Monthly Archives: March 2012

Zones of Thought

Most people think that science and math and engineering are found everywhere, like soccer, but actually, they are regional practices, more like hurling or tossing the caber.  In the map, countries are resized according to the number of scientific papers … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 85 Comments

A sobering thought

In scuba diving, pressure increases by one atmosphere with each ten meters of depth.   As pressure increases, people breathing standard air mix gradually get silly.  This is mainly caused by the increasing nitrogen pressure, and is called nitrogen narcosis, or … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 35 Comments

If I were a science fiction writer

I sent this to Jerry Pournelle some time ago: here’s a current version Let us assume that we really could make drugs that increased intelligence. I’m pretty sure it’s actually possible, and the approach that makes it easy is looking … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 60 Comments

The Object of Emulation

By definition, most people are not in the top 1% of intellect, so books aimed primarily at that top 1% are never going to be best sellers. The question arises, what is  the most effective strategy for developing a best … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 33 Comments


The Western Allies, in World War II,  ran the most successful intelligence effort in history.  They did well against the Japanese, frequently making partial decrypts of JN-25, the main fleet code, along with lots of useful traffic analysis, etc.   … Continue reading

Posted in World War Two | 66 Comments

The Only Game in Town

Over on Discover gnxp, Victor said “As far as IQ is concerned, I find such comparisons meaningless. An IQ test devised by members of some African tribe is going to be very different from one devised by Western academics. And … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 62 Comments

Get Smart

We are now at the point where we can realistically expect to see interventions that significantly increase human intelligence. Some approaches build on our real but limited understanding of how the brain works.  For example, by adding an extra copy … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 83 Comments

Spontaneous Generation

Here we have yet another case in which a discovery was possible for a long time before it was actually accepted. Aristotle is the villain here: he clearly endorses spontaneous generation of many plants and animals. On the other hand, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 26 Comments

Your country’s not your blood

I have to disagree with Henry: I don’t think there’s been selection for ethnic nepotism. I somewhat suspect that there may have been recent selection for more accurate altruism, in some populations. Imagine that in much of history, people lived … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 91 Comments

Red Square

  Back in 1982, I  told a friend, quite seriously, that one could probably fly a Cessna right into Red Square.  What was I thinking?

Posted in Cold War | Tagged | 13 Comments