Category Archives: Intelligence

Parrot Smarts

Environmentalism & Animal Rights, Intelligence, Science

Those of us who’re owned by a parrot know of their great intelligence and wish the general public would come to sympathize with their plight in the wild and in captivity. Scientists are slowly becoming hip to this remarkable intelligence. Hat tip to Marc Harper for “Cockatoos teach tool-making tricks”: “Cockatoos learn to make and use tools when shown by another bird, research reveals.”

And Goffin cockatoos have now shown an impressive ability to learn from one another how to use and even how to make tools.
A team of researchers has discovered that the birds emulate tool-making tricks when they are demonstrated to them by another bird.
The results are published in the Royal Society journal Proceedings B.
The researchers are interested in what they call “technical intelligence”, which is essentially animals’ ability to use objects to solve problems.
It confirms how innovative and how adaptable this species is to novel problems”
“Cockatoos are very interesting for this, because they’re very playful with objects,” explained lead researcher Dr Alice Auersperg, from the University of Oxford and the University of Vienna.
She and her colleagues had already noticed that one of birds in their research aviary, named Figaro, spontaneously used sticks to drag nuts under the bars.
Figaro also worked out how to make his “fishing sticks” by stripping long, thin pieces off a wooden block in his enclosure.

For me the more remarkable aspect of a Cockatoo’s fashioning of a tool to retrieve a treat is the superior intelligence of the one bird and the flock’s ability to learn advantageous behavior from this leader.

The one researcher, however, seem a little dim in his disbelief, postulating that the observed learning is but “trial and error learning,” as if the two were mutually exclusive faculties. I wonder how this skeptic thinks kids learn? Modeling, schedules of reinforcement, trial and error: has this guy heard of B. F. Skinner?

Parrots are flock animals: They watch each other, need each other and learn from one another as a matter of survival. In the absence of a flock, humans become their family. Thus nothing is crueler than isolating a parrot.

Read more.


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UPDATED: When In Doubt About Dramatic Underachievement In Math—Blame RACISM (Bro Euclid)

Gender, Intelligence, Race, Science, Sex

Who does math best? John Derbyshire has analyzed this year’s International Math Olympiad (IMO), just held in Cape Town (bravo my old stomping ground!). Apropos, editor Peter Brimelow has linked to my VDARE column, “The Silly Sex?”

Here’s “Derbyshire On Race And The International Math Olympiad”

Of the 560 participants this year, only 56 were female. That ten percent is, according to Rindermann, historically normal. In this year’s IMO, 58 of the 101 participating countries fielded all-male teams. Among the 58: the U.S.A., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., China, Japan, both Koreas, Russia, and host country South Africa. …
… Of the three participants who got the maximum 42-point score, two are Chinese. Of the 49 gold medal winners, 31 are East Asian and 18 are white European.

Down at the other end, of the 17 participants scoring no points at all, one is West Asian, two are Indios (that is, Latin American aboriginal), and the other 14 are black African.

I am told that because this was the first IMO held in Africa, black African countries tried hard to make a good showing. Yet the highest-ranked black African nation among the 101 nations participating was South Africa at #67, followed by Nigeria at #91.
And the South African team contained no blacks!
… there have been only three black African IMO medalists in recent years: Chigozie Henry Aniobe of Nigeria with a bronze in each of the last four years; Puis Aje Onah of Nigeria with a bronze in 2010 and Isaac Jean Eliel Konan of Ivory Coast with a silver that same year. …

Concludes Derb: “It’s a poor showing for a continent that has had established universities for decades. … We should … be skeptical of explanations involving racism. Most claims to have been disadvantaged by racism in the past fifty years amount to nothing more than rent-seeking on the part of educated blacks.”

MORE.

UPDATE: BRO, WAS Euclid BLACK? So claims mathematician Jonathan Farley. I thought Euclid was a Greek. There is a branch of mythistory (like Holocaust denial) called Afrocentrism, according to which the “venerable Greeks, the founders of Western Civilization, stole their philosophical and scientific know-how from Egypt. Egypt, and not Greece, is the fount of Western tradition.” The Egyptians, by this pseudo-scientific, feel-good fabrication, were actually black Africans. Read about it in “Safari Scholarship Reinvents History.”

Going by this “linage,” perhaps Euclid was black.


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Germany Scores Twice

Europe, Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Sport, Uncategorized

Germany’s first victory this week is to have threatened to expel the top CIA official from the country. Via DER SPIEGEL:

Initially, there had been talk of a formal expulsion of the CIA employee, who is officially accredited as the so-called chief of station and is responsible for the US intelligence service’s activities in Germany. A short time later, the government backpedalled and said it had only recommended that he leave. Although it cannot be compared with a formal explusion, it remains an unfriendly gesture.
On a diplomatic level, it is no less than an earthquake and represents a measure that until Thursday would have only been implemented against pariah states like North Korea or Iran. It also underscores just how deep tensions have grown between Berlin and Washington over the spying affair. … there was absolutely no talk of any apology from Washington.

One US official dismissed the threat of expulsion of a top CIA official from Germany as a “childish” reaction on behalf of the Germans. Natürlich. When a European superpower refuses to be spied upon by Uncle Sam, they’re deemed to be acting out like kids.

An excellent account of the latest developments is here.

Germany’s second big win in short succession was a 1:0 victory over Argentina, in the game that earned the Germans the 2014 World Cup in football.

Ann Coulter should be pleased that the interminable tournament has finally concluded.


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Surface Pro 3: Perfection

Business, Intelligence, Technology

Surface Pro 3: It is perfection. Congratulation to my pepes on the project—they must remain anonymous as only the Big Dogs get the credit. First and foremost is the spouse, Sean. Next is The Other Oracle, sage of the antenna. Especially ingenious is the Surface Pen, which sports a tiny clip into which an even tinier antenna has been fitted. So spectacular is Surface Pro 3, that one can pardon Mr. Panay’s perversion of the English language to describe its ergonomic functionality: “Lapability.” Speaking of biotechnology: Kudos too to “Tigger” on keyboards.


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‘Collect It All’

Homeland Security, Intelligence, Journalism, Technology, Terrorism

It’s his biggest revelation so far. Glenn Greenwald says he has been “saving the best for last”: names of Americans targeted by the National Security Agency. Greenwald’s book, No Place To Hide, is purported to contain scans of the many secret documents he has published. At the top of each document is the NSA’s motto: “Collect It All.” (Via Fox News.)

One question the journos interviewing Greenwald across US studios have failed to ask: The US government had promised to arrest Greenwald if and when he returned to the US. What happened? Why don’t media ask?

To ask a question about why the chronically incurious are chronically incurious is to answer it.


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‘Outnumbered’ But Not Outfoxed

Aesthetics, Gender, Intelligence, Media

“Outnumbered” (but not outfoxed): It’s “Red Eye” without the humor and The One Fun Girl (Joanne Nosuchinsky). It’s “The Five” on estrogen and with infertile cross-fertilization (as some characters make appearances on both shows). It’s “The View” (which I’ve never watched but know is G-d awful) with legs, cleavage, big hair and mouthy overbites. “Outnumbered” is Fox News’ new parade of self-congratulatory cyphers in short skirts. It sucks. The views are hackneyed and uninformed (what’s new?). And the single, tolerable, true beauty is Harris Faulkner (what a proud surname!).


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