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Entertaining Your Brain?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the managing-your-mind dept.

Biotech 222

Spencer Wilson asks: "I'm constantly told that I have an extremely high intelligence. I always feel like I should know so much more, though. Do you, the Slashdot readers, know of any ways to improve ones brain power? Perhaps books, Web sites, etc., that provide questions that involve ways to increase memory, creativity, mental agility, logic reasoning, intelligence, etc. Are there any diets/exercises that really help?"

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Drinking (5, Funny)

SuDZ (450180) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515775)

Drinking, lots of drinking.


Re:Drinking (2, Funny)

Directrix1 (157787) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515835)

Judging by the number of questions this guy asks. He doesn't know half the sh!t which he should for that much intelligence boasting. :-P

Re:Drinking (5, Funny)

spacecowboy420 (450426) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516076)

You know, I believe you are right. I read somewhere that alcohol kills brains cells - but which ones? Well, the weakest ones of course - thinning the herd as it were. So it stands to reason that if you were to drink enough [not too much, don't want to kill them all - just the shiftless or sick ones] you would have an optimised brain with only the more robust brain cells processing, thus a more efficient mind.

Re:Drinking (1)

SuDZ (450180) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516136)

Good idea. I will bring this theory up at the next AA meeting.


Re:Drinking (1)

Bazouel (105242) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517704)

Reading your comment, I think you have overdone it yourself :)

Re:Drinking (1)

Rufus88 (748752) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516874)

"Beware the advice of successful people. They do not seek company." --Dogbert

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Just about anything except television. (3, Insightful)

dbirchall (191839) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515787)

Just engage in any sort of activity that requires your brain to be active, rather than passive. Read. Code. Race down hills. Whatever.

Re:Just about anything except television. (4, Insightful)

orangesquid (79734) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515807)

That's true. I think drugs, drunken violence, wild orgies, mosh pits, and occult study are *all* superior to watching television.

The smartest people will have the fullest and richest of the human experience. Go out and try a little of everything... and, while you're at it, if you find one or two fields that really strike your fancy, indulge yourself in as much knowledge as possible. Try to be slightly controversial, while you're at it... if you pull it off right, you'll be noticed and remembered :)

Re:Just about anything except television. (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516606)

drugs, drunken violence, wild orgies, mosh pits, and occult study are *all* superior

Score, score, score, score, brick.

Maybe "philosophy" would be a better fifth option. Occult study - unless you're studying "How Can Anyone Be Such A Moron As To Bother With This Crap" - is for losers.

Anyway, I suggest you try wresting, but that's just me.

Re:Just about anything except television. (4, Insightful)

kommakazi (610098) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516960)

Occult study - unless you're studying "How Can Anyone Be Such A Moron As To Bother With This Crap" - is for losers.
wrong, wrong, wrong...
Just because you study it doesn't mean you have to become a believer in it. You've just demonstrated a case of closed-mindedness, the number one blockage to intelligence. Now don't get me wrong I'm not saying you're stupid, I'm just pointing it out to you... I've studied it because I think it can be very interesting, not because I necessarily agree with it. It's all a matter of getting fresh perspectives...even if you don't agree with them at all.

Re:Just about anything except television. (1)

kommakazi (610098) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516610)

You've just about stated the basis of my life philosophy. Strangely enough I've also done all those things you've listed at the beginning of the post. Everyone I know says I'm a very intelligent person, and I know I am...I'm not trying to be egotistical, I just know it's true to a good extent. I think the biggest factor of all is just having an open mind. By not accepting new ideas, how can a person get any smarter? I am a very open minded person, I am willing to accept or at least hear out any sort of new ideas or perspectives on anything, I don't let prior knowledge or beliefs get in my way.

Re:Just about anything except television. (1)

vericgar (627150) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516806)

Dead On!

I too have come to that same conclusions myself. The two foundation beliefs in my own personal belief system are:

1) Keep an open Mind
2) Anything is possible if you believe in yourself enough

The trick is believing in oneself enough. It's hard to have complete faith in oneself - to believe that you are your own god, per se.

Re:Just about anything except television. (2, Insightful)

kommakazi (610098) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516900)

The trick is believing in oneself enough. It's hard to have complete faith in oneself - to believe that you are your own god, per se. Exactly...that is one reason I really don't like tells people to believe in some all-powerful deity up in the sky who controls everything rather than themselves. People then begin busying themselves too much with praying to their deity of choice to make things happen in their life rather than actually doing it themselves. If all the time used on praying throughtout the history of the world was actually used to go out and actually accomplish something, I would probably be typing this to you all from Mars. I've always said religion is a form of mind control - it basically tells people they individually are powerless and ineffectual, that their deity of choice is really the one running the show...and that is so not true. I'm yet to see an advance in technology, science, or society/civilization that was made thanks to some deity. Sure people can say they did it because god chose them, when really it was them who chose themselves to go out and accomplish something. Be your own god, live your own life, you will get so much farther in life....

Re:Just about anything except television. (3, Insightful)

System.out.println() (755533) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516994)

Ummm.... was the parent trying to be sarcastic? I sure as hell hope so. "Drunken violence"?

Besides, if you watch the right channels, and (actively) critique and consider what you're watching, it can be very intellectual indeed. Not as good as reading a book or something like that.... but certainly better than drunken violence.

You're looking at it (-1, Redundant)

Rick the Red (307103) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515801)

I read Slashdot [] .

The *most* effective means... (4, Funny)

FFFish (7567) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515808) to hang out on Slashdot, of course. Especially at the -1 filter level. My goodness, this place positively drips with intelligence. All the smart kids hang out here.

[rolls eyes]

Memorizing Pi (3, Interesting)

sahrss (565657) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515810)

Well, here's one someone posted here on /. a while back: []

I've tried it, and it probably would increase memorization ability, but I'm actually too lazy and busy to keep it up.

Learn Mandarin Chinese (3, Insightful)

jeni generic (751123) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515824)

In several different dialects.

Re:Learn Mandarin Chinese (4, Insightful)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516915)

This is not quite so much funny as insightful (not to detract from the funniness factor, to be sure). There are two fairly-well-proven means to increasing brain power: languages and music. Music especially has been the subject of many studies lately [] . Both of these disciplines will dramatically augment your ability to reason.

