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Rowboat

“Bamboo that seems Always my own Thoughts”

The blue-lotus roof standing beside a pond,
White-Horse Creek tumbling through forests,

and my old friend some strange thing now.
A lingering visitor, alone and grief-stricken

after graveside rites among pines, I return,
looking for your sitting-mat spread on rock.

Bamboo that seems always my own thoughts:
it keeps fluttering here at your thatch hut.

My dear friend nowhere in sight,
this Han River keeps Rowing east.

Now, if I look for old masters here,
I find empty rivers and mountains.

not    aware   beginning   autumn   night   gradually   long
clear   wind   steadily/gently   gently/steadily   double   icy   cold

Autumn begins unnoticed. Nights slowly lengthen,
and little by little, clear winds turn colder and colder.

Birds have vanished into deep skies.
A last cloud drifts away, all idleness.

Inexhaustible, this mountain and I
gaze at each other, it alone remaining.

The birds have vanished down the sky.
Now the last cloud drains away.

We sit together, the mountain and I,
until only the mountain remains.

People ask for the Cold Mountain Way.
Cold Mountain Road gives out where

confusions of ice outlast summer heat
and sun can’t thin mists of blindness.

So how did someone like me get here?
My mind’s just not the same as yours:

if that mind of yours were like mine,
you’d be right here in the midst of it.

Chance sight on a windowsill, the fly sits warming its back,
rubbing its front legs together, savoring morning sunlight.

Sun nudges shadow closer. But the fly knows what’s coming,
and suddenly it’s gone—a buzz heading for the next window.

You just came from my old village
so you know all about village affairs.

When you left, outside my window,
was it in bloom—that winter plum?

These bangs not yet reaching my eyes,
I played at our gate, picking flowers,

and you came on your horse of bamboo,
circling the well, tossing green plums.

We lived together here in Steady-Shield,
two little people without any suspicion.

If you are coming down through the narrows of the river Kiang,
Please let me know beforehand,
And I will come out to meet you
As far as Cho-fu-sa.

Before you start back from beyond
all those gorges, send a letter home.

I’m not saying I’d go far to meet you,
no further than Steady-Wind Sands.

Source: Classical Chinese Poetry: An Anthology, translated & edited by David Hinton
by Matthew Thorburn, from Rowboat: Poetry in Translation, Issue Number One / Spring 2011

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Eyeglasses

Eyeglasses today are fashion accessories, as stylish as purses and belts. In fact, you’ll find familiar names — Calvin Klein and Gucci, to name just two — on your choice of frames these days. So don’t fret if contact lenses irritate your eyes. Instead, scope out the latest fashion frames to give your face a fresh look.

What Types of Eyeglass Lenses Are Available?

As technology advances so, too, do eyeglass lenses. In the past, eyeglass lenses were made exclusively of glass. Today, most eyeglasses are made of high-tech plastics. These new lenses are lighter, do not break as easily as glass lenses, and can be treated with a filter to shield your eyes from damaging ultraviolet light.

The following modern eyeglass lenses are lighter, thinner, and more scratch-resistant than glass lenses or the older, common plastic lenses.

Glass lenses. In the early days of vision correction, all eyeglass lenses were made of glass. Although glass lenses offer exceptional optics, they are heavy and can break easily, potentially causing serious harm to the eye or even loss of an eye. For these reasons, glass lenses are no longer widely used for eyeglasses.

Plastic lenses. In 1947, the Armorlite Lens Company in California introduced the first lightweight plastic eyeglass lenses. The lenses were made of a plastic polymer called CR-39, an abbreviation for “Columbia Resin 39,” because it was the 39th formulation of a thermal-cured plastic developed by PPG Industries in the early 1940s.

Because of its light weight (about half the weight of glass), low cost and excellent optical qualities, CR-39 plastic remains a popular material for eyeglass lenses even today.

Polycarbonate lenses. These eyeglass lenses are impact-resistant and are a good choice for people who regularly participate in sports, work in an environment in which their eyeglasses may be easily scratched or broken, and for children who may easily drop and scratch their eyeglasses. Polycarbonate lenses also provide ultraviolet protection.

Polycarbonate lenses in the early 1970s, Gentex Corporation introduced the first polycarbonate lenses for safety glasses. Later that decade and in the 1980s, polycarbonate lenses became increasing popular and remain so today.

Originally developed for helmet visors for the Air Force, for “bulletproof glass” for banks and other safety applications, polycarbonate is lighter and significantly more impact-resistant than CR-39 plastic, making it a preferred material for children’s eyewear, safety glasses and sports eyewear.

A newer lightweight eyeglass lens material with similar impact-resistant properties as polycarbonate is called Trivex (PPG Industries), which was introduced for eyewear in 2001. A potential visual advantage of Trivex is its higher Abbe value.

Trivex lenses. These lenses are made from a newer plastic with similar characteristics of polycarbonate lenses. They are lightweight, thin, and impact-resistant and may result in better vision correction than the polycarbonate lenses for some people.

High index plastic lenses. Designed for people who require strong prescriptions, these eyeglass lenses are lighter and thinner than the standard, thick “coke bottle” lenses that may otherwise be needed.

High-index plastic lenses in the past 20 years, in response to the demand for thinner, lighter eyeglasses, a number of lens manufacturers have introduced high-index plastic lenses. These lenses are thinner and lighter than CR-39 plastic lenses because they have a higher index of refraction (see below) and may also have a lower specific gravity.

