Humans may be getting smarter. So why are you eating all that junk food instead of nutritious, healthier meals and snacks? If only six percent of the world can eat almost anything without clogging arteries or inflaming organs, are the rest of us making connections between nutrition--what we eat and its long-term outcome on health?
Not everybody connects the word 'food' with the word 'nutrition.' And health foods still aren't mentioned too many times when advertising the taste of specific food, particularly the words "health foods." You have studies showing egg white protein may lower blood pressure. But why do some eateries add so many fats to their egg-white omelettes and still call it healthy food? See, "Egg white protein may lower blood pressure - IFT.org."
Seems that healthy foods and tasty foods aren't put together in most fast-food advertisements unless the fast-food eatery is specifically trying to market its latest burger or salad as healthy. Yet the fats that go into most egg white concoctions may not be as healthy as if the egg whites alone were served prepared with vegetables instead of added fats. Check out the articles, "Why You Should Stop Ordering Egg White Omelets - Bon Appétit" and "Life is Too Short to Eat Egg White Omelets: An Eater's Manifesto."
Humans are getting smarter and dumber says a few new studies
You may wish to check out the June 4, 2013 Live Science article by Stephanie Pappas, "Are Humans Getting Smarter or Dumber?" It turns out the answer may be both because on one hand IQs are rising. And on the other, the underlying genetic potential for intelligence could be declining, according to a new study. But why are humans not connecting food eaten now with health outcome in the long-term?
The research found that by one measure of intelligence, the Victorians had modern folk beat. The findings aren't without controversy — particularly whether or not the measurements used really reveal intelligence. Still, the study highlights the trouble with measuring intelligence over time: Smarts aren't defined as just one thing. What makes a person clever on the African Savannah could be nearly useless in the financial centers of Hong Kong, says the study. Check out the article, "Life's Extremes: Smart vs. Dumb."
Are you smarter than previous generations not computer literate?
Smartphones may not make your smarter if you can't figure out what you're supposed to do on the job or in school. But as a society, science has realized that you need to wash your hands to get rid of some of the bacteria that cause diseases. Yet people still don't remember to wash their hands after using computer keyboards which carry more germs that a toilet bowl.
You have to look beyond computer literacy or smart phone use to see how humans are becoming more intelligent. For example, check out the Flynn effect, named after intelligence researcher James Flynn, an emeritus professor of the University of Otago in New Zealand.
Tests are constantly being revised
Since IQ, or intelligence quotient, tests have been revised and standardized several times in the past 100 years, to see the Flynn effect, scientists have their volunteers take tests designed for previous generations. Flynn and his colleagues have found that all around the world, the new generations score higher on the old tests than the original test takers did.
The increases are no small matter, either — they vary by geography, but tend to be around three extra IQ points per decade. See, "Creative Genius: The World's Greatest Minds." Flynn and many other researchers suspect that rising IQ scores reflect improving modern environments. IQ is part heritable and part environmental; enrich a young child's environment with opportunities to learn, and they'll have a higher IQ later in life. Better nutrition, more schooling and more stimulation could also explain the Flynn effect.
A person living in the 19th century probably would answer a question concretely about the relationship between a two tangible objects. Today, people are taught to think more abstractly and more about intangible objects. But there are enough 18th century manifestos and revolutionary writings in print to show people also thought abstractedly whether about math, science, or politics.
A modern person would be more likely give a more abstract answer to questions comparing two tangible objects. Check out the site, "habits of thought" which is about the topic of how people over time or generations have approached answering IQ tests.
The dulling of humanity
The Flynn effect is defined as the substantial and long-sustained increase in intelligence test scores measured in many parts of the world from roughly 1930 to the present. If you look at the Flynn effect, showing people are getting smarter with each generation, numerous experts disagree with it and argue that humans aren't getting smarter. According to an article, some researchers say people are getting stupider.
In November 2012, Stanford University School of Medicine researcher Gerald Crabtree published two papers in the journal Trends in Genetics suggesting that humanity's intelligence peaked between 2,000 and 6,000 years ago. About 2,000 to 5,000 genes control human intelligence, he estimated, according to Stephanie Pappas's article, "Are Humans Getting Smarter or Dumber?"
Mutations are accumulating that change intelligence potential
At the rate at which genetic mutations accumulate, Crabtree calculated that within the last 3,000 years, all of humanity has sustained at least two mutations harmful to these intellect-determining genes (and will sustain a couple more in another 3,000 years).
Not every mutation will cause harm — genes come in pairs, and some weaknesses caused by mutation can be covered for by the healthy half of the pair, Crabtree wrote; but the calculation suggests that intelligence is more fragile than it seems. Modern man rarely faces cave man's life-or-death tests of wits against animal predators, Crabtree wrote in the article, "10 Things That Make Humans Special."
