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Is "Scorpion" Really a Genius? 391

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the watch-out-I-know-html dept.
An anonymous reader writes CBS's upcoming hacker show Scorpion is pitched as based on the real life of Irish 'eccentric genius' Walter O'Brien a.k.a. "Scorpion". Some of the claims made for the real Scorpion are extraordinary. A child prodigy with an IQ of 197, hacking Nasa at age 13, [supplying] Ireland with more Personal Computers than DELL and Gateway together. Searching online I wasn't able to find anything which, for me, clearly backed up any of these (or other) claims. For example, rather than being the sixth fastest programmer in the world in 1993, his team ranked 90th out of 250 teams. Curiously, his degree grade was an ok, but hardly stellar B+ (II-I). Does anyone know anything to back up the genius claims being made about Scorpion?
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Is "Scorpion" Really a Genius?

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  • by Ukab the Great (87152) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @12:33AM (#47652867)

    Get in the way of a good story.

    • by dutchwhizzman (817898) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @01:03AM (#47652973)

      http://www.scorpioncomputerservices.com/the_founder.html

      He probably is a smart guy, but these claims here would make me not want to hire him. He's so obviously full of himself that he'd probably never admit he might be wrong about something and that is just plain dangerous. So it's not just the hollywood drama, it's based on his on ludicrous claims.

      • by darkain (749283) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @01:45AM (#47653061) Homepage

        I can't even begin to count the number of things wrong with their web site which already makes me not trust them...

        * Using Flash just to have a "fancy" text label on the home page
        * More JavaScript than I can possibly imagine for a STATIC web page
        * Video where the lighting exposure is off and the audio quality is questionable
        * Speech during the video where the guy stumbles on his own words a couple of times

        Really, for a company that supposedly "mitigated risk for 7 years on $1.9 trillion of investments" and ran by a supposed tech superstar genius, you'd think they'd at least get the basics of technology and media correct on their own e-penis self-promotion presentation...

        • by BetterThanCaesar (625636) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @06:36AM (#47653755)

          How about this then? From http://www.scorpioncomputerservices.com/whoweare.html [scorpionco...rvices.com]:

          <body onload="MM_preloadImages('file:///Macintosh HD/Users/brandonlavere/Desktop/PROJECTS/Paradise Film &amp; Video/Test Site/images/nav_but1_over.jpg','file:///Macintosh HD/Users/brandonlavere/Desktop/PROJECTS/Paradise Film &amp; Video/Test Site/images/nav_but2_over.jpg','file:///Macintosh HD/Users/brandonlavere/Desktop/PROJECTS/Paradise Film &amp; Video/Test Site/images/nav_but3_over.jpg','file:///Macintosh HD/Users/brandonlavere/Desktop/PROJECTS/Paradise Film &amp; Video/Test Site/images/nav_but4_over.jpg','images/nav_but5_over.jpg','file:///Macintosh HD/Users/brandonlavere/Desktop/PROJECTS/Paradise Film &amp; Video/Test Site/images/nav_but5_over.jpg','file:///Macintosh HD/Users/brandonlavere/Desktop/PROJECTS/Paradise Film &amp; Video/Test Site/images/nav_but6_over.jpg','images/0_company_over.png','images/0_difference_over.png','images/0_founder_over.png','images/0_team_over.png')">

          That's production quality.

        • I love how he goes by his hacker name "The Scorpion". I'm surprised he didn't call it a handle. Or call him self "The Plague".

          Anyway, I expect him to be be busted by Zero Cool and Acid Burn any day now.

          • by NotDrWho (3543773)

            I remember in the late 70's, when truck drivers were actually fighting over the CB handle "The Bandit," completely oblivious to the fact that having that handle didn't make them look cool, it made them look absolutely pathetic.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by Anonymous Coward

              I hope having a Trans Am was the trump card. And when both had a TA... compare mustaches.

      • by Azaril (1046456)
        His 2:1 is also not from Sussex University as he claimed (which is a reasonably reputable establishment) but from the University of brighton according to his own [a href=http://www.scorpioncomputerservices.com/Press%20Coverage/media3.gif]source[/a]. This is an ex-polytechnic - the equivalent of a community college in the US.
        • by Alioth (221270)

          The ex-polytechnic degrees are just as reputable as "red brick" university ones. Most polytechnics aren't like US community colleges, but more like the minor US universities.

