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Smartest Cities?
October 25, 2010 9:27 PM   Subscribe

The Daily Beast attempts to identify America's Smartest Cities. Rather more seriously, Nature ponders the Best Cities for Science worldwide, as part of its special on Science and the City. (The podcast segment on cities is a nice overview.)
posted by philipy (33 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
America's Smartest Cities

Not a smart word choice. It should be "Most Intellectual" or "Most Academic," not "Smartest."
posted by John Cohen at 9:41 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hah I'd put the Bay Area's bachelor's degrees - lots of computer science and engineering degree's I'd imagine - up against Boston and Hartford's likely higher percentage of Liberal Arts graduates - areas where people more often feel they need to get more than just a Bachelor's to be useful and see who really wins.

Robot armies to meet at noon.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:53 PM on October 25, 2010


This list seems to equate smart with schooling.

"Never let your schooling interfere with your education." - Mark Twain
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:11 PM on October 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


They worked in libraries and non-fiction book sales. Of course the problem with that is that everytime I go to a book store or library Sarah Palin's book is in the non-fiction section, along with a host of other nonsense - "Liberal Fascism" anyone? At libraries I tend to move these books to a shelf alongside "The Babysitters Club". I'm sure the local library clerks and librarians hate my sorry guts.
posted by IvoShandor at 10:22 PM on October 25, 2010


It is 2010, yet it is still impossible to get all the information for a flimsy "The N Best Xs" piece on one web page. Maybe in another ten years.
posted by user92371 at 10:49 PM on October 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


I move that we talk about the post, instead of adjective pedantry. Chicago was 24th. Notably, a few Chicago schools made the "most dangerous colleges" list. Perhaps we should have armed ourselves.
posted by IvoShandor at 11:35 PM on October 25, 2010


The people of the Loose American Confederation of Amalgamated States on Omicron Persei 8 cry bitter tears when they're not even mentioned in the "America" debate.
posted by kmz at 11:38 PM on October 25, 2010


I think they should include something about hairless mammals having the sense to live in a climate that is favorable to mammals that are hairless. Live where the climate gives you the freedom to go out. Though some grow to be fond of their prisons* being forced to stay inside, from grandma to Gulag, is the universal method of punishment.

*Stockholm in winter syndrome.
posted by vapidave at 11:54 PM on October 25, 2010


The non-fiction sales thing really bugs me. As if reading fiction is somehow not "smart."
posted by brundlefly at 12:33 AM on October 26, 2010 [9 favorites]


Hah I'd put the Bay Area's bachelor's degrees - lots of computer science and engineering degree's I'd imagine - up against Boston and Hartford's likely higher percentage of Liberal Arts graduates - areas where people more often feel they need to get more than just a Bachelor's to be useful and see who really wins.

MIT will be fascinated to hear this I'm sure.
posted by naoko at 12:51 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


The non-fiction sales thing really bugs me. As if reading fiction is somehow not "smart."

A much higher proportion of best-selling non-fiction is "smart." Best-selling fiction tends to be trash like Twilight or Da Vinci Code.
posted by explosion at 3:53 AM on October 26, 2010


America's Smartest Cities
wouldn't a smart city be one that figured out how to get rid of humans? to nature we're not much better than an STD.
posted by krautland at 4:08 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


wouldn't a smart city be one that figured out how to get rid of humans? to nature we're not much better than an STD.

Cities aren't nature, though. To cities we're the bloodstream.
posted by Lemurrhea at 4:21 AM on October 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


The non-fiction sales thing really bugs me. As if reading fiction is somehow not "smart."

I am continually amazed at how spectacularly knuckledheaded most non-fiction books are these days: padded-out magazine articles, poorly paced and barely edited; or massive information dumps, whose authors think that writing is saying one thing ... then another thing .... then another thing. But there are some really smart novels out there. Just to pick one at random: "The Ask".
posted by Faze at 4:30 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm a bit confused as to why, specifically, non-fiction book sales figures prominently as an indicator of "smarts". I would hope that reading fiction would figure equally. There's far more to being "smart" than having a bookcase packed full of O'Reilly Definitive Guides.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:30 AM on October 26, 2010


Their metric is clearly flawed if Pittsburgh makes the list of *smartest* cities.
posted by namewithoutwords at 4:55 AM on October 26, 2010


Yes, yes, but which of these cities are fat and unattractive?
posted by orme at 5:01 AM on October 26, 2010


I'm sure the local library clerks and librarians hate my sorry guts.

