San Diego Mensa uRGe 2017, aka “Nerd Camp” (26 May – 29 May)

The San Diego Mensa Regional Gathering kicked off today at 3 pm and runs through Monday, ending at 1 pm. The event is being held this year in Palm Springs, California.

The event theme this year is “Midnight at the Oasis”

Mensans from all walks of life will be in attendance. We have lawyers, authors, Armed Service members (current and retired), professors, artists, physicists, engineers, IT professionals, and even a sitting judge!


Movies being shown are:

Friday evening – Hidden Figures

Sunday evening – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Here are a couple of items that may be useful…

RGlineup2017 Agenda for 2017 San Diego Regional Gathering

Agenda for 2017 San Diego Regional Gathering


I’ll post stories and pictures, time permitting, as the RG unfolds.

FRIDAY – 26th


Margie and Dave Bowles manning the registration area.


Lots of fun Friday! Following registration, the day was filled with the laughter of old friends and new alike. Card and board games were enjoyed by many and puzzles were pieced together into the wee hours of the morning.



Activities and conferences!

Very interesting seminar given by H. Stanley Jones covering the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator  (MBTI). Upon completion of the MBTI worksheet and further analysis,  Mr. Jones will personally email the results to seminar attendees.


Bob Tutleman’s Sing-a-long!

Really enjoyed Bob Tutleman’s Sing-a-long. As always, it was a great performance! Thanks, Bob!

The Mensa Song –


Again, more games! Games are a big part of AGs and RGs!


Sunday – 28th

The day was filled with games and shared fun, discussions, and testing applicants for Mensa. RGs and AGs are a time to make new friends. The American Mensa Firehouse was well represented! I personally counted 9 members in attendance. The ‘award’ for the farthest traveling Mensan in attendance goes to… Laura Ingram, who flew in all the way from Indonesia! Congrats!

Two Firehouse members are shown below.

Carole Lane (L) and Laura Ingram (R)

Later in the evening, several of us Mensans went to Toucan’s Tiki Lounge to see the “Drag Revue”. If you have to ask…

Anyway… there has to be a punch line in there some where… “10 geniuses walk into a gay bar…”  Yeah, I need to work on that one.

Monday – 29th

The end has come, as all things must. Time to say our goodbyes and fond farewells. Until we meet again…

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Sometimes a Blog Post Writes Itself…

Recently, I was talking to a co-worker about a picture I had run across on FaceBook.

He thought it was funny and asked, ‘Are all of you guys crazy?’

‘No’, I replied but then went on to expand upon my answer. I explained that we’re pretty much like everyone else, but a little more intense.

‘What do you mean?’ he asked.

‘Well, a lot of us are very knowledgeable in very specific areas… more so than the average person. We tend to research things that we’re curious about, in order to learn or gain a better understanding about a subject matter. And many of us are quite passionate about our points-of-view. Sometimes that passion is mistaken for being crazy. But that’s not to say some of us aren’t ‘touched in the head’, I said smiling.

‘So, some of you are mentally unstable?’ he prodded.

I did my best to answer… ‘Of course! It just stands to reason that a certain percentage of any population will have problems… whether it’s mental illness, specific health issues, and so on and so forth. I’ve read articles that attribute a higher instance of mental illness to highly intelligent people and I’ve read articles that say there’s no correlation between the two. I think it has a lot to do with how people identify and deal with potential mental health problems. That’s true for the super smart people and those who aren’t.’

‘Alright. Answer me this. Looking at the scale, where are you? he asked.

‘Oh, dude… you really don’t want to know!’ I remarked, laughing… and walked away.


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Misfit Toys

I’ve struggled with depression over the course of my life. There, I said it.

Depression was something I had always regarded as a sign of being mentally weak. To counteract my depression, I pushed through it by ignoring the emptiness… the despair… and tried to replace those feelings with a series of intimate relationships. The net result, aside from the countless notches on my headboard, was unhappiness. But I didn’t really have great coping skills in my youth either.

Today, it’s much different. I’ve learned to cope with depression in other ways. I’ve tried my hand at writing, a little sculpting/drawing, and devoting more time to my lifelong interest in learning more about world history. I find that filling my time with activities tends to limit the frequency and intensity of my bouts with depression. But there’s also a big downside to this approach. I usually get less than 4 hours of sleep a day… sometimes it’s as little as an hour. That can only go on so long before my body is exhausted. At some point I have to crash… sleeping for many hours at a time, trying to ‘catch up’. It cannot be good for my overall health.