        • by psmears (629712)

          His 2:1 is also not from Sussex University as he claimed (which is a reasonably reputable establishment) but from the University of brighton according to his own source [scorpionco...rvices.com].

          You're right, the article does say that, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was the (non-UK) newspaper that mixed up"University of Sussex at Brighton" and "University of Brighton"...

      • by flyneye (84093) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @06:16AM (#47653681) Homepage

        You're right, he's probably nearly as smart as myself. It's a television show, what he doesn't come up with, the writers will. Have you, somewhere on this planet, come across a reality show that had unadulterated reality in it?
        Let's examine the claims of this article; He claimed 6th fastest programmer, author claimed his team came in 90th. Still not exclusive of each other.I.Q. of 197, I merely want to know which test or groups of tests and who did the testing. Hacking NASA; which computer? What did he do, find a flimsy password for ftp? Computer philanthropy, let's see some numbers to compare to Gateway/Dell.
        It really sounds more like Unknown Lamer just wanted to stir some drama to get his blog posted as a story on the main page as much as it sounds like bullshit on "scorpions" part.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947)

        He probably is a smart guy, but these claims here would make me not want to hire him.

        They me want to give him a wedgie.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cytg.net (912690)
      197 is a significant number, I dont think many officiall tests go that high, point being there should very well be a track record somewhere if he actually took this test and made 197.
      • by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @01:57AM (#47653095) Homepage

        Yep AFAIK the tests stop at 165 or around there. Anything above is made up as there is no statistical data that can confirm it.

        197 would imply there is someone out there with an IQ of 3 as well.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @02:20AM (#47653139)

          There is. I worked for a number of them

        • by fellip_nectar (777092) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @02:24AM (#47653157)

          197 would imply there is someone out there with an IQ of 3 as well.

          Just browse at -1 and you'll have your statistical data...

          • 197 would imply there is someone out there with an IQ of 3 as well.

            Just browse at -1 and you'll have your statistical data...

            Or, apparently, from recent postings, talk with a Comcast customer service representative.

        • by Chrisq (894406) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @03:06AM (#47653275)

          Yep AFAIK the tests stop at 165 or around there. Anything above is made up as there is no statistical data that can confirm it.

          197 would imply there is someone out there with an IQ of 3 as well.

          Some of the tests on young children with age correction can yield this type of figure. I wouldn't be surprised if he was measured with an IQ of 197 at an age of 5 or 6, but it would result in a much lower measurement as an adult.

          • by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @08:32AM (#47654293)

            197 would imply there is someone out there with an IQ of 3 as well.

            Some of the tests on young children with age correction can yield this type of figure. I wouldn't be surprised if he was measured with an IQ of 197 at an age of 5 or 6, but it would result in a much lower measurement as an adult.

            Just to be clear, IQ originally stood for intelligence quotient, which was originally defined as mental age / physical age * 100. E.g., if you took a test at age 5 and scored as well as the average 10-year-old, you'd have an IQ of mental age 10 divided by physical age 5 (*100) = 200.

            This sort of scoring is how Marilyn vos Savant [wikipedia.org], for example, managed to get an IQ score of 228 or something, which used to be listed as the highest IQ ever by the Guinness Book of World Records. However, that kind of test scoring has been completely deprecated since at least the early 1950s, and even Marilyn basically was taking an outdated form by the time she was scored almost 60 years ago. Guinness recognized this, and so retired the record category.

            Nowadays, IQ scales usually are based on standard deviations, where a score of +/- 15 from 100 constitutes one standard deviation away from the average intelligence for that age. And I'm assuming this Scorpion guy is not 70 years old or something, so there's no reason he should have taken an IQ test using the old scoring method.

            So, if someone has a claimed IQ of 197, that would be about 6.467 standard deviations above the norm. That comes out to somewhere around 1 in 10 BILLION people. And keep in mind that age scaling requires comparison only with kids at the age of the test taker, so this guy's claim would require that the test had been normed against a large enough population of whatever age he took the test was to differentiate at a 1 in 10 billion level.

            Simply put, that's impossible, since there aren't that many people total on the planet.

