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Trump is a virtuoso at playing the media.

He mentioned he’d ban the burning of the American flag – the media rushed to show Leftists burning the American flag. He promoted the observation that many hate crimes were hoaxes – soon after, it emerged that the author of the threats against Jewish centers was a Black social justice writer for The Intercept who had been fired for making up sources. He claimed you wouldn’t believe what had happened in Sweden yesterday – we couldn’t believe what happened to Sweden tomorrow.

Bearing in mind the MSM’s consistency in “misunderestimating” Trump’s wiles, let’s move on to #Wiretapgate.

On March 4, Trump claimed that President Obama was “tapping” his phones in October, turbocharging the political scandal around his administration.

Here is a summary of the key elements, based upon this timeline compiled by Mark Levin and Joel Pollack:

  • Obama had drilled little holes all over the ship of state by “expanding the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections” in January as his parting gift to Trump, ensuring the new administration would be inundated with leaks.
  • New York Times report in January that the FBI, CIA, NSA, and Treasury Department were monitoring “several associates of the Trump campaign suspected of Russian ties,” and later reports in February that the FBI had “intercepted a conversation in 2016 between future National Security Adviser Michael Flynn” and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
  • Levin summarizes: “T he Obama administration sought, and eventually obtained, authorization to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign; continued monitoring the Trump team even when no evidence of wrongdoing was found; then relaxed the NSA rules to allow evidence to be shared widely within the government, virtually ensuring that the information, including the conversations of private citizens, would be leaked to the media.

Barack Obama’s spokesman has denied this in legalistic terms:

A cardinal rule of the Obama Administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice. As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance of any US citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.

As Alexander Mercouris points out, this “does not deny that Donald Trump’s office in Trump Tower was wiretapped,” nor that his “‘associates’ (a flexible word the precise meaning of which has never been made clear) or members of his campaign team were placed under surveillance.” I would further emphasize that Obama specifically referred to “US citizens,” whereas no such protections apply to foreign citizens, and indeed we know from the Snowden leaks that it is standard strategy for the NSA to circumvent Americans’ protections by listening to American citizens’ communications with foreigners and by closely cooperating with allied foreign intelligence services, especially those of the Five Eyes (incidentally, Britain has figured prominently in this affair, from Christopher Steele’s dodgy dossier to the recent NYT article which claimed that some of the intelligence linking people in the Trump campaign and various Russians came from British and Dutch intelligence).

A further problem is that the net is cast so wide that, as the NYT inadventently admits, virtually any Russian in America with a non-hostile relationship to the Putin government is considered suspect:

The label “intelligence official” is not always cleanly applied in Russia, where ex-spies, oligarchs and government officials often report back to the intelligence services and elsewhere in the Kremlin. Steven L. Hall, the former head of Russia operations at the C.I.A., said that Mr. Putin was surrounded by a cast of characters, and that it was “fair to say that a good number of them come from an intelligence or security background. Once an intel guy, always an intel guy in Russia.”

Again, as Alexander Mercouris points out, this would encompass many of Trump’s people who have had perfectly legal and transparent business relationships with Russia, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Furthermore, I would add that by this standard a huge percentage of the US government would be compromised, since promoting US-Russia business ties has been a plank of US diplomacy until 2014 (ironically, as I pointed out a year ago, Mitt Romney, who is coldly disposed to Trump and called Russia America’s “number one geopolitical foe,” probably actually had considerably more substantive business dealings in Russia than Trumputin himself).

To be sure, Trump’s claim on Twitter, at least, is likely false. But it does not appear to be a lie borne out of his idiocy, stress, fury, narcissism, or whatever the MSM’s latest projection consists of.

Consider the following: Trump has successfully whipped the media into a feeding frenzy, focusing the public’s attention on this in a way that acting low-key could never have. And the reality for the Establishment appears to be bad enough. Continuing to assume that there is no substantive meat to the ROG (Russian Occupation Government) conspiracy theory, what we are left with is a scandal of at least Watergate proportions, if not more so – as Alexander Mercouris points out, whereas under Nixon the scandal was that the CIA and FBI had refused to do his bidding against his political opponents, here you would have the even more egregious case of the US security agencies colluding against Trump by “carrying out surveillance upon him and his associates though there has never been any evidence that either he or they did anything wrong.”

This is the real story and I suspect we are soon going to see its denouement.

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The TIMSS 2015 results for math and science are out and the results are pretty predictable.

All the data can be conveniently downloaded from here: See also Steve Sailer’s post from yesterday.