Hmmmm (5, Funny)

Sevn (12012) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515836)

'm constantly told that I have an extremely high intelligence

Quit hanging out with your mom.

+1 Insightful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8515916)

if only I had mod points...

Re:Hmmmm (5, Insightful)

aoteoroa (596031) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516484)

I'm constantly told that I have an extremely high intelligence

Reminds me of the famous quote by Margaret Thatcher:
"Being a leader is like being a lady, if you have to go around telling people you are one, you aren't."

Amen! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8516695)

That first sentence of the poster's submission is completely unnecessary and starts the entire question off on a bad note. If the submitter was really such a big genius he would have realized that and left the sentence off.

Re:Amen! (1)

bob65 (590395) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517740)

Or alternatively,

If the submitter was really such a big genius he would have realized that he isn't and left the sentence off.

dont lose it - use it (4, Insightful)

Prometheus+Bob (755514) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515846)

I'm afraid I'm not sure of too many shortcuts for intelligence. If you want to be quicker at math functions, for instance, you're going to have to do a lot of math. Like another poster said, just don't sit idle.

Re:dont lose it - use it (1)

kommakazi (610098) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516983)

shortcuts to intelligence
That's one of the best oxymorons I've seen in a while...

Whoever told you that (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8515885)

was obviously wrong. If you had extremely high intelligence, you wouldn't post a story on Slashdot - under what seems to be your real name, for gods' sake - starting "I'm constantly told I have extremely high intelligence . . . "

Seriously, speaking as someone with an IQ in the high genius range: the first thing you have to learn is how NOT to walk around telling everyone how frelling smart you are. They'll figure it out quickly enough on their own, believe me: most geniuses are obvious within a few minutes of meeting them, just from the way they interact with other people.

Other things not to do: DON'T join Mensa. Mensa is a club for losers who have a high IQ and nothing to show for it. Not for no reason is a former Mensa national president an advice columnist for Parade. DON'T talk about chess all the time. It's all right if you're good at it (or Go), but talking about it to everyone you meet will make you look like an A-1 geek, and your chances of spreading those high-intelligence genes around some will drop precipitously.

Grow up. Study. Find something you love and put your whole heart into it. If you really have the brains, you'll exercise them on your own without having to trick things out.

Re:Whoever told you that (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8516278)

Seriously, speaking as someone with an IQ in the highgenius range: the first thing you have to learn is how NOT to walk around telling everyone how frelling smart you are.


Re:Whoever told you that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8516652)

mod parent up! true insight!

Re:Whoever told you that (1)

mcelrath (8027) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516590)

most geniuses are obvious within a few minutes of meeting them, just from the way they interact with other people.
Speaking as someone who hangs out with a lot of theoretical physicists, I can say definitively that you're dead wrong. Either that, or I don't hang around enough dumb people to know.

But right on about joining Mensa, and props for using "frell".

Re:Whoever told you that (1)

Copperhead (187748) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516643)

"Mensa is a club for losers who have a high IQ and nothing to show for it."

Hmmm... sounds like someone got rejected.

Seriously, though, I joined Mensa [] just so I could say Mensa is for losers and not sound like I was shouting sour grapes [] .

Of course, now that I'm in, there are always greater heights [] to achieve.

Add 'Genius' Spencer to Your Foes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8516737)

Here, I've made it easy for you! []

Re:Whoever told you that (1)

Oriumpor (446718) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517373)

just from the way they interact with other people

I've noticed some of the most adept people often have a difficult time expressing themselves, and sometimes start off sentences just as this fellow has. HEY LOOK AT ME I'M SO SMART I HAVE NO INTERNAL DIALOG.

Re:Whoever told you that (1)

einTier (33752) | more than 10 years ago | (#8518080)

I have an IQ that tests in the genius range, but I have trouble at times expressing myself. Not so much in the written word, but when speaking. My internal dialog runs at a much faster pace than my mouth can speak, and it's easy for my internal dialog to get so far ahead of my mouth that suddenly I find myself with nothing to say -- because my mind is on a totally different topic. I also have problems selecting exactly the right word that I need. I know it's there, and sometimes the internal thesaurus returns "wordy" and "loquacious" but not "talkative". Unfortunately, I'm aware the word I need exists, and I can't seem to just ignore that and pick a word that isn't quite as good.

Makes me feel like an idiot.

Re:Whoever told you that (2, Interesting)

linzeal (197905) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517990)

Gifted kids need direction like everyone else. As a student teacher in a rural area of the country I have met a smattering few children that would likely have the aptitude to be Guru Level Engineers or Scientists. I am not as well adapted to noticing the same in 'artistic' or kinesthetic folk. I did see a man play 5 different string instruments in a single jam session though, but that is just sheer quanitity in the face I have a tin ear. What quanitative ways are there of measuring some of the 'new' intelligences that gardner [] proposed?

I ask because I am considering going to school to teach special education for gifted students, being one myself through school I know the children are often pitted against others for little more than academic sport. Integrated Knowledge based curriculum [] was the enlightenment of my adolescent age where suddenly the basic intellectual tools I had garnered from my parachioal schooling were gathered in force to attack problems that seemed tangible and engaging to someone like myself. I do not pretend I am some super genius aboce 200 but being on the opposite end of the bell curve from autism makes even people with a 100 IQ tedious to interact with at times. Around 130+ IQ typically do not mesh well with the philistines in society in spite of their expanded awareness in most matters they seem even less apt than children with autism to percieve social clues.

Find a significant other (0, Troll)

Thinkit4 (745166) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515901)

It's more important.

Re:Find a significant other (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8517347)

Even if the parent's intention was a troll, the comment isn't entirely offbase. I am certainly not saying that everyone should get married, but there is a certain loneliness of not having a loving significant other that is unique to any other type of loneliness. Often this loneliness cannot be filled by anything but having a life partner.

If you were smart. (4, Insightful)

mnmn (145599) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515923)

Someone with a lot of brainpower would always be itching to put it to use. Neither Linus nor Alan Cox would worry about how to kill time. Richard Feynman probably had to find ways to get his head off Physics to get it some rest, same with Einstein.

