -1 would be one-one hundredth as powerful as one that measured 1, and a complete absence of kinetic energy would be -∞.