Math (8th grade)


Science (8th grade)


An extension of Heiner Rindermann’s observation on the differences between the two major international standardized tests – namely, that PISA is more a test of general intelligence, while TIMSS loads more heavily on specific curricular knowledge (Rindermann 2015) – is that the difference between the two can be used as a rough proxy for the quality of school systems.

After all, raising general intelligence through special schooling methods is well nigh impossible, but it is possible to teach how to do fractions properly. As I pointed out back in 2013:

However, a second possibility is that the PISA-TIMSS/PIRLS gap is a proxy for differences in the quality of educational systems. It is more feasible to prepare for the TIMSS/PIRLS than it is for PISA, which is closer to an IQ test and is, as such, more difficult to improve through policy interventions. It is nowadays fashionable to lambast the ex-Soviet and East Asian school systems for “rote learning,” “stifling creativity,” and whatnot. However, the data shows that under these systems, pupils perform well above the levels they “should” as indicated by their underlying IQ levels. Meanwhile, in places where “creativity” and “self-expression” are given full bloom, where science lessons focus on the evils of plastic bags in between sermons on LGBT appreciation and the progressiveness of Islamic civilization, academic performance is somewhat less than what might expect based on the local students’ apparent IQ levels.

The ex-USSR countries do not have particularly high IQs by developed European country standards – Russia itself is at around 97 – but it is nonetheless the best performing non-East Asian country in the TIMSS math test, and second after Slovenia in science. Kazakhstan comes just after Russia in math, which is highly impressive given that ethnic Kazakhs have an average IQ of just 82 relative a British mean of 100 (Grigoriev & Lynn 2014).

The Scandis are the opposite in this respect – pretty respectable native general intelligence, but much poorer than expected scholastic results. In the last TIMSS, only around 15% (sic!) of Swedish and Finnish 8th graders were able to do basic fractions. Normally I would have a hard time believing this, but the source was impeccable, and the horror stories about Swedish schools I’ve heard from Swedish acquaintances makes me willing to give credence to such results.

The East Asians get the best of both worlds, and for all the criticism directed at the education system in both the US and England – especially the marked Finland worship you get after every round of PISA – they do pretty solidly as well.

As per usual, the results from Africa and the Arabs are hopeless. As an an Arab Gulf State bigwig once said, “My grandfather rode a Camel, my father rode a Camel, I drive a Mercedes, my son drives a Land Rover, his son will drive a Land Rover, but his son will ride a Camel.”

• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Education, Intelligence, TIMSS 
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In recent years there has been a surge in interest in gut flora in the wake of research on its substantial effects on personality, so much so that researchers have even taken to describing it as a neutral network.

And much like humans, and even their brains, they are not going to be an exception to recent evolution.

As Chris Kresser writes:

In other words, evolution does not act solely on your 23,000 human genes. Rather, it acts on the 9.02 million genes (both host and microbial) that are present in and on your body, as a single entity.

Moreover, the microbiome can introduce genetic variation and evolve through methods specific to it, such as sharing genes with each other and acquisition of new strains from the environment. And even the borders between bacterial genes and “human” genes are surprisingly porous.

The really interesting observation is yet to come:

Social behavior in primates is also thought to be a critical factor in the evolution of human intelligence (32). Access to microbes may have been a driving force in the evolution of animal sociality, since microbes confer many benefits to the host (33). Social behaviors like grooming, kissing, and sex increased the transfer of microbes from one organism to another. Studies in social mammals have found that development of the forebrain and neocortex in social mammals depends on signals from the microbiota (34), and germ-free mice that lack a microbiota also lack social behavior and show deficits in social cognitive abilities (35).

Depending on the size of these effects there could be some pretty important implications and confounds for psychometrics and genetics of IQ research.

Bacterial composition, for instance, though strongly hereditary, is also going to be affected by the food one eats (a cultural factor), the people with whom one has close contacts with (kissing, certain intimate contacts, and one supposes, effluence in non-hygienic countries), and the local geography, elevation, and climate. Could intelligence be a matter of not just blood and chance, but of soil?

Best not to get too carried away with yet. This paper finds that spousal partners did not have significantly more microbiome similarity than unrelated invididuals (though the sample sizes were small). Still, it might be worth bearing in mind.

• Category: Science • Tags: Ancestral Health, Intelligence 
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hitler-reading-book One interesting approach that has nothing to do with Pumpkin Person’s z factors: People tend to associate most closely with people of similar IQs.

