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The Daily Beast: Houston -- You Are "Mildly Retarded"

The Daily Beast has ranked the IQ of each of America's 55 metro areas with populations over a million. Here is how they arrived at the concept of a municipal IQ.

They measured how many residents had bachelor's and graduate degrees, nonfiction book sales, the ration of institutions of higher education, and political engagement, as measured the percentage of eligible voters who cast ballots in the last presidential election.

And where does Houston rank? Well, ahead of San Antonio (Number 53 of 55) and more importantly, Dallas (Number 48). That's the good news.

The bad news is that we are tied with Orlando at Number 46, where we lag behind such august seats of erudition and ivory tower-studded metropolises as Baltimore, Detroit, Oklahoma City, Birmingham, Miami and Jacksonville. Our civic IQ was listed at 66, which original IQ inventor Lewis Terman classed at the top end of the "definite feeble-mindedness," "mildly retarded" range.

"Houston hosts the [sic] of the world's largest energy corporations and NASA, but the number of postsecondary institutions for a city this size is abysmal," says the so-terse-it's-lacking-a-key-word explanation for our ranking.

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On the other hand, Nashville, a city with which we are very familiar and in fact fled in part because of the idiocy of much of the populace, came in at Number 19, largely because of its high number of colleges.

Let's examine that a little more closely. Sure there's Vanderbilt and Fisk and a historically black college called TSU, but we'd put Rice, UH and our own TSU against those three any day. After that, Nashville answers with a bunch of schools with names like Freewill Baptist Bible College, Trevecca Nazarene University, Emmanuel Bible College, the Nashville Auto-Diesel College, and Southeastern Career College, which is on a street called Envious Lane. (Or was: it appears to have gone under.) With such fonts of wisdom scattered about at every turn, is it any wonder that Nashville calls itself "the Athens of the South"?

Raleigh-Durham was cited as America's supreme genius city; profoundly retarded Fresno, with an IQ of 6, was listed as the dumbest. Austin was the highest-ranked Texas city, but you probably knew that already. It always comes out on top in these kinds of things.

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