Vaguely Interesting Snippets | 14 January 2014

  • Whilst being held for trial at the International Military Tribunal held at Nuremburg, the defendants were subjected to a barrage of psychological tests. These included IQ tests (the Rorschach test, the Thematic Apperception Test and a German adaptation of the Wechsler-Bellevue Intelligence Test). All the defendants were found to be above average intelligence, ranging from Julius Streicher’s distinctly average 106 to Hjalmar Schacht’s genius score of 146. Of the 23 defendants, 18 were found to have exceptional scores.

  • A Tsarist anecdote later turned into a novella and film satirising the bureaucracy sees the creation, promotion, exhile and death of a non-existant Russian officer – Lieutenant Kijé. A bureaucrat makes a mistake that promotes a non-existent Ensign Kijé instead of the intended ‘several ensigns’. The Emperor Paul decides to promote the fictional Kijé to first lieutenant. Despite not existing, he quickly rises through the ranks to staff captain and full captain, and when he is promoted to colonel the emperor commands that Kijé appear before him. Of course no Kijé can be found; the military bureaucrats go through the paper trail and discover the original mistake, but they decide to tell the emperor that Kijé has died. “What a pity,” the emperor is reported as having said, “he was a good officer.”