Fortunately, uniquely for the elites of a major state, we have some detailed data on the IQs of the Nazi leadership (with the exception of a few important guys like Goebbels, Himmler, Bormann, and the Fuhrer himself) thanks to the US psychometrists attached to Nuremberg.

1 Hjalmar Schacht 143
2 Arthur Seyss-Inquart 141
3 Hermann Goering 138
4 Karl Doenitz 138
5 Franz von Papen 134
6 Eric Raeder 134
7 Dr. Hans Frank 130
8 Hans Fritsche 130
9 Baldur von Schirach 130
10 Joachim von Ribbentrop 129
11 Wilhelm Keitel 129
12 Albert Speer 128
13 Alfred Jodl 127
14 Alfred Rosenberg 127
15 Constantin von Neurath 125
16 Walther Funk 124
17 Wilhelm Frick 124
18 Rudolf Hess 120
19 Fritz Sauckel 118
20 Ernst Kaltenbrunner 113
21 Julius Streicher 106

As I recall from what I’ve read on Hitler and internal Nazi politics, of the above list, particularly “close associates” of Hitler would include: Goering; Ribbentrop; Speer; and until his “betrayal,” Hess. Their average IQ is 129.

While there was never much love lost between Hitler and the German military establishment, the closest military connection to Hitler from that list would be Keitel, who was infamous for his toadying behavior towards the Fuhrer. His IQ also happened to be precisely 129.

(Incidentally, while Jodl is regarded as far more competent than Keitel – he is the guy who actually made OKW command structure run – it’s interesting to note his IQ was actually lower than that of his boss, if marginally so).

In practice, Goering’s IQ during his time as Nazi bigwig might have actually been lower, due to his morphine addiction. On the other hand, there are suspicions that Speer was in fact considerably cleverer than his test scores indicated, because he was playing the “dumb dreamer architect” type so as to pretend ignorance of the death camps and avoid execution (if so he was successful). So these two factors might cancel out.

Adjusting for the Flynn effect – but only modestly, since the most useful (not rules-dependent) forms of intelligence haven’t improved all that radically, and we have an IQ of around 125 for Hitler normed to today’s Greenwich standards.

I think this is essentially accurate. He was a high school dropout and failed to get into the Viennese Academy of Fine Arts. He was a brilliant orator, but oratory skills have low g loadings.

Hitler did write a famous book. But Mein Kampf is a very badly written book, even ideology outside. Here is one particularly egregious example that I still recall reading a dozen years later by virtue of just how bad it was:

THE EXTENT of the fall of a body is always measured by the distance between its momentary position and the one it originally occupied. The same is true of nations and states. A decisive significance must be ascribed to their previous position or rather elevation. Only what is accustomed to rise above the common limit can fall and crash to a manifest low This is what makes the collapse of the Reich so hard and terrible for every thinking and feeling man, since it brought a crash from heights which today, in view of the depths of our present degradation, are scarcely conceivable.

And this was after Hess – with an IQ of 120 – had labored on Mein Kampf long and hard to make it at least minimally suitable for publication.

On the other hand, Hitler was always near the top of his class academically, which puts a lower limit of about 120 on his IQ. Here is is a quote from a book b y a childhood friend of Hitler’s via Pumpkin Person:

From school sources there is abundant authentic material describing his school performance. In primary school he was always near the top of the class. He learned quickly and made good progress without much effort.

He was also a good but not brilliant artist. On the basis of this, Pumpkin Person estimates his Performance IQ at 133 (Flynn-adjusted).

Hitler has some major geopolitical successes early on, but these were probably more a result of aggression and blind luck than intelligence (had France decisively reacted anytime at Munich or beforehand, the Nazis would have been finished. Not even necessarily due to the allies. The generals were interminably planning a coup throughout the 1930s, to be put into action should Hitler’s plans have blown up).

These geopolitical victories were in any case completely reversed later on – thanks in significant part to Hitler refusing to listen to and heed the advice of his generals (in contrast, Stalin realized he was hopeless on military matters after 1941, and with a few costly exceptions like the Third Battle of Kharkov, largely left the technical details to his generals thereafter).