Aspheric lenses. These eyeglass lenses are unlike typical lenses, which are spherical in shape. Aspheric lenses are made up of differing degrees of curvature over its surface, which allows the lens to be thinner and flatter than other lenses. This also creates an eyeglass lens with a much larger usable portion than the standard lens.

Photochromic lenses. Made from either glass or plastic, these eyeglasses change from clear to tinted when exposed to sunlight. This eliminates the need for prescription sunglasses. These eyeglass lenses may not darken in a car because the windshield could block the ultraviolet rays from the sun.

Polarized sunglasses. Light reflected from water or a flat surface can cause unwanted glare. Polarized lenses reduce glare and are useful for sports and driving. These lenses may cause the liquid crystal displays on the dashboard of cars to appear invisible.

The type of vision problem that you have determines the shape of the eyeglass lens. For example, a lens that is concave, or curves inward, is used to correct nearsightedness, while a lens that is convex, or curves outward, is used to correct farsightedness. To correct astigmatism, which is caused by distortions in the shape of the cornea, a cylinder shaped lens is frequently used. Simply put, the eyeglass lens is a tool you use to focus light appropriately onto your retina.

Eyeglass Lens Materials.
Here are popular eyeglass lens materials, arranged in order of refractive index and lens thickness (pretty good indicators of cost). Except for the crown glass, these are all plastic materials.

Lens

What Are Multifocal Eyeglass Lenses?

People who have more than one vision problem often need eyeglasses with multifocal lenses. Multifocal lenses, such as bifocals and trifocals, are eyeglass lenses that contain two or more vision-correcting prescriptions. In years past, you could spot a multifocal lens by the line separating the two sections. But today, multifocal lenses, called progressive lenses, can be made to look seamless.

Bifocals. Bifocals are the most common type of multifocal lens. The eyeglass lens is split into two sections; the upper part is for distance vision and the lower part for near vision. They are usually prescribed for people over age 40 whose focusing ability has declined due to presbyopia. Presbyopia is an age-related change that affects the natural lens in the eye.
Trifocals. Trifocals are simply bifocals with a third section used for people who need help seeing objects that are within an arm’s reach. This additional segment is above the bifocal portion of the lens and is used for viewing things in the intermediate zone; for example, looking at a computer screen.

If you have questions about which eyeglass lens is right for you, talk to your eye doctor. He or she can help you choose the lens that best fits your lifestyle and vision needs.

Eyeglass Lens Coatings

There are almost as many eyeglass lens coatings as there are types of lenses. They include:

Scratch-resistant coating and ultraviolet coating. Most eyeglass lenses today have built-in scratch resistant coatings and ultraviolet protection.

Anti-reflective coating. If glare becomes a problem, consider an anti-reflective coating applied to new eyeglasses. Anti-reflective coating will reduce reflections, decrease halos around light, and create a nicer cosmetic appearance.

Anti-reflective coating. An anti-reflective (AR) coating makes all eyeglass lenses better. AR coatings eliminate reflections in lenses that reduce contrast and clarity, especially at night. They also make your lenses nearly invisible, so you can make better eye contact and you and others aren’t distracted by reflections in your lenses. AR-coated lenses are also much less likely to have glare spots in photographs.

Anti-reflective coating is especially important if you choose high-index lenses, because the higher the refractive index of a lens material, the more light the lenses reflect. In fact, high-index lenses can reflect up to 50 percent more light than CR-39 lenses, causing significantly more glare, unless AR coating is applied.

Anti-scratch coating. All lightweight eyeglass lens materials have surfaces that are significantly softer and more prone to scratches and abrasions than glass lenses. The softest eyeglass lens is also the one that is the most impact-resistant: polycarbonate. But all plastic and high-index plastic lenses require a factory-applied anti-scratch coating for adequate lens durability.

UV-blocking treatment. Cumulative exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation over a person’s lifetime has been associated with age-related eye problems including cataracts and macular degeneration.

For this reason, people should protect their eyes from UV beginning in early childhood. Thankfully, polycarbonate and nearly all high-index plastic lenses have 100 percent UV protection built-in, due to absorptive characteristics of the lens material. But if you choose CR-39 plastic lenses, be aware that these lenses need an added coating applied to provide equal UV protection afforded by other lens materials.

Most of today’s modern anti-scratch coatings (also called scratch coats or hard coats) can make your eyeglass lenses nearly as scratch-resistant as glass. But if you’re hard on your glasses or you’re buying eyeglasses for your kids, ask about lenses that include a warranty against scratches for a specific period of time.

Photochromic treatment. This lens treatment enables eyeglass lenses to darken automatically in response to the sun’s UV and high-energy visible (HEV) light rays, and then quickly return to clear (or nearly clear) when indoors. Photochromic lenses are available in virtually all lens materials and designs.

Tinted lenses. Sometimes a light or dark hint of color on the eyeglass lens can be beneficial to aid in vision. For example, a yellow tint may increase contrast and a gray tint may not alter color perception with sunglasses. A light tint can also hide the signs of aging around the eyes.

Mirror coatings. If you are looking for a purely cosmetic lens that allows the eyes to be hidden from view, then this is the coating for you. Mirror coatings come in a variety of colors such as silver, gold, and blue.

How Should You Care for Your Eyeglasses?

  • Always store eyeglasses in a clean, dry place away from potential damage.
  • Clean your eyeglasses with water and a non-lint cloth, as necessary, to keep them spot-free and prevent distorted vision.
  • See your doctor annually to check your eyeglass prescription.
  • While eyeglasses can correct some common vision problems, it is important to have routine eye exams to keep the eyes healthy.

