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The 2 % Solution

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Minz
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 12:21 pm:   

I received this as an email, but decided to get a sampling from the Nightshade crowd (thanks for the thread-space EV John). Please only post if you're in the 2% or 98% group, or you could screw up the test for others. (Both Sondi & I were 2%ers.)

> This is really weird.
> At the end of this message, you are asked a question. Answer it immediately. Don't stop and think about it.
>
> Just say the first thing that pops into your mind.
>
> This is a fun "test"... AND kind of spooky at the same time!
>Give it a try, then e-mail it around (including back to me) and you'll see how many people you know fall into the same percentage as you.
>Be sure to put in the subject line if you are among the 98% or the 2%.
> You'll understand what that means after you finish taking the "test".
>
> Now... just follow the instructions as quickly as possible.
>
> Do not go to the next calculation before you have finished the previous one..
>
> You do not ever need to write or remember the answers, just do it using your mind.
>
> You'll be surprised.
>
> START:
>
> How much is:
>
> 15 + 6
>
> *
> **
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> 3 + 56
>
> *
> **
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> ****
> *****
> ******
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> ********
> *********
> **********
> *********
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> *
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> 89 + 2
>
> *
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> ******
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> ********
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> 12 + 53
>
> *
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> 75 + 26
>
> *
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> 25 + 52
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> *
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> 23 + 32
>
> *
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> ******
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>
> I know! Calculations are hard work, but it's nearly over.. !
>
> *
>
> **
>
> ***
>
> **
>
> *
>
> Come on, one more! ...
>
> *
> **
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> *
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> 123 + 5
>
> *
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> ******
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> QUICK! THINK ABOUT A COLOR AND A TOOL!
>
> *
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>
> Scroll further to the bottom...
>
> *
> **
> ***
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> *****
> ******
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> ********
> *********
> **********
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>
> A bit more...
>
> *
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> You just thought about a red hammer! , didn't you?
>
> *
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>
> ***
>
> **
>
> *
>
> If this is not your answer, you are among 2% of people who have a different, if not abnormal, mind.
> 98% of the folks would answer a red hammer while doing this exercise.
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Christopher
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 01:17 pm:   

I said red 7/8" wrench, but only because I'm doing this at work and there's one sitting on my desk right now. Well, it's not red. But it's right next to one of my Louisville Cardinals magnets so maybe that's where the red came from. So that makes it 2%.

--cvr
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Dunmore
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 05:19 pm:   

A purple adjustable spanner?

Nah, only kidding. I came up with a red hammer. I'm normal!

Minz and Chris--you're nuts, the pair of you! Outcasts! If this was Medieval times you'd be burned at the stake for utter weirdness.

Actually, when I reviewed my quickfire answers, I discovered that I got virtually all the number questions completely wrong. It's nice to know, however, that being numerical illiterate still qualifies you for being a red hammer regular kind of guy.

Hmmmm, perhaps I should have supported the war in Iraq after all, like all the other normal citizens...
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Byron Bailey
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 05:39 pm:   

That's very weird because the image I had in my mind was blue but the first word to come to my mind to describe that blue image I had was "red" and naturally being the neanderthal that I am, the first tool in my mind was hammer.
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Dunmore
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 05:56 pm:   

Byron, I know exactly what you mean. Because, what I didn't mention previously (for fear of jeopardising my new found normality) was that the first colour that sprang to mind for me was actually yellow--yes! But it came out, in the end, as red, as many things often do (blood, for example). In fact, I had a fleeting sensation of actually CONSCIOUSLY submitting to red instead of the instinctive yellow, and I remember saying to myself, in the space of milliseconds, "well, ok, a red hammer will do."

And that decision has cost me my individuality.

