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The Biomedical Engineering blog is the place for conversation and discussion about topics related to engineering principles of the medical field. Here, you'll find everything from discussions about emerging medical technologies to advances in medical research. The blog's owner, Chelsey H, is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with a degree in Biomedical Engineering.

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Born Smart(er)

Posted January 09, 2017 12:00 AM by Chelsey H

“We are the largest brained, slowest developing member of the largest brained, slowest developing mammalian order.”

Humans are by far the smartest species on Earth. We can read, write, build infrastructure, and organize governments. The evolution of human intelligence was critical as the first humans learned to be better hunters and, more recently, growing intelligence enabled early humans to compete with each other for status in complex social groups. The intelligence “arms race” resulted in rapid growth in cognitive ability and a growth in the size of the human brain, as brain size accounts for 16% of variance in intelligence. Image Credit

In conjunction with the rapid growth in human intelligence was the evolution towards walking on two legs. The reason we evolved to walk on two legs is still debated but walking on two legs requires smaller pelvises. This is where things get tricky. Women needed to adapt to walk upright with smaller pelvises while also having a larger pelvis to account for a baby with a bigger brain.

The compromise was one of evolutionary genius - while many animals are functional moments after birth (being able to walk and look for food), humans need years to be self-sufficient. This is, in part, because our brains are not fully developed until we’re adults but we have the incredible ability to learn. If humans get smart after birth their brains can be smaller at birth – a work around for the evolutionary tug of war.

The physical adaptions are many: baby’s skulls are made of pieces that shift during birth, women’s pelvises temporarily separate during delivery, and the space for the brain increases dramatically in infancy. Another key adaptation is how the brain itself worked. “Evolution made human beings learn what they need about the world, rather than having it inborn.”

This also helps humans adapt to their environment and learn much more for a much longer period of time.

So the fact that we are born helpless babies is the key to becoming a genius!

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#1

Re: Born Smart(er)

01/09/2017 8:00 AM

Reading "reason we evolved" and "evolutionary genius" stunned me this morning. As if automobiles decided to evolve from drum to disc brakes and from flat head to over head cam valve operation. Theory of evolution (long before knowledge of DNA) focused on completely random changes that accidentally led to better survivability (and therefore also overwhelming number of random changes that led to poorer survivability), not as if process had ANY intelligence and decision making involved to improve upon earlier forms. And like many theories, as evidence piled up, the original theory fell apart as an explanation of known factors. Maybe randomly changing small pieces of binary code on your installed version of Microsoft Office will improve Microsoft Excel formulae calculations- said code being much simpler than dna?

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#2
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/09/2017 10:17 AM

Evolution, or "random variation and survival of the fittest" looks like intelligence. But maybe intelligence is random variation and survival of the fittest, i.e., generating random ideas and selecting the best.

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#4
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/09/2017 1:16 PM

If I were you, I would leave the formula section of Excel alone, it doesn't need any help making your life a nightmare of tangled non-intuitive maths.

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#7
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/09/2017 1:55 PM

The first sentence may add some clarity:

"We are the largest brained, slowest developing member of the largest brained, slowest developing mammalian order.”

Classification of Mammals - Enchanted Learning

I don't believe that automobilis transportis, nor Excel are mammals.

Based on our past and present level of inhuman treatment of certain members of the order, I believe that some human mammals have become immune to this evolutionary intellectual advancement.

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#3

Re: Born Smart(er)

01/09/2017 12:10 PM

Intelligence is no guarantee of success....All living things seek to control their own destiny, that destiny being the continuation of living...Truly the most evolved lifeform must be bacteria...

http://time.com/10688/worlds-oldest-things/

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#5
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/09/2017 1:37 PM

Intelligence is no guarantee of success....All living things seek to control their own destiny, that destiny being the continuation of living...Truly the most evolved lifeform must be bacteria...

Or will be after WWIII...

Possibly we might be more successful with a little less "intelligence".

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#6
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/09/2017 1:52 PM

Nah, it is cockroaches, and down below that it is turtles all the way down.

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#12
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/09/2017 2:50 PM

Roaches can get a little out of hand, but overall pose no threat to humans....

This Pill cockroach appears to have a turtle like shell....

http://www.bogleech.com/cockroaches.html

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#13
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/09/2017 3:13 PM

I welcome our soon-to-be, post-global-warming overlords.

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#8
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/09/2017 2:23 PM

Oh god, now Lyn's starting me off (I was considering posting a Trump comment here).

Will resist, new years resolution and all.

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#9
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/09/2017 2:30 PM

I think Lyn meant to say that some humans are "exempt" from the evolutionary trait known as rapid learning ability. As long as they are free to suckle at the government teat. Many of them are Congressmen, former Congressmen, or soon to be former Congressmen?

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#10
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/09/2017 2:39 PM

Discussing our soon-to-be anointed dictator president would be as pointless as debating climate change here.

Therefore, I'll also decline to make any specific remarks.