How to Choose the Best Lenses for Your Glasses

The lenses you choose for your eyeglasses — even more than frames — often will determine how happy you are with your eyewear. And buying eyeglass lenses is not an easy task. In fact, in a recent issue, Consumer Reports magazine said, “There are so many choices for lenses and coatings, it’s easy to be confused about what’s worth buying.”

This buying guide will help you cut through the hype about different types of eyeglass lenses and help you choose lenses and coatings that offer the best features and value for your needs.
Why Choosing the Right Eyeglass Lenses Is So Important

When buying eyeglasses, the frame you choose is important to both your appearance and your comfort when wearing glasses. But the eyeglass lenses you choose influence four factors: appearance, comfort, vision and safety. A common mistake people often make when buying eyeglasses is not spending enough time considering their choices of eyeglass lens materials, designs and coatings.

The following information applies to all prescription lenses for glasses — whether you need single vision lenses to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism, or you need progressive lenses, bifocals or other multifocal lenses to also correct presbyopia.

Index of Refraction

The index of refraction (or refractive index) of an eyeglass lens material is a number that is a relative measure of how efficiently the material refracts (bends) light, which depends on how fast light travels through the material. Specifically, the refractive index of a lens material is the ratio of the speed of light in a vacuum, divided by the speed of light in the lens material. For example, the index of refraction of CR-39 plastic is 1.498, which mean light travels roughly 50 percent slower through CR-39 plastic than it does through a vacuum.

The higher the refractive index of a material, the slower light moves through it, which results in greater bending (refracting) of the light rays. So the higher the refractive index of a lens material, the less lens material is required to bend light to the same degree as a lens with a lower refractive index. In other words, for a given eyeglass lens power, a lens made of a material with a high refractive index will be thinner than a lens made of a material with a lower refractive index.

The refractive index of current eyeglass lens materials ranges from 1.498 (CR-39 plastic) to 1.74 (a specific variety of high-index plastic). So for the same prescription power and lens design, a lens made of CR-39 plastic will be the thickest lens available, and a 1.74 high-index plastic lens will be the thinnest.
Abbe Value

The Abbe value (or Abbe number) of a lens material is an objective measure of how widely the lens disperses different wavelengths of light as light passes through it. Lens materials with a low Abbe value have high dispersion, which can cause noticeable chromatic aberration — an optical error visible as colored halos around objects, especially lights. When present, chromatic aberration is most noticeable when looking through the periphery of eyeglass lenses. It is least noticeable when looking directly through the central optical zone of the lenses.

Abbe values of eyeglass lens materials range from a high of 59 (crown glass) to a low of 30 (polycarbonate). The lower the Abbe number, the more likely the lens material is to cause chromatic aberration. Abbe number is named after the German physicist Ernst Abbe (1840-1905), who defined this useful measure of optical quality.

Aspheric Design

In addition to choosing a lens material that has a high index of refraction, another way to give your lenses a slimmer, more attractive profile is to choose an aspheric design. Aspheric designs — where the lens curvature changes gradually from the center of the lens to its edge — enable lens manufacturers to use flatter curves when fabricating eyeglass lenses, without degrading the optical performance of the lenses.

Because aspheric lenses are flatter than conventional (spherical) lens designs, they cause less unwanted magnification of the wearer’s eyes, for a better appearance. In some cases, aspheric designs also improve the clarity of the wearer’s peripheral vision.

Most high index plastic lenses are made with aspheric designs to optimize both the appearance and the optical performance of the lenses. With polycarbonate and CR-39 lenses, an aspheric design usually is an option that increases the cost of the lenses.

Minimum Center Thickness (or Edge Thickness)

The FDA has guidelines for impact resistance, so there’s a limit to how thin an optical laboratory can grind your lenses.
In (concave) lenses for the correction of myopia, the thinnest portion of the lens is the optical center, located at or near the middle. In (convex) lenses that correct farsightedness, the thinnest portion of the lens is at its edges.

Because of their superior impact resistance, polycarbonate and Trivex lenses that correct myopia can be fabricated to a center thickness of just 1.0 mm and still pass the FDA impact-resistance standard. Myopia-correcting lenses made of other materials usually have to be thicker in the center to pass the standard.

The size and shape of your eyeglass frames also will affect the thickness of your lenses, especially if you have a strong prescription. Choosing a smaller, well-centered frame can significantly reduce the thickness and weight of your lenses, regardless of the lens material you choose. Generally, the thinnest lenses for your prescription will be aspheric lenses made of a high-index material, worn in a small frame.

Cost of Eyeglass Lenses and Eyeglasses

Depending on the type of lenses and lens treatments you choose and the lens design you need, your eyeglass lenses can easily cost more than the frames you choose — even if you choose the latest designer frames.

So how much will your glasses cost? That’s hard to say. The amount you pay for your next pair of glasses will depend on many factors, including your visual needs, your fashion desires and whether you have vision insurance that covers a portion of the cost of your eyewear.

Keep in mind that if you choose high-end designer frames and aspheric, high-index progressive lenses with premium anti-reflective coating, it’s not unusual for the cost of your eyeglasses. On the other hand, if you’re buying your child’s first pair of prescription eyeglasses with polycarbonate lenses for mild myopia, the cost will be much closer to $200 for quality eyewear, including a scratch-resistant warranty.

To get the best value, it’s essential to understand the features and benefits of the products you are considering and to choose wisely with the help of a reputable eye care provider and/or eyewear retailer.
When Buying Eyeglass Lenses, There’s No Substitute for Expert Advice

Buying eyeglass lenses can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. The key is getting accurate, unbiased eyeglass lens information from sources you can trust.