For those of you about to enter into this dastardly thread--be warned. Follow your instincts! Or else consign yourself to the oblvion that is NORMALITY! AAAAGGRRJHHHRR!
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Byron Bailey
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 06:08 pm:   

Maybe a pseudo scientific explanation might be that the hammer is naturally one of the first essential tools in the tool-user's toolbox. Our ancestors used rocks as hammers to bust upon bones to get to the succulent marrow, for breaking nuts, for making more tools, and so on. About the only tool maybe as primal might be the digging stick and we've distanced ourselves so much from the hunter gatherer societies which were the majority of our past that we no longer really have much identification with the digging stick anymore. For me, the hammer still serves that primal purpose for pounding things, smashing walnuts, and easing my comform when a strange sound is heard in the house.

As to red, it's interesting that red is at the bottom of the color spectrum of what humans can normally see. Therefore, it may very well have a kind of primal importance in the human psyche.
I think that what could be happening is that by having us do the math and look at the many asterisk triangles, you're getting us to think in tool mode -- manipulating things whether the environment or numbers -- and that when we're in that mode, the first things you're likely to think about is red because it forms the lowest color we can see to manipulate and hammer because it is our most basic of tools.

Use questions to get us thinking in other modes like artistic and the answers will likely be different in my opinion.
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Tom Barclay
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 06:12 pm:   

Blue hammer; can't be normal, not for the life of me.
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AnnaT
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 06:17 pm:   

Red screwdriver, but maybe that's justpredisposition. I love screwdrivers.
But statistically, what's this 98% and 2%?
I know I'm innumerate, but are the people who sent out the test innumerate, too?
If a person thinks 'red' or 'hammer' but not both, then what is the statistical percentage of that, as opposed to neither of the two? It you're in the 2% category if you choose one of the choices but not the other, then there is another percentage that is smaller that chose neither of these.
I don't even know how to express what I'm thinking here, but perhaps you can figure it out from my clumsy way of putting it.
Carol knows these things. Carol?????

btw
I skipped most of the numbers, knowing that
1) They would take me most of the day to figure out in my head, having never progressed much past my first-year-at-school great difficulties with the concept of one (as in 1), for which I earned stay-after-school punishment, and a revulsion for numbers as used in mathematics, but this didn't stop my relish of numbers for their taste and colour, which happily have nothing to do with mathematics.
and
2) It was obvious by the third number (I was slower than many of you, I'm sure) that the test was not going to be anything to do with arithmetic, but something else.

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Jonathan Laden
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 09:43 pm:   

***WARNING Spoiler ***

It's not true. This one's been floating around the internet for awhile.

While it's true that majority will choose hammer (the most commonly used tool? The Coke song standard? Bob the Builder?)

And a majority will choose red (the color of craftsman tools? Coke again?)

The percentage who choose "red hammer" is closer to 65% than 98%. Enough to be convincing in a small sample - but not truly bizarre.

The equations have nothing to do with it.

(Of course, I chose "red hammer" the first time I saw this :->)
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 01:57 am:   

Jonathan, how did you calculate that percentage?

As for me: red wirecutter. Which would be bizarre if I hadn't actually been using a red wirecutter every day for the past week.
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John Klima
Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 04:30 am:   

Green screwdriver. Hmmm. Spend some time away from here and people take over and say you're abnormal.

BTW, Mr. Laden has a great story in issue #9 of Electric Velocipede, which will be available this Summer. Not that I'm trying to change tack from my strange brain. :-)

I've seen something similar to this (my father sent it to me of all people) where you do addition and subtraction, etc. and then think of a color and a country that starts with the letter 'D' or something like that. I'll have to get more info from him and post it here.

JK
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Dunmore
Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 07:43 am:   

I'm surprised yellow hammer hasn't cropped up somewhere, as in that delightful species of bird. Maybe if the choice had been to think of a colour and a bird (instead of a tool), yellow hammer would show up more often.

It's noticeable, too, that there seems to be an awful lot of people here actively using various tools at the moment. Evidently, there's a few mad scientists among you busily constructing mad things.