If youre wondering how to improve brain power or kill time, somethings wrong. Find a cause, like making so much GPL software, Microsoft gets broke, or start some world domination plans.

Thats all you have to do.

Re:If you were smart. (3, Insightful)

sydb (176695) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516202)

I don't know. I'm fairly stupid, and I can't find the time to do everything I want to do. If I was more clever, then perhaps I'd develop better strategies for freeing up my time to fit more in - and end up with Spencer Wilson's problem.

But on second thoughts, scratch that. I'm not that stupid, and Spencer Wilson sounds like he's just a self-agrandising twat with no perspective on life. If he's that bloody clever, why does he have to Ask Slashdot?

Hasn't he heard of Google?

Or perhaps he has a highly intelligent ulterior motive that is escaping us...

Re:If you were smart. (2, Insightful)

Lord of Ironhand (456015) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516991)

I think that there are different kinds of intelligence. One kind is the kind that helps you to easily solve difficult mathematic problems and other purely technical things. This, I believe, is the sort of intelligence IQ tests measure.

Another kind is what I like to call "creative intelligence", meaning one's ability to think out of the box and come up with interesting tasks to perform without need for stimulation.

I'd say mr. Wilson's intelligence probably consists mostly of the first, persons like RMS and Linus lean more towards the second. Being a "genius" probably involves having a pretty good dose of both (think Albert Einstein).

Don't believe everything you're told (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8515926)

Don't believe everything you're told.

Re:Don't believe everything you're told (3, Insightful)

kommakazi (610098) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517002)

Do listen to everything your told though.

Me too. (5, Funny)

SuDZ (450180) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515942)

"I'm constantly told that I have an extremely high intelligence.

Yeah, I only hang around with dumb people that make me look smart too.


i will balance it out (1)

pizza_milkshake (580452) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515944)

you are of below-average intelligence. now please, go sit in a rocking chair for 8 or 9 hours and stay out of the way.

Intelligence and Knowledge are Not the Same Thing (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8515957)

I always feel like I should know so much more, though. Do you, the Slashdot readers, know of any ways to improve ones brain power?

You're confusing intelligence and knowledge. Intelligence is pure processing power. Knowledge is how much data you've got stored on your hard drive. If you need to know more, read a book.

Re:Intelligence and Knowledge are Not the Same Thi (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8516716)

Hey, who are you to challenge the submitter? He is constantly being told that has an extremely high IQ. How many times have *you* been told that?

Re:Intelligence and Knowledge are Not the Same Thi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8516892)

Actually, I am not told this; the words of an average viewer are fallible -- tests conclude that my intelligence quotient is roughly twenty points under Einstein on average.

I'm willing to say that given such a rarity, my "IQ" is likely superior to even the submitter's, he seeming quite egotistical.


Re:Intelligence and Knowledge are Not the Same Thi (1)

Spencer Wilson (713651) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517013)

I never said that I was superior to anyone. If the way I worded my post makes you come up with pointless replies, then I'll ask in a much better way: What are brain stimulating excercises? Thanks to the very few of you who actually helped out.

Re:Intelligence and Knowledge are Not the Same Thi (1)

Tyreth (523822) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517360)

That was my first thought too when I read the story. Nice analogy by the way, explains the distinction perfectly.

Wikipedia (5, Interesting)

Przepla (637674) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515969)

Wikipedia [] is always in need of good contributors. Give it a try.

Re:Wikipedia (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8517503)

I'm somewhat disturbed taht the parent poster equated intelligence with knowledge.

I know SEVERAL people that know their stuff when it comes to software engineering, or hardware design. However, these same people can't reason their way out of any significant problem.

I, personally, feel I'm fairly intelligent. However, I have a mind like a sieve, so I retain facts only if either of two things holds true:
1. I'm interested
2. I'm exposed over, and over again to the material

For example, I routinely scored at about 80% in History classes. However, in a VLSI systems design class (the supposedly "harder" of the two), I did much better.

Please don't do what the parent poster did and assume that people that know stuff are automatically intelligent... please...

It's all well and good that a person might know some facts, but knowing what they MEAN or imply for other facts is another matter.

/me gets down off his soapbox.

hmmm... (2, Interesting)

BTWR (540147) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515992)

anyone else think the submitter could have written the question slightly less obnoxiously? Would asking "What are brain stimulating excercises?" (without "I am super intelligent") have produced much different answers?

Re:hmmm... (2, Insightful)

Idealius (688975) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516122)

I don't think he sounded obnoxious, just left himself open for some jabs that Slashdotters couldn't resist.

Learn! (4, Insightful)

frantzdb (22281) | more than 10 years ago | (#8515998)

Set your home page to instead of Slashdot.

Sign up for classes. Any classes. Cooking, SCUBA, basket weaving, learn a language, learn a new subject, join a choir.

Now is the time. Carpe Diem.

Resolve your inner conflict. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516018)

This is VERY difficult, but it works: To be more intelligent, work on resolving your inner conflict.

Read this book: The Primal Scream: Primal Therapy: The Cure for Neurosis [] .

Other books I've found useful for personal growth: Read the Recent Great Books. []

Re:Resolve your inner conflict. (1)

sydb (176695) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516279)

But what if you don't have an inner conflict?

Then again, I'm sure everyone does. However, I don't see any evidence for one.

But something tells me that can't be right.

It's all bullshit. There is no inner conflict. Wait....

Just like the body: exercise! (4, Insightful)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516026)

The mind's just like the body. It gets stronger when you exercise it. Doing math, learning new things, studying philosophy, whatever you want. If you don't code, learn to code. If you do code, learn more languages. Anything like that gets you marketable skills and exercises your mind at the same time is good too. Don't neglect the body though. Eat healthy and exercise your body, as boring as it may seem, and your overall health will be good. A healthy body means a strong mind. Also, remember to get enough sleep. We're all idiots when we're tired enough.

That's interesting... (1)

mrami (664567) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516030)

I'm always told I have an extremely large penis. I always feel that it should be larger, though...