Against that, it should be admitted that the Nazi leadership was more or less uniformly of the opinion that Hitler had a very high intellect, and was possibly a genius. Apparently, this included Hjalmar Schacht, the brightest of them all:

He read an enormous amount and acquired a wide knowledge. He juggled with that knowledge in a masterly manner in all debates, discussions and speeches. He was undoubtedly a man of genius in certain respects. He had sudden ideas of which nobody else had thought and which were at times useful in solving great difficulties, sometimes with astounding simplicity, sometimes, however, with equally astounding brutality. He was a mass psychologist of really diabolical genius…

However, there are two potential confounds here. First of all, Hitler was a brilliant orator, which expressed itself not only in his speeches but his casual “table talk.” Even very intelligent people can easily mistake this for genius, especially if they are lacking in the rhetorical/charismatic department themselves. Second, the Nazis at Nuremburg had a vested interest in presenting Hitler as a “diabolical genius” type of character in order to diminish their own share of responsibility for war crimes (and their risk of being hanged).

My (very rough) impressions/recollections from reading Nazi histories is that Hitler was certainly a step above the likes of feckless-schoolboy type Hess or the infamously callous Kaltenbrunner, but decidedly below Franz von Papen, Doenitz, and Schacht. To the contrary, his intellectual ability seems to fit right in besides that of Speer and Ribbentrop (also personal friends), and of Rosenberg (the Nazi “philosopher”).

Finally, the 125 estimate for Hitler’s IQ broadly tallies with Pumpkin Person’s estimates of a verbal IQ of 120 and a Performance IQ of 133. Hence, I think it is credible.

• Category: History • Tags: Germany, Hitler, Intelligence 
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putin-with-book Pumpkin Person (PP), an up and coming IQ blogger, has estimated Putin’s IQ to be about 127.

He derives this based on a z-factor analysis of Putin’s status as the most powerful White person in the world (135), based on the 0.4 correlation between IQ and income (and presumably, power), minus an adjustment for his relatively dimunitive height (-8), based on the 0.24 correlation between IQ and height.

The method is of course questionable for any number of reasons. That said, for someone who openly admits to knowing “virtually nothing” about Putin, this is entirely understandable. Even people who know more about him will have a hard time making very good estimates because of the paucity of public records of Putin’s academic performance.

That said, I think in general that is a fair estimate, not least because my own impression of Putin’s IQ has also long been about 130.

Below I will be trying to substantiate this estimate with more detail.

First off, a little expounding on PP’s argument

historical-height-of-russian-men PP probably makes too much of the height thing. First of all, he uses an estimate of 63.5 inches (161cm), versus the official figure of 67 inches (170cm), on the basis that there is a conspiracy theory to inflate Putin’s height. Second, he compares Putin’s height with old American dudes (174cm), whereas the proper comparison would be with old Russian dudes (168-170cm as shown right). In fact, if we posit that there is no conspiracy to overstate Putin’s height, and it really is 170cm, then he would be entirely typical of men of his generation. (This would make him similar to Napoleon, another very powerful man who was reputed to be short but was in fact entirely average in that respect for a late 18th century Corsican).

Of course these points are also rather moot in the sense that you’d also then have to adjust down for Flynn Effect, especially since this is the 1950s USSR you’re talking about, i.e. still a semi-Third World country in socio-economic terms, with residual malnutrition. This would have almost the same exact effect of knocking 5-10 points off and getting 125-130.

(Another point raised by the commentator SFG is that another issue to consider is that shorter dudes face face extra headwinds to success due to purely social factors, so the IQ of a short person who manages to attain power nonetheless might be expected to be higher, if anything. PP argues that the correlation between height and money is actually very slight once adjusted for IQ. But I am not sure you can so cavalierly extend this from from money – which you can make without much in the way of social status – to power – where having status and a telegenic presence is a necessity).

Additional arguments for Putin having an IQ of 130

He got into Leningrad State, one of the USSR’s elite universities (though not the most elite Moscow institutions – but then as far as I know he didn’t apply to them anyway). His performance, though classified, was evidently good enough for him to be eventually accepted into the KGB’s foreign espionage department. However, his career progression in the KGB was slow. He only began to rise fast after joining the world of 1990s Russian politics.

He is known for making witty rejoinders and having a very good grasp of facts, numbers, and statistics in discussions.

He is fully fluent in German. Since becoming President, he has also developed semi-fluency in the English language, despite an obviously crowded schedule. All this hints at a solid degree of intelligence.

According to insider accounts, his typical reading material consists of bulky historical tomes. That suggests high intelligence and discipline.

He is also genuinely religious, and religiosity has a negative correlation with IQ. His family are both working class; grandfather was a chef for Lenin and Stalin. But the Putin family is also surprisingly long-lived, especially by Russian standards – most of them tend to live into their late 80s and even 90s. Longevity is positively correlated with IQ.

