Archive for intelligence

Law of Conservation of Intelligence

Posted in Random, Rules, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , on June 6, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

Leuraner’s Law of Conservation of Intelligence states that intelligence can be neither created nor destroyed.  Since there is a finite quantity of intelligence in the universe, this requires that the greater the population of intelligence receptacles (beings capable of intelligence), the less intelligence there is available for each receptacle.

This is not to suggest that intelligence is spread evenly throughout the universe.  Just as some areas of the universe contain greater or lesser quantities of mass, so certain intelligence receptacles are capable of containing greater or lesser quantities of intelligence.  However, the only way to increase the average quantity of intelligence available for each receptacle is to limit the creation of, or destroy, unnecessary receptacles.

This leads to Leuraner’s Intelligence Dilemma, which postulates the following:  In order to increase the average quantity of intelligence across the universal population of intelligence receptacles, it would be necessary to destroy either a lesser quantity of receptacles with high densities of intelligence, or a greater quantity of receptacles with low densities of intelligence.

The destruction of a lesser quantity of receptacles with high densities of intelligence is obviously a more efficient method of redistributing intelligence.  This is because it requires the destruction of fewer overall receptacles, and each receptacle is likely to have a greater understanding of the need for its destruction.  However, those specific receptacles are the least likely to contribute to the creation of new receptacles. Moreover, they are more likely to be of significant importance to the general population.  Indeed, they are likely to have been involved in the discovery of the Law of Conservation of Intelligence in the first place.

On the other hand, the destruction of receptacles that are of lesser importance would be of significant benefit to the population in the longer term, since the removal of these receptacles would be less obvious and would help to limit the creation of more receptacles.  However, these receptacles, having lower densities of intelligence, would likely fail to understand the Law of Conservation of Intelligence. As such, they would be more likely to resist any attempt at destruction, causing even greater inefficiency.

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Books at home make kids smarter

Posted in Books, Finds, Thoughts with tags , , , , on May 9, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

I have a lot of books.  So many, in fact, that when people come to my home for the first time they usually say something along the lines of, “Wow, you have a lot of books.”

I don’t have kids, but I would like to think that if I did, they would grow up to love books as much as I do.  As it turns out, having a home library actually gives a statistical advantage to the educational success of children.  At least that is what a recently available study in the journal Research in Social Stratification and Mobility is suggesting. The researchers looked at the presence of books in homes across 27 countries and determined that,

Home library size has a very substantial effect on educational attainment, even adjusting for parents’ education, father’s occupational status and other family background characteristics.

Apparently, the presence of 500 books will give students an average boost of 3.2 years in education – which is of course the better part of an undergraduate degree.  Obviously, this boost is more effective in cultures where education is systemically lower, but the effect is present to a substantial degree even in affluent countries. And to top it all off, parents don’t actually have to be well educated themselves.  All that is necessary is for there to be a clear respect and enjoyment of books in the home.

I’m glad to see that my vast library will be of benefit to my offspring someday.  I just hope that the effect works without regard for the type of books in the library.  I would hate to think that my future children might be hindered academically because of the overwhelming presence of science fiction novels.  Then again, I think most would agree that there is far more to Robert A. Heinlein than just spaceships and time-travel.

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