It’s common for people who are experiencing difficulties in their lives to seek out religion. It’s not that I lack spirituality as much as it is not believing in organized religion to begin with. Religion provides people with a sense of belonging, comfort in times of crisis, hope for a better future, and reward in an afterlife. Not being a religious person, and not believing in an afterlife, there’s really no reason for me to adhere to any sort of moral compass or by societal standards… aside from creating pleasant living conditions for myself and my family. Let’s face it. The reality is that in order for many of us to be successful in life, we must adhere to certain standards, societal and otherwise.

Does that mean I can do anything I damn well please without concern for any repercussions? Absolutely not. I find that I’m still guided by a strong sense of what I consider right and wrong… good versus evil… and an obligation to others who depend upon me in the context of a family member, friend, or co-worker.

But, I do find myself wondering at times why any of it matters? I don’t believe in a god or gods. And if there aren’t any gods, then the concept of good and evil or right and wrong, are really just social constructs. All of it is then relative. The obligations that I feel towards others is, more or less, limited to my immediate family and close friends. And, as a very introverted person, my circle of friends is quite small.

I’ve reached a point in my life that I’m no longer too concerned in how others view me on a personal or professional basis with the exception of my family and close friends. Sure, I want people to like me but I won’t work for their approval. It either exists or it doesn’t. A sense of complacency now defines that part of my life.

That complacency, in conjunction with intervals of moderate/severe depression, have given me periods when I experience a complete lack of passion for life… a lack of empathy towards my fellow man… and that scares me. I know it isn’t healthy. Being the type of person that I am, I analyze myself constantly… my goals, my beliefs, and my obligations. But in the midst of an episode of depression, I wonder again… ‘why any of it matters?’



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Extraverted or Introverted Preference

Extraverted and Introverted are opposite preferences. A person’s natural tendency toward one will be stronger than the other.

Extraverted (E)

Extraversion is a preference to focus on the world outside the self. Extraverts enjoy social interactions and tend to be enthusiastic, verbal, assertive, and animated. They enjoy large social gatherings, such as parties and any kind of group activity. Extraverts are likely to enjoy time spent with people and find themselves energized by social interaction.

Extravert Characteristics

  • Gregarious
  • Assertive
  • Talkative
  • Social/outgoing
  • Likes groups, parties, etc.
  • Energized by interaction
  • Expressive & enthusiastic
  • Volunteers personal information
  • Distractable
  • Has many friends
  • Easy to approach

Extraverted Personality Types

Introverted (I)

Introversion is a preference to focus on the world inside the self. Introverts tend to be quiet, peaceful and deliberate and are not attracted to social interactions. They prefer activities they can do alone or with one other close friend, activities such as reading, writing, thinking, and inventing. Introverts find social gatherings draining.

Introvert Characteristics

  • Energized by time alone
  • Private
  • Keeps to self
  • Quiet
  • Deliberate
  • Internally aware
  • Fewer friends
  • Prefer smaller groups
  • Independent
  • Not socially inclined
  • Enjoys solitude
  • Thinks before speaking

Introverted Personality Types

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MBMS Science Olympiad Hovercraft Event 2016 – 2017


We’ve been fighting the issue of our hovercraft wiring harness overheating and burning up. Many solutions were tried but did not solve the problem. The electrical flow going through the harness was about 18 amps… that far exceeded the capabilities of most potentiometers. The load on the motor could’ve been reduced by using a smaller diameter propeller, but that would result in having to rebuild the close tolerance housing around the propeller and would reduce the downward/backwards thrust as well. So… after chatting with a gentleman down at Discount Hobby Warehouse, he suggested that I use a brass strip as a resistor to reduce the amperage going to the motor, thereby keeping the wires from heating up or burning. Below is the brass resistor I created using 2 brass strips.


I took two brass strips (1/4 inch wide by 12 inches long, 0.100 thick) and placed a spacer between the two… taping them together at the spacers. I then soldered a short piece of 22 gauge wire at the end to connect them.


