Colleague (physicist): What's this genomics stuff you're doing?
me: We're looking for genes associated with IQ or g. Sequencing costs are going down at ...
physicist: Yes, yes, super-exponential rate. IQ, is that like those Mensa clowns? What's g?
me: Actually the research results are pretty clear...
physicist: Aren't there lots of independent cognitive abilities? Like memory, geometric visualization, vocabulary, etc.?
me: Yes, but it turns out they are all positively correlated. Suppose there are N abilities; represent each person as a point in the N dimensional space. The population distribution is like an ellipsoid and the longest axis is what they call g. It turns out g has a lot of predictive power...
physicist: Oh, I get it. Neat! Can I be in your study?
Below are responses from analogous conversations I've had with different, uh, kinds of people (like other kinds of, uh, scientists ;-)
Sequencing costs? Sequencing what?
IQ? That was all discredited by Stephen J. Gould!
Aren't the scores just determined by the SES of the parents?
N dimensional what?!?
Note added: I hereby apologize for any psychological trauma my post may have inflicted on others :-/