December 21, 2012

Human Intelligence Is Not All About IQ – The Daily Orbit

So, um, why does your IQ matter anyway? Uh, duh!

Spicing up your holiday recipes with a little mealworm

The song of the humpback whale just got longer…

And it’s a Christmas Carol on today’s Daily Orbit!

Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.

Here’s a little Christmas present for you. If you have the cousin in the family that’s always bragging about how smart they are because their IQ is 138 – borderline genius – and you’re just not seeing it. Well, a new study says that IQ doesn’t effectively measure intelligence anyway. Researchers asked respondents to complete 12 cognitive tests tapping memory, reasoning, attention and planning abilities, as well as a survey about their background and lifestyle habits. Expecting only a few hundred responses, researchers were shocked to receive thousands. The results showed that there is no single metric for gauging intelligence, nor any single component of cognitive prowess such as IQ. Instead when tested for a wider variety of intellectual traits, people tend to display varying intellectual abilities in at least 3 distinct areas: short-term memory, reasoning, and verbal skills. Your cousin will just have to stand aside and let you be the smarty pants.

Here’s a way to add a new twist to your traditional holiday sausage balls, make ‘em mealworm balls. A new report suggests that insect protein may be a more sustainable alternative to milk, chicken, pork and beef. Why go mealworm? The study looked at the environmental impact of meat production on a mealworm farm compared to a traditional farm. The mealworms required fewer land resources and similar amounts of energy per unit of edible protein produced. Mealworms don’t emit methane like cows do and don’t require heat when temperatures drop. Researchers say that edible insects, as a source of protein, could be used as an answer to the increasing population and impending food shortage problem. I’m all about going green, but if it means eating bugs, I’m just not sure I’m on board with that one. Now gummy worms on the other hand…

It’s been awhile since we’ve brought you an update about what DARPA’s got going on but here ya go. DARPA just released a video showing improvements to their mule-bot. In the video, called LS3 Follow Tight, the mule-bot follows behind a man walking, staying no more than 20 feet behind the man at all times. The robot is capable of winding through trees and hills and if he does lose his footing, the robot can get right back up — well slowly get right back up that is. The mule-bot can walk 3 miles per hour in rough terrain and reach speeds up to 7 mph at full gallop. The robots are being developed for the Marine Corps to use as pack mules or to carry wounded soldiers out of battle. Developers hope that one day the mule-bot will be able to carry equipment and loads up to 400 pounds and can walk up to 20 miles without human help. You know what, I want a robot for Christmas — just FYI in case anyone from DARPA is watching

Crooning humpback whales have always been known for their love songs to their potential mates, but it turns out they ain’t just sangin’ – even when they can’t decide when they’re in the mood or just want food. New research shows that whales may multi-task as they eat, singing mating or breeding songs. In their study of 10 whales in the coastal waters of Antarctica researchers found all 10 sang while foraging with 2 exhibiting intense bouts of singing typically heard in the breeding grounds. Researchers say this data reveals previously unknown behavioral flexibility — balancing both needs to feed and prepare for breeding and even mating in different locations. Hmm…so now we know male whales multi-task better than the average man.

“I am the ghost of Christmas Future–Bah Humbug!” I just love Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” And just like Scrooge’s Christmas miracle, researchers say that people in real life experience sudden transformations of the heart. A new study looked at 14 participants who, like Scrooge, experienced profound, sudden, and lasting life changes. Scientists say the presence of a trusted person during such life-changing transformations was common. Researcher’s said “just by their presence, a trusted friend can open up possibilities and a sense of faith in what’s possible that one can’t see.” An extremely wealthy businessman who lost it all said that “it’s the best thing that could have ever happened” because he can’t put a price tag on certain events he would have missed before — birthday, marriage, family. How inspiring for the holidays. Oh! It’s snowing, it’s snowing!

And that’s all for the Daily Orbit, we see you back here next Wednesday! “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…”

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