It's not often that a person is truthfully able to tell someone in an IM: "i just came across the greatest thing i have ever seen in my entire life...are you at your computer?". To be honest with you, a person should never get as excited as I just did when I StumbledUpon the greatest blog post in the history of the blogosphere @ BeatCrave last night. What, you might ask, is so compelling, so thought-provoking, so monumentally important, that is able to pull a teenager away from his/her casual web surfing to engage in an intellectual, editorial writing activity? My friends, what I have found is a work of genius, a work of a god among men, a work of art.

But before I show you what I have found, I would like to explain to you the genius of StumbleUpon, and how it has changed my life. Before this summer, I would constantly waste precious, valuable time, sitting at my computer doing absolutely nothing. When I would walk away from my computer, I would mentally reprimand myself, and try to figure out what I gained from my hours spent with my eyes glued to the computer screen. I would kvetch to my friends about how much time I spent sitting there IMing, checking facebook, checking my email, rotting my brain, falling asleep, etc. All I learned from my hours of sitting on my ass was how to pick my nose, type "lol" 1000 times, and how to check the stock market.

One day while my brother and I were in Toronto, Ontario, walking to Quiznos, my camp friends Jonathan Kaufman and Benjamin Goodman turned to my brother and me and said, "Dude, I have this website that you have to check out!". As the story continued, it got jucier and jucier. StumbleUpon is a website that offers a free download for a special toolbar with magical powers. After installing the toolbar, it asks you to check off as many boxes you would like about your interests in the account that you set up. And here comes the fun part. Click Stumble! on the toolbar, and you will be blown away. The point of this toolbar is to present people with amazing websites to surf that are within their interests. Random websites, photos, videos, articles, and more come up; sites that you would have never found on your own, but needed a 3rd party to bring to you. StumbleUpon has brought meaning to my life on the World Wide Web. No longer was I trapped in the prison known as the World Wide Web enveloped by silly flash games, stupid IM conversations, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Myspace. The internet finally had meaning for me and the millions of other users that simply clicked "Download Now!" on the StumbleUpon Download page.

And now, for the moment you have all been waiting for. The greatest stumble a person could stumble upon...

What we have here is the greatest study of all time. This study conducted by Virgil Griffith shows the possible correlation between music preference and intelligence (quoted in SAT score points). While many of the genres and artists tend to equate at the middle of the chart, we see the Beethoven outlier at the high end of the SAT spectrum, and Lil' Wayne coming in very last in terms of average SAT score. Despite the un-scientific nature of the experiment, it is very important to analyze the study and commend Griffith on his inquisitive ambition. BeatCrave proposes the following questions:
Does intelligence choose the band? Or does music define how smart we become? Where do your favorite bands appear? Do you think that music can make you dumb?
I find this chart very interesting because I find my intelligence to match up with my musical tastes at least on the high end of the scale. Two of my favorite bands happen to be Guster and Counting Crows, and I love Ben Folds, Coldplay, The Beatles, RHCP, etc. One could say that I chose my music tastefully and intelligently according to the chart, but without previous knowledge of this experiment, how could I have made those educated decisions?

The whole argument about a person's intelligence goes back to the debate about Nature vs. Nurture. While one has to be born with some intelligence, parental care, education, and money highly contribute to one's future as a smart, successful individual. I feel that in upper-class culture, or "civilized" society, rap music is looked down upon, but in the lower class, the place where the rap artists themselves came from, hip-hop is their very own culture. While it would be outrageously unfair to qualify the wealthy as intelligent, and the poor as unintelligent, living conditions, environment, and culture play a large role in the ultimate success of the individual. Freakonomics authors Levitt and Dubner even attribute one's name to future accomplishment! People that lack opportunities lack proper education facilities, proper living conditions, etc. and are one step behind. Success is just that much sweeter.

And maybe some of the people who listen to Lil' Wayne live in impoverished neighborhoods, projects, and inner-cities, where proper test-preparation is absent, and where the the overall goal of the community is just to get by, not to go to college. Many of us take for granted the fact that we all go to college, when some of our very own brothers and sisters not far from us dream, and dream, and dream, but never have the chance.

Or maybe all of that analysis is just outright false, and dumb people listen to rap, and smart people listen to classical music. It would be extremely hard for me to believe that the choice of music makes you smarter, except for classical music which according to parenting experts builds a baby's brain in the womb. I mean why else would Disney's Baby Einstein, "Introduce your little one to an exciting world of musical fun with [a] lively celebration of Beethoven's most cherished works"? There's something about the complexities of sonatas and symphonies that get the gears turning. But besides that fact, I just think that charts like these are interesting. They are thought provoking, fun, and intriguing.

Let me just reiterate the fact that I do listen to Lil' Wayne, as well as Akon, Jay-Z, Beyonce, and many other of the artists that have congregated on the low end of the scale, and they have had no (noticeable) negative effects on my intelligence level. But for all of you high school kids out there, this one's for you. Next time your mom and dad are hocking you about studying for SATs when you are listening to your favorite music, show them this chart. Tell them that listening to Counting Crows and Guster is an essential part of training your brain for monumentally higher SAT scores, good morale, and overall IQ level. Some of your parents may just laugh, but hey, if it works, you're golden! Well, golden is a relative term, as you may fail your SATs, but at least you had fun failing, right? Eh, not so much.

As you continue your search for meaning in your life, a World Wide Web purpose, and a search for the perfect career, remember to always be guided by a higher quest for learning, and to "Carpe Diem!", according to Prof. Keating in the movie Dead Poets Society. Read, learn, write, repeat. That routine is bound to get you somewhere.

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Lindasy Rosenwald said... @ April 22, 2011 at 1:01 PM

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