Since the mid-1800s, IQ and reproduction have been negatively correlated, studies have found. To put it bluntly, people who are more intelligent have fewer babies. Because intelligence is part genetic, some researchers argue that, if anything, IQs should be dropping. But IQ scores are rising, which is not good for the dysgenic mating theory, the article,"Are Humans Getting Smarter or Dumber?" notes.
For more information on cognitive processing, check out the article, "The 10 Best Ways to Keep Your Mind Sharp." In that article, you can read how goups with more inbreeding performed worse on the reaction time test. So IQ is now measured by reaction time tests in some situations. The slow reaction time measure of IQ points to more genetically influenced components of intelligence, which according to the article, have been declining rather than increasing.
Capacity to get smarter: Shrinking or expanding?
The conclusion is that humanity's capacity to get smarter is shrinking in a weird, inverse relationship between technology advancing and information increasing and overloading. So are smart genes declining? In the article, one place to blame it on is the exposure to neurotoxins. Another is natural selection.
Some scientists want to use reaction time as a proxy for IQ, and other scientists want more precise answers. Ironically, reaction time in machines such as computers is highly valued and constantly getting quicker, lighter, and easier to use. There are two sides of the fence, one that the human mind is not fertile enough, and the other point of view that the environment and its toxins can change intelligence.
The answer lies in finding whether or not the genes are limited or changing for the smarter, regardless of reaction time or how many children are born to smart or average people. Then again, who's to decide the definition of smart when people can be smart in many ways, including getting along with people or accurately processing data better or worse than machines with interchangeable parts in a world where a lot of people also want interchangeable parts that last and work well.
Scientists from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina have finally unraveled the mystery of the golden ratio. The Egyptians supposedly used it to guide the construction the Pyramids. The architecture of ancient Athens is thought to have been based on it. Fictional Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon tried to unravel its mysteries in the novel The Da Vinci Code, according to the December 21, 2009 news release, "Mystery of golden ratio explained."
The golden ratio is a geometric proportion that has been theorized to be the most aesthetically pleasing to the eye and has been the root of countless mysteries over the centuries. Now, a Duke University engineer has found it to be a compelling springboard to unify vision, thought and movement under a single law of nature's design.
The eyes scan an image the fastest when it is shaped as a golden-ratio rectangle
Also know the divine proportion, the golden ratio describes a rectangle with a length roughly one and a half times its width. Many artists and architects have fashioned their works around this proportion. For example, the Parthenon in Athens and Leonardo da Vinci's painting Mona Lisa are commonly cited examples of the ratio.
Adrian Bejan, professor of mechanical engineering at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering, thinks he knows why the golden ratio pops up everywhere: the eyes scan an image the fastest when it is shaped as a golden-ratio rectangle.
Humans look for patterns in nature to answer abstract questions
The natural design that connects vision and cognition is a theory that flowing systems -- from airways in the lungs to the formation of river deltas -- evolve in time so that they flow more and more easily. Bejan termed this the constructal law in 1996, and its latest application appears early online in the International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics.
"When you look at what so many people have been drawing and building, you see these proportions everywhere," Bejan says in the news release, Mystery of golden ratio explained. "It is well known that the eyes take in information more efficiently when they scan side-to-side, as opposed to up and down."
The world is oriented on the horizontal
Bejan argues that the world – whether it is a human looking at a painting or a gazelle on the open plain scanning the horizon – is basically oriented on the horizontal. For the gazelle, danger primarily comes from the sides or from behind, not from above or below, so their scope of vision evolved to go side-to-side. As vision developed, he argues, the animals got "smarter" by seeing better and moving faster and more safely.
"As animals developed organs for vision, they minimized the danger from ahead and the sides," Bejan explains in the news release. "This has made the overall flow of animals on earth safer and more efficient. The flow of animal mass develops for itself flow channels that are efficient and conducive to survival – straighter, with fewer obstacles and predators."
Did vision and cognition evolve together and are one design experienced as locomotion?
For Bejan, vision and cognition evolved together and are one and the same design as locomotion. The increased efficiency of information flowing from the world through the eyes to the brain corresponds with the transmission of this information through the branching architecture of nerves and the brain.
"Cognition is the name of the constructal evolution of the brain's architecture, every minute and every moment," Bejan explains in the news release. "This is the phenomenon of thinking, knowing, and then thinking again more efficiently. Getting smarter is the constructal law in action."
While the golden ratio provided a conceptual entryway into this view of nature's design, Bejan sees something even broader.
"It is the oneness of vision, cognition and locomotion as the design of the movement of all animals on earth," he says in the news release. "The phenomenon of the golden ratio contributes to this understanding the idea that pattern and diversity coexist as integral and necessary features of the evolutionary design of nature."
In numerous papers and books over past decade, Bejan has demonstrated that the constructal law predicts a wide range of flow system designs seen in nature, from biology and geophysics to social dynamics and technology evolution. You may wish to check out the Constructal Law organization site.