Meditation. (3, Interesting)

eyeball (17206) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516045)

Like the subject says -- Meditation.

There are plenty of resources online, but I wouldn't be a /. poster if I didn't be a know-it-all and give my advice: You goal should be an hour a day, but It's really difficult to just sit down the first tim and do one hour straight. So start at 5 minutes, and when you can sit still for the whole time, increase by 5 minutes the next day.

As for what to do with that hour, that's up for debate. I'm a Buddhist, and many of us believe in meditating on something rather than nothing.

Re:Meditation. (4, Interesting)

Clay_Culver (583328) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516273)

Well, meditation is a good idea, though the previous poster didn't explain why. Meditation can help focus the mind, and allow you to concentrate fully on what you are doing. I used to have this problem all the time in high school. Every time I sat down to do something, distractions came by the dozens to take me away from the task at hand. Early in my senior year I started studying Zen (which is a sect of Buddhism), and after meditating and being mindful of what I was doing for quite some time, I noticed significant improvements in my ability to concentrate on what I'm doing.

Most westerners (like myself) are very goal oriented. There's no "point" or "goal" to Zen, or meditation. By that, I mean "I'm going to improve my concentration by at least a power of 2 in the next six weeks!" Results are also not instant. I was fairly capable in high school, but my grades were terrible. I didn't see much improvement until later in that school year (and since it was my senior year it didn't really affect my overall GPA), but now that I am in college I have a good GPA and no problem "finding time" to do homework.

I also don't think that 1 hour a day is reasonable for most people. If you can meditate for an hour a day, great! If you can manage 15, perfect! If you can manage 5, wonderful! The point is, you should just meditate for the sake of meditation. It's true that it is relaxing, calming, peacful, and it helps with focus, concentration, etc, but unless you meditate for the sake of meditating (with no goal or "time limit") you will probably find it too difficult to reliably do every day.

If you would like more information on meditation or Zen, you can always try your local Google. There are also MANY good books out there too that introduce the beginner concepts of Zen and meditation. I would suggest heading to your local book store/library and read through some of the books on Zen.

As a final note, Zen can be practiced outside of any religion. The day-to-day practices of Zen has very little to do with religion.

intelligence vs. the less-tangibles (2, Insightful)

dan_bethe (134253) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516046)

It's a bit of a tangent, but I think that far more importantly than what you have, is how you use it.

I think that my most important gifts are faith, honesty and transparency, and not ever giving up. I can quit or walk away from an attempt, but I don't give up on the principle. The intelligence backs those things up in terms of analyzing the structure, patterns, and deep relationships. Of broadening and supporting the interconnecting and overlaying latticeworks. Of eventually finding the big-picture paybacks of faith, reinvesting in it.

I use my intelligence at increasingly abstract levels, not always to solve things but to improve my methodologies and to find problem-solving resources. That's really really hard and can be truly lonely, but see Exhibit A, "not ever giving up". Start at age 3 or 4! Also see the practice of neurolinguistic programming, aka NLP, aka "the study of the structure of human experience". Become the change you want to see. It gets way easier from there, and it'll eventually pay off! ;)

Someday. Maybe it already has, just not the way I expected.

The side effect of this principled and deliberate self architecture/rearchitecture is to live in a state of wonder and potentially of joy. To know that no matter what you think you know, the unknown is still a wonderfully deafening roar like the peak of a waterfall. To know, even on principle, that you're not alone. To have respect for self and for all life. To know that if you can imagine a question, someone else, somewhere, sometime, has found an answer.

Apology (1)

Spencer Wilson (713651) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516061)

I apologize for the wording in my post. I was just wondering if any of you could recommend some really fun things to entertain my brain, with the benefit of improving my brain.

Re:Apology (1)

abrotman (323016) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516172)

perhaps you should give us some direction. Do you like math, computers, biology, electronics, chemsitry, literature, history, music, photography, sailing, mountain biking, or cooking, etc.

the fun things with your brain are probably going to revolve around your current interests. If you like electronics, build something like maybe a guitar amp, or learn something about magnetics and make a pair of speakers/headphones. obviously not hard, but maybe you'll learn something about how sound works and how to optimize speaker shape for better sound.

if all else fails, become a brewmaster. That's gotta be one of the best jobs ever.

Re:Apology (1)

Hes Nikke (237581) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516726)

Do you like math, computers, biology, electronics, chemsitry, literature, history, music, photography, sailing, mountain biking, or cooking, etc.

as a matter of a fact i do. the problem is, all of the above (save maybe math) cost money :(

i'd elaborate, but i have obligations at my local computer club board meeting to goto... now :D

Re:Apology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8517363)

Yeah. Right. Because Slashdotters exist only to serve you, my lord!

Lose the self-centered attitude and try to include others in your activities. Even if they are "less intelligent" in your opinion, every person has something they can teach you.

You might also be surprised by how common above-average intelligence is. After all, half of us are better than average. My IQ is approximately 140, 99.5 percentile. But there are plenty of people out there with the same level, about 1 in 250. About 1 in 100 are at IQ 130, and so on.

I'd suggest getting some objective evaluation of your intelligence before claiming to be much better than anyone else. Perhaps you're merely surrounded by dumb people who always get taken in by your bullshitting. If that's the case, don't be embarrassed: it's a viable skill for a successful business these days.

Yes. (4, Insightful)

Michael.Forman (169981) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516103)

Yes Spencer, I do know of ways to improve "brain power". (You did ask a yes or no question didn't you?)

Thank you for your question, which I assume was actually just a vehicle to let us all know how extremely high you feel your intelligence is (based on what people tell you).

Mod this as flamebait. Thank you.

Michael. []

An actually on-topic post... (2, Interesting)

Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516180)

Some years back, I actually did some digging around about all of the 'smart supplements' and such.

The upshot is that a lot of them DO work...but in inverse proportion to how much you NEED them. That is, they don't do much of anything for people who are already reasonably smart, but they are a noticeable help for people with mental deficiencies.

Personally, I think the best way to get intellectual stimulation is to try to get as many varied experiences as possible. I like travel, myself. Dig out a map, find somewhere a few hours away you've never been to, and go for a drive. Bring the map in case anything looks interesting along the way and you decide to change your itinerary...