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#11
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/09/2017 2:42 PM

You mean "Undefined global warning?"

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#14
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/09/2017 3:18 PM

No, I mean climate change. It gets colder too.

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#15
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/09/2017 3:22 PM

Yep, heard about the Atlantic Artic conveyor belt (actually loops around over entire planet.)

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#17
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/09/2017 5:44 PM

I feel we would be better off if those who think they are smarter than everyone else, but have never been able to prove they are anything but the opposite, would go sit on their hands and keep their mouths shut while those who have proven they are in fact smarter than everyone else take charge of things.

I can not think of one single higher than average intelligence person I have ever known that created enough problems to even remember them but I have however met so many lower than average intelligence idiots who have created problems for everyone else they fill my memory to overflowing.

Seems pretty cut and dried regarding who needs to be taken out of life's decision making loop if we want to see improvements all the way around.

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#18
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/09/2017 11:14 PM

I see someone who obviously doesn't fit into the 'smarter than the average person' group feels my thoughts are OT.

Go figure.

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#26
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 10:36 AM

I gave you another GA to help restore the balance of the Universe.

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#19
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 12:21 AM

I followed your link, but I was never able to find that image from the Atacama Desert in Chile. I was only a couple of days in that desert, but I certainly never saw anything that green anywhere. All the ads make it nearly impossible to follow the story...

It may just be color enhanced, but that photo sure looks photoshopped!

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#29
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 11:00 AM

No it's a genuine thing....it's moss growing on rocks....

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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 11:16 AM

I thought you said it was old bacteria. Is it old moss or old bacteria?

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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 11:33 AM
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#16

Re: Born Smart(er)

01/09/2017 3:57 PM

I'm just wondering that other species elsewhere in the Universe also went through this 'Born Smart(er)' phase in various forms, resulting in what is sometimes called the Fermi Paradox.

As a species we are very smart, to be sure, but we are not (yet) very wise. Hopefully there is still time, but I have my doubts.

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#20
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 12:22 AM

Maybe interstellar travel is a lot harder than some think it is....Then again maybe the're all paranoid.....with good reason if you ask me...Humans will probably be marginalized by our own doing soon enough, we don't need no funny looking aliens comin' in to do it for us....and while we're on it what simple minded fool thinks that some advanced civilization is going to be benevolent in nature....the'll probably be coming to conquer us and take everything this planet has to offer....Oh I'm sure the'll be all friendly and all at first, you know like we were with the indigenous populations we've encountered....but we all know how it turns out....

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#21
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 5:13 AM

".and while we're on it what simple minded fool thinks that some advanced civilization is going to be benevolent in nature....the'll probably be coming to conquer us and take everything this planet has to offer...."

Okay what does this planet have to offer that can't be found or made from materials already found in space in vast quantities that would be far easier to acquire and extract by a advanced space dwelling species than any equivalents found here on this planet?

Not water or raw elemental construction material like Iron or other metallic elements. Everything we have here has to mined or extracted and refined before it's useful.

Not organic. Any plant or animal life from this planet can be easily taken in inconsequential sample quantities and regrown in any volume needed in artificial environments with typically far superior end results and production rates than what natural growing provides.

Not labor. Organic animal based labor is high maintenance and energy input for what it can give back. Same with people. Compared to any degree of mechanization we suck on every level.

From what I can see any intelligent life form that is technologically advanced enough to handle interstellar travel won't find us or our planet to be of any value other than of scientific study or amusement and even for amusement we get rather borish and predictable pretty fast anyway.

We make terrible slaves. Heck, we are already doing our technological best to remove ourselves from our own service and life sustaining support industries due to our own inherent high operating cost and dismally poor working range and capacity limits.

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#22
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 5:46 AM

Actually, I believe that we present a great entertainment value to the rest of the universe.

It it quite possible that all the Facebook feeds and Tweets of this world are being up linked to the ETs as melo-dramatic literature. They may have influenced our technology to facilitate the diffusion of our lives for entertainment purposes.

As we speak, there may be billions of ETs betting on our chance of survival for the next 10 years!

We probably are the soap stars of the galaxy! Enjoy the fame!

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#23
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 6:06 AM

Unless they are parked on this side of the Oort cloud with high gain antenna systems pointed right at us they probably don't know we exist.

I don't find us or that crap entertaining and I live here.

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#27
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 10:42 AM

Given the recent course of events, we've become the laughing stock of every intelligent life form in the Universe!

My guess is they're betting on how soon the psycho-maniac leader-to-be of the USA will start a shooting war because someone said something he didn't like.

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#34
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 1:36 PM

OR because he said something they didn't like and pitched a hissy fit.

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#35
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 1:55 PM

Since he's already insulted almost everyone on the planet with immature, childish, insanely petty tweets, I'd say that's possible.

The guy's insane.

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#37
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 2:06 PM

I don't know why you would say that, apparently the old slogan about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result did not play well in your town?

But whatever, if you were looking for the next tee box, here ya go. I have moved on to the next green.

