Friday, November 19, 2010

Another Useless Study

I know that I'm always saying that we're doomed. It's only because we are. Do you need another example of how I know that to be true? Because I have one. And I'm going to share.

The
Post-Gazette.com has an article which goes over a study by some sort of think tank called Rand Corp. Their study found "...that couples who scored well on a short test of math skills accumulated more wealth by middle age than couples who scored poorly." It goes on to say that "...when both spouses correctly answered three math questions, family wealth averaged $1.7 million. That compared with $200,000 for households where neither spouse answered any question correctly." Wow. 200 grand when you don't get anything right? That really doesn't seem like such a horrible consolation prize, does it?

No, not at all. Which is kind of why this study is seeming a) ridiculous, and b) useless. But if there's a shred of reality to it, we're doomed. Even if there isn't a shred of reality to it, just that we're being subjected to it as if it is fact is rather dooming. But at this point of the article, I'm still fairly intrigued and wondering about the type of questions which will determine future wealth. Naturally, I was also wondering how I would fare with the questions. I stopped wondering after I read them and instead began wondering how a dog would fare, as I can't imagine a human being who is capable of earning $200,000 at the very least not being able to answer these questions.

Seriously, if these are the determining factors of wealth, then something has gone seriously wrong in this country. But maybe you should decide. Question One: If the chance of getting a disease is 10 percent, how many people out of 1,000 would be expected to get the disease? Uh, really? That's the sort of question that, if I can noodle it through, is indicative of my ability to earn money? Even more extraordinary is that that's the sort of question that would be indicative of my ability to do math. Come on! What is that? Fourth grade level? Third?

Maybe they get harder as we continue. Let's look at the second question: If five people all have the winning numbers in the lottery, and the prize is $2 million, how much will each of them get? Hmm. No. No, I don't see these getting harder. I sort of see them getting a little easier. And I definitely see myself getting more annoyed with this study. (Seriously, how do I get a job at a think tank? Wait. First let me ask: Is it really a tank? Because I don't know if I'd like that very much. I'd like all of the thinking, but the thought of being in a tank all day is a bit off-putting.)

The last question (did I mention it was a really short quiz?) reads as follows: Let's say you have $200 in a savings account. The account earns 10 percent interest per year. How much would you have in the account at the end of two years? Oh, for cryin' out loud. Are you kidding me?! First of all, what sort of savings account is going to earn 10 percent interest per year? None! There isn't one! Not a single one! I mean, really, the lottery question was pretty far-fetched. I'd have to believe that if I held a winning lottery number, I'd be able to figure out EXACTLY what my share was in a split-second after learning that I had won. That's a no-brainer. But this question is just completely baseless. Why not make it more realistic? I guess because then it might actually be somewhat relevant? Nah, that can't be it. The whole idea of this study having any relevance at all is completely preposterous.

See? We're doomed. Is anyone paying any attention to stuff like this? God, I hope not. What a waste of time. But seriously, how do I get a cush gig with a think tank? Anyone? Anyone?

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