Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Captain Kangaroo vs. Rorschach

There's a veritible firestorm brewing between psychologists all over the world and Wikipedia. In June, Dr. James Heilman* posted pictures of all 10 original inkblots along with the most common answers given for each. Psychologists are up in arms because they think that one of their beloved tests has been rendered completely useless. Now anyone can just memorize the "right" answers and fake being sane.

This is Rorschach Inkblot #4. To me, this looks like a giant mutant kangaroo jumping into battle with guns ablazing. I think he's adorable. His gruff but wisecracking exterior hides the inner pain he still feels from the loss of fellow mercenary, killed in battle saving Captain Kangaroo's life (the children's show was such a whitewash job.)

And hey! Turns out I am completely sane or at least totally normal because one of the most common responses to this ink blot is "massive animal." Whew. And here I've been worried about my mental health!

While the images are being kept up at Wikipedia, the inclusion of a list of most common answers is being deleted and re-entered in an edit battle. Here are the most common answers for each ink blot:

Plate 1 (bat, butterfly, moth)
Plate 2 (two humans)
Plate 3 (two humans)
Plate 4 (animal skin, massive animal)
Plate 5 (bat, butterfly, moth)
Plate 6 (animal hide, skin, rug)
Plate 7 (human heads, faces)
Plate 8 (pink: animal)
Plate 9 (orange: human)
Plate 10 (blue: crab, lobster, spider)

Now memorize these in case you are ever tested. And don't say I never did anything for you because I just saved you some time in the big house.

*Dr. Heilman is from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. That's just about the greatest thing about the whole situation. Ah, the power of these glorious tubes, that an emergency room doctor from Moose Jaw could single handedly bring down the greatest comic book psycho nutjob hero of all time.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Creative Distance

If you want that a-ha moment, where you suddenly see a completely different way of solving a problem, think first about someplace far, far away. It's more than a metaphor, distance can actually help you be more creative. Just thinking about a distant place will change how you think about whatever problems you are dealing with. Try it next time you're stuck.

For more, read the Scientific American article here.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


I was trying to find an article I recently read in the New York Times describing Holland's tax system. I searched the NYT for "Holland" and got 10,000 hits. On page three I find the following article:

Holland, on the eve of her shipping being taken over by the United States and Great Britain, has given evidences of a readiness to make a voluntary agreement to that purpose, even agreeing that the ships shall be sent through the war zone.

I'm like, what the hell? Then I read the date:

March 17, 1918

Did you know you can search the ENTIRE New York Times?