For greatest satisfaction with your eyewear, in addition to using this guide, follow this advice echoed by Consumer Reports: During your eye exam, ask your eye doctor which eyeglass lenses and lens treatments are best for your specific needs and eyeglass prescription.

Sources: http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/eyeglasses-eyes; http://www.allaboutvision.com/lenses/how-to-choose.htm

“We Will Not Go Down (Song For Gaza)”

by: Michael Heart

 

A blinding flash of white light
Lit up the sky over Gaza tonight
People running for cover
Not knowing whether they’re dead or alive

They came with their tanks and their planes
With ravaging fiery flames
And nothing remains
Just a voice rising up in the smoky haze

We will not go down
In the night, without a fight
You can burn up our mosques and our homes and our schools
But our spirit will never die
We will not go down
In Gaza tonight

Women and children alike
Murdered and massacred night after night
While the so-called leaders of countries afar
Debated on who’s wrong or right

But their powerless words were in vain
And the bombs fell down like acid rain
But through the tears and the blood and the pain
You can still hear that voice through the smoky haze

We will not go down
In the night, without a fight
You can burn up our mosques and our homes and our schools
But our spirit will never die
We will not go down
In Gaza tonight

We will not go down
In the night, without a fight
You can burn up our mosques and our homes and our schools
But our spirit will never die
We will not go down
In the night, without a fight
We will not go down
In Gaza tonight

8 clever psychological life hacks to give you an advantage in everyday situations

Fake yourself happy
1. If you make the biggest smile you can, you will automatically feel happier.

2. This is based off the finding that emotional expression causes emotion. People saying “eeee” (which uses the muscles used in smiling) or made to hold chopsticks in their teeth (same thing) reported feeling happier than people asked to do similar tasks (saying “uuuuh”).

Read social dynamics
3. When a group of people laugh, people will instinctively look at the person they feel closest to in that group.
Read: wanna know who wants to bone who? Look at who they look at when everyone laughs.

4. Pay attention to people’s feet. If you approach two people in the middle of a conversation, and they only turn their torsos and not their feet, they don’t want you to join in the conversation.

Similarly if you are in a conversation with a coworker who you think is paying attention to you and their torso is turned towards you but their feet are facing in another direction, they want the conversation to end.

Get people to do you favours

5. This sounds a bit silly, but if you’re asking for a favour, always use the word ‘because’.
I remember reading about a study done at a university where they used every imaginable combination of words to ask if they could cut in line for the photocopier, and they found that using the word ‘because’ short circuited people’s brains into believing that there’s a reason for it, even if they said something stupid like ‘could I please cut in line? Because I need to make some copies’.

6. Foot-in-the-door phenomenon. People are more likely to agree to do a task for you if you ask them to do something simpler first.

Be a smooth-talker

7. People have a certain image of themselves and will fight tooth and nail to cling to it. Use this information wisely.

8. I do this all the time. You can avoid insulting someone by not saying anything that shows you perceive them differently than what they’re trying to present. Or you can be a little more manipulative and make people like you by casually stroking their ego.
EDIT: yes this could go wrong, especially if you have bad intentions. Not all manipulation is bad though if done on a small scale with innocent intentions.

Let us know how you get on if you decide to try any of them out and bend people to your evil will.

Clever sillies: Why high IQ people tend to be deficient in common sense

Bruce G. Charlton

Medical Hypotheses. 2009;73: 867-870.

Summary

In previous editorials I have written about the absent-minded and socially-inept ‘nutty professor’ stereotype in science, and the phenomenon of ‘psychological neoteny’ whereby intelligent modern people (including scientists) decline to grow-up and instead remain in a state of perpetual novelty-seeking adolescence. These can be seen as specific examples of the general phenomenon of ‘clever sillies’ whereby intelligent people with high levels of technical ability are seen (by the majority of the rest of the population) as having foolish ideas and behaviours outside the realm of their professional expertise. In short, it has often been observed that high IQ types are lacking in ‘common sense’ – and especially when it comes to dealing with other human beings. General intelligence is not just a cognitive ability; it is also a cognitive disposition. So, the greater cognitive abilities of higher IQ tend also to be accompanied by a distinctive high IQ personality type including the trait of ‘Openness to experience’, ‘enlightened’ or progressive left-wing political values, and atheism. Drawing on the ideas of Kanazawa, my suggested explanation for this association between intelligence and personality is that an increasing relative level of IQ brings with it a tendency differentially to over-use general intelligence in problem-solving, and to over-ride those instinctive and spontaneous forms of evolved behaviour which could be termed common sense. Preferential use of abstract analysis is often useful when dealing with the many evolutionary novelties to be found in modernizing societies; but is not usually useful for dealing with social and psychological problems for which humans have evolved ‘domain-specific’ adaptive behaviours. And since evolved common sense usually produces the right answers in the social domain; this implies that, when it comes to solving social problems, the most intelligent people are more likely than those of average intelligence to have novel but silly ideas, and therefore to believe and behave maladaptively. I further suggest that this random silliness of the most intelligent people may be amplified to generate systematic wrongness when intellectuals are in addition ‘advertising’ their own high intelligence in the evolutionarily novel context of a modern IQ meritocracy. The cognitively-stratified context of communicating almost-exclusively with others of similar intelligence, generates opinions and behaviours among the highest IQ people which are not just lacking in common sense but perversely wrong. Hence the phenomenon of ‘political correctness’ (PC); whereby false and foolish ideas have come to dominate, and moralistically be enforced upon, the ruling elites of whole nations.