            So -- the only explanation is that someone gave him an older form of the IQ test, which computed scores using that outdated formula of mental age / physical age. And that IQ formula was deprecated because it was shown to give stupid meaningless results. Which leads one to ask -- for a guy who claims to be so smart, why would he insist on citing a statistic that is meaningless and shows the person who administered the test was probably incompetent (since he/she used an outdated formula that doesn't agree with modern norms)?

        • by hacker (14635)

          Then why does newspaper columnist Marian vos Savant have a recorded IQ of 228?

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @08:33AM (#47654301) Homepage

          Also, from what I've come to understand, IQ tests just aren't ultimately that useful for ranking the intelligence of smart people. At least, according to a few different psychologists that I've talked to, the main purpose of IQ tests, the reason they're used and considered valid, is in detecting developmental problems rather than detecting genius.

          So if someone scores a 160 as opposed to a 130, it gives some indication that the person is good at certain kinds of mental activity-- for example, spotting patterns in numbers and geometric shapes. That's about all you can really say, and it's ultimately not that meaningful. Of course, people who are really brilliant math/science types will likely do pretty well on these tests, but doing well on these tests does not make you a brilliant mathematician or scientist.

          Where the test is helpful is in seeing problems/deficiencies. If you test a child who gets a score of 70, then it's a pretty good indicator that he should be put into a special program. That's what the test is good for, and that's largely why they administer it. If you're an adult, lording your 150 IQ over someone who scored a 145, then you're an idiot. If you're citing your 197 IQ as some sort of qualification for something, it's that much dumber.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by fellip_nectar (777092)
        Meh. It's only the same IQ as 197 PE Teachers.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I was tested back in 1981 and was technically "off the chart", which made it difficult for the test proctors to fill a box on the form. So, they were basically forced to estimate my IQ, probably through extrapolation from my other tests. For what it's worth, *my* estimated score was 189.

        I also started my first company at 13 and have started and sold several since then. At a relatively young age, I wised up and distanced myself from my 'black hat' personas and handles. I became an consultant and I curren

    • by Swoopy (101558)

      There's obviously been a bit of kissing the Blarney stone involved in how this story came together.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947)

      Or, as we know from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, "This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

    • We like like the idea of the IQ score as a measurement. It is a number to say I am better then someone else.
      However people are complex and their IQ is only part of the overall person. Very successful people have average or even below average IQ's as well. They can compensate it with Physical abilities, strong influential personality, or just knowing who to ask for answers and good guidance for better decisions.
      A person with a High IQ and they know about it use it as a crutch to make them feel superior to

  • by Nyder (754090) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @12:36AM (#47652875) Journal

    And he's not in jail, so sure, he's a genius. But are his exploits legendary? Well, much like fishing stories, I take hacking stories have more elaborations then truth.

    • by Xest (935314) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @05:41AM (#47653609)

      You're right:

      From http://www.irishtimes.com/cult... [irishtimes.com]

      "I was coming home from school and encountered a house surrounded by black cars. Mom was on the couch, crying; Dad was not too happy. A lot of men in suits were wanting to yell at me for what I had done but were a little surprised when out of my schoolbag I pulled an extradition waiver â" which calmed the conversation down. If they signed this [the extradition waiver] then I would show them where the holes are in their network. We ended up doing a deal â" which happens in most hacking incidents you never hear about.â"

      and:

      "The showâ(TM)s creator, Nick Santora, introduced him as a man who âoehas saved the world several times over, things he canâ(TM)t even tell us aboutâ."

      or:

      "One of Scorpionâ(TM)s executive producers told Comic-Con, âoeWalter personally caught the Boston bombers by writing an algorithm that tracked motion on all the cameras within a two-mile radius of the blast. That kind of thing makes for a really compelling episode of television. He also stopped nuclear meltdowns from happening.â"

      It's so full of weasel words it's unbelievable. An algorithm that tracks motion? what you mean checking if one frame is different to the next? that's tracking motion, hardly rocket science, any CS101 student could do it. Helped stopped nuclear meltdowns from happening? Well so have I, by not becoming an incompetent nuclear engineer that goes on to produce a flawed reactor design I assure you have also done exactly this. Things we can't be told about? Oh well, I'll assume they just don't exist then or I might as well just mention that I'm personally better than this guy because I saved not only the world numerous times, but the entire universe, I just can't tell you how.

