Science quiz

by Grace aka costofcollege

Do you know more about science and technology than the average American?

Science Knowledge Quiz

Was science a favorite subject in school?  How do you keep up with science news?  Do you enjoy science fiction books or movies?

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143 thoughts on “Science quiz

  1. 12/12.

    “Was science a favorite subject in school?”
    I guess.

    “How do you keep up with science news?”
    Really, only when it gets reported in the mainstream press.

    “Do you enjoy science fiction books or movies?”
    Absolutely not.

  2. 10/12 I never liked science class in school (except chemistry reactions that seemed more math related)

    I love science fiction and watching science shows about space

  3. Missed one…boiling water. I liked science in high school, less so in college, more so now. Find myself reading Scientific American, watching PBS shows, and have reread A Short History of Nearly Everything…would really like that book updated!

    This brings me to a hijack – AP scores came out today. DD1 is happy with her scores on 2 tests. However, she has just now learned about SAT subject matter tests. Any totebaggers familiar with these?

  4. I am ambivalent to science. I don’t read scientific journals or keep up with scientific news.

    Austin: Though I’ve heard about SAT subject matter tests, I question their importance to the college admissions/credit process. I have not heard them mentioned on the various college tours in which we’ve participated. DS is focusing on AP classes and exams, as are his friends.

  5. 11/12. Like Austin, I missed the boiling water question. I liked science, but it was not a favorite. I attribute my success to knowing some trivia and recently having 3 kids go thru the HS Geology, Biology, Chemistry sequence where I helped every so often.

  6. 9/12! I am ashamed. I never liked science, but t no excuse not to know things.

    I do think science is very important to us as a society making good decisions. We need a well-educated public, and God help us, better educated politicians. Have you all see the video of the Congressman interviewing a high ranking military official who sought funds to station more military on Guam? The Congressman was expressing his concern that the island would capsize if we put too many people on one side.

  7. Austin – back in the day, the subject tests were called achievement tests. I scored high enough on the English test to get out of bonehead English in undergrad.

  8. And yes I see the irony in my call for better education with that poorly written post. I’m on my phone n the waiting room at the dentist, so I apologize.

  9. “The Congressman was expressing his concern that the island would capsize if we put too many people on one side.”

    I guess HM and Finn better watch out given the population density on their part of their island!

  10. 11/12 – wrong on the boiling water question.
    Same answers as Milo. I used to do really well
    at science in school. However, I didn’t want to go into medicine or engineering where girls who scored well ended up. My friend at school was so interested in the NASA space program. I read a lot about space just to humor her. She ended up becoming a teacher. I wish she had the opportunity to actually follow her passion.
    DD is in STEM fun camp. Even at this early there are way less girls than boys.

  11. Did non of your science teachers do the experiment where you boil with an ice cube?

  12. The SAT subject matter tests are not really considered for either admissions or placement at our university.

    That Guam video is really entertaining but humiliating for the unfortunate member of Congress.

  13. “The Congressman was expressing his concern that the island would capsize if we put too many people on one side.”

    Warren Brown is the Washington Post car. Before I lost most of my interest in cars, I really enjoyed reading his columns, and I thought he had an insightful perspective that went well beyond the raw numbers and data. His metaphors were brilliant, and he had a way of telling you more about life than cars; e.g., http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2003/06/15/AR2005032405114.html

    But as for science…, well, he used to do live Q&A’s online. During one, he made it very apparent that his understanding of a hybrid car’s use of “regenerative braking” meant that the system was capturing the heat generated by the brakes and using that heat to charge the battery. Some commenters tried gently to steer him to the correct understanding, but he was insistent. What happened in his mind, I think, was that he read or heard that the heat otherwise wasted by braking is “captured.” I guess he took this to mean that a Prius has a miniature boiler, turbine, and condenser next to each brake pad. Probably not to that extent, but that would be taking his assertion to its logical conclusion.

    It’s not a big deal for a car columnist, and I still greatly respect him. But many journalists and politicians are similarly challenged, and you see this sort of thing come out in all areas where they’re influencing or creating policy.

  14. Do you think it is important for politicians to be literate in science, medicine, business, agriculture, global affairs and the other areas on which they legislate, or should it be sufficient to have staff with that expertise.

  15. Argh, I totally overthought the waves question (“well, if the earth weren’t turning, the gravitational pull would just be constant from the same direction, and you wouldn’t have waves”).

    11/12. Love science, love understanding how things work, figuring things out. We are totally the parents who answer “why is the sky blue” with discussions of light waves and refraction.

    Totally off topic, I finally set up the regular nondeductible IRA and rolled it over to Roth. Item 29 out of the 30-item May list. Yay. T. Rowe Price made it ridiculously easy — 15 mins on the phone yesterday with a guy who set me up with an online account and walked me through creating and funding the account, then less than 5 mins online today to roll over. As usual, makes me wonder why I procrastinated so long (well, that was because rolling the existing IRAs into my 401(k) was a version of hell, but whatever).

  16. 12/12. And I don’t really follow science news (other than health) at all.
    As I tell my kids, I am living proof that you can lead a happy and fulfilling life without ever taking calculus or physics.
    DS got his AP scores (he took 5 tests this year) and is very happy. On advice of my fellow Totebaggers, he will repeat Calc 2 next year despite testing out of it.

  17. LFB: Do the same income requirements of investing directly into a Roth apply to a rollover, as well?

  18. I thought the quiz was hard – I felt like I couldn’t really remember HS earth science that well – but I got 11 out of 12 correct.

  19. “well, if the earth weren’t turning, the gravitational pull would just be constant from the same direction, and you wouldn’t have waves”).

    The moon would still be in orbit so you’d have tides every 13.6 days vs. twice a day.

  20. Literate politicians – (1) if you are campaigning on specific issues – either for or against, you should be literate; (2) new member of a legislative body assigned to some random committee, at least staff with expertise, but expect some learning curve; (3) longer term on a committee or a committee chair – should have more knowledge on the topics brought before the committee and ability to quickly assimilate new information on the topic; (4) voting on each and every piece of legislation – must have staff or some system to at least KNOW what you voted on.

    I don’t think the average voter understands how much the details matter on what legislators vote on. The press talks about legislation at a very high level and not the nitty gritty that when implemented affects the general populus greatly.

  21. I liked science well enough in school. I took a lot of science in college – a year of chemistry, a year of bio and a year of physics – and hated all of them. It was the labs that did me in. I could never make the equipment work right, and it was so cookbook. You knew that thousands of other students were following the exact same steps to get the exact same conclusions.

    However, I try to stay up to date on science, and in particular, I read a lot in the area of bioinformatics.

    We are all huge fans of Neil DeGrasse Tyson in our house.

  22. I think everyone should have basic scientific literacy, and in particular, government officials should. There are just too many important issues for which scientific understanding is important, like whether to regulate GMOs, whether to permit families to forgoe vaccination, whether to regulate particular pesticides, how much to fund NASA and the CDC, and broad directions for the NSF and NIH.