***

IQ and evolved problem-solving

On the whole, and all else being equal, in modern societies the higher a person’s general intelligence (as measured by the intelligence quotient or IQ), the better will be life for that person; since higher intelligence leads (among other benefits) to higher social status and salary, longer life expectancy and better health [1], [2], [3], [4] and [5]. However, at the same time, it has been recognized for more than a century that increasing IQ is biologically-maladaptive because there is an inverse relationship between IQ and fertility [6], [7] and [8]. Under modern conditions, therefore, high intelligence is fitness-reducing.

In the course of exploring this modern divergence between social-adaptation and biological-adaptation, Satoshi Kanazawa has made the insightful observation that a high level of general intelligence is mainly useful in dealing with life problems which are an evolutionary novelty. By contrast, performance in solving problems which were a normal part of human life in the ancestral hunter–gatherer era may not be helped (or may indeed be hindered) by higher IQ [9] and [10].

(This statement requires a qualification. When a person has suffered some form of brain damage, or a pathology affecting brain function, then this might well produce generalized impairment of cognition: reducing both general intelligence and other forms of evolved cognitive functioning, depending on the site and extent of the brain pathology. Since a population with low IQ would include some whose IQ had been lowered by brain pathology, the average level of social intelligence or common sense would probably also be lower in this population. This confounding effect of brain pathology would be expected to create a weak and non-causal statistical correlation between IQ and social intelligence/common sense, a correlation that would mainly be apparent at low levels of IQ.)

As examples of how IQ may help with evolutionary novelties, it has been abundantly-demonstrated that increasing measures of IQ are strongly and positively correlated with a wide range of abilities which require abstract reasoning and rapid learning of new knowledge and skills; such as educational outcomes, and abilities at most complex modern jobs [1], [2], [3], [4], [5] and [11]. Science and mathematics are classic examples of problem-solving activities that arose only recently in human evolutionary history and in which differential ability is very strongly predicted by relative general intelligence [12].

However, there are also many human tasks which our human ancestors did encounter repeatedly and over manifold generations, and natural selection has often produced ‘instinctive’, spontaneous ways of dealing with these. Since humans are social primates, one major such category is social problems, which have to do with understanding, predicting and manipulating the behaviours of other human beings [13], [14], [15] and [16]. Being able to behave adaptively in dealing with these basic human situations is what I will term having ‘common sense’.

Kanazawa’s idea is that there is therefore a contrast between recurring, mainly social problems which affected fitness for our ancestors and for which all normal humans have evolved behavioural responses; and problems which are an evolutionary novelty but which have a major impact on individual functioning in the context of modern societies [9] and [10]. When a problem is an evolutionary novelty, individual differences in general intelligence make a big difference to each individual’s abilities to analyze the problem, and learn to how solve it. So, the idea is that having a high IQ would predict a better ability in understanding and dealing with new problems; but higher IQ would not increase the level of a person’s common sense ability to deal with social situations.

IQ not just an ability, but also a disposition

Although general intelligence is usually conceptualized as differences in cognitive ability, IQ is not just about ability but also has personality implications [17].

For example, in some populations there is a positive correlation between IQ and the personality trait of Openness to experience (‘Openness’) [18] and [19]; a positive correlation with ‘enlightened’ or progressive values of a broadly socialist and libertarian type [20]; and a negative correlation with religiousness [21].

So, the greater cognitive ability of higher IQ is also accompanied by a somewhat distinctive high IQ personality type. My suggested explanation for this association is that an increasing level of IQ brings with it an increased tendency to use general intelligence in problem-solving; i.e. to over-ride those instinctive and spontaneous forms of evolved behaviour which could be termed common sense.

The over-use of abstract reasoning may be most obvious in the social domain, where normal humans are richly equipped with evolved psychological mechanisms both for here-and-now interactions (e.g. rapidly reading emotions from facial expression, gesture and posture, and speech intonation) and for ‘strategic’ modelling of social interactions to understand predict and manipulate the behaviour of others [16]. Social strategies deploy inferred knowledge about the dispositions, motivations and intentions of others. When the most intelligent people over-ride the social intelligence systems and apply generic, abstract and systematic reasoning of the kind which is enhanced among higher IQ people, they are ignoring an ‘expert system’ in favour of a non-expert system.

In suggesting that the most intelligent people tend to use IQ to over-ride common sense I am unsure of the extent to which this is due to a deficit in the social reasoning ability, perhaps due to a trade-off between cognitive abilities – as suggested by Baron-Cohen’s conceptualization of Asperger’s syndrome, including the male- versus female-type of systematizing/empathizing brain [22]. Or alternatively it could be more of an habitual tendency to over-use abstract analysis, that might (in principle) be overcome by effort or with training. Observing the apparent universality of ‘Silly Clevers’ in modernizing societies, I suspect that a higher IQ bias towards over-utilizing abstract reasoning would probably turn-out to be innate and relatively stable.

Indeed, I suggest that higher levels of the personality trait of Openness in higher IQ people may the flip-side of this over-use of abstraction. I regard Openness as the result of deploying abstract analysis for social problems to yield unstable and unpredictable results, when innate social intelligence would tend to yield predictable and stable results. This might plausibly underlie the tendency of the most intelligent people in modernizing societies to hold ‘left-wing’ political views [10] and [20].

I would argue that neophilia (or novelty-seeking) is a driving attribute of the personality trait of Openness; and a disposition common in adolescents and immature adults who display what I have termed ‘psychological neoteny’ [23] and [24]. When problems are analyzed using common sense ‘instincts’ the evaluative process would be expected to lead to the same answers in all normal humans, and these answers are likely to be stable over time. But when higher IQ people ignore or over-ride common sense, they generate a variety of uncommon ideas. Since these ideas are only feebly-, or wholly un-, supported by emotions; they are held more weakly than common sense ideas, and so are more likely to change over time.