Though I have trouble recalling any very specific examples, my general impression is that he is NOT at an elite level of intelligence (i.e. 145+). This loose impression is backed up by another commentator at PP’s blog, Konstantin Surzhikov, who appears to be both Russian and familiar with psychometrics (he might be this guy with an IQ of 144).

Hi there. I am blessed to know several persons with recorded IQ’s from 123 to 142 (sd 15,age-addjasted western norms). So, I’d like to put my 50 cent here. Putin acts and talks as a person with IQ definitely lower than 137, but slightly higher than 125. My subjective impression that it can be a bit higher than 127, but all in all it fits your guess very well/ I understand clearly that this kind of approach can hardly be better than your calculation , but my only – but important – advantage is that I am a Russia citizen, a native Russian, watching that very active and talkative guy on TV here for years. Well done anyways!

Could Putin’s IQ be much higher than 130? The argument from geopolitics.

There is a well-established stereotype of Putin “outplaying” Obama on the world stage (see all the Putin playing chess while Obama plays checkers rhetoric floating around), which PP alludes to.

One problem with estimating Putin’s IQ at 127 is that there is reason to believe Obama’s IQ is close to 140. Can Obama really be smarter than Putin when we keep seeing reports that Putin is always outsmarting Obama.

It has been found that IQ correlated postively with assessments of US Presidential leadership performance, so this is certainly worth bearing in mind.

However, there are two caveats to be borne in mind here.

First, we will only know how geopolitically successful (or not) Putin truly is not today, but in a decade’s time or so. As I have covered on this very blog, the concept of mnogokhodovka – the concept that Putin is carrying out a long-term, very intelligent series of chess moves that will end up in the creation of Novorossiya and the defeat of the US empire that – is fast becoming a laughing stock amongst both liberals and anti-Kremlin nationalists. Even the pro-Kremlin nationalists who created this concept are now abandoning it.

Second, there are reasons to believe the correlation between IQ and leadership performance in Russia might not hold nearly as strongly in Russia as it does in the US. That is because the Russian elites are far less loyal to Russia than American elites are to the US. Some literally care more about having access to French cheese than the lives and wellbeing of their less privileged compatriots in Crimea. Much more exposed to Western influence thanks to their international contacts and English language proficiency, they tend to develop a cargo cult mentality towards the West, which expresses itself in cringing obeisance to Western foreign policy and the wholesale adoption of Western ways, and should the people object, they could always be dissolved and another elected (as per Bertolt Brecht). This is based on the idea that Western acculturation will reap great dividents and that the West itself has Russia’s best interests at heart. Of course, neither has been true historically.

It is worth noting in particular that Gorbachev, possibly the USSR’s most intelligent leader, was also the one who failed in the most singular, spectacular way: His country ceased to exist, and his approval ratings in Russia remain within polling margins of error to this day.

This does not just apply to the politicians, but to voters too. A map of voting patterns in Moscow shows the richest places displaying the highest support for liberal pro-Western figures like Navalny, with the very highest support for them registering in areas around elite universities. As such, supporters of patriotic and conservative currents in Russian politics (as opposed to liberal) suffer from a cruel bind – we are objectively dumber than the people who would have us kneel before the likes of Obama.

However, as the HBDsphere will know better than anyone else, this does not mean we are wrong.

The media and academia are constantly promoting multiculturalism and these elites may make more of an effort to brainwash high IQ people because they’re the future elites. Little effort is made to convince low IQ whites to embrace multiculturalism because it doesn’t matter what they think; and indeed allowing low IQ whites to dwell in racialism further stigmatizes it as low class, which is exactly what the intelligentsia wants. Further, low IQ whites might be harder to brainwash anyway because they don’t have enough brains to wash.

Ergo Russians and the Western media/political complex.

Could Putin’s IQ be much lower than 130? The argument from plagiarism, aggression, corruption, and unwillingness to engage in debates.

Putin did have his PhD thesis written for him in the 1990s, but every Russian politician was doing the same thing. In Russia’s context, that say’s nothing about Putin’s IQ.

Aggressiveness is negatively correlated with IQ. Probably so is corruption.

putin-vs-obama Putin is undoubtedly more “aggressive” than the average Western politician, as humorously documented by numerous Internet memes like the one on the right. In his series of 1999 interviews documented in the book From the First Person, Putin admitted to being involved in street fights and consorting with riffraff in his schoolboy days (though this may have motivated by a strategy to project an “everyman” image). Even so, no conclusions can be made from this on his intelligence. That is because Russian politics and business is systemically more aggressive than in Western countries. That’s simply what you have to do to survive there.