  23. “Do you think it is important for politicians to be literate in science, medicine, business, agriculture, global affairs and the other areas on which they legislate, or should it be sufficient to have staff with that expertise.”

    The latter — plus be interested in/willing to listen to said experts. I think there is too much specialized knowledge in each area for anyone to really be an expert in all. But you have to have a capability and willingness to listen and learn.

    @Houston: No — that’s why I had to do it that way. Open nondeductible IRA to start with, roll it over into a Roth, and you pay taxes only on any gains since you opened the account (vs. a deductible IRA, where the rollover counts as a taxable distribution and you pay tax on the entire amount as income).

    Only caveat is if you have other traditional IRAs out there, then your rollover is counted as a distribution of an equal share of each. Illustration: I have no other IRAs. I open a $5K nondeductible IRA yesterday, roll over today. I pay taxes only on any increase in value in my IRA between yesterday and today (and, hey, it went down 43 cents since yesterday, so I’m good).

    OTOH: I have a pre-existing $5,000 traditional deductible IRA, then open a new $5K nondeductible IRA, for $10K total. I then roll over the entire $5K nondeductible IRA into the Roth. But Uncle Sam treats it like I rolled over 50% of each IRA — so my taxes are based on a $2500 assumed “distribution” from the first IRA + half of the increase in value from the nondeductible IRA since I opened it.

    That part got too confusing on the math and reporting and all, and paying the taxes up front seemed to negate the value of the conversion in our case, so I rolled all my pre-existing deductible IRAs into my current 401(k) before I started in on the Roths.

  24. @Rhett — funny, I just assumed the moon was standing still, too. For zero good reason, though.

  25. Well, I’ve got a vent, and I’m more than a little pissed. Several months ago, I set a date for this upcoming weekend to host a little reunion at my place. The initial response was great, it was going to be about 11 guys coming, maybe six of them “yes” and five “probably.” DW made plans to visit my parents with our kids at the beach this weekend to give us the house. Anyway, one by one, they’ve dropped off, and for reasons of varying dumbness. We’re down to three, and then I’ve added someone from outside the group (one of my old roommates).

    What’s so annoying is the way people are willing to agree to something early on, but they make no commitment toward it and don’t actually prioritize it. One person thought he could get away, but the kids have sports or something (as if they don’t have sports every weekend). Another, who was a definite yes, is closing on a house and then is going to be getting it ready for the rental market. A couple of the “probablys” just never responded again. But what’s even more infuriating to me is the multiple sign offs of “but definitely let me know next time, and I’ll make it.” There won’t be a next time where I try to do any big event. I’m done with this. There’s just no respect or consideration for people who have made plans and a commitment (for me, or the ones, for example who are flying in from Boston and the west coast).

  26. 12/12, yay me. I like science, but not well enough to make it through college as a physics major as it turned out. We get Scientific American, Scientific American Mind, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, National Geographic, National Geographic Kids, and Audubon Magazine. Of course we don’t make it through all of them, but we like having them to flip through and read the occasional article, and one of the middle school science teachers is happy to have them for her classroom afterward so I don’t feel like it’s a waste. And I do like science fiction also.

    I think AustinMom had a good breakdown of how much subject matter knowledge should be expected from legislators. There’s no way they can know everything about everything they touch, but if you’re sitting on the relevant committee or pushing for something, you should make the effort to understand it.

  27. Milo, that must be so disappointing. ITA that there is very little appreciation of or consideration for the effort it takes to organize this kind of event.

  28. Milo, that kind of stuff drives me nuts. Once I commit to something, I will do everything I can do to be there. I’ve learned that lots of people have the opposite personality and it’s frustrating in a situation like your weekend.

    My high school was very focused on science and we had to take a lot of extra science courses. My middle age brain seems to have forgotten a lot of the information. I scored 11/12 because of studying with DD for tests. I don’t think I learned as much in 5th and 6th grade science, but re learning it was useful for this quiz.

    I like science, but I don’t go out of my way to read more about it etc. We’re visiting the Hoover Dam today so I googled to get more info about certain things. That is generally the extent of any extra research I do unless it involves helping DD.

  29. Milo, back pre-kids when I used to give dinner parties that was what whittled my invitee list down to a handful of reliables. And our holiday party now is explicitly a drop-by format so I don’t have to be driven crazy! You’re right, many people don’t see the difference between an invitation from a promoter to a commercial event where you can decide at the last minute, and a social event where someone you know has put in time and money preparing to entertain you. And the “Sorry, we’re not feeling up to it tonight, but definitely let us know next time!” Yeah, no, that doesn’t actually make it better and it’s not like I’m anxious to ask you again.

    I wonder if the proliferation of in-home sales parties has actually made it worse by blurring the line between commercial transaction and social invitation. Or maybe it’s just because the “if you’ve accepted an invitation you’ve made a commitment” part of manners fell out of child-rearing top ten list somewhere around 1970.

    Out of morbid curiousity, are any of the flake-outs big believers in teaching children to say “sir” and “ma’am” to adults?

  30. DS did so many chapters on the earth’s crust, volcanoes, earth quakes, rocks in recent years.
    That earth’s crust question was one I recognized from his books.
    I felt he would never move on from those topics. Then at last they moved to studying the atmosphere and weather. It is different from how I studied science. We had a lot more biology in the younger grades.

  31. “are any of the flake-outs big believers in teaching children to say “sir” and “ma’am” to adults?”

    hmmm. One is my old boss, and they were definitely more of the traditional style parents, although I can’t remember if they specifically required that. I remember that when I was 23 and could have been the older brother of his kids, DW and I were *always* Lt. Milo and Mrs. Milo to them.

    But the others, I don’t think so. Perhaps not surprisingly, of the two who are still coming*, one is married and they don’t want children, and the other is still single. (*My late addition roommate is married with a child.) The most recent flaker is also still single. Another is divorced with no kids, and yet another is divorced with older kids.

  32. HM – DH is someone who can’t commit to an invitation. He would like to go but wants to wait till the day of to see if he feels like it. I think it is because his parents hosted other people only occasionally. He also takes social commitments way more lightly than work ones.

  33. 12/12. The boiling water question is easy if you actually live in Denver. But these are just factoids. I’d be much happier if science education focused on the philosophy of science. What does it mean to have reproducible results? Which foundational premises can we all agree on, and why? What are the limits of inductive reasoning? Deductive reasoning? Why do people debate whether the “social sciences” merit the term “science”? Why is astronomy a science and not astrology? And so on.

  34. He would like to go but wants to wait till the day of to see if he feels like it.

    I had a boyfriend like that. He’s dead now.

    Didn’t Rachel from The Other Site get the snot beaten out of her for trying to defend her habit of cancelling social engagements at the last minute?

  35. I knew the astrology question because I recently finished Bill O’Reilly’s confusingly named book “Killing Reagan.” They were definitely a pair of kooks in their own right.