I soldered the incoming power wire to the bottom of one brass strip that I had bent outward.


The outbound power wire was attached to the other brass strip and leads to the motor.


The brass resistor strip was then taped to the flag mast, again at the spacers to keep from bending the strips towards each other and negating the overall resistance.


This is another angle of the craft. A simple on/off switch is all that is needed to complete the circuit.

Hope this helps. Please feel free to contact me should you have any concerns or questions.


A special thanks to Mr. Babu Saladi and also to Discount Hobby Warehouse at 7644 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.

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MBMS Science Olympiad Hovercraft Project 2016-2017


This is just a quick outline of how I put together a prototype hovercraft for the MBMS Science Olympiad. The prototype is made from PVC foam board, 0.125 in thickness. The example pictures are done in light poster board for ease of use.


Below are the steps taken to create the hovercraft.


step-1 step-2

step-3 step-4



























The two small triangles are to used as support braces at the base of the motor assembly.






The above picture shows the shunt positioned between the side wall assembly.


Above: This view shows the pin-hole locations and the shunt. By placing a pushpin through the side holes on both walls, you can adjust the angle of the shunt. The position of the shunt controls how much air is forced downwards for lift, and backwards for propulsion.


Revisiting the original prototype picture, we can clearly see the shunt assembly with the push-pins in place determining the appropriate angle of the shunt for the hovercraft. This angle position was achieved by ‘trial and error’. Testing the shunt position in combination with the selected propeller and motor speed, took just a few minutes.


The hovercraft skirt can be made of many types of material. I chose to use a simple plastic bag seal on both ends. Marking out where the shunt opening would be on the plastic skirt, I used a razor blade to cut the plastic completely through the top and bottom layers. Using double back tape, I centered and attached the plastic bag to the bottom of the hovercraft.



This was a quick mock-up of the prototype seen above. Braces, attaching of the shunt, etc., are all variables. Meaning, you must test to see what positions and angles work best for your particular hovercraft. Remember to keep everything on centerline as best as possible and to take into consideration the balance of your craft. Make adjustments as necessary. Most importantly, have fun!

MBMS Science Olympiad study sheets are provided below. Please check them out. (courtesy Ms. Stacy)

mbms-science-olympiad-2016-2017-page1 mbms-science-olympiad-2016-2017-page2 mbms-science-olympiad-2016-2017-page3 mbms-science-olympiad-2016-2017-page4 mbms-science-olympiad-2016-2017-page5 mbms-science-olympiad-2016-2017-page6 mbms-science-olympiad-2016-2017-page7 mbms-science-olympiad-2016-2017-page8 mbms-science-olympiad-2016-2017-page9 mbms-science-olympiad-2016-2017-page10 mbms-science-olympiad-2016-2017-page11


mbms-science-olympiad-2016-2017-page13 mbms-science-olympiad-2016-2017-page14



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Cool video! Enjoy!

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Hobby and special projects…

Here are a few examples of craft projects and other items I’ve done.

This is a license plate I machined using MasterCam to generate the program. It’s machined from 6061 aluminum and and painted glossy black. The machined logo (Mensa) was masked off to preserve the machining tool path marks. The plate now adorns the front of my Audi Quattro A4.  🙂


A few years ago I was just sitting around, kind of bored. The thought occurred to me that I should build a combination bookshelf/wine rack to house some of my antiquarian books, and my small collection of wines. This shelf combination was the result.


After completing the shelf, it looked unfinished… something was missing. I needed something to adorn the top… I sketched out a rough idea of what I wanted to sculpt and then made a wire frame to form the foundation of the piece.


Finished piece.


Sometimes it’s just fun to create totally useless stuff. Here’s a hotdog roller for my BBQ grill.


My latest project (October 2017) is a plague doctor masque. Not quite finished but close…

Now the mask is completed!


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How Some Fellow Mensans View Mentioning IQ…

Obviously I’m not alone in my ongoing dilemma as to when, if at all, to mention my membership in Mensa. It always felt a bit awkward, and maybe I dreaded the possibility, that someone would think me pretentious or an arrogant ass for even mentioning the fact. When is it OK to let it be known? Should you even put it on your resume? If so, does that put you in ‘bad light’ in the eyes of a potential employer? If you don’t reference it on your resume, could you possibly be sabotaging your chances of securing a job that requires logical reasoning and high intelligence? Just where do you draw the line? And, if you were to put it on your resume, or bring it up during the interview process, just how would you do so?