If you're so smart... (4, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516199)

I'm constantly told that I have an extremely high intelligence. I always feel like I should know so much more, though. Do you, the Slashdot readers, know of any ways to improve ones brain power?
I don't follow. Do feel stupid or ignorant? These are two different things. I guess, like most people, you confuse intelligence with rote knowledge of facts.

I'm going to assume you're not stupid. Probably a safe assumption, since you're obviously smart enough to see that you don't know as much as you should. So that leaves ignorant. So why are you ignorant.

Steve Allen tells this story about a young, smart assistant he had who was dismally ignorant. He had to explain to her that her boyfriend was not a kind of Protestant (the guy was a Catholic!) and that the U.N. wasn't in Los Angeles (small schedule issue!). He blamed her ignorance on a sloppy education. But I have to ask, How do you grow up without learning where the U.N. HQ is? Answer, lack of curiousity.

There's more to knowing stuff than memorizing lots of facts. It's an active thing. You read lots of books, journals, and newspapers. And you think about what you've read. Which means talking about it with others, writing about it, finding a place for it in your mental landscape.

So, short answer to your question: there's no one book that will make you more knowledgable. What you should do is go to a library or a bookstore. Avoid the aisles with the recreational reading you normally go for. Than browse around until you find a book that looks interesting. Try to get into it. If you can't, put it back on the shelf and look for another book. If you can, read it, think about it, discuss it with other people who've read it.

Repeat until you feel sufficiently smart. Which, if you're really smart is never.

Re:If you're so smart... (1)

xutopia (469129) | more than 10 years ago | (#8518002)

What he says isn't that hard to understand. People find him intelligent but he feels like he should have a broader culture. Just because others find you intelligent doesn't mean you are and certainly doesn't mean that you want to be less intelligent. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8516292)

ah c'mon (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516303)

you're so smart - figure it out yourself!

Really, why does *every* nerd have to think he's exceptional, just like *every* jock that gets injured returns from their second hospital trip saying "the doctors were surprised at how fast my body is healing itself".

yap yap yap. DO SOMETHING with your big brain. If you can't think of anything useful, maybe you're not so exceptional - maybe you should find a worthy cause, and devote some time to it?

Ass whoopin's now be sellin' two for a dollar.

Re:ah c'mon (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517266)

you're so smart - figure it out yourself!
The dude is smart enough to know that he's ignorant, and that he can't change that on his own. That's smarter than you.

Re:ah c'mon (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517868)

> smart enough to know that he's ignorant

He didn't say that he's ignorant, he said he's really really brainy, but can't seem to figure out how to learn "more".

My guess: he's a 17yr old nerd that thinks he's Stephen Hawking plus working legs, and he just wanted to say "Everyone tells me I'm soooo smart" in a public way.

If he really was smart, he'd post a question that actually has an answer.

How can one "learn much more"?

Oh, the answer is: you should study French, physics, programming, politics, nutrition, carpentry, math, poetry, history, law - and eat fish, it's a brain food. Yeh, glad that's settled.

Re:ah c'mon (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517945)

He didn't use the word "ignorant", but he did say it. Go back and read it. you stupid git.

Re:ah c'mon (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 10 years ago | (#8518032)

> he did say it

why not quote what you interpret as an admission of ignorance? Because it's not there.

After his "All agree I'm dead smrt" bit, and just before his "how do I learn more", the submitter said:
"I always feel like I should know so much more"

If you think that's an impressive admission of ignorance, you suck.

Let me guess ... (2, Funny)

bmomjian (195858) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516641)

Let me guess --- you are not constantly told how humble you are.

YES (4, Funny)

illuminatedwax (537131) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516664)

YES!! I have discovered an amazing diet/exercise routine that increases your brain power by over 400%!!! It only requires 5 minutes of work a day, and best of all, IT REALLY WORKS!!
I increased my GRE score from a lousy 900 to an astonishing 1550 just by using this method for only THREE WEEKS!!

To find out about this AMAZING discovery, send $50 check or money order to:

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You have received this email because you are on the Slashdot Opt-In list. To unsubscribe to future emails, send email to unsubscribe-and-well-forward-your-email-to-1000-ot

Art, dude, art. (1)

ivern76 (665227) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516697)

Take some courses in art appreciation, then spend your free time reading, seeing good films, and listening to good music. Few things will give your brain the kind of workout a really well written book provides.

If you're looking for specifics, you could start with Hermann Hesse. Siddharta is a good book to start with. If music is more up your alley, steer clear of the crap (fuck Mozart) and go straight to the Romantics...Beethoven or Wagner if you like big, Chopin if you like simple. The nationalist composers are also quite amazing...I recommend Grieg and Dvorak for a start.

Relative Intelligence (4, Interesting)

Nutcase (86887) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516787)

I am often in the same situation. People tell me that I think totally differently from most people and am really smart and all that stuff. It's very hard to understand what they mean, because I just think the way I always have. I came to the conclusion that there are different types of intelligence, and people in various types view the other types as the intelligent ones.

I really think that intelligence just boils down to the equivilent of system registers in the brain. Being able to hold more of an understanding of what's going on than those around you makes you more intelligence. This can be applied as social intelligence, mathematical intelligence (understanding the systems behind the numbers), scientific intelligence (understanding larger portions or more detail in the natural world than most), etc. Its a curiosity.

I tend to have a social intelligence. I just think of it as common sense, but apparently others see it as something nice. Which helps, I guess.. but is weird. I look at a mathematically intelligent person and get intimidated. Or I look at the linguistically intelligent people who appear to be flaunting their intelligence by using ridiculously arcane words in common speech. It's more than likely they just know the words and use them without thinking.. but to people who don't it seems intelligent.

So I guess to answer your question, Intelligence isn't about what you know. It's about what you CAN know, and what you can process successfully.

Now, if you are looking for wisdom, you may want to make with the learning.

Re:Relative Intelligence (1)

Boglin (517490) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517035)

I tend to have a social intelligence.
Just stick around here a little longer and we'll get that all cured up for you.

everyone says you're teh brains? Me too! (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517933)

(just to clarify, is there anyone here who *hasn't* been told they're ever so clever umpteen times?)