  36. He would like to go but wants to wait till the day of to see if he feels like it. I think it is because his parents hosted other people only occasionally.

    I think a lot of it is how you were raised. If no one ever told you that kind of behavior is incredibly rude then it may not be something you think about. Then again some people are just selfish assholes.

  37. Sorry Milo, I hate when people do that, I have one good friend who tries this sometimes.

    Do any of them have chronic health conditions?

    Sometimes DH has to cancel or not commit because he doesn’t know what his pain level will be like.

  38. 12/12 which surprised me since I had to make an educated guess on a few of the questions. I like science. I took AP bio and hematology in HS. Back then we used to prick each other’s fingers and draw blood in pipettes, smear it on agar, etc. No gloves or any other kind of protection. This was a couple of years before AIDS. In hindsight, I probably should have gone into a science related field but the math requirement scared me. I had some really bad math teachers. Geniuses but horrible teachers.

  39. Milo – that would drive me CRAZY. I was also annoyed when DH’s parents said “oh, we might not make it this weekend” coming up since we have another family reunion (on my side) to go to and the answer to whether they are coming dictates our schedule for the rest of the weekend. Rrrrr.

    We are on vacation – better internet this week – and going back to the new house this weekend. DH is very anxious to get back. I am anxious to sleep somewhere with AC and closed windows, so that the birds won’t get me up at super-early any more!

  40. Sheesh, Milo, I’m sorry, that would drive me nuts. Especially for something like a “let’s get the gang back together” event. I can (almost) see flaking on a regular party for a half-assed reason (gee, I’m exhausted from an ugly week and sort of have half a sniffle, I’ll call in sick). But a “let’s get the band back together” event? Where (at least some) people are coming from out of town? Inconceivable!

  41. I think a lot of guys are totally dependent on their wives for maintaining the calendar and setting priorities, and ultimately just telling them where to be and when. Apart from this event, I’ve arranged get-togethers after work, and we’re not talking all that often, but it’s a little crazy the number of guys who simply can not do anything, ever, because there are kids at home. It’s like I know it’s admirable to go home as soon as possible most nights and share all the parenting responsibilities, but does that mean you never do anything socially, apart from your wife, for the next 12 years? For some, yes.

    There’s got to be a balance between that and the old model of after-work socializing so perfectly captured in The Great Santini where you hung out at the officers’ club ever day after work from 4pm to 8pm, then drove home drunk to meet the family that was waiting for you to eat dinner.

  42. I’m sorry Milo. I had a nearly exact same experience – had arranged a girl’s weekend at our beach place, lined up help with driving our kids (because would overlap with Thursday/Friday school activities), got everything in order, and then 2 weeks before people started flaking out. All blamed on kids’ activities, an excuse I don’t understand because kids ALWAYS have activities, and they’re kids, not Olympic athletes.

    Just this morning my oldest was running late for tennis camp (he bikes there). I was getting on his case about not already being gone, and he said “but it doesn’t matter if I’m there 2 or 3 minutes late.” I responded “but arriving 3-5 minutes early is a sign of respect to your coaches, and a way of signaling to them that you’re appreciative of their time and happy to be doing this camp.” That really connected the dots for him – he had no idea why I wanted him to get there at 9:55. You really do have to spell this stuff out while you’re raising them, I think.

  43. Milo, that really sucks. I don’t understand that mentality either. If you accept an invitation, you go unless something truly unforeseen happens. Like Rhett said, I think it’s a combination of some people not understanding social graces, and some people are just jerks.

    A few years ago we were hosting a bbq. DW invited a bunch of her old work friends in a group email. Some of them RSVPed they would come, but quite a few said they couldn’t make it, which was fine. A few days beforehand, DW emailed the people who said they were coming to get a count. One of them replied back “I didn’t think you were still having it since so many people couldn’t make it, so we made other plans.”

  44. “Do any of them have chronic health conditions?

    Sometimes DH has to cancel or not commit because he doesn’t know what his pain level will be like.”

    Not that I know of, and I would totally understand in your DH’s situation. I’m sorry to learn that.

    My parents are prolific entertainers (and they never seem to have any trouble filling the house up, and I can’t understand why that is, because people always want to get together with them, their food is good but disorganized and their alcohol is crappy), so they don’t flake like we’re talking about, but they’ve mentioned that these friends of theirs have been asking them for a couple years to join them on their boat (multi-day cruising). My parents have this weird thing about being confined or tied down, and they’re getting worse, but my Mom told me that she could do one or two nights, although they’ve basically been putting these people off the whole time (although they still get together regularly). DW and I told them to either tell their friends that they’re not interested, or just figure out a damn time to say yes, because it’s so frustrating being on the other end.

  45. Milo inspired me to respond to a party invitation I got last week – we definitely go if we commit to something, but I am a lazy (and disorganized) responder. Now that it is on the calendar, it will happen.

    I dislike the idea that science is a collection of facts that one memorizes, and science competency is the ability to recall those facts. I have a handful of acquaintances who are “scientists” – but I would not expect them to do better on that test than my smart librarian friends. A friend who works in neuroscience has a large collection of facts he draws from in his daily life, but I imagine he would miss one or two of the physics questions (the microscope one got me).

    Real science compentency (or at least the one I care about) is the ability to think critically about scientific exploration. It does require some basic facts (sometimes) but requires training in how conclusions are drawn. It means you can read an article (even in a field where you have limited facts to draw from) and decide if it is “good science”

    This recent NYT article is a good example. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/06/30/milk-and-other-surprising-ways-to-stay-hydrated/?_r=0

    The AwShucks reporting shows a lack of scientific competency. Basically (since I know you people don’t click through!) they gave a bunch of young men a variety of different liquids to drink (one at a time) and saw how much of it they peed out after 4 hours. They peed more after drinking water than they did after drinking milk, therefore milk has a better “hydration index”. Also, soda and beer don’t make you pee more than water, and therefore have the same “hydration index”. The most basic question that is not addressed is, “How do we determine if a drink hydrates you?” – is urine output really a good measure of this? If you have a bunch of milk sitting in your intestines are you better hydrated than someone who just peed out a bunch of soda? Anyway, the commenters get to the heart of this pretty quickly – the study is not necessarily saying what the NYT thinks it says.

    On the other hand, this would be a great experiment to replicate for a science fair….

  46. “and then 2 weeks before people started flaking out. All blamed on kids’ activities, an excuse I don’t understand because kids ALWAYS have activities, and they’re kids, not Olympic athletes. ”

    DW blames the public response format of Evite or Facebook or even Reply All.

  47. DW blames the public response format of Evite or Facebook or even Reply All.

    I don’t like doing evites or mass emails because too many people seem to get caught up in “who else is going?” After that issue I mentioned previously, we invite people individually. It seems to work better.

  48. Milo, I remember this article: The Aspirational R.S.V.P.: Saying Yes When You Mean No http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/14/style/the-aspirational-rsvp-saying-yes-when-you-mean-no.html

    Many of us have become used to saying yes (online usually) to big/business/casual events even though we know we’re going to decide at the last minute if we’re actually going to attend, so maybe this habit bleeds into social events like what you’re hosting.