      Which is a shame because it sounds like the show may be a bit like Numb3rs, the sort of show that might interest me, but with this insurmountable pile of tosh and bullshit that's apparently surrounding it I'm going to steer VERY clear. This guy is obviously an egotistical self-publicist and a serial liar, and the guys writing about him are obviously absurdly naive and have failed to realise that they could've made up these exact same stories without getting him involved.

      Everything he says is something many people could say and it would hold as much validity, there's literally nothing about this guy that's actually in any way verifiable - the incidents he claims to have been involved in, the things he claims to have done, absolutely none of it is verifiable. A genius that got a bog standard degree at a run of the mill UK university? - Christ, it's not like his "intelligence" even got him into Cambridge early, or even at all. It says he graduated in the late 90s, so if he was 13 in 1988 then that implies he only followed the same path of literally millions of other teens the same year he did. Why if he was such a genius wasn't he doing his A-Levels or degree early like real actual genius kids consistently manage to do? Even my fucking cousin got an A-Level at 14 because she was ahead of her years and yet she wasn't exactly exceptional - a few others in her school did too. I have two degrees, one of which I studied for whilst working full time, this means my academic achievements at very least are well ahead of this guy and I'm not exactly stand out either.

      I can find not a single shred of evidence that this guy is anything other than mediocre at best.

      • I dunno about the degree thing. I mean, the kid is full of bullshit talk, but hey, I've had bad grades in school. My Statistics teacher was pissy because I had Ds and I got like 4 exam problems wrong all year--I never paid attention in class, I never did any homework, I was always goofing off, and I chewed through stat exams like a correctly working version of Mathematica. Obviously, I knew my shit hard; but I was failing the class.

        It was boring. Well, homework was boring. I got better shit to do than

    • by StikyPad (445176)

      hacking stories have more elaborations then truth.

      That's why I always skip to the end.

    • Of course it's based on a true story. Once, there were some kids, and they thought they were badass hacker geniuses.
  • Better question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by penguinoid (724646) <spambait001@yahoo.com> on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @12:44AM (#47652899) Homepage Journal

    Who cares?

  • Never heard of him (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @12:49AM (#47652921)

    Who?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Scorpion. He was the lead singer of the Police.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      That guy from Mortal Kombat. He was pretty good at getting people over here.
  • by Required Snark (1702878) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @12:59AM (#47652957)
    Including the news.

    I used to say that all TV was fiction except the weather, but then I saw Fox lying about that too: severe winter weather does not contradict global warming/climate change.

  • Grades vs IQ (Score:5, Insightful)

    by uolamer (957159) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @01:02AM (#47652967)

    I have have a 163 IQ. I was capable of making straight A's in high school, but was bored I just acted out and got in trouble. What they called Advanced classes was the top 25-30 students out of a class of 100 people (small school), which was a joke. I was the person who made an A on the test but didn't do a few daily grades here or there and things of that nature. In college I have a 4.0 but it was mind numbing to keep that grade. College for the most part was pure memorization and doing the daily work..

    The point of this is that grades do not reflect IQ.

    • by kamapuaa (555446) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @01:25AM (#47653019) Homepage

      If you are so smart perhaps you can explain why 98% of the internet has an IQ in the 150-170 range.

      • Re:Grades vs IQ (Score:5, Interesting)

        by fazig (2909523) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @02:22AM (#47653147)
        I've always thought that it was the other way around. Yeah, I can smell the sarcasm in this.
        From my experience with internet forums, especially gaming forums, youtube commentaries, twitter and facebook, 98% of the observable internet IQs would barely scratch the three digit threshold. A lot of people appear to be well-read, yet basic logic seems to escape most of them. Non-sequitur, strawmen, false dilemma, practically the whole list of logical fallacies can be found there. Yet a lot of people are easily fooled and mistake a few fancy words for competence, which is probably why politicians get elected despite being dumber than a bag of rocks.
        I'd say, that most of the internet has about the same average IQ as the general population. Some of US may be a bit more tech savvy, but that's it.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by SuricouRaven (1897204)

          It has been that way ever since Eternal September. The internet lets everyone speak - but people in general are terrible at recognising the limitations of their knowledge. They aren't stupid, exactly - they are usually entirely competent in their specialised field. But they don't see how inept they are at everything else. They've read a few opinion columns on economics, so they consider themselves fit to weigh in upon tax policy. They took high-school science, so they act as if they can judge the entire fie

        • by kamapuaa (555446)

          I suppose I meant "self-reported IQ." I was making fun of how common it is for people on the internet to claim to have an extraordinarily high IQ, when an IQ of 163 would put you in the top .0013% [iqcomparisonsite.com].