Learn Stuff (4, Insightful)

Apreche (239272) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516898)

If you want to be smarter do what I do. Try to learn stuff. Don't just volger around the internet reading shit like slashdot and playing stupid games. Spend that time learning something or spend it somewhere besides the computer/tv/videogames/dvd/etc.

Here are some examples from my life.

Example 1: I heard the words fast fourier transform many times. I realized, hey I don't know what the fuck that is, and I probably should. I searched on google and researched it. Now I know it as well as if I would have taken a college course on it. You know you know something when you can write a program that does it.

Example 2: Hey, this python programming language seems to fit my style. Buy Nutshell book, learn python in a couple weeks.

Example 3: hey, I have a project to do for class. I think I'll use the GTK+ library. Proceed to teach self everything about GTK from the GTK website.

Example 4: Argument about gas prices. I thought the markup was a lot, my roomate correctly knew it was only a few cents markup at the gas station. We went out on the net and not only determined who was right, but learned all about fuel prices.

Example 5: Hey, this Initial D anime is pretty cool, but no way is that drift driving realistic. Proceed to use internet to learn all about cars, drifting, etc. I now also am very fond of F1 racing. Just last week I read the entire rules at and simultaneously learned a great deal about how they make the best cars in the world.

Pretty much, if you want to learn just try to. The information is free. Just go out and read what you want to know, and if you're serious about it you'll learn it. Things that you are genuinely interested in knowing are easy to learn because you will pay attention and actually try. If you are having a hard time learning something its probably because you don't actually want to know it, but instead are being forced to learn it. Or you could have a "learning disability".


The key to increasing your brain power... (1)

k4_pacific (736911) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516906)

... is to work smarter, not harder.

Then when I woke up, my pillow was gone.

Besides artificial chemical stimulation (0)

Transcendent (204992) | more than 10 years ago | (#8516951)


For to examine one's own thoughts is to tap into the essence of the mind.

I am so smart! S-M-R-T! (2)

Transcendent (204992) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517056)

I'm constantly told that I have an extremely high intelligence.

Who do you hang around with that give out compliments so easily? If you associated with people of the same intelligence, you wouldn't have that "problem."

I always feel like I should know so much more, though. Do you, the Slashdot readers, know of any ways to improve ones brain power?

Yes - Look up the definition of "knowledge" and "intelligence." Compare... then contrast.

Perhaps books, Web sites, etc., that provide questions that involve ways to increase memory, creativity, mental agility, logic reasoning, intelligence, etc.

Increased memory comes from understanding, creativity is neither learned nor taught, mental agility stems from your creativity, logical reasoning comes from meditation, and intelligence encapsulates all above.

Neither books nor websites can increase any of the above qualities... they increase from self improvement.

Are there any diets/exercises that really help?

Normal physical exercise as well as art stimulates the brain. Be active, be creative, and just put your body to use. But seriously, stop hanging out with the dullards who praise your "brain power."

A dumb persons opinion .... (2, Insightful)

jefeweiss (628594) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517067)

I think there are some studies somewhere that link balance to improving thinking abilities. Take some Tai Chi or something.

Meditation seems like it could be a good thing to do. You just have to try to figure out which kind of meditation you should do. I like zazen.

If you haven't done drugs maybe you could try that. Don't get addicted or anything, but try 'em out. I would include alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine along with all the others in this experiment. I think this can bring a certain sense of perspective. I don't recommend doing ANY drugs (including alcohol, nicotine or caffeine) to someone who has pre-existing mental instability. In that case the brain is producing it's own novelty, it would be a shame to mess with it.

Readd books that you don't agree with and try to make yourself agree with them. Or you can do the same thing with political talk shows. I do this with Rush Limbaugh, but if you are conservative you could maybe read Al Franken or something. Good for developing flexibility.

Try fasting for a couple of days. It can bring about a change of viewpoint on your normal daily state.

Doing things you don't ordinarily do can impact your brain. Like driving a different way home from work. Or going for a walk. Once I went around trying to do everything backwards as accurately as possible. It amazed me how difficult this was. A complete reverse order is wasn't my first intuition of doing something backwards. Doing something as simple as opening a door in reverse has some hidden steps that you don't really think about.

Kind of cliche, but you could try "Undoing Yourself with Energized Meditation" by Christopher Hyatt (I think) It has some interesting exercises you can do to limber your brain up. I wouldn't buy it unless you are actually going to do the exercises though. It's kind of long-winded and new-agey at points, though

Whether or not you take my advice, I wouldn't let the Slashdotters who are giving you a hard time get you down. A good number of the people who hang out on here are cynical asshats.

Re:A dumb persons opinion .... (1)

Praetor11 (512322) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517297)

Wow, that's a pretty far out statement, but I really like the stuff about reading books your don't agree with, etc.... I'm from the bible belt and get so sick of all the people who have beliefs (which is fine), but have them for no apparent reason. In other words, they refuse to even look at other ideas, etc (purportedly because their beliefs are so strong, which I think doesn't make since). Ok, I'm done ranting....

Get yourself in shape. (1)

Kent Brewster (324037) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517181)

Seconding motions on music, languages, and resolving inner conflicts, especially the ones with family.

This may seem counterintuitive, but one of the best things you can do for your brain is to get your body into better shape. Get a physical or at least go donate blood at a university hospital like Stanford; they'll send you your hematocrit (iron count) and cholesterol. More exercise will clear the cobwebs and improve your sleep cycle; better diet will feed your brain more of what it needs to keep running. You might also want to consider supplementing with moderate amounts of creatine; it's good for the body and good for the brain.

Tony Buzan, or not. (1)

AndyBarrow (62701) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517252)

Check out Tony Buzan's work [] . He doesn't seem bored.

Or try stand-up comedy.

Nootropics (2, Interesting)

bmud (590967) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517494)

Intelligence is a pretty cloudy concept. It's one of those words that's a reverse signifier. The way in which it is used by someone inform us more about the person using the word than about the things being classified on a scale of "intelligence."