    Another annoying type of response is the “maybe”. While I kinda get that this is sometimes appropriate, it seems more people are using this to hold their place for a party that they don’t feel is important enough to do what is necessary to make sure they can attend. Sometimes they have other events pending that they (obviously) consider more important, and they can only attend your event if the other one falls through. Or they don’t want to ask for time off from work. Or maybe they want to be more honest and they realize they might feel too “tired” to go out on the day of your party.

  49. All blamed on kids’ activities,

    To what degree is that the actual issue and to what degree is it just a socially acceptable excuse when you just don’t feel like it?

  50. My sister, and 2 of our besties from high school get together once or twice a year. We all live within 3 hour drive, but it is hard to get all 4 of us together at once.

    I never would back out unless I was truly sick or something (throwing up)

  51. I have no problem saying no to things. It is now one of my superpowers, after a miserable year when I really stretched myself too thin all because I didn’t want to tell people no.

    To what degree is that the actual issue and to what degree is it just a socially acceptable excuse when you just don’t feel like it? I think it’s a mix. A lot of parents I know are so hyper focused on their kids, sometimes they forget where their kids begin and they end. And I think they do it sincerely, out of trying to be a good parent, and sometimes forget that doing everything all the time centered on the kids is not necessarily what makes you a good parent or a good person. But I think it comes from a place of trying to do the right thing.

  52. I think replying “yes” on a facebook event makes it easier to forget when something is, if it doesn’t make it to your go-to calendar (paper or electronic)

    if it is a get together with friends like Milo mentioned, I’d make sure it went on my calendar.

    if it is a free local concert I’d like to see with a friend, it probably won’t happen unless we actually text/email/call about it and arrange plans

  53. CofC,

    Daisy Rockwell, Flash Rosenberg? That article had the best names. Obviously they need to marry thus generating a truly epic New York Times Wedding Announcement.

  54. I have no problem saying no to things.

    And that’s a good thing. I don’t think anyone here has a problem with people saying no to invitations. It’s when they say yes and then flake out that we get bent out of shape.

  55. I think I am the last person here (or possibly in America) to get home delivery of the WSJ. In my defense, we just get the weekend edition.

    Anyway, there is a lovely weekly column called mind and matter that explains and dissects recent research. I’ve found I can read it aloud to the 5 and 7 year old and we can work through what they were measuring, what they concluded. They don’t need physics to do this.

    Here is an example, http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-small-fix-in-mind-set-can-keep-students-in-school-1466095795

    They are often a bit more methodical than that (going into experiment details), but the search function on the WSJ website is crap.

  56. @ Ada…we still get daily home delivery of the WSJ. I so prefer to read papers in print in the mornings.

    @ Denver Dad, I agree – I just wish more people would say no, instead of saying yes and switching to no at the last minute.

  57. I scored 9/12! I got two correct but the selection did not go through so I missed out on those. But I had the answers correct. The one that I got wrong was the water boiling in Denver answer. Basic really.
    Overall I did not do bad.

  58. I remember during a college Spring Break we were in a little ski cabin near Park City, UT, and my roommate (the one who agreed at the last minute to supplement my numbers this weekend) is trying to heat up water in the microwave to make hot chocolate. He keeps adding another 30 seconds, taking it out, checking and bitching that it’s not hot enough, putting it back in for another 30 seconds, rinse and repeat.

    And the other three of us, who happened to be the engineering majors, are watching in amusement, wondering how long he was going to continue.

  59. For the water boiling one I had to think about how a pressure cooker works to get it, and then realized that oh yeah, pushing those water molecules together does make it harder for them to expand for the phase change. Which I’m sure is the scientific principle it’s supposed to show understanding of, but more people are familiar with it as a factoid than as an illustration of the relationship between pressure and phase change.

  60. Milo, I have faced another but related problem. The guys are invited for a guy’s event. An hour or day before the event people call and say “I have the kids this weekend, can I bring them?”

  61. Sorry to hear about your weekend Milo. My DH loves to entertain (me not so much), but over the years we’ve gone down to only inviting one or two couples/families over at a time. It is so mentally draining to get the last minute “sorry, something came up” or the “I just plain forgot. We’ll be there next time!”

    My book club disbanded last year because of the lack of commitment. For years there were 8 of us that met on the third Monday of every month. In August we’d plan out books and who is hosting for September – May. Everyone kept those dates clear. However, over time we’d see more last minute cancellations for reasons such as I have to up the kids from ballet, or they need to work late, or even be honest and say they were tired and didn’t feel like coming. It got to the point that there would usually only be three people there.

    No one likes to keep commitments anymore. I blame our smart phones – we are either overbooked and overworked, or we are waiting for facebook posts or text to come through with something better to do.

  62. “I blame our smart phones – we are either overbooked and overworked, or we are waiting for facebook posts or text to come through with something better to do.”

    I wonder if that’s it, or if, for many people, they really would just rather hang out with their phones. We’ve talked about teens doing this as a reason for not being in any particular hurry to obtain a driver’s license–why would adults be any different? Not that they’re expecting a better event to come through, but they feel that there’s no point in coming to my weekend to socialize, your house for book club, or Lark’s beach house for the girls’ weekend, when with much less effort, they can just click through Facebook and Like everyone’s dumb political memes and re-shared pictures of your kids from four years ago (“they sure have grown!”) and feel like they’re getting the same benefit.

  63. I blame our smart phones

    I think that’s very true. We were talking about that at the hotel the other day. One of the older guys was saying that if you made a commitment to meet friends, co-workers, other couples etc. Friday at 7 in 1978 you had to be there as there was no reliable to way to contact anyone. And, certainly no single step group email or text way to contact anyone. Canceling was going to involve a lot of work and you’d still run a high risk of someone arriving who didn’t get the message.

  64. Here’s a classic example – DH plays poker with some buddies once/month (tomorrow). One of the wives (who also has kids) texted me yesterday – “What are you doing for dinner on poker night?” Me: “Nothing, want to meet at [pizza place halfway between our houses]?” Her: “Maybe.”

    Maybe? If you weren’t reaching out to get together, why did you ask on Tuesday what I’m having for dinner on Thursday? Did I misread it? She’s a pretty good friend, but I just dropped the text chat, I don’t have the mental energy for maybe. My kids are older (and thus easier) and I don’t care if we have dinner entertainment or not. I’m happy to just stay home and eat scrambled eggs that night. However, I know that if we all got together, we’d all be happy that we did. (And it would be an easier evening for her, because my kids entertain/watch her kids.)

    People are just weird.

  65. And speaking of commitments, nothing comes between these guys and their monthly poker game. Nothing. And I think that’s a good thing.

  66. “Me: “Nothing, want to meet at [pizza place halfway between our houses]?” Her: “Maybe.””

