Editors' note: The study written about below now appears to be bogus, according to the BBC. Please see our new story here.
When scientists attempt to correlate numbers, it's best to open a nice Casa Nuestra Tinto Classico and pour yourself a large glass.
Only then can you really savor the conclusions that can so easily be reached when one lot of numbers goes on a blind date with another.
Take this fascinating new study from a Canadian psychometric consulting company called AptiQuant. Appearing to have no relationship with the cosmetics of Mary Quant, these people still seem able to create a very pretty visage, one that will have us all talking to the second bottle.
For this piece of research declared that those who use Microsoft's fine Internet Explorer browser are quite the most stupid people in the world. Or, at least the most stupid people in the world who actually use a browser.
AptiQuant describes these conclusions as "really not that surprising."
(To be precise, those who use IE6 are bigger doofuses than those who use IE7. Oddly, though, those who use IE9 are dumber than those who use IE8. Those who use IE8 are still dumber than those who use any other browser.)
So what browsers do the smarterati espouse? Well, in third place is IE with a Chrome frame. In second, Camino. And in first, who else could it be but Opera?
Whenever a piece of research--thank you to the Next Web for first telling me it existed--finally ceases to make me laugh, I begin to ask two questions: One, who paid for it? And two, what was the methodology?
The first question seems to have no answer, so one assumes a clever person at AptiQuant thought: "Hey, this will get written about, eh?" The second, however, does. AptiQuant offered free IQ tests to more than 100,000 people who happened to be online. There you have it. That was it.
Which might lead you to a place at which I have already arrived: IE users are so dumb that they will take free online IQ tests. You might also arrive here: IE users are so scared of being dumb that they are desperate to answer IQ tests in the hope of being proved less dumb than they feared.
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Having enjoyed those two places, perhaps you might just decide to come here: 43 percent of browser users, according to StatCounter, choose IE. Therefore, almost half the world is very stupid indeed.
But, of course, I reached those places on a humorous, rather than intellectual, bus. IQ is a very dangerous construct, created largely to make those who have a certain type of intelligence feel that theirs is the only type of intelligence worth having. It's as if they've never heard of Forrest Gump or Woody from "Cheers."
Still, ever conscious of my image, I downloaded Opera late last night, just to give it a whirl. (Normally, I am a Firefox tolerator.) Opera was fast. It was fun. Five minutes ago, it crashed. Perhaps someone intelligent can tell me why.