Intriguing.
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Brendan
Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 09:16 am:   

Chartreuse electric carving knife.
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loungelizard357
Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 09:40 am:   

purple lockpicks
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 03:20 pm:   

Like Anna, I also thought "red screwdriver." So I guess I'm just mildly abnormal.
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barth
Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 04:24 pm:   

AnnaT & JEL


Wait a minute: A red screwdriver?

That's a Harvey Wallbanger!



-Barth "The Green Wrench" Anderson
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TKF
Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 10:42 pm:   

Blue Hammer, but I already knew I was abnormal.

I asked my school psychologist ma about this'un. She said that "red" is usally the first color children learn, and "hammer" is the first tool. So, after the brain goes through all of these calculations and then is asked to come up with a color and tool, it reverts to its most basic knowledge. She theorized that its sort of like Alzheimer's, where more immediate memories deteriorate, and long-term memories are intact.
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TKF
Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 10:46 pm:   

BTW, my mother came up with "red hammer".
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AnnaT
Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2005 - 04:03 pm:   

Kind of funny if most of us have ancestors on the brain re tools, picking hammers and maybe knapped skinning knives, (in a lurid plastic colour); but none of us chose the tool we use to do this. No keyboards. No laptops, monitors, no supposedly lovable handhelds. Would we have skipped saying 'black typewriter'in the age of the magnificent, character-rich Imperials?
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Dunmore
Posted on Sunday, April 17, 2005 - 06:11 pm:   

That's true, Anna T.. Just goes to show that we're all primitives at heart. There must be something far more gratifying about envisaging a hammer rather than a monitor as far as tool-thought-reflex is concerned. Mind you, envisaging the use of a hammer AGAINST a monitor frequently presents itself as a satisfactory solution to all life's ills. Damn technology that doesn't work half the time the way it should. Typewriters were far more reliable, that's for sure. And you can't argue with a hammer.

And it could be, Anna T., that the reason these electro-fantastic tools we're using now don't spring to mind is because they don't really present themselves in terms of colour-object associations. They're always white or maybe silver if you're lucky, quite bland really, except for those dandified so and sos who use multi-colored Applemacs.

And the mention of typewriters is almost as frightening as it is an occasion for nostalgic bliss. Imagine using a type writer now. Unthinkable! But what a joy they were. To think that the younger generations will never know the "character"-building thrill of trying to erase a typing error from a paradisally clear-white sheet of fullscap. Those were the days.
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al duncan
Posted on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 - 08:15 am:   

Hmm. I thought of a red screwdriver too.

Doesn't sound much like 2% versus 98% to me.
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donna
Posted on Monday, July 04, 2005 - 03:38 pm:   

I know I thought different colour and tool..... but then I said OH Ok - hammer - red.......... so what is with that? LOL I never fall into the norm - I must remember to do a similar email as a test using worods rahter than maths as the conditioning treatment and see what the result is. ( my daughter did think red... um um scredriver) but everyone else I sent it to said red hammer
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rhi
Posted on Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 07:26 pm:   

Well we had this one go through the office, and only two people said red hammer... so either the statistic is wrong, or i work in an office full of crazy people and only two normal! weird!

Anyway, I thought purple spanner... hmmm crazy!
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Jesse
Posted on Sunday, March 19, 2006 - 08:53 pm:   

I got yellow wrench. My cousin has always been saying something is wrong with me.
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David Marshall
Posted on Thursday, April 13, 2006 - 04:41 pm:   

A seven foot long blue crowbar.

But that's because it came up last week in my Forensic Science course.
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Marguerite Reed
Posted on Saturday, June 02, 2007 - 07:55 pm:   

I was a purple wrench.
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Melissa Mead
Posted on Saturday, June 09, 2007 - 08:47 am:   

Re: Tools, typewriters + computers.

I think of those as "machine" more than "tool" in a situation like this-my mind visualizes things that can fit in a toolbox.
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Saturday, June 09, 2007 - 11:54 am:   

Yellow hammer.
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M.K. Hobson
Posted on Saturday, June 09, 2007 - 04:00 pm:   

Blue wrench! Hoorah, I'm odd!

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