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That Smarts!
by Garrett Valenzuela - gvalenzuela@dailysparkstribune.com
Jul 07, 2012 | 2354 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/John Byrne - Diane Smith, top left, from Browns Mills, NJ and a Mensa member with the Delaware Valley, Pa., regional group, enjoys a family gathering with her grandchildren and daughter who traveled from Las Vegas to visit. Left to right, Kalissa, 4, Octevyus, 8, Zoey, 3 and Leighla, their mother. The family watches as Octevyus figures out the riddle to the game “Cu Bu Lus” on Saturday morning in the games room in the Reno Ballroom as part of the Mensa National Gathering.
Tribune/John Byrne - Diane Smith, top left, from Browns Mills, NJ and a Mensa member with the Delaware Valley, Pa., regional group, enjoys a family gathering with her grandchildren and daughter who traveled from Las Vegas to visit. Left to right, Kalissa, 4, Octevyus, 8, Zoey, 3 and Leighla, their mother. The family watches as Octevyus figures out the riddle to the game “Cu Bu Lus” on Saturday morning in the games room in the Reno Ballroom as part of the Mensa National Gathering.
slideshow
Tribune/John Byrne - Ken Wright, a Mensa member with the northern Nevada regional group, is the chairman annual gathering.
Tribune/John Byrne - Ken Wright, a Mensa member with the northern Nevada regional group, is the chairman annual gathering.
slideshow
RENO — More. Pairs. Etchers. Zipper. Which of these words is least like the others? Hint: The difference has nothing to do with vowels, consonants or syllables.

The above is a sample question you might find on a standardized IQ test that would qualify you to be a member of American Mensa, an organization for people with IQs in the top 2 percent. The annual gathering of Mensa members was held at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno this week with plenty of fun to go around.

“You won’t find this diversity (of topics) at any other convention of any kind,” said Ken Wright, chairman of the national annual gathering of Mensa. “Usually there is a focused topic at a convention, but here we’re all about having fun. We’re a social convention.”

The convention saw 2,000 members congregate for a week of lectures, presentations, tours, live entertainment and game playing. Wright said the venue Reno provides for the convention is one people seemed really attracted to and genuinely enjoyed.

Diane Smith arrived in Nevada on Monday from Browns Mills, NJ, and spent much of her time exploring the region in addition to attending presentations. This is her third time attending a national gathering, the first two being in Denver and Detroit.

“The area is beautiful and the presentations were great. They had so many different ones and plenty of entertainment,” she said. Smith, 52, has been a member for about eight years and was able to visit her daughter, Leighla Murphy, who came north from Las Vegas for the weekend. Murphy and her three children spent plenty of time in the game room playing cards and board games, which she and Smith said was a great way for them to catch up.

This year’s annual gathering marked 50 years of the event which was themed “The End of Time,” chosen for its connection to the end of the Mayan calendar later this year. More than 250 lectures were presented between Wednesday and today covering such diverse topics as science fiction, brain optimization, podcasting, engineering and fashion. Forty-nine states and 14 countries were represented from the more than 110,000 members around the world.

The northern Nevada regional group, which Wright is a member and organizer of, consists of 165 members ranging from towns such as Fallon, Gardnerville, Portola and several others. Wright, a member from Fallon since 2005, said most members’ personalities surface during gatherings.

“We’re used to being the geeks with the odd personalities in a group. We’re the ones people don’t understand or have a different way of doing things,” he said. “We have all the local groups and people coming to one spot and the energy level goes up and up because there are so many people who think the same way and who like to learn. We’re input junkies. We want to learn everything we can find.”

Wright said he attended his first Mensa event in 2006 in Florida for the world gathering, which is the biggest event Mensa has ever held. He said his “jump in with both feet” attitude led him to finding events around the West to attend and says he feels, as with most members, right at home at Mensa events.

“You go from being the oddball in a group that married the geek to here where you’re just a part of the group,” he said. “And we don’t just sit around and talk about IQ scores, trust me.”

By the way, the answer is zipper. The others can be anagrammed into the names of cities, Rome, Paris and Chester.
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That Smarts! by Garrett Valenzuela - gvalenzuela@dailysparkstribune.com


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