    I need to make DW aware of this, because she is often blaming herself when this kind of weirdness happens.

  67. I just looked it up and answering machines weren’t really available on the mass market until the break up of AT&T in 1984. So, c. 1983 if you wanted to reach somene you could call them at work and either speak to them or leave a message or call their home again and again until someone was home and maybe whoever took the message would get it to the person who needed to hear it.

    It seems like such a different world.

  68. My brother’s been hosting drop-in poker for a while, and his basement is always packed with multiple tables whenever he does. He’s not even that nice about it, and it’s not quite a friendly game (e.g., he has personalized chips custom made to make cheating much more difficult; a lot of the players end up being friends of friends of friends, with the connecting friends not even there). Initial buy-in is minimum $50, but you only get $40 worth of chips, as the other $10 goes toward food and beer, although you can re-up at any time without a fee or rake. You can also rent a “fancy” chair for $10 (rolling pleather office chairs); folding chairs are complimentary. Come and go as you like, casino style. People are usually there past 4 am.

  69. Milo,

    Now we know why he needs the 8,000 sf/ft house. He needs a place to run his underground casino operation.

  70. Rhett, and no one would answer during dinner, and it would be rude to call after 8:30 or 9.

    Lark, maybe the other mom had other thoughts on what to do? That’s the only way it would make sense to me, that she was thinking “movie night at my house” or something and asked if you had plans, expecting a “yes” or “no, why?” and when you responded by suggesting a different get-together she was thrown off. Of course if that’s the case she should have just replied “Actually I was wondering if you wanted to [whatever]” but I suppose she could have felt reluctant to shoot down your suggestion.

  71. I was watching an old Sex in the City episode recently, and there was some storyline where Carrie was supposed to meet Big and he’s not there, and she’s calling his home answering machine and then checking her own for a message. So, even with answering machines, it was hard to not just show up.

  72. Rhett – Interestingly enough, one of his frequent players is *my* FIL, and now they’ll live a lot closer. He likes my in-laws far better than his own.

  73. Milo – That is to no end frustrating. We had an event in May for scouts that was a pot luck, 16 girls plus figured 8 – 16 adults in the initial invite. 3 RSVP’d No – Thank you! 1/3 never responded, but some showed up anyway. Of the ones who RSVP’d yes – 1/2 were more than 30 minutes late. Overall, 1/3 who showed up didn’t bring any dish or what they did bring was too small to have mattered. Good thing, I had some back up things made.

    If I reply yes, I put it on the calendar immediately. If I reply maybe, I try to put why…for example, last year we were invited to an event, but we were waiting on the school to announce an 8th Grade event. I said we’d love to come, but can’t commit until we hear from the school which should be on X date. As soon as we heard, I updated ours to a No.

    I try to tell my kids and anyone else I can influence for that matter…If you have been invited, the host/hostess has spent time and money to hold the event. The least you can do is let them know if you are coming or not and then stick to it. It is no fun when you are on the hosting side and invite 10, pay for 10 and 3 show up.

  74. I actually think the most likely scenario is that it was her way of seeing if any of the other wives had planned something fun while the husbands were all playing poker & to figure out if she was missing out on anything. Having confirmed she was not by my ‘nothing’ response, she didn’t really want to commit to anything. This would be the most consistent with her general MO.

  75. Lark – DW gets frustrated sometimes when, for a most recent example, she’ll text someone asking her if she wants to get together for coffee after preschool drop-off, and the person will respond “oh, why don’t you join us [her and maybe two other moms who already planned to do the same thing]?”

    which is fine, but she wonders why she is never invited (or feels like she’s never invited) unless she initiates.

  76. The conventions of politeness have changed with texting. It was a huge adjustment for my generation, but with a little bit of effort I have adapted. It is nice to be able to make plans quickly and adjust destinations and arrival times. It is now polite to text updates – running late or I am early at Location A where we planned to meet and it is mobbed with some workplace event – lets go to Location B a block away. But the flip side is that nobody thinks they have to be firm in their plans until the requisite short interval prior to the possible get together, so no one actually starts to move toward the rendezvous until the first couple of text exchanges start up the process. The only way to deal with Lark’s Ms Maybe is to text at the last decision point (midday or so) and ask, so, are we on for pizza tonight?

    I love to have friends over for dinner, but there are very few who feel comfortable doing it. Many can’t reciprocate. They no longer cook very much. Or they don’t have money for going out. Or they don’t feel that their homes are presentable – messy, or cluttered, or the first floor bathroom has necessary evidence of age or infirmity. Or they are allergic to cats. Yesterday our best friends who are having a kitchen reno came over. I made pulled pork and all the fixin’s. But I doubt I could assemble 4 couples without having to make several more dishes of special stuff on the side.

  77. Oooh this is a fun topic because I have no end of examples. Monday (July 4) we were invited to a lunch. This is an annual get together for about 5 couples (and if anyone has family in town the visiting family comes too), everyone brings a dish. Has been going on for about 7 years. The host clearly said in her text “come around 12:30” – but also a casual event so folks know that’s not a set in stone time. Everyone arrived by 1 except 1 couple. The host said, let’s wait to eat until they show up. At 1:30 we all went ahead and ate. They showed up a little before 3, with their dish. By this point we’re all into the pound cake, the women have all had a glass of wine, the men are on beer #2, and kids have given up on the heat to go inside and play video games.

    The wife then went ON AND ON AND ON for the next 2 hours about how no one would eat her damn vidalia onion dip. We were all hot and full and drowsy and no one would even try it to be polite.

  78. on the science quiz, I noticed for all 12 questions, men had a higher percentage correct

  79. the biggest gap on the magnifying glass Q (18 %, yes I missed this one) and the smallest gap on astrology (only 1%)

  80. “the biggest gap on the magnifying glass Q”

    part of me remembered a discussion of focal points and inverted images from AP Physics. Another part remembered setting fire to paper scraps as an eight-year-old on a sunny day, but I expect fewer girls than boys share that experience.

  81. @ Milo – I have 2 theories. First, I wonder if most of those moms are true SAHM, not hybrid Work at Home but with Flexibility like your DW. If so, I am sure much of it is that they assume she’s heading straight to get work done during preschool hours.

    Second, I bet that objectively she is included more than it feels like she is, but the times when she’s aware she isn’t have much more stickiness to her.

  82. the biggest gap on the magnifying glass Q (18 %, yes I missed this one)

    Maybe the men were more likely to have tried frying ants with a magnifying glass in their misspent youths?

  83. which is fine, but she wonders why she is never invited (or feels like she’s never invited) unless she initiates.

    I feel the same way. I’m never invited to anything (either as an individual or as a couple/family). When we invite people over or to go out, they are usually receptive, but we never get return invitations. It’s literally been years since we’ve been invited to someone’s house. We try to host a couple of events every year (a summer bbq, holiday dinner, etc) and we never get return invitations. Periodically I’ll get together with some friends but I’m always the one initiating it. It’s extremely frustrating and disappointing.

