Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hey Y'all, Nashville's Pretty Smart

Posted By on Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 2:45 PM

click to enlarge smart.jpg
A study by aggregator The Daily Beast -- started by former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown (and onetime New Yorker overseer, if you remember all the way back to the mid-'90s) -- has ranked 55 metropolitan areas and deemed Nashville to be the 19th smartest. That's awesome, depending on what you mean by "smart." We do, after all, seem to think that the Gulch is big-city living and that all-fried diets are totally not that bad. But intelligence theorists like Howard Gardner will tell you there are as many as eight different kinds of intelligence, from bodily kinesthetic--the ability to coordinate your physical being gracefully, as athletes do -- to naturalistic intelligence, which involves an above-average sensitivity to natural surroundings. But how to judge the computing power of a million folks at once? DB looked at three components to judge our city's collective smarts: book readin', degree-gettin' and vote-castin'. Turns out, we do those things.
Metro Area Population: 1,550,733 Daily Beast IQ Score: 113 "Nashville is known as Music City, which is a huge draw for smart, talented people*," says Mayor Karl Dean. A creative hub, Nashville scored an above-average IQ in part because of a relatively high concentration of universities, including a couple of big ones such as Vanderbilt University and Tennessee State University.
Hey, universities make mistakes. Though, at least, they did count only completed degrees and not partial efforts, and the study combined that information with the number of institutions present relative to the population. Also, book reading: This is based on nonfiction books, because, according to the study's methods, "We focused on nonfiction as an imperfect proxy for intellectual vigor, because overall sales are dominated by fiction works that, while entertaining, aren't always particularly thought-provoking." Sure thing -- but nonfiction could mean everyone's still reading The Rules or All About Dogs. Sure, there might be a Superstring Theory for Brainiacs or two in there, but really, yes, imperfect proxy. The study argues that political involvement is often connected to intelligence. We vote, but hey, apparently it doesn't matter for whom. They call an IQ of 113 above-average, and it is, but only barely. Average IQ is 100, but consider that IQ scores factor in a plus or minus of 10 points in either direction, which means, on a bad day, we're as average as they come. But on a good day, look out! We're sticking around for all four years of college. *Guffaw. Has he actually met any musicians?

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