Current critical theory in the communications and philosophy fields would probably argue that "intelligence" is constructed by those with social privilege to justify their privilege through the illusion of naturalistic necessity.

The only reason I caution with the above is because I'm highly sympathetic to it.

Another strain of thought I'm highly sympathetic to, but which is incompatible with the above is the biological machine theory of intelligence. The metaphor is almost self-explanatory. Your brain is a machine and will funciton optimally when certain pre-conditions are met.

There truly is a lot to be said for proper diet and exercise in sustaining intelligence. There has been much research done of late that links regular exercise with forstalling age related memory loss. Another recent study found that exercise dramatically improved cognitive skills across the board when sedetary persons were forced to do mild arobic exercise 3 times a week.

The second part of my suggestion is a class of substances broadly called nootropics. (new-oH-trOH-pix) The brain is dependent upon a diverse quantity of chemicals. Many persons are deficient and this has very real impacts for the brain performance.

A lot of persons are intersted in improving their cognitive power through supplements/drugs. Many are safe and proven. I've personally achieved remarkable success. My memory is better than it has ever been. Obscure vocabuary words flow off my tongue. Mathematical proofs take a shorter amount of time to absorb. Latin is my university foreign language. Pre-nootropics I spent 4 hours a week memorizing Latin vocabuary for my classes. The following semester, with a similar workload, I spent 2 hours a week max.

The cheapest/most popular nootropic is called DMAE. Easily one of the reasons why it is popular is that it combats brain damage caused by alcohol use through replacing acetylcholine. A lot of people drink, so a lot benefit from DMAE. But DMAE does more than combat alcohol damage, so it should be considered even if you don't drink.

If you want a site with just un-hyped, straight-up studies, check out [url][/url]. I am not associated with them, but after checking out all the science behind the Get-Smart pills I purchased some two years ago and continue to purchase some to this day.

Today I regularly consume the Get-Smart pills, L-Tyrosine (for semantic recall), phosphatydl-Serine (misspelled I know, it's for alertness), and a B-vitamin.

My memory and general acuteness are at all time high levels. Mental clarity is its own reward. If you're curious at all, I highly encourage you to do some reading.

Exercise your mind. (2, Interesting)

jonadab (583620) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517520)

> I'm constantly told that I have an extremely high intelligence.
> I always feel like I should know so much more, though.

Intelligence and knowledge are different things. You gradually lose a lot of your intelligence as you age, but you gain knowledge and understanding and so are able to compensate. You can also gain thinking skills.

> Do you, the Slashdot readers, know of any ways to improve ones brain power?

Brain power? No, not as such. The brain (the physical organ between your ears) is mostly affected by your body chemistry, so apart from the usual medical advice (eat a ballanced diet, get enough sleep, don't do crack, ...) there's not a great deal you can do.

However, you can exercise your *mind*. Read books that are at or above your reading level, books that make you think. (Specific examples? If you haven't read Godel, Escher, Bach yet, I can recommend that. The Bible is good for a number of readings. Knuth's book on surreal number theory is good. Read some Interactive Fiction, too. Curses, for example, and (if you really want to stretch) Spider and Web.)

Memorization is a learned skill. I don't know how many times people have told me, "I can't memorize". What they mean is, "I've never memorized." Very few people are blessed with a photographic memory; everyone else has to learn to memorize. Pick out a nice five-page passage you like from a good book, and make yourself learn it word-for-word until you can recite it verbatim with no errors. You start out with just the first sentence and work your way up. Oh, and you have to periodically review what you already know (just say it through once each time; if you don't have any trouble, you can double the time until the next review of that materiel).

Memorization gets easier with practice, and continues to get easier with practice the more you practice it. It's possible to get to the point where you can memorize a medium-density page of information in fifteen minutes flat, and this is a *really* useful skill to have. It's also possible to store entire books in your mind. No, your brain doesn't get full and start forgetting stuff. (Short-term memory works that way, but long-term memory doesn't.) There's a girl in my church who can quote all of John, Ephesians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Jonah, and six chapters of Daniel, and she's not even particularly bright (in fact, she's probably LD); she just took the trouble to learn how to memorize and then spent some time doing a bit of it.

Of course, there are other useful thinking skills besides (and, some would say, now that we have computers, more useful than) memorization. Practice analysis and discernment. Learn to pick apart everything you read, including fiction, and evaluate it in terms of the quality of the writing, stylistic issues, the author's sociopolitical worldview and how that influences the writing (especially with nonfiction, but yes, even with fiction), the originality (or not) of the plot, the quality of the character development, and so on and so forth. Write in-depth reviews.

Speaking of which... write. I don't mean (necessarily) professionally, but write. Not just "creative" writing, either; write essays. For fun. Make yourself put together and write from an outline, and then make yourself revise your writing repeatedly until the original draft looks like poor writing by comparison. This is good exercise, and it develops another useful skill.

Languages are a great way to go too. Learn computer languages, foreign languages, dead languages, ... Learn ones that are significantly different from your native language. The (somewhat old now) book, How to Learn Any Language [] (Barry Farber) is one I would recommend -- but don't just read the book; learn some languages. (Start with one. Then add more.)

Learn all the major programming paradigms (procedural/imperative, functional, object-oriented (don't settle for watered-down OO like in C++; learn Smalltalk or something like that), logical/declarative, event-oriented, and contextual/multiparadigmatic (for this last, learn Perl -- oh, and write yourself a JAPH; it won't make you any smarter, but it's fun).

Finally, if you never had a class in modern algebra (especially group theory), arrange to take one somehow, even if you're otherwise no longer in school. It's not particularly hard, but it teaches you a way of thinking about things that is very general and can be applied to a whole lot of stuff (more than just math).

> Perhaps books, Web sites, etc., that provide questions that
> involve ways to increase memory, creativity, mental agility,
> logic reasoning, intelligence, etc. Are there any diets/exercises
> that really help?"

A ballanced diet is good, yeah. Include vegitables in your diet, every meal if possible -- not the same three vegitables all the time either, but variety. Include seafood in your diet, but don't chow down it every day, and watch the shellfish. Meat's fine, but don't eat red meat every meal; if you have a burger at lunch, go for something different at supper -- chicken and vegi stirfry maybe. As far as exercise, whatever physical exercise is healthy generally will be healthy for your brain as far as that goes, but it's the mental exercise that will really help more.