  84. “the biggest gap on the magnifying glass Q (18 %, yes I missed this one) and the smallest gap on astrology (only 1%)”

    The report puts it this way: Science Knowledge Differs by Gender: No Difference on Pseudoscience.

    I’m disappointed but not entirely surprised i missed two! And I think I’m one of the few folks around here with a science background . . .

  85. Lark, the onion dip lady sounds super annoying. Maybe it was her guilty conscience talking, but just accept that you messed up and enjoy the rest of the party, don’t try to force everyone to have onion dip for second dessert just so you don’t have to face the evidence of your screw-up in your fridge for the next week.

  86. ‘The guys are invited for a guy’s event. An hour or day before the event people call and say “I have the kids this weekend, can I bring them?”’

    I hate to admit it but I usually get annoyed when guests ask if they can bring other guests. (It depends on the circumstances.) My H usually takes the attitude of the more the merrier.

  87. “PTM – How do you respond?”

    Milo, sorry for not responding. Parenting duties.

    I am a wimp when it becomes to friends. (Now, in the M&A world, I’d rip their goddamned throats out!) I say, “Okay, bring them.” If it’s an overnight or I know folks are likely to be tipsy, I ask if they want me to book a hotel for them and their families.

    I haven’t found a good solution. But it happens a lot. Or at least used to when I still had friends and no Junior.

  88. I hate to admit it but I usually get annoyed when guests ask if they can bring other guests. (It depends on the circumstances.) My H usually takes the attitude of the more the merrier.

    As you said it depends on the situation, but I’m usually of the more the merrier opinion.

  89. Milo, the only reason I got the magnifying glass question right was because of the experience of burning leaves with the boys in the driveway. They probably waited until I was inside to burn the ants.

    When we watched All the President’s Men years before smartphones and texting , we pointed out to the boys how not having an ability to leave a message influenced the communications with Deep Throat. Also, how much easier it would have been to identify the names that appeared in the burglars’ phone book with access to the Internet. As I recall, the most exciting bit of technology in that film was the copying machine.

  90. “I hate to admit it but I usually get annoyed when guests ask if they can bring other guests.”

    My guess is that, like my MIL, you are very detail-oriented and conscientious, so you have a plan for things to be a certain way. When people so cavalierly ask to bring someone else, it may mess that up or you might be able to adapt, but depending on how they ask, they can convey the attitude that they have no regard for the level of detail and planning you’ve given this. This kind of thing would send my MIL up the wall, whereas my Mom is the total opposite and not the least bit concerned about little details (that’s why when she’s hosting Thanksgiving, inevitably a couple of guests, almost always women, are recruited to doing things like making the gravy. And she’s definitely a more the merrier type.

  91. “As I recall, the most exciting bit of technology in that film was the copying machine.”

    I think that was true in The Firm. It was a pivotal plot point both in Memphis and Grand Cayman.

  92. I sort of suspect some of that happens with my other half. Now, I put everything on the electronic calendar as soon as I know about it…my events and kids events. He won’t put his on there and has not accepted the invite to see my stuff…he says mine is too much because there is work and personal stuff. Every Sunday, I go over verbally with him what is coming up and if that means we have more/fewer people eating at home and what that means for kid transportation.

    However, inevitably, I get asked again about it if he is trying to plan something with friends. I go out of my way to accomodate him because he is such a homebody, I don’t want to block his activities. But, he always talks about having to check with me. I appreciate that in some ways, but it often comes accross as permission seeking or that I withhold information.

  93. my Mom is the total opposite and not the least bit concerned about little details (that’s why when she’s hosting Thanksgiving, inevitably a couple of guests, almost always women, are recruited to doing things like making the gravy. And she’s definitely a more the merrier type

    That’s why they always have lots of people happy to come to their events, then. You can have magazine-perfect food and top-shelf booze but if the hosts are so uptight people feel like they can’t relax and enjoy themselves, they won’t want to come again.

    Coc, that’s not to suggest that your parties aren’t fun. I think you can be a detail-worrier and still a good entertainer — and you don’t want so little attention to detail that you forget to plan food for the event! I just mean that during the event you want to be able to relax and make people feel welcome, which I’m sure you do.

  94. magnifying glass: I never did that, but I should have known from this example (burning ants)

    Stephen King talks about it in Under the Dome novel

  95. I’m usually “more the merrier” unless I’m worried about logistics with transportation, running out of food, etc. but we don’t really entertain anymore since we had DS. we used to host all the time when we were DINKS

  96. That’s probably it, HM. For DW’s cousin’s bridal shower, the initial thought was that my MIL (the bride’s aunt) would host it, and their house is large and has magazine-worthy views. But both MIL and aunt are very detail-oriented, and then controlling, and it just wasn’t going to work out. So the excuse was that they didn’t have enough parking (even though you could work around that).

    Aunt asked my mom to host it, knowing full well how scatterbrained she is about this stuff, but their house is generously sized and well-decorated, and aunt can control from the sidelines (well, until DW put the kibosh on the “theme” idea.)

  97. The questions about gender and age directly follow the quiz and are in the same format. Amusing. But what is a question about astrology doing in a science quiz?

  98. And we still get the paper version of the WSJ. It is much easier for me to zip through fast in the morning with paper than on the tablet. It sounds so first world problem, but my tea gets cold while I wait for pages to load and then leave butter streaks on the touchscreen while scrolling impatiently past the ads. The Washington Post website is even worse in that regard. It’s too easy to hit a link by mistake and then have to go back. And with no newspaper, what does one stuff into the chimney thing when starting the charcoal grill? Though dealing with delivery holds when we are away is a pain. The system is so unreliable that I always have to ask a neighbor to bring in the paper if it is delivered by mistake. And of course the news is stale when it arrives. And as subscribers drop out and routes cover larger areas the mistakes will compound so I am resigned to the eventual demise of dead tree papers.
    I don’t know what my dad and MIL will do, however.

  99. “But what is a question about astrology doing in a science quiz?”

    Apparently, giving the girls a chance to catch up.

  100. Years ago, before kids, a large group of friends would do a rotating wine party every 3 months or so. The host would pick the type wine and put out a nice cheese and hors d’oeuvres spread. Each couple would bring two of the same bottle of wine in a bag so you couldn’t see the brand and we’d vote on which was our favorite. It was lots of fun and the couple that brought the wine with the most favorite votes would take home the unopened bottles of the top 3 or 5 favorites. The loser couple would take home their wine voted least favorite. It was lots of fun and invites were sent out in an email. Well as people dropped out of the group (usually because they had a baby) friends of friends would be invited in. Eventually the invite moved to evite, so you could tell who else responded yes, and the newer people started putting out sliced cheese spreads and chips, instead of making it somewhat fancy. Eventually DH and I stopped going because we could see who was attending and if we liked them or not.

    But evite does have a purpose – I recently declined an birthday evite on behalf of my DD. I looked at who had responded yes and several of the girls have been quite mean to my DD. She is pretty good friends with the birthday girl, but I didn’t want to subject her to spending a few hours with them.

