We may be getting dumber much faster than we think
A study shows a substantial decline in general intelligence of 1.23 IQ points per decade or 14 IQ points since Victorian times.
The legacy of the Victorian era - the time defined by Queen Victoria's reign from 1837 until her death in 1901 - is a mixed bag. It gave us Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, unprecedented advances in science and engineering, the musical theatre of Gilbert and Sullivan, the poetry of Robert Browning and the novels of Charles Dickens and Charlotte Brontë. But there was a great social cost for this progress - the 80 hour work week, the rise of child labor and prostitution.
So what was the cause of this great scientific and cultural upheaval?
The Victorians were much smarter than we are today, says a controversial study by research teams based in Sweden, Belgium, The Netherlands and Ireland. The study is controversial because, after all, it is quite difficult to obtain random intelligence samples of people from different eras.
Nonetheless, the researchers say that a meta-analysis of simple reaction times recorded between 1884 and 2004 shows a substantial decline in general intelligence: "1.23 IQ points per decade or fourteen IQ points since Victorian times." While some dispute the notion that reaction time is an accurate measure of intelligence, Dr. James Thompson, honorary senior psychology lecturer at UCL told The Daily Mail that reaction times are "a real measure, with a reasonably large correlation with IQ, so this is an alarming finding and needs further investigation."
These findings contradict the so-called Flynn effect, which states that IQ rose three points every decade since the Second World War. So instead of humans getting smarter, these findings support another controversial argument put forward by the Stanford biologist Gerald Crabtree, which we wrote about this past December.
In an article called Our Fragile Intellect, Crabtree argued that human intellectual fitness has been on a slow but steady decay for 3,000 years, and it is due to our relatively easy lifestyle that has freed us from a state of 'survival by thinking.'
Many believe that the internet has made it easier for us to participate in political activism. But is that really true?
- Protesting in person is costly in terms of money and resources; some people have children to take care of, jobs that can't be away from, or may not have time to attend a planning event.
- The internet was supposed to be a way to sidestep this barrier to political activism. But this doesn't consider the other barriers preventing poor and working-class folks from participating in digital activism.
- In particular, these people lack ASETs: access to computers, the skills to use them, the empowerment necessary to feel that using Twitter or other social media is for them, and the time to make use of digital platforms in an effective way.
Some games are just for fun, others are for thought provoking statements on life, the universe, and everything.
- Video games are often dismissed as fun distractions, but some of them dive into deep issues.
- Through their interactive play elements, these games approach big issues intelligently and leave you both entertained and enlightened.
- These five games are certainly not the only games that cover these topics or do so well, but are a great starting point for somebody who wants to play something thought provoking.
The bid to buy Greenland is unlikely to become seriously considered.
- Greenland and Danish officials alike think the idea is ridiculous.
- The island is an autonomous state, and it's unlikely the Danish would sell it because of yearly subsidies costs.
- After hearing the Danish Prime Minister call the idea absurd, Trump cancelled their forthcoming meeting.