Way back when I was 10 or so, I took a bunch of psychological tests. One of them was an IQ test – the WISC. These scales certainly have their issues, but they can provide useful information when used properly by experts. One such piece of information is the pattern of subtest scores. Mine was weird, but I will cover that in another post.
One subtest on the WISC is called “information” and it’s more or less what it sounds like: General information questions. Well, my fund of general information (then and now) is pretty good. But there was one question I missed, pretty early on in the test. A question most 10 year old kids probably wouldn’t have much trouble with:
Where does the sun rise?
I didn’t know, but I tried to figure it out.
The “easy” way to figure this out would be to think about my walk to school: Due east into the rising sun (Manhattan’s streets are almost exactly east/west). But that didn’t work for me. I couldn’t remember if I saw the sun rising on my way to school. I tried to remember where the sun was that day, but I took the test in midwinter, and the sun in winter rises in the south, more or less. No good. I knew he wanted east or west. So, I tried reasoning about the spin of the Earth, and time zones – I knew it was earlier in the west, so that had to mean something, but I didn’t figure it out in time. I guessed and I guessed wrong. Luckily for my score on that subtest, I got all the other questions right.
So, now, I remember where the sun rises. How do I do this? Easy. Sets is almost a rhyme and almost an anagram of west. So, I just remember “sets in the wets” and then convert it to west. Voila!