  101. “I’m never invited to anything (either as an individual or as a couple/family). When we invite people over or to go out, they are usually receptive, but we never get return invitations. ”

    Same here! I see this trend with both adults and kids (play dates). It drives me up the wall. I’ve kind of given up and now only have people over several times a year. The play date list has been drastically narrowed to kids who will reciprocate.

  102. I burnt plenty of newspaper scraps and ants on our back porch, and no, not because there were boys doing it first. I think my son would be traumatized if I were to suggest he burn ants or pull the legs off daddy long legs.
    We have friends we’d like to get together with when we head north this summer. They are intentionally trying to have a loosey goosey hang out kind of time, probably with tents in the yard for some of us. The host couple is around 70, and know this will be a bit of a challenge for them, but are willing to try. The worst cancellations imo are the ones where I’ve already passed up a good opportunity to do something–go to a show, go zip lining in comfortable temps, whatever, because you and Inhave made plans to do it together later, so I’m “saving” it for you, and then you cancel because of something you knew about all along–a long drive or prices that were posted on the web page or something. Makes me mad and there’s nothing that can be done, because the first good chance is already gone.
    Rhett, most phone equipment was rented before the ATT breakup, but I recall people getting answering machines in the late 70s. And there is also this piece of evidence pointing to answering machines being common in that era https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VRfS10Ae46o

  103. 10/12 but I was an English major…

    We don’t entertain as much as we used to, but do go over other friends’ houses for dinner about once a month. We have two good couple friends who each have one kid under two so they prefer to host so their younger ones can go to bed. Our kids are pretty flexible about staying up late so we usually don’t mind. And sometimes it just seems too exhausting picking everything up beforehand plus cooking.

  104. saac – I agree about cancellations. And I remember sitting in the office in elementary school, mid-80s, (maybe I was sick?) and the secretary was trying to call my Mom, but she wouldn’t leave a message because, as she said, “I just don’t like talking to machines, it seems so weird to me.”

  105. We started hosting more when we socialized with childless couples because we could send our screen-deprived kids to the basement to watch Star Wars instead of having to deal with young sitters with curfews. And we like hosting but like many of you we find that guests don’t reciprocate. Now that our kids are grown it is harder to get together with younger friends, as our house now lacks toys and bigger kids to entertain little ones.

    What is increasingly difficult is accommodating all of the food restrictions and preferences, which seem to be issues both with young vegans and older lactose/gluten intolerant. And kids with deadly peanut allergies.

  106. I didn’t do well on the quiz but I blame the migraine I’ve been nursing all day. I don’t think I need to go into my love of science though. It’s fairly obvious.

    Milo- count me as someone who would be quite cross with your friends. Not following through drives me nuts.

    What happened to your wife happens frequently to me. I never know if I’m an after thought or not.

    When we RSVP we follow through. And because I know too many wishy washy people who are seemingly looking for a better offer we host few parties. In fact I don’t remember the last time we had friends over for a party. Maybe NYE. But that’s also because most of our friends have become so baby crazy that they can’t do anything without their children. I seem to only hang out with child free people now. Not that I don’t like the people who have kids, they just never want to do adult only things. Ever. I can only tolerate so many play dates.

  107. So why do we all feel we are not reciprocated? Is it a common feeling or are we a group of people who experience this more frequently (real or perceived)?

    I always assumed I am uncool. And/or my friends can’t clean their houses and therefore feel inferior to my housekeeping skills? Only slightly sarcastic on the last one.

  108. Humm… Off topic, I realize, but my house needs to be seriously cleaned when I move out next week. Merry Maids of Miami, which is in fact reputable, is charging me $78.80 an hour. That turned out not to be a bad deal (the house will be empty).

    I truly wish I hadn’t been a lawyer.

  109. I have given up having parties (except kid birthdays) because no one comes. I’m glad this is not only my experience!

    Milo, I too have the problem your DW does. There seem to be a few “cool” moms who are initiating most of the social gatherings, and we are not on the same wavelength. (Which is fine for me, because I don’t really drink and they are often the drinkers.)

    I’m trying not to take it to heart and instead find the other moms who are not included, on the theory that we are likely to have more in common anyway.

  110. I think you’re onto something Rhode.

    Since Junior came along and I’ve been on my own, the house really has gone to hell. I don’t sweat the small stuff. I hate dusting, but I hate not doing homework more.

    I try not to let folks into our house. (Man! I make it sound like a dungeon!– It isn’t. It just isn’t up to my standards.)

    I generally reciprocate by inviting others out at reasonably nice places where we can enjoy conversation and order our own food. Of course, I make sure people know in advance that it is my treat.

  111. Same here! I see this trend with both adults and kids (play dates). It drives me up the wall. I’ve kind of given up and now only have people over several times a year. The play date list has been drastically narrowed to kids who will reciprocate.

    I find it fascinating how infrequently my kids have friends over or go to their friends’ houses. With DS, it’s because a lot of his socialization is online on the Xbox. He actually wanted to have a graduation “party” and had five friends over for an afternoon back in May. Prior to that, I think the last time he had a friend over was his birthday party in November. I think there were only one or two times all school year he went to a friend’s house. DD gets together with her friends a bit more, but even for her it’s maybe once a month at the most.

  112. The same hierarchy that existed in high school still exists among mom friends. I never invite any of my mom friends to do anything but always accept invitations. Some women are just naturally the social butterflies and like to be up in everyone’s business and coordinate stuff. With mom friends (as opposed to real friends), you just kind of have to roll with it. If not for the situation, you probably wouldn’t be friends anyway.

  113. she wouldn’t leave a message because, as she said, “I just don’t like talking to machines, it seems so weird to me.”

    That was my mother. Answering machines came into widespread use among the people we knew in the mid 80s, and she refused to leave messages.

  114. So why do we all feel we are not reciprocated? Is it a common feeling or are we a group of people who experience this more frequently (real or perceived)?

    I always assumed I am uncool.

    Same here. I’ve always felt there was an “in crowd”, whether at school or work or wherever else, that I’m not a part of.

  115. If not for the situation, you probably wouldn’t be friends anyway.

    They’ve done studies and found that most friendships are a result of proximity, either physical or situational.

  116. Our school/church community is very cooperative and works well at hosting gatherings. Everyone responds in a timely fashion, shows up with appropriate dish in hand and families make an effort to socialize. My kids are particular, checking in with me to see if I have responded and ask what I am bringing. I do appreciate people’s efforts because we couldn’t have many of the things we do, if people didn’t sign up and follow through with doing their bit.
    Milo’s comments remind me of my aunt who was a good hostess but she was afraid that guests would dirty her sofa or spill things on her carpet so they were a little afraid of being there. Then, she wouldn’t allow anyone to help her at all. So you felt like an intruder in her kitchen. My parents were/are very good hosts. They make an effort when they invite people over but they don’t worry that guests will ruin their home.