For instance, a group of less intelligent people using instinctive social intelligence to analyze a social situation will presumably reach the same traditional conclusion as everyone else and this conclusion will not change with time; while a more intelligent group might by contrast use abstract analysis and generate a wider range of novel and less-compelling solutions. This behaviour appears as if motivated by novelty-seeking.

Applying abstract analysis to social situations might be seen as ‘creative’, and indeed Openness has been put forward as the major personality trait which supports creativity [19] and [25]. This is reasonable in the sense that an intellectual high in Openness would be likely to disregard common sense, and to generate multiple, unpredictable and unfamiliar answers to evolutionarily-familiar problems which would only yield a single ‘obvious’ solution to those who deployed evolved modes of intelligence. However, I would instead argue that a high IQ person applying abstract systemizing intelligence to activities which are more usually done by instinctive intelligence is not a truly ‘creative’ process.

Instead, following Eysenck, I would regard true psychological creativity as primarily an associative activity which Eysenck includes as part of the trait Psychoticism; cognitively akin to the ‘primary process’ thinking of sleep, delirium and psychotic illness [26] and [27]. A major difference between these two concepts of creativity is that while ‘Openness creativity’ is abstract, coolly-impartial and as if driven by novelty-seeking (neophilia); ‘Psychoticism creativity’ is validated by emotions: such that the high-Psychoticism creative person is guided by their emotional responses to their own creative production.

Clever sillies in the IQ meritocracy

It therefore seems plausible that the folklore or stereotypical idea of the eccentric, unworldly, absent-minded or obtuse scientist – who is brilliant at their job while being fatuous and incompetent in terms of their everyday life [28], might be the result of this psychological tendency to over-use abstract intelligence and use it in inappropriate situations.

However, there is a further aspect of this phenomenon. Modern societies are characterized by large population, extensive division of labour, and a ‘meritocratic’ form of social organization in which social roles (jobs, occupations) tend to be filled on the basis of educational credentials and job performance rather than on an hereditary basis (as was the case in most societies of the past). This means that in modern societies there is an unprecedented degree of cognitive stratification [29]. Cognitive stratification is the layering of social organization by IQ; such that residence, schooling and occupations are characterized by narrow bands of intelligence. Large modern countries are therefore ruled by concentrations of highly intelligent people in the major social systems such as politics, civil administration, law, science and technology, the mass media and education. Communication in these elites is almost-exclusively among the highly intelligent.

In such an evolutionarily-unprecedented, artificial ‘hothouse’ environment, it is plausible that any IQ-related behaviours are amplified: partly because there is little counter-pressure from the less intelligent people with less neophiliac personalities, and perhaps mainly because there is a great deal of IQ-advertisement. Indeed, it looks very much as if the elites of modern societies are characterized by considerable IQ-signalling [19]. Sometimes this is direct advertisement (e.g. when boasting about intellectual attainments or attendance at highly-selective colleges) and more often the signalling is subtly-indirect when people display the attitudes, beliefs, fashions, manners and hobbies associated with high intelligence. This advertising is probably based on sexual selection [30], if IQ has been a measure of general fitness during human evolutionary history, and was associated with a wide range of adaptive traits [31].

My hunch is that it is this kind of IQ-advertisement which has led to the most intelligent people in modern societies having ideas about social phenomena that are not just randomly incorrect (due to inappropriately misapplying abstract analysis) but are systematically wrong. I am talking of the phenomenon known as political correctness (PC) in which foolish and false ideas have become moralistically-enforced among the ruling intellectual elite. And these ideas have invaded academic, political and social discourse. Because while the stereotypical nutty professor in the hard sciences is a brilliant scientist but silly about everything else; the stereotypical nutty professor social scientist or humanities professor is not just silly about ‘everything else’, but also silly in their professional work.

Getting answers to problems relating to hard science is extremely intellectually-difficult and (because the subject is an evolutionary novelty) necessarily requires abstract reasoning [12] and [26]. Therefore the hard scientist is invariably vastly more competent at their science than the average member of the public, and he has no need to be novelty-seeking in order to advertise his intelligence.

But getting answers to problems in science involving human social behaviour is something which is already done very well by evolved human psychological mechanisms [13], [14], [15] and [16]. In this situation it is difficult to improve on common sense, and – even without being taught – normal people already have a pretty good understanding of human motivations, incentives and deterrents, and the basic cause and effect processes of society. Because psychological and social intelligence expertise is so widespread and adaptive; in order to advertise his intelligence the social scientist must produce something systematically-different from common sense, something novel and (necessarily) counter-intuitive. And because it goes against evolved psychology, in this instance something different is likely to be something wrong. So, the social scientist professional deploying abstract reasoning on social problems is often less likely to generate a correct answer than the average member of the public who is using the common sense of evolved, spontaneous social intelligence.

In the human and social sciences there is therefore a professional incentive to be perversely wrong – to be silly, in other words. And this is indeed what we see. The more that the subject matter of an academic field requires, or depends on, common sense; the sillier it will be.

The results of cognitive stratification and IQ-advertising are therefore bad enough to have destroyed the value of whole domains of the arts and academia, and in the domain of public policy the results have been simply disastrous. Over the past four decades the dishonest fantasy-world discourse of non-biological political correctness has evolved to dominate the intellectual arena of whole nations – perhaps the whole developed world – such that wrong and ridiculous ideas have become not just mainstream, but compulsory.