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#39
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 3:49 PM

Compared to past leaders in history, Trump's pretty tame and well mannered in his actions.

The reality (past and present) outside your head that the rest of us have to deal with and live in really doesn't account for much in what you say, does it?

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#43
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 5:14 PM

I'll take the reality inside of my head any day, over yours thank you.

And the grand cheeto really has no power, except in his head, yet.

He's already proven he's a dictator and NOT a leader.

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#44
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 6:11 PM

I will happily live under any dictator who's views I agree with any day.

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#45
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 6:16 PM

Would this make his kids 'tater-tots'?

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#46
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/11/2017 9:18 AM

Lyn: I appreciate reading many of your posts, but this is getting out of hand. You guys need to take this to the break room, or out in the street of Tombstone, AZ.

I have heard too much phoney baloney about our PEOTUS, and frankly the cheese analogy is getting moldy. Did you even listen to Obama's farewell speech last night?

I did (although it is about the only one I listened to to be honest), and it was not half bad, as far as speeches go. The did bring out the point about "orderly, peaceful, and smooth transition of power", although I still think Obama has done a few dirties in setting up the next administration for problems (that will no doubt be solved).

So just knock it off, OK? Don't make me pull over.

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#28
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 10:43 AM

So THAT's why threads on Facebook just seem to go on and on for years. It takes years for the signals to get back and forth from our crappy WiFi to their superior laser comms.

Three months after Earthling No.1's chess move: Alien: "Ah ha, my good fellow, Queen to A 7, and check mate! In the meantime, the Earthling got bored and went on to learn Quantum Mechanics, and is being published next year in Proceedings of Really Boring Quantum Tunneling Events: An Intergalactic Chess Match."

He expects to win the piece prize for his efforts: apple pie piece, that is.

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#36
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 2:03 PM

[fleet commander to UFO pilots] "What I SAID was, 'Go see what those arseholes are up to'!"

Seems all those anal probes were the result of a simple misunderstanding.

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#38
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 2:08 PM

Somebody forgot to go to English 101, and they left out the all important part about figures of speech.

Or one of these pilots thought they were talking about figurines of speech, and spat his tobacco juice in one of them.

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#30
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 11:11 AM

Maybe they want this place as a vacation spot......or entertainment value....or maybe even....

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#24
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 8:25 AM

Interstellar travel isn't necessary to betray their existence. We are not (yet) capable of interstellar travel but our radio signals are and have now passed at least a thousand star systems. Conceivably someone out there is watching The Honeymooners at this very moment, bog help them. Far more advanced civilisations who might capture significant portions of their star's energy output would have a telltale infrared signature, but thus far we've seen nothing.

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#40
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 3:59 PM

Well they could be, but the reality of space is it's not a dead calm and perfect medium for EM waves and energy to travel through. Especially in the EM bands that our radio and television transmissions occupy.

Energy level wise, it's like throwing a bowling ball in the Atlantic ocean during a storm and expecting England and the west side of Africa to pick up on the splash and wave front from it a few days later.

More on that reality here. Artificial EM/RF wave propagation through space.

Until we start focusing multi-hundred megawatt and higher RF transmissions at specific star systems (with high gain receivers looking directly at us in those EM bands when the signals reach them), nobody will know we are here.

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#41
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 4:18 PM

Yes, I am well aware of the inverse-square law. On the flip-side, a sufficiently advanced civilization might be transmitting petawatts (or more) for all we know, for whatever reason - and this is just one means we might detect their existence (at least for nearer systems).

Infrared signatures hold much more promise, however. Civilzations who are harnessing a substantial portion of their star's output. Unless they're very, very clever, there's going to be waste heat.

There are plenty of stars out there (much like our sun but much older). Some have planets. Imagine what sort of civilization there might be that has a billion years on our technological development? Perhaps their signals are passing us every day but we just don't have the means to make sense of them. Even we have technology today, sophisticated and secure spread-spectrum radios, for example, whose signals are almost indistinguishable from background noise. Now add a billion years of improvements. Fat chance we'll see anything if they don't want us to (if they exist at all).

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#42
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Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 4:58 PM

Yes, intergalactic T&T (ITT??) really has some kewl radio communication equipment.

It may be they can travel so fast, they don't even need to talk about it. Like a trip to the local convenience store for us, they travel across space-time (oops did I say that) from galaxy to galaxy in a flash. Don't ask me how it works, but stars appear to move past very quickly.

Maybe what we think is noise is not noise??? Even father than comprehension from us.

Maybe that noise is like smelling E.T's exhaust pipe?

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#25

Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 10:16 AM

Porpoises have larger brains. Maybe they've figured out that the smartest thing to do is just keep it simple.

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#32

Re: Born Smart(er)

01/10/2017 11:21 AM

Yes, I am smart enough to figure out that I am not smart.

King Solomon also did realize that he was not smart enough.

"I tested all this with wisdom, and I said, 'I will be wise,' but it was far from me", he said.

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