  117. OK, now the view has shifted away from the falls so my comment makes no sense.

  118. I AM detail-oriented plus I like to get stuff done in advance for entertaining. My way to deal with last-minute guests and/or no-shows is to assume a number, n (acceptances) + x (unknown extras), for how many guests will actually show up. I’m sure most people do that. Of course we always have more food than needed, so leftovers for us! I mainly don’t like last-minute extras for sit down dinners although I often set an extra place or two that can easily be removed at meal time.

    Based on my guests’ surprised reactions, I am probably one of the few hosts who reuse plastic plates and cutlery that most people throw out. I just stick them in my dishwasher. Even some of the sturdy plastic glasses can be reused. Yes, I’m weird and cheap that way. Or I should say I’m “green”! :)

  119. CoC,

    If your just putting it the dishwasher anyway why not just use regular plates and cutlery?

  120. We entertain a fair amount – dinner parties for anywhere from 6 – 12 people. I’m not a big party person, but Lordy I love a small dinner party. Lots of our friends don’t reciprocate, but it’s because they’re just not comfortable with it, and I’m okay with that. It’s not like they’re having parties we’re not invited to, they just don’t have parties. I love cooking for that size crowd, and setting a pretty table, and having DH all ready with the G&Ts…it makes me happy.

    Good friends of ours used to entertain all the time, until they completely redid their kitchen/family room. Now they never do, because they don’t want the space messed up. It’s pretty funny.

  121. I get really put off by the dietary requirements of everyone. We have our own (not that I impose them on hosts, ever) but since lots of my friends are vegetarian or vegan, I just give up and meet people at restaurants.

  122. We have one close friend with Celiac’s, but that’s pretty easy – rice or potatoes fill the starch slot for any meal. We also have one close friend who is a vegetarian, and the past 2 times she’s been over we did enchiladas (chicken and cheese for most folks, mushroom spinach cheese for her) and Providence’s grilled pizza (pick your own toppings). I am not sure I could cook for a vegan, but I don’t know any. For those who avoid or limit carbohydrates, we always serve a meat and at least 2 veggies.

  123. One of my friends who’s actually coming, and he was probably my best friend on the ship (we could exchange a sarcastic look and know exactly what the other was thinking, which makes sense since I spent more time with him than I did with my wife, and slept just as close together) is a liberal vegan from Seattle. He’s quiet about both, but my favorite barbecue restaurant is probably not the best choice.

  124. I just give up and meet people at restaurants.

    Nothing wrong with that. I would be thrilled to get an invitation to go out for dinner.

  125. we used to host a lot as a couple without kids. Now I can’t just seem to keep my house clean or energy to cook. We don’t get invited for the same reason either.
    I am certainly not in “in crowd” with mom friends. I am ok with that. I work so nowadays I don’t get to go to many play dates. Also there are very few moms I am on the same wavelength with.

    I have another group of close friends that met after marriage and before kids.
    However, I haven’t really found my people after college and don’t have that kind of closeness with anyone. Makes me sad.

  126. IT, 12/12, which I sort of expected given my education and career choices.

    I agree with HM, the quiz wasn’t necessarily a test of memorization of facts. Some of the answers could be reasoned. The tides and the microscope questions are also examples of this.

  127. While I’m sure this may be a surprise to some, I am familiar with the SAT subject tests. They are required by most HSS. Most typically require two (Gtown requires 3), and technically oriented schools often require Math II, and often require a science for the second test. Many schools that do not require them for most applicants do require them for homeschoolers.

    A lot of DS’ friends, as well as many on CC, take them about when they take the AP exams for the same subjects. E.g., last year DS took the SAT chemistry test the same week he took the AP chemistry exam, as did most of his AP chem classmates, since the studying overlapped so much.

    It usually makes the most sense to take the subject tests right after finishing the class on that subject, so most kids are done with theirs by the end of their junior years.

  128. Back to science, it seems quite apparent to me that many media types do not understand the difference between power and energy, and often conflate the two.

  129. “If your just putting it the dishwasher anyway why not just use regular plates and cutlery?”

    If it’s an outdoor event for a group then I find it easier to use plastic. It’s lightweight and more manageable. Plus less chance that good cutlery will be accidentally discarded, which has happened to us.

  130. Re: entertaining: I always feel the same as others have noted above — so hard to get together, why are we always doing the inviting, never part of the “cool” group, etc. But I also think that’s a limited version of “entertaining.” For my parents’ era, it was all about the dinner party. So I feel like, geez, I never “entertain” — maybe once a year, if that.

    But, you know, when the kids were little, we’d have friends and kids over somewhat frequently — once the kids are of an age they can entertain themselves, it’s WAY easier to have 4 kids than just your own two, and you can sit and talk or whatever. But that’s more like barbecues than nice dinner parties. And then we also do holidays and get-together with relatives, which is 5-6 times/year, rotating through different homes. And periodically out to dinner with friends as well. Put it all together, and we probably get together with other adult humans whom we like at least once a month on average (not even counting the dinners with my mom, who is so close it doesn’t really even count). And given that there are usually only 4 Saturdays in a month, and I’m an introvert, and we want some nights to go out by ourselves and others to do things as a family, well, I’m probably “entertaining” about as much as I want to.

  131. Oh — the magnifying glass one was easy. Not from frying bugs, but from being nearsighted.

    Milo, I love your explanation of the difference between the two party styles. I am definitely of the non-detail-oriented/casual approach. You know the food will be delicious — you just don’t always know when it will be served. :-) But I figure as long as we greet people with a lovely glass of wine, who really cares anyway?

  132. LfB – my friend would invite people over in advance but every time would be half done with the cooking. There was never a time when dishes were fully cooked and off the stove. For one Super Bowl party her husband was still at the store buying the snacks, while the guests were arriving.
    I have seen extremes from those who are done hours in advance to those who are still getting it together when the guests are already seated.

  133. Milo, that is annoying. DH has an annual weekend gathering with childhood friends. Those that don’t show (even for valid reasons) are subject to harassing calls, texts and photos the entire weekend. They always have a good time, no matter who shows up. Try and focus on the fun you’ll have.

    I love that wine party idea! I’m going to try it in the fall.

    I’ve found that my friends get stranger and fussier as they age. One family never reciprocates, and we have them over quite a bit. However, every so often they invite our entire family out to dinner and pick up the tab. Another couple is fun to hang out with one-on-one but they get totally weird if there are several couple or families present. And I have another friend who is a total control freak – she’ll invite us to a gathering a couple of weeks ahead of time, and then the texts start – please bring an appetizer, then she’ll specify the appetizer, then she’ll change it to a pasta salad (which is not my thing) and on it goes. After a while, I just stop responding to the texts and just bring whatever I feel like. And then there are the “no dairy no gluten” folks . . . so they just get grilled veggies or fruit.

    After years of being a control freak, I am now “the more the merrier” type. The gathering may not be perfect, but no one will starve or lack for something to drink, alcohol or otherwise.

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