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There was an interesting link on Jerry Pournelle's Mail page which discussed, not to be excessively blunt, breeding for intelligence with particular emphasis on the Ashkenazi Jews. (Because everybody knows us Sephardim are shiftless and lazy, LOL) Most of the discussion revolves around group-specific genetic diseases which are all basically malfunctions of gene sets believed to improve brain and nerve development; there is also some talk about education v. intelligence, common sense v. book learning (not quite the same as the preceding) and the relative return on intelligence in, say, farming as opposed to banking.

There is also, and more pertinent to this post, an amusing but significant comment by Harry Erwin:
I once heard Walt Freeman suggest that the only three substances known to increase IQ are caffeine, thiophylline, and thiobromine.

Of course, the most common sources of those chemicals are coffee, tea, and chocolate. Caffeine is widely used as a stimulant; thiophylline stimulates breathing, and thiobromine stimulates the heart.

I will also observe that on a low-carb diet, when one's blood sugar is below 100, it seems that I think more clearly and effectively. The same effect pertains (and there's a synergistic reaction) when I am taking 5-HTP and L-Theanine, which are dietary supplements recommended to prevent stress and promote relaxation. Theanine is also commonly found in green tea, so if you're swigging Arizona Diet Green Tea (for example), you get a triple whammy from the caffeine, theophylline, and theanine. It won't turn you into a genius overnight, but it will increase your effective intelligence, because your mind will be clearer, your focus will improve, and shit will get done.

To summarize:

  1. Clear the gunk out of your brain by cutting out sugars and starches.

  2. Drink green tea to increase your caffeine and theophylline intake.

  3. Consume dark chocolate, preferably in a sugarless form.

  4. Take 5-HTP at bedtime and L-Theanine during the day.

Until we can develop direct interfaces to allow us to plug into our computers, this is probably going to be the best we can do.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 1st, 2014 11:18 pm (UTC)
Walt Freeman kinda skimmed over the champ:


(Possibly due to a morbid fear of torches and pitchforks, I dunno.)
Jun. 2nd, 2014 01:24 am (UTC)
I think of nicotine as primarily an insect repellent (although leeches aren't insects, technically) but there's no question that it helps focus the mind, especially when you're swilling coffee at the same time. Now if we could just get nicotine patches declared over-the-counter drugs...
Jun. 2nd, 2014 05:10 am (UTC)
They are. They sell them in boxes of 21 at CostCo.
Jun. 2nd, 2014 05:18 am (UTC)
Really? I thought you needed a prescription for them. Maybe that's only here in Virginia.
Jun. 2nd, 2014 05:45 am (UTC)
I know it used to be necessary, but I started using them in 2002 with no trouble. Sold my first story later that year.

(If you can indeed get them there, but you've never smoked, I advise Step 3, lowest dosage, to start with.)
Jun. 2nd, 2014 03:12 pm (UTC)
About twenty years ago, when I was still in the Army Reserve up in Minnesota, I routinely packed a box of Swisher Sweets cigars (affectionately referred to as El Ropos) when going to the field so that I didn't get assailed by the hordes of mosquitoes and ticks that infest the Upper Midwest. But that was twenty years ago, so I guess I'll start with Step 3. Just to be safe.
Jun. 2nd, 2014 05:28 pm (UTC)
Very resourceful. In the Chicago area in 1980, I once used cigar smoke to kill a mosquito that was planning to take me back to feed her family, but it didn't occur to me to use it to establish a safe zone.

Haven't thought of Swisher Sweets in years.

My experience when I smoked was that with cigars:

Taste+Smell=a constant.

I recall Swisher Sweets smelled pretty good.

Black Watch smelled ghastly.
Jun. 2nd, 2014 06:46 pm (UTC)
There's a pretty funny story from one of the Reserve annual training sessions involving a newbie platoon leader (a direct-commissioned, non-smoking female butterbar), her platoon sergeant (a smoker), and her two squad leaders (one a devotee of chew, and the other being me with my El Ropos) in the back of the same jeep, but I think I'm going to save it for my forthcoming account of my time in the Army, What Did You Do in the Cold War, Daddy?
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )