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Yet Another Quiz
james_nicoll
Go, me. Perfect score.

You answered 13 of 13 questions correctly.
This quiz is a joint effort between the Pew Research Center and Smithsonian magazine.

See below how your results compare with the 1,006 randomly sampled adults that took part in our national survey and review how you responded to each question. For more findings from the survey, read "Public's Knowledge of Science and Technology."
You scored better than 93% of the public and the same as 7%.


Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comment(s); comment here or there.

Gold star for me too.

The demographic breakdown at the end was a bit boggling. 52% of people think lasers are made from sound waves?

And 80% of people don't know that nitrogen makes up most of the atmosphere. Wonder what the winner of the popular vote was there? Oxygen probably.

Rather depressing results considering how easy the questions are. But not unexpected, considering how much goes on that belies even a little knowledge of science.

Why is sugar dissolving in water not a chemical reaction?

I guessed on "fracking," and I seem to have guessed correctly.

It's a physical reaction. The sugar and the water aren't chemically bonded. The molecules of water are still molecules of water; the molecules of sugar are still molecules of sugar. If you evaporate the water -- and evaporation is a physical process -- the sugar will be left behind, separated physically.


(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
I got the nitrogen question wrong. Oops. Given how much I read about climate science you'd think I'd retain that.

What I find tragic is that *93%* of all people don't get 13 of 13. If it was even, oh, 75% of all people it might be tolerable -- if most of the rest were at 12 and 11 -- but 93%? That's the same you'd get if it was an even distribution -- same number of respondents -- getting 0, 1, 2, 3... answers right.

Indeed. Most of these were horrifyingly easy and obvious and even educaated adults got them wrong.

When I got to the demographic questions, this was going through my head:
"They only ask you one question, they say 'Who are you?'. And I got 75% on that." (0:35)

So, in the 1006 random people we're compared to:
* The hardest question is "which gas makes up the atmosphere" at only 20%. Only 31% of college grads get it. The smallest cell is high schoolers on it, at 12%

* The highest cell is college grads on antibiotic overuse, at 95%.

* Female knowledge of science is notably worse on most questions. They do better on two: antibiotic danger (72/81 M/F) and drug testing (72/78). They come close on red blood cell purpose (79/77) and sunscreen (85/81) and then nanotech (68/62)

* 65+ do worse on most questions. Other age groups tend to be closer, sometimes identical, sometimes not. 18-29 get plate tectonics, electrons, nanotech, blood cells. They're amazingly ignorant about fracking and (relatively speaking) antibiotic dangers (68, tied with 65+, vs. 80-84% for the middle)

* High school grads come closest to others on global warming gas and then drug testing. Some college is sometime close to college graduates, sometimes not.

Fracking is not something any older person learned about in school; it's an "are you following the news?" question, really.

That was easy. Fracking has been in the news enough that it'd be hard not to know what it was, not that it's really a science question (but there are lots of scientific issues in the politics around it, at least). Nanotech isn't an issue for an SF fan (I mean, knowing what it is).

Kind of scary that anybody in the US would not know any of those things (except nanotech; doesn't totally scare me for people not to know that).

Next thing you know somebody will claim there are people out there who can't compute a reasonable estimate of how much sand and pavers they need to put in a path to the garage.

Heh. I remember making my raised-bed garden, and my father came over to help me bring the dirt from the dirt farm. I had measured it out, and told him how many cubic yards we needed, and he said, "Yep. About a ton of dirt. That's about a pickup bed's worth. That's one bucketful on the front-end loader."

He was right.

So that is now my measurement in my head, for dirt: "one ton" = "my raised bed garden" = "a pickup truck" = "a frond-end-loader scoop."

The fracking question could be confusing because oil is fracked for also, i.e. the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota.

The only reason I knew the nitrogen question is that this morning someone on my Twitter feed commented on it (he must have taken the same quiz). So you can make an argument that I cheated, but I prefer to think of it that I learned something new this morning that had almost immediate application in this quiz.

I got 13 of 13. The questions were really easy.

I'm going to have a beer over the electrons-smaller-than-atoms answers from the general public. Or maybe a beer and a shot. Or just a couple of shots. Yeah.

Let me help: random guessing would give 50%.

The highest result for the question was 59%. The lowest was 33%.

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
Perfect score here, too. One question I actually had to think about for a moment, the rest were general knowledge on a par with knowing the points of the compass or how to conjugate an English verb.

Edited at 2013-04-24 08:31 pm (UTC)

WHICH English verb, though?

(And I still have problems with "west" and "east". Although admittedly, "west" and "east" are easier than "right" and "left". I've got NO problem with "port" and "starboard", though -- THAT one I've got down.)

13/13 here... other half got 12/13 after tripping up on the chemical reaction question. Which I did need to think about for a couple of seconds.

Can't look at the results because it would upset me too much.

13 out of 13 myself. Does this mean that fans really *are* slans? (For definitions of slans that are limited to being pretty good at triva contests and suchlike.)

Naively extrapolating from "pretty good at trivia contests" to general intelligence is basically how the whole "fans are slans" thing got started. (Not that I'm accusing you of that, of course.)

What's astonishing is how certain populations do so much worse than chance on some of these. (35%? on a yes/no?!)

I mean, I can come up with explanations why (they got taught "atoms are tee smallest thing there is")...but it's like they heard the right answer some time, and their brain purposely recorded the opposite...

I got a perfect score, but only because I lied and agreed that continents "move their locations", whatever that means.

Took a wild guess on "fracking"; all I know about it is that the word is used when people talk about oil, so I figured that if it was also used for something else, that something else was also a fluid. Perhaps "slans" are people who are skilled at multiple-guess exam?

Continents have definitely been moving, relative to the rotation axis or to each other. What's to lie about?