10 Sep

Barbie, Conan, Body Image and Intellectuals

Living Barbie

There is a 28 years old Ukranian woman named Valeria Lukyanova, who believes that she is from Venus and decided to change her look to suit her inner body image.  She chose herself the look of a Japanese anemi character and achieved it using intelligent makeup and some cosmetic surgery (her age, heavy makeup and surgical assistance are all contested).  People started calling her a living doll, and then a living Barbie.  That’s flattering the Barbie doll because she is so much prettier.  Lukyanova is a singer, sort of, and wanted to use her new look to spread her spiritual message of peace from Venus (and, perhaps, to sell some music).

But something quite unexpected happened.  More and more young women are wanting to follow Lukyanova and are going in for living doll looks.  Being a living doll is not for the faint at heart.  It calls for a radical lifestyle modifications, and dollops of money to pay for the mandatory cosmetic surgeries!  Unlike our friendly neighborhood intellectuals would like us to believe, these women are not being brain washed by the Galactic Association of Cosmetic Surgeons or evil multi-national corporations trying to sell them trillions of dollars worth of eye liners to these unsuspecting young women.  They are not even doing this to get themselves more boys.  They do it so that their outer look matches with their inner body image.

Funny and misguided girls you say?  Well, not so fast.

Body Building

Take our male body builders and high octane actions stars.  We have all noticed how they ripping muscles augmented by multiple steroid cycles and Synthol (of course, they hotly contest the usage of steroids or Synthol).  Isn’t it strange that these guys have more heterosexual male fans than women fans?  None of these famous muscle heads have ever been called a sex symbol. On the other hand, the most popular sex symbol today, George Cloony, doesn’t even take his shirt off in most movies.  If you have tried googling “George Cloony Shirtless”, you will know why!

George Clooney Shirtless

If this body is found sexy by most women, then why are the body builders spending huge amount of efforts and money on ripping muscles?  The muscle size doesn’t even add to one’s longevity, mental acuity or money earned.  Like the living dolls, the body builders are catering to the self-image that is typical of their own sexes!

Barbie doll’s body proportions appeal to the girls.  Most guys, on the other hand, salivate for the curvy and strong body of Xena the Warrior Princess!

Warrior Princess

Cosmopolitan is the leading lifestyle magazine for young women and Maxim caters to young men.  Make a quick comparison between the models you find in them and you will find the women in Cosmo are more stick-like.  Whereas the women in Maxim must have curves.  Anorexia, or something close to it, seem to be the inner body-image template and most women try to gravitate to this.  They spend a lifetime trying to go as close to this self image as possible.

Take a look at any men’s fitness magazine and you will find ripping muscles, advertisements for muscle building supplements and black market steroids.  On the other hand, women oriented fitness magazines seldom post pictures of Mr. Universe.  Page after page, the post lean and athletic looking male bodies with broad, well formed shoulders and V shaped torso.  Like Ken.  Men who are looking for ripping are doing it to cater to their own inner urge.

Is it wrong to desire a body that appeals to one’s own inner image?  Of course, not!  If their body-desires doesn’t hurt anyone else, or it doesn’t conflict with their other priorities, what they do with their own body is none of anyone else’s business.

Is it wrong to blame the corporations, capitalists, multi-nationals, patriarchy, media and the buffalo for this phenomenon?  Of course, yes!

Most of our so-called intellectuals are fraudsters who are too incompetent to do their homework before they air out an opinion.  Liberating ourselves from the twisted world views they provide us is an important part of building ourselves happy lives.

That is the central tenet of this blog!

02 Nov

Gender on the Neocortex

Mean Bean Counter

The moment a speaker starts “the human brain is the most complex thing in the Universe”, I lose all respect for them.  I am sure they have turned every rock in the Universe and looked underneath before making such a tall claim.  Or, why can’t they perceive that two human brains is more complex than one human brain.  Or, how exactly do they define complexity?  Or brain?