Because clever silliness is not just one of several competing ideas in the elite arena – it is both intellectually- and moralistically-enforced with such zeal as utterly to exclude alternatives [32]. The first level of defence is that denying a PC assertion is taken as proof of dumbness or derangement; such that flat-denial without refutation is regarded as sufficient response. But the toughest enforcement is moral: anyone smart and sane who disbelieves the silly clever falsehoods and asserts something different is not just denounced as dumb but actually pilloried as evil [33].

I infer that the motivation behind the moralizing venom of political correctness is the fact that spontaneous human instincts are universal and more powerfully-felt than the absurd abstractions of PC; plus the fact that common sense is basically correct while PC is perversely wrong. Hence, at all costs a fair debate must be prevented if the PC consensus is to be protected. Common sense requires to be stigmatized in order that it is neutralized.

Ultimately these manoeuvres serve to defend the power, status and distinctiveness of the intellectual elite [34]. They are socially-adaptive over the short-term, even as they are biologically-maladaptive over the longer-term.

Conclusion

Because evolved ‘common sense’ usually produces the right answers in the social domain, yet the most intelligent people have personalities which over-use abstract analysis in the social domain [9] and [10], this implies that the most intelligent people are predisposed to have silly ideas and to behave maladaptively when it comes to solving social problems.

Ever since the development of cognitive stratification in modernizing societies [29], the clever sillies have been almost monopolistically ‘in charge’. They really are both clever and silly – but the cleverness is abstract while the silliness is focused on the psychological and social domains. Consequently, the fatal flaw of modern ruling elites lies in their lack of common sense – especially the misinterpretations of human psychology and socio-political affairs. My guess is that this lack of common sense is intrinsic and incorrigible – and perhaps biologically-linked with the evolution of high intelligence and the rise of modernity [35].

Stanovich has also described the over-riding of the ‘Darwinian brain’ of autonomous systems by the analytic system, and has identified the phenomenon as underlying modern non-adaptive ethical reasoning [36]. Stanovich has also noted that IQ accounts for much (but not all) of the inter-individual differences in using analytic evaluations; however, Stanovich regards the increased use of abstraction to replace traditional ‘common sense’ very positively, not as ‘silly’ but as a vital aspect of what he interprets as the higher status of modern social morality.

Yet, whatever else, to be a clever silly is a somewhat tragic state; because it entails being cognitively-trapped by compulsive abstraction; unable to engage directly and spontaneously with what most humans have traditionally regarded as psycho-social reality; disbarred from the common experience of humankind and instead cut-adrift on the surface of a glittering but shallow ocean of novelties: none of which can ever truly convince or satisfy. It is to be alienated from the world; and to find no stable meaning of life that is solidly underpinned by emotional conviction [37]. Little wonder, perhaps, that clever sillies usually choose sub-replacement reproduction [6].

To term the Western ruling elite ‘clever sillies’ is of course a broad generalization, but is not merely name-calling. Because, as well as political correctness being systematically dishonest [33] and [34]; in relation to absolute and differential fertility, modern elite behaviour is objectively maladaptive in a strictly biological sense. It remains to be seen whether the genetic self-annihilation of the IQ elite will lead-on towards self-annihilation of the societies over which they rule.

Note: I should in all honesty point-out that I recognize this phenomenon from the inside. In other words, I myself am a prime example of a ‘clever silly’; having spent much of adolescence and early adult life passively absorbing high-IQ-elite-approved, ingenious-but-daft ideas that later needed, painfully, to be dismantled. I have eventually been forced to acknowledge that when it comes to the psycho-social domain, the commonsense verdict of the majority of ordinary people throughout history is much more likely to be accurate than the latest fashionably-brilliant insight of the ruling elite. So, this article has been written on the assumption, eminently-challengeable, that although I have nearly-always been wrong in the past – I now am right….

References

[1] U. Neisser et al., Intelligence: knowns and unknowns, Am Psychol 51 (1996), pp. 77–101.

[2] N.J. Mackintosh, IQ and human intelligence, Oxford University Press (1998).

[3] A.R. Jensen, The g factor the science of mental ability, Praeger, Westport, CT, USA (1988).

[4] I.J. Deary, Intelligence: a very short introduction, Oxford, Oxford University Press (2001).

[5] G.D. Batty, I.J. Deary and L.S. Gottfredson, Pre-morbid (early life) IQ and later mortality risk: systematic review, Ann Epidemiol 17 (2007), pp. 278–288.

[6] R. Lynn, Dysgenics, Praeger, Westport, CT, USA (1996).

[7] R. Lynn and M. Van Court, New evidence for dysgenic fertility for intelligence in the United States, Intelligence 32 (2004), pp. 193–201.

[8] D. Nettle and T.V. Pollet, Natural selection on male wealth in humans, Am Nat 172 (2008), pp. 658–666.

[9] S. Kanazawa, General Intelligence as a domain-specific adaptation, Psychol Rev 111 (2004), pp. 512–523.

[10] S. Kanazawa, IQ and the values of nations, J Biosoc Sci 41 (2009), pp. 537–556.

[11] L.S. Gottfredson, Implications of cognitive differences for schooling within diverse societies. In: C.L. Frisby and C.R. Reynolds, Editors, Comprehensive handbook of multicultural school psychology, Wiley, New York (2005), pp. 517–554.

[12] D. Lubinski and C.P. Benbow, Study of mathematically precocious youth after 35 years: uncovering antecedents for the development of math-science expertise, Perspect Psychol Sci 1 (2006), pp. 316–345.

