Staying Smart in Dumbed-Down Times

This is an interesting editorial/book review about a topic I’ve blogged about before. As a people, we have come to an “interesting” time where we view intellectuals with disdain and distrust. Especially in politics, we seem to want leaders who would look right at home on a barstool at the local pub rather than ones who feel at home going toe-to-toe with their peers at the G-8 Summit. We want leaders who are physically tough (or tough by proxy when wielding our military), but shun those who have the intellectual capacity to maybe keep us out of the conflict in the first place. We even hurl the term “elitist” as an epithet. Yet curiously, we don’t use the term to mean they have unwarranted pride in being a member of a select group. We use it to mean simply that they are a member of that group, and more importantly, we’re not.

We worship people who can play football better than we might ever dream to do ourselves. Why can’t we at least respect those who think at a different level than we do? Personally, I want a leader that’s demonstrably smarter than me. I’ve been to the local pub. There’s rarely anyone there I’d follow to the AM/PM Market for a late night burrito, much less someone I’d follow as the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth.

Another Milestone for Science

New research on The Bikini Effect explains, among other things, why Hooters is a successful way to market hot wings and beer. Key quote:

The researchers conclude that there is one common appetite system in the brain monitoring our desire for a host of pleasures from sweets to pretty faces, alcohol to lotto winnings. When it is stimulated by, say, a sexy picture or the smell of baked goods, we experience a general craving for anything pleasant.

While the article doesn’t explicitly say so, it seems this also may validate the old adage that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. If girls can increase your interest in food because of a common “appetite” mechanism, then food should increase your interest in girls as well.

Of course the downside of this revelation of how easily men make substitutions is that women may now realize that they can divert our unwanted frisky advances by offering us a beer or a big slice of pie. (Mmmmm… pie!) Or they could use a sexy situation to get us to make other unrelated impulsive decisions we might not otherwise make. Then again, I think Cosmo runs articles on how to do this every month, so I suspect they already know.

Once again, scientists get closer to codifying what women have known since the dawn of time.

Seek and Ye Shall Find

Occasionally, I’m curious what has previously been posted here about a given topic. On the really unlikely chance that you get curious too, I’ve enabled a search bar to search the entire site. You’ll find it at the top of the column to the right. It’s a Google search so all the syntax for Google will work there.

Knowledge is the antidote to fear.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sensible Yet Spicy

To add a little variety to your day, go to to convert common measurements into real conversation starters (or enders). For instance, did you know that I am 1.4 Alaskan Moose antler spans tall and weigh 5 microwave ovens? I’m thinking of using that data on my next medical form. I also learned that it’s 39 Burj Dabai towers from my house to Beauty’s. (Apparently that translates to 3.6 Mt Everests, but those fractional mountains are always such a pain to climb.)