Similarly, when someone says that we use only 10% of the our brain, you can immediately conclude that this person doesn’t understand evolution.  Since we know that human brain is an energy-expensive organ in the body, and that evolution just won’t build such a wasteful organ.

Another brain myth, but less well knows is the number of cells we carry in the brain: 100 billion neurons and 1 trillion glial cells (neurons do the thinking and glial cells do the housekeeping).  But recent studies give us very reliable cell count in the brain.  We know know that we have about 85 billion neurons and 86 billion glial cells.  In all, about 170b in total.  Not the originally claimed 1,100b.

We humans are very proud of our huge cerebral cortex.  We believed that it is brimming with neurons.  Even though our cerebral cortex occupies 80% of the brain, it has only 20% of total neurons!  Interestingly, the cerebellum (‘small brain’ in Latin), a small inconsequential bulb of the brain that hangs behind the big-mean-cerebral cortex, contains 80% of all the neurons; whereas it is only 10% by volume!  By the way, we only have a vague idea of what cerebellum does.  The state of the art in neuroscience is truly embarrassingly primitive.

We love to think that the human brains are somehow different from rest of the primates.  Anatomically speaking, the only difference between us and other primates is the brain size.  Human brain seem to be just a blown up version of monkey brains.

I save the best for the last: In the neocortex (the seat of human uniqueness, including intellect and executive functions), men have 21% more neurons than women (23b/19b) and 33% (65b/49b) more glial cells!  I don’t think anyone knows what to make out of this information because men and women have very similar average IQ.

Of course, I don’t know the significance any of the other information in this post either.  At this point in time, all of them seem to be completely useful pieces of trivia.  But I will end up remembering them anyway.  You, my reader, I am sure you will end up remembering at least the last one for sure!

25 Oct

IQ and Gender Politics

Man, Woman & IQ

Way back in 1932, Scotland got the IQ of all the 11 year old kids in the country, about 80,000 of them, tested.  The population was made up of equal number of boys and girls.  Called the Scottish Mental Survey (SMS), till this day, SMS is the largest such test carried out anywhere in the world.  The test methodology and the findings of SMS have not been contested seriously till today.  SMS has become the gold standard to understand the gender difference in IQ.  The result of the test is plotted in the chart below.

Scotland Mental Survey

The chart shows the number/percentage of girls of various IQ, plotted against the number/percentage of boys.  Let’s see that result test implies.

  1. Boys and girls are equally smart.  Boys had an average IQ of 100.5 and girls had an average IQ of 100.6, the difference being insignificant.
  2. 85% of the girls are smarter than the boys.  Can you guess why the (Second Wave) feminists never used this proof to argue that women or smarter than men?  Well, you must take a look at “4” below
  3. Lower the IQ, you will find more boys than girls.  This may be one of the reasons why there are more boys with learning disability issues.
  4. Now, this is the kicker: Higher the IQ, you will find more boys than girls!  At around IQ 140 (little above the IQ of University Professors and PhD holders), there are 35% more boys than girls.  Given how smooth this curve it, if I dare extrapolating it to 160-165 range (where all the Nobel laureates loiter), we have a 65:35 boys to girls ratio!  It means that at this range, there are 70% more boys than girls.

Interesting.  If you have noticed the distribution, something more interesting shows up.  It appears as if women the are made in an assembly line with better quality control (so, they confirm closer to the mean of 100).  Whereas, men are made on an assembly line that requires some fine tuning (so, their quality is all over the chart).

I wonder why most of us never know anything about this study, even though it was conducted 80 years ago and no one has been able to find any serious flaw in it till today.  My guess is, gender politics!

By the way, you can click on this link to download an academic paper, discussing the results of the Socttish Mental Survey 1932.  Before you go away, please remember that IQ is not the only indicator for success in life.  It doesn’t even test all types of intelligence that there is.