Try looking at it from a different perspective. Let’s say you’re applying for a job that receives numerous applicants for the same type of job. Your degree is probably no different from dozens of others being considered. What sets your resume apart from all the others? The fact that you may have a Masters instead of Bachelors? Or, a Doctorate instead of a Masters? What about if your degree is from a prestigious university and not a local community or state college?  As an applicant, wouldn’t you want to stress where you were educated and the level of your education? And maybe, if you are just entering the job market, you’d want to point out your GPA or making the Dean’s List? Aren’t these the things a potential employer would want to know? I mean, if I’m looking to hire the best qualified applicants for a position, wouldn’t I then want the most ‘bang’ for my buck, so to speak? The answer should be obvious, right?

Why is it considered ‘bad form’ to mention your IQ? Are professional athletes ridiculed for being good at what they do? When was the last time someone said “Hey, you don’t have to excel at so-and-so! Show-off!” to an MLB, NFL, NBA player or other professional athlete? Athletes are highly regarded in their particular sport… so why aren’t highly intelligent people viewed in a similar light?

Below are a few comments gleaned from a recent discussion among fellow Mensans on a private FaceBook thread. Even among ourselves, we struggle with answering this question. The question asked was “Is a Mensa membership something to be proud of?”

Response #1: The profoundly stupid can do things we can not do… This guy I work with amazes me with his stupidity every day… But he should be ashamed in the same way I am proud … But he is way too stupid to realize he is stupid.

Response #2: It’s something I’m proud about – not to an obscene level, but I am proud of my brains just as much as I am proud of my good singing voice. It’s no better or worse than other people are proud of their good looks or ability to play sports well (neither of which I can claim).

Response #3: We have a right to be proud of whatever it is we are good at doing – be it something physical, mental, whatever. There is nothing wrong with that.

Response #4: It just sucks because saying you’re proud of doing a sport is cool but once you bring up intelligence you’re immediately seen has being condescending

Response #5: Perhaps – but that’s their problem. Someone feeling that I am condescending by mentioning I am proud and happy to be a Mensan makes me sad. I don’t feel it’s condescending when someone tells me they are a great dancer just because I have two left feet and dance like a drunken hippo.

Response #6: The question was – is Mensa Membership something to be proud about. And I think someone can be as proud of their innate intelligence as someone can be about any other innate ability. Sure – not every Mensa member lives up to their complete potential. I know I don’t. But I think that being smart enough to qualify is something that I can be proud about.

Response #7: I disagree that qualifying for Mensa is innate. If Usain Bolt never left his couch and ate Big Macs nine times a day, his potential would be the same but his actual time in the 100 meters would be sometime next Tuesday. Standardized tests show a significant training effect and a love of reading and learning is a common trait among our cohort. So, yes, most of us worked to get this smart, and could be proud of it. However, it is often more politic not to be too loud about our memberships because no one likes a smarty pants.

Response #8: I remember that my best test was my GREs, where I scored 2200+. I showed my scores to all my profs, and the first words out of my chemistry professor was, “I didn’t think you were that smart.”

Response #9 (my personal favorite): People will judge you negatively for being intelligent.

Mostly, I think, because they feel threatened.

Because intelligence is not immediately obvious–the way other characteristics can be.

Virtually no one will feel bad about not being a professional athlete. So they can laud that ability in others without feeling personally inferior.

No one, in my experience, thinks they aren’t smart. Until the person they least expect turns out to be demonstrably more intelligent than they are. They don’t expect it, and thus feel threatened. So, to mitigate that feeling, they react negatively.

You should be proud of your intelligence. No one should be made to feel bad about themselves because they’re a few standard deviations above normal.


So, let me ask a question. Should it be considered bad form to mention your membership in an high IQ society?

If you’re currently employed and happy in your job, how do you think your boss would react to finding out you were a Mensan? Do you think that could be a roadblock to your advancing within the company? Would your boss and fellow co-workers likely feel threatened?

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How life on Earth started…

This is a wonderfully informative and well done video explaining the formation of Earth and how life here began. Enjoy!


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