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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Baithak World May 20: On Intelligence, Blogger's crusade, Headlines, RealNews

For most of the last century it was widely thought that intelligence was in decline. The idea was that those at the lower end of the intelligence spectrum were having more children, thereby reducing the general intelligence level. Then one November day in 1984 James Flynn, a New Zealand-based moral philosopher, had a Eureka moment that turned cognitive science on its head. He opened a package sent to him by an academic in Holland named PA Vroon. Flynn found that in both the developed and developing worlds IQ had improved in the 20th century at the remarkable rate of 3 points per decade. This development has since become known as the 'Flynn effect'. The Flynn effect is noteworthy because, apart from anything else, it suggests a world-changing increase in intelligence in succeeding generations. IQ measurements are based on the score of 100 being allocated to the median average of a group (say 18-year-old Dutch males). Projecting forwards the Flynn effect predicts, for example, that someone with an average IQ today (i.e. of 100) will have grandchildren with a score of 120. Perhaps more shocking, it suggests that someone with an average score today would have had grandparents who were close to mental retards. Neither scenario makes much sense, particularly if you're a grandchild or a grandparent. Are we too clever for our own good?

Jane Novak, a 46-year-old stay-at-home mother of two in New Jersey, has never been to Yemen. She speaks no Arabic, and freely admits that until a few years ago, she knew nothing about that strife-torn south Arabian country. And yet Ms. Novak has become so well known in Yemen that newspaper editors say they sell more copies if her photograph — blond and smiling — is on the cover. Her blog, an outspoken news bulletin on Yemeni affairs, is banned there. The government’s allies routinely vilify her in print as an American agent, a Shiite monarchist, a member of Al Qaeda, or “the Zionist Novak.” The worst of her many offenses is her dogged campaign on behalf of a Yemeni journalist, Abdul Karim al-Khaiwani, who incurred his government’s wrath by writing about a bloody rebellion in the far north of the country. He is on trial on sedition charges that could bring the death penalty, with a verdict expected Wednesday. Abdul Karim al-Khaiwani: A Living-Room Crusade via Blogging


COMMENT: The mythical post-American era
DISPATCHES FROM AMERICA: How to rule the world after Bush
Vincent Bugliosi: The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder
Winning few friends in the Muslim world
The Real McCain That the Corporate Media Won't Show You
Resisting Cluster:Drop the bomb
Hilary: What Went Wrong?
Arianna Huffington: Hillary Clinton's Defeat: A Historic Triumph
Who is Moqtada al-Sadr?
Obama: The Amazing Money Machine
Twitter Writing Contest: Win an IPod Nano For the Best 140 Character Story
Israeli settler kills Palestinian civilian near Ramallah
Ramon: Israel's government holding talks with Hamas
MIDEAST: The Anniversary Is Over, the Agony Is Not
Eric Margolis: Bad start to the Year of the Rat
Fiction: The Full Glass By John Updike
I'm still Mr Angry: novelist Irvine Welsh imparts his rules about rage
Poetry: Rain By Don Paterson
How To Build A Spiritual (And Celibate) Relationship
David Allen: Control Or Spontaneity: The Paradox
Jared Bernstein: It's Our Turn Now
Lawrence Hill, Tahmima Anam, Indira Sinha win Commonwealth prize
Two Middle East reporters share Gellhorn prize
Karl Rove's sly deal with Fox
Nuala O'Faolain, 68; Irish journalist, wrote memoir 'Are You Somebody?'

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