Also, practice self-discipline. If you can make yourself do things (e.g., study) when you don't entirely feel like it, that's worth twice as much as just being smart.

Way to improve the mind.... (-1)

sheapshearer (746106) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517544)

Spend less time reading slashdot and more time doing something that makes you think...

Apply new forms of thought (1)

Justice8096 (673052) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517684)

Learn a new field, and apply it to a field you already know. This will allow you to look at the field you know from a different viewpoint, and will allow you to realise what you don't know, which enables you to learn the subject better. Here is an example of a few fields that have that synergy:
Carpentry -> Cake Decorating
Musical Composition -> Database Design
City Planning/Architecture -> Software Engineering (In case you didn't know, this is where Design Patterns came from)

There are many others waiting to be discovered.

My sig: I spend my life entertaining my brain. (3, Insightful)

solprovider (628033) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517691)

Do I get points because my sig was used as the title of an article? Is that why I have been moderating for more than 2 weeks? (I did manage to use up the points twice, but every day I have 5 again.)

I'm constantly told that I have an extremely high intelligence.

This gets annoying before finishing elementary school. Learn to change the subject. Discover what is interesting to the other person. Find subjects where there is a good chance the other person will give information you did not know.
[This does not always work. A new girlfriend introduced me to one of her friends, who had just bought a house. I was ASKING questions about how he was remodelling the kitchen when he blurted, "You are a genius, aren't you?"]

You will still get comments like "We have never talked about X, but you seem to know everything, so what do I do about X?" If you can lie [I cannot], tell them you have never heard of X, and then ask questions. Otherwise, quickly give them the solution, and move the conversation so you have a dialogue instead of a lesson.

I always feel like I should know so much more, though.

As long as you are always learning, do not worry about what you do not know. When something enters your interest, learn the basics quickly to know if it is worth researching. I prefer to work on creating new things rather than trying to keep up with the combined progress of all humanity.

Do you, the Slashdot readers, know of any ways to improve ones brain power?
[Learn to use apostrophes. It should be "one's".]

The only exercise to help you think better is thinking.

Perhaps books, Web sites, etc., that provide questions that involve ways to increase memory, creativity, mental agility, logic reasoning, intelligence, etc.
[Learn to construct sentences. Every sentence should have a subject and a verb.]
[Avoid the word "that". You used it 3 times. The first was unnecessary; the other two could have been avoided by changing the tense of the verbs.]

Most geniuses read constantly. The material does not matter. Think about any new ideas. Think about what prompted it to be written. For fiction, think of alternate plots. Keep thinking. If you want to be more creative, you need to create. If you want to be better at logical reasoning, devise proofs. If you want to be more mentally agile, question every assumption, both your own and other people's: why is it an assumption, and what are the alternatives?

Are there any diets/exercises that really help?
I eat steak. It does not seem to make me any smarter, but it tastes good. I avoid anything that seems popular with the masses: potatoes, bread, rice, broccoli. (I would include pasta, but my Italian blood refuses to recommend against it.)

Any exercise will help the blood to flow better. Do what you like, or do the same exercise as your friends. I bowl because a variety of interesting people practice with the bowlers I know. I kick around a soccer ball with several techies. I run just to enjoy the sun. I swim because I love swimming. Exercise helps, but do it because you enjoy it, and see if you can combine it with your desire for knowledge.

Tutoring (5, Insightful)

Justice8096 (673052) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517754)

...and yet another way to give your brain a workout - try to teach something that you know to an absolute beginner. It is the only way to expose the holes in your knowledge. Just be prepared to learn how little you really know...

Ginkgo Biloba (0, Offtopic)

!3ren (686818) | more than 10 years ago | (#8517891)

Personally, I have found the Ginkgo Biloba helps in clarity and recall.
Generally I have found that the required dose is higher than recommended on the packaging, and the effectiveness only starts to take place after a couple of weeks.

Stay away from stupid people. (1)

Associate (317603) | more than 10 years ago | (#8518010)

They are infectious. This includes Republicans, Democrates, Lefties, Righies, Uppies, Downies, parents, people with opinions. Just stay away from people in general.

Depends on who you are (2, Insightful)

THotze (5028) | more than 10 years ago | (#8518045)

And this goes for people of any intelligence. Its important to do the things that interest you. Everyone has their passions, and its through them that you really make a contribution. When you look at the great minds of the 20th century, they did what they were interested in. Einstein was a patent clerk who was sorta interested in solving some stuff in physics.

So, what are you interested in? And remember, there are so many kinds of intelligence that its hard to say that one is better than the others. There is "generic/old fashioned" problem solving intelligence. If you think you've got that, then see how you like inventing - as for what, well, see the thing above on what you're interested in.

But also don't be afraid to try new things - see how you like the arts, from theatre to literature to photography to drawing. As for me, I have no drawing ability, but have found that with a good book on photography and some money for equipment, that I can be decent at it - and the sheer possibilities for capturing light around me, and coming up with interesting subjects, can provide hours of amusement... and don't tell me it doesn't work my brain.

I guess that's the trick to using your intelligence - you can't be afraid of dipping your feet into something new. You don't need to start off an expert - in fact, some humility and a few honest, dumb questions can help build friendships and advice to people that will make your life more vibrant.

And, seeing as this is slashdot... yes, the Internet is your friend. the trick is to not go to the same sites over and over again... to think of something random, like I did with photography, or maybe think of say, some form of art or some weird aspect of science that you don't understand, and searching.

At the same time, especially with more difficult (and i believe, more rewarding) topics which can't be described in a few lines of hypertext, like (advanced/interesting?) science/engineering topics, or things like photography, its important to use your library. And your librarians, as well, as they do have a tremendous breath of knowledge, even if they lack depth - they can show you how to get a toehold on almost any topic, and once you've got that, the possibilities are limited almost only by your determination. So don't be afraid, and remember that the world is out there to experience, but you may need to drive yourself to experience it fully. Tim

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