          • by fazig (2909523)
            It may be trolls, people being "attention whores" or simply people trying to pull rank. They try to create a false authority while the argumentum ab auctoritate itself is often a fallacy, since a high IQ is not a validation for an argument. It's really hard to tell without strong indicators of their intention.
            • Re:Grades vs IQ (Score:4, Insightful)

              by N1AK (864906) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @06:25AM (#47653721) Homepage
              What I find particularily amusing about people claiming falsely inflated IQ's is that it shouldn't rationally be anything in itself to brag about. Due to behavioural issues when I was in primary school my IQ was tested, I can't remember the score but it was decent and I was fortunate enough to get accepted into a school for children with behavioural issues which selected for potential. That meant I got a reasonable education, when most kids who had behaved like me would be lucky if the schools they got sent to didn't lead to crime and drugs. Mathematics was always my strongest area. I completed my GCSE 4 years early and did a couple of advanced courses. I remember the odd conversation with staff about how I could go on to study maths at Oxbridge and go into mathematics research etc.

              Sounds like a bragging story right? Well it isn't. What I've told you is that I had a comparative advantage as a child, no different to being given say a million pounds at birth. It tells you that it should have been easier for me to succeed than for others. However, I'm not a world renowned mathematician or running my own company. So far in my life my achievements are pretty mundane, even though I was handed a headstart. Claiming to have a high IQ and not having achieved more than average is saying you had a headstart on everyone else and you wasted it.
      • by PhilHibbs (4537)

        According to The Onion, 80% of our nation's grandchildren are above average.

        • by dcw3 (649211)

          I don't think the Onion originated that. Though they may have co opted and slightly modified this from back in the mid 80s. But then, there may be predecessors to that as well.

          "Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average." - Garrison Keillor

      • They take Internet IQ tests scoring everyone rather high. They don't use a Culture Fair test, either.
      • If you are so smart perhaps you can explain why 98% of the internet has an IQ in the 150-170 range.

        Because they take viral IQ quizzes meant to flatter, so you'll share them.

    • I wish I'd done better in school. Not because I would have actually learned anything else, but reinforcing the habit of finishing work you don't like would have helped me earlier in my career. I love 90% of my job. If I don't do the 10% that sucks and I haven't automated away yet, I find that the company wants to "move in a different direction" and no longer needs my services. I do 100% of my job, and I get to hire people to do the 10% that sucks.
      • Re:Grades vs IQ (Score:5, Interesting)

        by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @02:58AM (#47653255)

        The curse of the academically capable: I breezed through school getting very good grades with no effort at all. Never revised - I was just good at the code subjects (Except English Lit). Then went to university and had a breakdown, because it was the first time I'd been seriously challenged.

    • by JWSmythe (446288)

      Lots of brilliant people score horribly in school, usually due to boredom. I have a high IQ.

      I didn't have straight A's in school, because I was completely bored with it by 8th grade. I scored well on tests, but I gave up on doing homework. 7 classes, each assigning 1 hour of homework didn't make any sense.

      The only ones who excelled were the ones who teamed up to do homework together, and divided the workload. Sure, they each learned something, but they didn't learn everything they were suppose to.

      • by MrHanky (141717)

        Lots of people with high IQ are far from brilliant. It's only a test result, it doesn't tap into your brain. The supposed verification of an IQ test is actual academic achievement; when high IQ people have low academic achievement, it might just as well mean the test is flawed.

      • by StikyPad (445176)

        I was going to be really rich, but then I decided not to.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      What is worse is when you get a teacher that makes you down for not doing it their convoluted and retarded way. Sorry teacher but I can do all that in my head, and you are marking me down because I am not slowing down and driving myself insane with the archaic and backwards way of finding the answer.

