Widgets Magazine


OkCupid is a dating site. People use the internet to find things. People crave human companionship. OkCupid is one way to use the internet to seek human companionship. It involves photographs and lots and lots of survey questions. The best part about this? They have an infoporn blog.

There are a lot of goodies here. There are breakdowns of interests by gender, orientation and ethnicity. (A higher percentage of lesbians love the L-Word than Indian men like cricket. Relevant posts: here and here.) Iphone users have more previous sexual partners than Andriod users at the same age. 14 percent of straight men want their partner to put a strapon inside them, as do 28 percent of straight women. (My reaction to this: what the hell!?) Christian Rudder, who writes the blog and provides the commentary is pretty darn talented, from what I can tell, at filtering in the interesting data.

I realize that this is my second data-geek post in a row, but I figured I’d pick one or two of the most-interesting displays and reflect on them. One good one is that the more casual you are about your religion, the higher your reading level, and the more devout you are about your non-belief, if you’re a non-believer, the higher your reading level. And atheists are, overall, more-sophisticated writers than anyone else. But when you break-down the individual religious categories by intensity of devotion, casual Buddhists outperform everyone, including the non-believers. Check it out:

My take on this is that Buddhism, as a philosophical doctrine, is is even more ontologically parsimonious than Dawkins or Dennet. And when I (rather rudely) organized my Facebook friends by religion, the “???” category included both people I didn’t know very well, and some people who would almost certainly fit into this “non-religious Buddhist” category, though I didn’t feel right about lumping them in with people who actively practiced Buddhism.

The second is just delicious. The table first:

40 percent of people on the site think that they’re in the 99.5th percentile. Considerably more men than women think they are, but both percentages are just illogically high. This is not necessarily surprising, but it’s still a very interesting phenomenon. It means you think you’re smarter than the overwhelming majority of people. Maybe part of this is (1) many people don’t like to interact with individuals they find intellectually intimidating, making for a social circle on-par or a little bit below their own intelligence level and thus skewing their perceptions of people in general. I’ve always thought that (2) most people I know conceive of themselves as sleeping giants, intellectually. And many of the ones that don’t try are confident that they would excel if they made the effort and the circumstances aligned. But this notion actually ends up being pretty important to their concept of self-worth so, of course, they (a pronoun whose referent includes the kids I tutored in math in High School and myself right now) never really try and end up rather ordinary.

But the biggest question I had was how the Stanford undergraduate population would answer. Many of us have been skimmed off the top of our high school classes like cream from a glass milk bottle. However, lots of us also have the opportunity, here, to encounter people smarter than ourselves, who, by hypothesis (1) we hastily go about avoiding. It’d be very interesting to see how the answer percentages broke down by class year, residence, and major. Oh the data I would gather had I the work-ethic and either (a) website or (b) IRB approval!

(Also: what the hell, bisexual men. What the hell.)

Best factoid found writing this post: Stephen Hawking supposedly doesn’t know his own IQ, and once said in an interview, “People who boast about their IQ are losers.”