Eh, I'm a librarian and I do the same thing in retail book stores.
posted by librarianamy at 5:13 AM on October 26, 2010


Another goddam annoying list of 50 names split onto 50 pages. I don't have time for this crap. If anyone has the time to just reprint the list, please post it.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:41 AM on October 26, 2010


I don't have time to reprint it, but I do have time to click on the link that says "View all"

Granted, that link is a total lie. View All is still split into 6 pages.
posted by Think_Long at 6:00 AM on October 26, 2010


[Great big pile of comments removed. unSane, I know you know where Metatalk is and there's even a topical thread form a couple weeks ago waiting for you if you need it.]
posted by cortex at 7:14 AM on October 26, 2010


According to this ranking, among states with multiple large cities, Florida is far and away the stupidest of the bunch.
posted by saladin at 7:19 AM on October 26, 2010


I would like to make the (admittedly non-brainy) comment that the photos they used to illustrate each city are quite lovely.

Also, West Palm Beach is considered a separate metro area (from Miami) of a million-plus people? Huh.
posted by kittyprecious at 7:27 AM on October 26, 2010


A much higher proportion of best-selling non-fiction is "smart." Best-selling fiction tends to be trash like Twilight or Da Vinci Code.


Hardcover Nonfiction

Top 5 at a Glance
1. EARTH (THE BOOK), by Jon Stewart and others
2. TRICKLE UP POVERTY, by Michael Savage
3. OBAMA'S WARS, by Bob Woodward
4. THE LAST BOY, by Jane Leavy
5. AT HOME, by Bill Bryson


Indeed. I hear America's smartest cities are breathlessly awaiting the release of Michael Savage's next work, an exploration of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. Seriously, if this is the metric then the list should be renamed America's most middlebrow cities.
posted by leonard horner at 7:56 AM on October 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Denver, the 5th "smartest" city, is accompanied by a photograph of a bearded skier up in the mountains - probably in October or May, judging by the lack of snow cover. For those of you who are interested, Denver is not located in the mountains. It is in the plains, with a beautiful view of the mountains, which you can visit in person if you don't mind the traffic.
posted by kozad at 8:58 AM on October 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Most Liberal", imho
posted by GrooveJedi at 10:51 AM on October 26, 2010


Looking at the charts on the best cities for science (from Nature), color me quite impressed that Boston and Cambridge (MA) BOTH sit at the top of the charts. I would have guess that they'd suffer being separated (when in reality there's only a river between them) but wow.

(Doesn't hurt SF and Berkeley as much as I'd imagine either.)
posted by maryr at 12:00 PM on October 26, 2010


Hah I'd put the Bay Area's bachelor's degrees - lots of computer science and engineering degree's I'd imagine - up against Boston and Hartford's likely higher percentage of Liberal Arts graduates - areas where people more often feel they need to get more than just a Bachelor's to be useful and see who really wins.

You may be surprised to be told this, but the Boston area is filled with software and pharmaceutical firms. Those PhDs from MIT, Harvard, and BU are just as likely to be in Tech as they are in SFBA. Separating Boston and Cambridge is pretty lame, though, and I'm sure there are some other places that are similar in that regard.

On another note, the data seems to support a conclusion that both Tokyo and Beijing produce an astonishing number of papers which either go entirely unread - even in Tokyo and Beijing - or have very little value in terms of furthering research. Beijing much more so than Tokyo.
posted by atbash at 1:15 PM on October 26, 2010


Anything that ranks Salt Lake City as "smarter" than New York has a problem with its algorithm. At least Nature's rankings make some kind of sense.

Re: Beijing. Apparently, there's a huge problem with plagiarism and publication bias (I read something about how the Chinese journals had apparently *never* published a negative study) and I think you can actually buy your way into a publication. So, it's not surprising that such papers wouldn't get cited a lot.
posted by Maias at 3:28 PM on October 26, 2010


I have a hard time believing in Las Vegas as a brain trust. Of course, I never really found a way to get off the Strip, so maybe the locals did outsmart me.
posted by medea42 at 6:05 PM on October 26, 2010


Las Vegas is actually at the bottom.

Having moved here from Seattle, I feel the difference almost every day. :(
posted by Jacqueline at 12:39 AM on October 27, 2010


I don't have time to reprint it, but I do have time to click on the link that says "View all"

Granted, that link is a total lie. View All is still split into 6 pages.


Didn't see that. But that is a new low for internet click-inflation. I have never seen a 6 page View All before.

I think the internet needs a new social networking site, where we can all collectively pool micropayments to hire assassins to take out web designers that pull BS like that.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:56 AM on October 27, 2010


I would be shocked if "purchases a lot of non-fiction books" wasn't correlated with "purchases a lot of fiction books". People who read read and people who don't don't.

Now, whether book purchasing is the best proxy for book reading...
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 8:52 AM on October 27, 2010


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