      Luckily I had parents that would scream at the teachers and principal. we finally went over the their heads to the superintendent where he read off questions, and I typically had the answer before he finishe

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by BitZtream (692029)

        What is worse is when you get a teacher that makes you down for not doing it their convoluted and retarded way. Sorry teacher but I can do all that in my head, and you are marking me down because I am not slowing down and driving myself insane with the archaic and backwards way of finding the answer.

        Its not all about you or what you think is right, and you don't actually know everything regardless of what you think. Doing it in your head is fine when the teacher isn't trying to understand what you're doing, but when it comes to understanding what you're thinking process is, not showing your work makes it fairly hard.

        Luckily I had parents that would scream at the teachers and principal. we finally went over the their heads to the superintendent where he read off questions, and I typically had the answer before he finished reading did they realize that teaching at pot head speeds did not work for me.

        So you're an arrogant prick and your parents spoiled you and let you have your way. And better still, you think its your privilege to do whatever you think is the right way and ignore peo

  • Its nonsense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LordLimecat (1103839) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @01:04AM (#47652979)

    His website proves itself false. He claims it was founded in 1988; however Whois records [domaintools.com] for the domain only go back to 2000, and the web address doesnt appear in the Wayback Machine [archive.org] until 2003.

    Looks like the guy has tried to mix his own marketing material into google results, but you can see where his highly touted ScenGen actually comes from here:
    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/wi... [ucar.edu]

    This version of MAGICC/SCENGEN was developed primarily with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but it rests on developments carried out over the past 20 years that were funded by a number of organizations.

    So the "ScenGen" you keep seeing in all the results is not the same as the one this O'brien dude keeps blathering about. In fact, hes apparently the only one who cares about it; he did do one talk at IEEE in 2010 (though strangely theres no mention of it anywhere except the bog-standard event page), but there doesnt appear to have been any chatter on the internet about it whatsoever.

    So, to the AC who posted this: hopefully this is a useful lesson. Anyone can say anything on the internet, and even make it look passingly believable. But if it sounds "too perfect", its probably rubbish.

    • Another Shiva Ayyadurai, except with even fewer verifiable accomplishments.

    • I'm actually impressed by people who can, in this age, create even questionable fabrications this elaborate.

    • by asmkm22 (1902712)

      He also invented "Artificial Intelligence engines" whatever the hell that means.

      • by lakeland (218447)

        Not a lot. Say you design a new heuristic for playing chess, you've now built a chess engine.

        Say you build a tool which people can load new heuristics into - perhaps a variation of best first with your own pruning algorithm, you've now built an AI engine.

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      His website proves itself false. He claims it was founded in 1988; however Whois records [domaintools.com] for the domain only go back to 2000, and the web address doesnt appear in the Wayback Machine [archive.org] until 2003.

      Neither of these mean anything. You can buy a domain name years after founding a business, you can even change names or get a different domain name at a later time. Wayback machine doesn't archive every single website, nor does it archive them from the very start. I remember back then Wayback machine didn't archive anything unless somebody explicitly searched for the domain in Wayback machine.

  • by dmomo (256005) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @01:46AM (#47653063) Homepage

    I haven't heard of this show until now. I wonder Anonymous Coward is just a sort of straw man trying to drum up interest.

    • by ruir (2709173)
      I havent heard of it until know, I expect to not hear more of it, and I certainly wont see the show.
  • by SerenelyHotPest (2970223) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @01:47AM (#47653065)

    Leaving aside the fact that an IQ score in the 190s is absurd (no one has curved a test over a large enough population for such an answer to reflect actual score distributions), as far as actual, normed IQ tests conducted by actual psychologists go, it's hard to find a test with a ceiling higher than 160 these days. The Weschler, easily the most popular among these, has a ceiling of 160, and getting a score above the low 140s requires doing very well across most of the individual batteries, some of which aren't especially g-weighted. No, the quiz in Omni is not, as far as most psychometricians are remotely concerned, an IQ test. To define it as such is to destroy most of the meaning of the term.

    Occasionally, you see high scores due either to very old versions of the Stanford-Binet that did reach above 160 (it's likely that Ted Kaczynski got such a score) or the use of extensions of the old Stanford-Binet to investigate young people who hit or near ceilings, typically on verbal parts of these tests where raw scores tend to have a little more variance, but extrapolations to actual IQ scores aren't valid today due to the Flynn effect (ie: more young people are properly nourished and in intellectually stimulating environments than were in the early 20th century) and the fact that old versions of the Stanford-Binet weren't necessarily normally distributed along the 15-point sigma most tests are today. Though people have attempted to write on the upper echelons of performance on tests of cognitive ability, there's remarkably little that is peer-reviewed.