[13] N.K. Humphrey, The social function of intellect. In: P.P.G. Bateson and R.A. Hinde, Editors, Growing points in ethology, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK (1976).

[14] In: R.W. Byrne and A. Whiten, Editors, Machiavellian intelligence social expertise and the evolution of intellect in monkeys, apes and humans, Clarendon Press, Oxford (1988).

[15] L. Brothers, The social brain: a project for integrating primate behavior and neurophysiology in a new domain, Concept Neurosci 1 (1990), pp. 27–51.

[16] B.G. Charlton, Theory of mind delusions and bizarre delusions in an evolutionary perspective: psychiatry and the social brain. In: Martin Brune, Hedda Ribbert and Wulf Schiefenhovel, Editors, The social brain – evolution and pathology, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2003), pp. 315–338.

[17] Charlton BG. Why it is ‘better’ to be reliable but dumb than smart but slapdash: are intelligence (IQ) and conscientiousness best regarded as gifts or virtues? Med Hypotheses; in press, doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2009.06.048.

[18] D. Nettle, Personality: what makes you the way you are, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK (2007).

[19] G. Miller, Spent: sex, evolution and consumer behaviour, Viking, New York (2009).

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[21] R. Lynn, J. Harvey and H. Nyborg, Average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 nations, Intelligence 37 (2009), pp. 11–15.

[22] S. Baron-Cohen, The essential difference: men, women and the extreme male brain, Penguin/Basic Books, London (2003).

[23] B.G. Charlton, The rise of the boy-genius: psychological neoteny, science and modern life, Med Hypotheses 67 (2006), pp. 679–681.

[24] B.G. Charlton, Psychological neoteny and higher education: associations with delayed parenthood, Med Hypotheses 69 (2007), pp. 237–240.

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[26] H.J. Eysenck, Genius: the natural history of creativity, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK (1995).

[27] B.G. Charlton, Why are modern scientists so dull? How science selects for perseverance and sociability at the expense of intelligence and creativity, Med Hypotheses 72 (2009), pp. 237–243.

[28] B.G. Charlton, From nutty professor to buddy love: personality types in modern science, Med Hypotheses 8 (2007), pp. 243–244.

[29] R.J. Herrnstein and C. Murray, The bell curve: intelligence and class structure in American life, New York, Forbes (1994).

[30] G. Miller, The mating mind: how sexual choice shaped the evolution of human nature, Heinemann, London (2000).

[31] A. Pierce, G.F. Miller, R. Arden and L. Gottfredson, Why is intelligence correlated with semen quality? Biochemical pathways common to sperm and neurons, and the evolutionary genetics of general fitness, Commun Integr Biol 2 (2009), pp. 1–3.

[32] B.G. Charlton, Pioneering studies of IQ by G.H. Thomson and J.F. Duff – an example of established knowledge subsequently ‘hidden in plain sight’, Med Hypotheses 71 (2008), pp. 625–628.

[33] B.G. Charlton, First a hero of science and now a martyr to science: the James Watson Affair – political correctness crushes free scientific communication, Med Hypotheses 70 (2008), pp. 1077–1080.

[34] B.G. Charlton, Replacing education with psychometrics: how learning about IQ almost-completely changed my mind about education, Med Hypotheses 73 (2009), pp. 273–277.

[35] G. Clark, A Farewell to Alms: a brief economic history of the world, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, USA (2007).

[36] K.E. Stanovitch, The robot’s rebellion: finding meaning in the age of Darwin, University of Chicago Press, Chicago (2004).

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source: http://medicalhypotheses.blogspot.com

A bone-repairing nanoparticle paste has been developed that promises faster repair of fractures and breakages. DNA containing two growth-factor genes is encapsulated inside synthetic calcium-phosphate nanoparticles. These genes can enter cells and induce the synthesis of proteins that are able to accelerate bone growth.

The treatment of bone loss or fracture – after trauma, surgery or tumour extractions, for instance – represents a major challenge in clinical medicine. Matthias Epple at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, who leads the team that developed the new bone paste, explains that ‘alternatives, such as bone from donors and synthetic calcium phosphate, suffer from infection problems, poor mechanical stability or inadequate resorption to form new bone.’ The team’s approach combines the bone-forming action of calcium phosphate – the principal component of bone – at the site of injection with further stimulation of bone growth in the surrounding tissue.

Toothpasteand-Syringe_300px

 

Genes for two growth factors are encapsulated within the nanoparticles: bone morphogenetic protein 7 (BMP-7), which stimulates bone-forming cells, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which induces the growth of blood vessels for bone-cell nutrition. Following injection, the nanoparticles are taken up by the surrounding cells, where the acidic conditions of the lysosomes dissolves the calcium phosphate and releases the DNA. These transfected cells then produce the growth factors that accelerate bone growth and reduce the amount of time a patient is immobile. Epple expects a long-lasting stimulatory effect that will aid growth over the months and years required for bones to heal fully, preventing the need for multiple injections.

Michael Hofmann, who works on bone cements and drug delivery at the University of Birmingham, UK, remarks: ‘The bioresorbable paste would be replaced quickly by newly formed bone, so effectively you would have a vanishing implant. In a population where an increasing number of people have impaired bone-growth abilities – for instance, the elderly – the findings have tremendous potential for accelerating the regrowth of any bone loss or fracture in orthopaedic and dental applications.’

Epple’s team plan to extend their work on calcium-phosphate nanoparticles to target specific cell types by attaching antibodies to the nanoparticle surface.

Source : http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/2013/02/dna-functionalised-bone-paste-material

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