Monday, August 11, 2008

A Short Intermission Before We Truly Get Underway

Here follows a missive directed to the formidable Griff du Lion. We can only hope and pray that he replies in time, if at all:

Dear Sir,

Thank you for an informative and often amusing website. I must confess that most of the serious math not only goes over my head but over my feathered tophat too. Nonetheless, the graphs you present and your more elementary points are a source of great interest and often play Dulcinea to my quixotic quest to Change Peoples' Minds.

If I might impose upon you, I would like to request a small favour. Here follows the backstory: I, and many other white South Africans, are in a rather precarious position. Though many have left and are leaving, due mainly to a lack of confidence in government and the shockingly high crime rate, some stubborn buggers have entrenched themselves in the hope that "things will get better." Though I have secured my Canadian passport and intend to migrate forthwith, my father is one of these stubborn souls. I would dearly love to see him live out his retirement in the relative safety of the Great White North, but he is a hard man to convince with mere news clippings and rhetoric. He is, however, an eminently rational man, being a former Materials Scientist. He now spends much of his time poring over stock charts, share projections and... Chinese candlesticks and the like, so I can safely say that, unlike myself, he is no stranger to your peculiar Greek dialect of Numeracy.

Now, I've hit on a fairly simplistic idea that goes as follows: as there is a minimum entry-level IQ to many professions, and as we are aware of both average racial IQs as well as population density, it should be possible to determine whether there are enough smart people to maintain this country at a remotely civilized standard. Or not, as the case may well be... That is to say, if we can make some rough guess at how many people of the various skilled professions are necessary to maintain a country at a First or even Second World level, we should be able to tell that the South African population is incapable of doing so. Perhaps it might even be calculated at what point, if current trends continue, the country is likely to fall apart completely due to its already crippling skills shortage. Of course, the findings of such an investigation may contradict my (admittedly pessimistic) assumptions entirely, in which case I shall have to reconsider my move.

I'm aware that you have conducted examinations along similar lines to those I propose, and forgive me if just such figures appear in certain works I've yet to read such as "IQ and the Wealth of Nations." Regardless, I am asking for your help in this. If you let me know what data to assemble and so forth, I will gladly do that and more. Assuming this study will reveal a similar finding to any cursory glance at local headlines, I really just need to know how to best process and present the data such that it will convince a mathematically-minded man. With your permission, I may well go on to present such data publically, where it might contribute to saving the lives of other such men and their families. I know that sounds rather melodramatic but with one of the highest murder rates in the world (if not the highest) I wouldn't say it's far-fetched either.

Any advice or assistance will be greatly appreciated,

Warm regards,



Anonymous said...

Ha. I bet BEE just burns you up.

South Africa is now a responsible, powerful, important state. Black leaders have been infinitely better for South Africa than the whites ever could.

Dante said...

Being self-employed, BEE doesn't effect me directly. I will admit to getting a little pissed when it kills the lights though.

As for the rest, well it'd be easy to be really, really sarcastic about it but I just don't find much sport in teasing the delusional.

But don't let's quarrel, chum. Let's rather wait and see what the maths genius has to say, eh?