    The tl;dr of all this is that whenever you hear reports of IQ scores above 160, you can more or less assume someone is talking out of their ass.

  • IQ of 197? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by drolli (522659) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @02:35AM (#47653193) Journal

    The standard deviation of IQ seems to be 15

    octave:16> erfc((197-100)/15)
    ans = 5.9493e-20

    That means only a fraction of 5*10^-20 of total humankind would exceed his intelligence.

    Let me make a few remarks:
    -That would mean humankind could exists in it current size for another 10^11 years without finding a second one like him
    -Normal itelligence tests dont resolve in that region. It's pretty impossible to design a tests which ca resolve between 100 and 140 and at the same time distinct between 180 and 190. i am not sure if designing a test between 190 and 197

    -The most likely other option is that the distribution of measured IQs is heavy tailed (instead of normal). In that case, the IQ measurement needs to be corrected for that.

    I wish that journalists would turn their brain on and not off at every number they cite

    • by gsslay (807818)

      I wish that journalists would turn their brain on and not off at every number they cite

      To be fair, what you just did there relies on knowing a fair bit of statistic methodology. Not something an average journalist does.

      But, yeah, any journalist worth anything should be able to spot bullshit. And an IQ of 197 is obvious bullshit. You don't need to do the sums to see that.

    • Re:IQ of 197? (Score:5, Informative)

      by PacoSuarez (530275) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @06:59AM (#47653835)

      You forgot to divide by sqrt(2) in your erfc expression. The actual probability of IQ of a random human being over 197 is about 5e-11, which means about 0.35 humans should have it.

      http://www.wolframalpha.com/in... [wolframalpha.com]

  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @02:47AM (#47653221) Homepage

    The web site reads like they're a big consultancy, another McKinsey. Then the testimonals are all about Walter. Oracle manager: "Walter showed a great depth of knowledge in Word, WordBasic Macro programming". He still has recommendations up which mention Turbo Pascal. Not seeing rocket science here. The biggest success reported was translating some large English-only application into multiple languages, which made it valuable in Asia. That's nice, but a routine job. He claims to have written a general-purpose program to help with such jobs.

    He also claims to have written ScenGen, a "scenario generator". It looks like that originated at Boeing in the mid-1980s [slashdot.org]. Running on a Compaq PC with 2MB back then. The pitch for the current model sounds like the one from back then, although the graphics are probably better now.

    The web site is awful. There are lines of text with excess white space in the middle. I looked at the HTML, expecting to find some overly complex Javascript which was misbehaving. No. The HTML source just has explicit non-breaking spaces in the wrong places.

    He seems to speak at a lot of strange conferences, such as the Family Office Association. A "family office", in this context,is a staff which manages the family fortune for a large, wealthy family. The Rockefellers have one.

    This is getting weird.

    • My favourite bit of the home page is the table hard coded to look like a bullet list:

      <!-- Begin Left Column Content -->
      <table width="350" border="0" align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0">
      <!-- Entry 1 -->
      <tr >
      <td class="rowbullet">&bull;</td>
      <td class="rowBulletContent">We saved $43 billion in opportunity risks over</td>
      </tr>
      <tr>
      <td class="rowbullet"

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      "The HTML source just has explicit non-breaking spaces in the wrong places."

      This really points to the whole website being designed in front page, that was a fingerprint of that horrid horrid program.

  • "genious level" smart people mostly don't do well in school, they can't cope with the system.

  • And just as unrealistic, I mean wouldn't a tattoo of the prison layout on your back be a bit of a givaway.

    'Written by the team behind Prison Break, the show “follows an eccentric genius and his international network of super-geniuses as they form the last line of defence against the complex threats of the modern age”, according to its makers.' ref [irishtimes.com]
  • > hacking Nasa at age 13

    He's currently 39, which means this took place in the 1980s. A dog could "hack" NASA in the 1980s. Hell, they were already so far back down the other side of that bell curve of interest, they were talking about it as passé in "Out of the Inner Circle" which was published in 85.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.

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