For instance, take Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Thanks to a skilful and well-funded “rebranding” campaign and cultivation of ties with American neocons in the 2000s, he is primarily known in the West as a genteel Jewish intellectual of moderate social democratic views who got repressed by Putin for supporting corporate transparency and human rights. But in the long-forgotten 1990s, he had the reputation of a gangster who abused minority investors and had his business and political rivals whacked. And yet this very unscrupulous and possibly outright murderous man undoubtedly has a very high IQ.

And these examples can be extended almsot indefinitely so far as the Russian elites are concerned.

Ergo for corruption. Though it need hardly be said that everyone is still waiting for any evidence of his $70 billion offshore fortune.

One final observation is that Putin has studiously avoided debates with political rivals. Performance in debates correlates well with IQ, so if Putin’s was low, he might feel afraid to take on his political challengers so directly. But this has a perfectly rational explanation. In all Presidential elections to date, his poll ratings have massively outstripped those of the Communist, nationalist, and liberal candidates. He is not obligated to debate any of them by law. Doing so would only introduce the chance of him making some costly rhetorical blunder and suffering a big blow in the polls. As such, to participate in them at all would be a mistake.

While he has not participated in debates, he does field unrehearsed questions from journalists and citizens on a somewhat regular basis. My observation is that for the most part, his answers tend to be lucid, erudite, and witty. This is a fair but not great indicator of IQ.

• Category: Humor • Tags: Intelligence, Vladimir Putin 
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RosieTheRoboteerThis conference is organized by brain health and IQ researcher Hank Pellissier, and its aim is to bring all kinds of quirky and visionary folks – “Biohackers, Neuro-Optimists, Extreme Futurists, Philosophers, Immortalist Artists, Steal-the-Singularitarians” – together in one place and have them give speeches and interact with each other and the interested public.

One of the lecturers is going to be Aubrey de Grey, the guy who almost singlehandedly transformed radical life extension into a “respectable” area of research, so it’s shaping up to be a Must-Not-Miss event for NorCal futurists.

Also in attendance will be Zoltan Istvan, bestselling author of The Transhumanist Wager, and Rich Lee, the famous biohacker and grinder. The latter will bring a clutch of fellow grinders and switch-blade surgeons with him to perform various modification procedures on the braver and more visionary among us.

Your humble servant will also be speaking. The preliminary title of my speech is “Cliodynamics: Moving Psychohistory from Science Fiction to Science.” Other conference speakers include RU Sirius, Rachel Haywire, Randal A. Koene, Apneet Jolly, Scott Jackisch, Shannon Friedman, Hank Pellissier, Roen Horn, and Maitreya One.

Time/Location: February 1, 2014 (Saturday) from 9:30am-9:30pm at the Firehouse, Fort Mason, 2 Marina Blvd., in San Francisco.

Buy Tickets:

Tickets are on sale from November 1-30 for $35. Only 100 tickets are available due to limited seating. In December tickets will cost $40 (if they’re still available). In January they’ll cost $45, with $49 the at-the-door price.

To obtain a ticket, PayPal $35 to account # – include your name. You will quickly receive a receipt that you can print out as your ticket, and your name will be added to the guest list.

Below is a photo gallery of everyone on the lecture list and some further details:

Extras & Freebies:

  • RICH LEE PROMISES RFID IMPLANTS AVAILABLE for stoic volunteers + he’s bringing his HALLUCINATION MACHINE (“A clutch of Grinders and switch-blade surgeons will be in attendance to perform various modification procedures. Whether it is physical, mental, or emotional, we promise this presentation will leave everyone with some kind of scar!”)
  • HANK PELLISSIER will encourage the mob to select policy for a “NEURO-OPTIMAL UTOPIA” – heated disagreements guaranteed
  • NEW GUEST – FROM HARLEM – MAITREYA ONE will rap his transhumanist Hip Hop songs
  • Brain Healthy “ketogenic” food will be available at the conference – avocados, hardboiled eggs, walnuts, olives, coconut oil, etc. Biohack and QS research will be featured on display tables, alongside transhumanist t-shirts.

Additional Questions: Contact brighterbrainsinstitute AT gmail DOT com (3 volunteers with technical skills are needed, if you can help with sound and visual equipment).

Sponsors: The Bulletproof Executive (aka IT businessman/biohacker Dave Asprey, he of the Bulletproof Coffee mentioned above) is the lead sponsor. Brighter Brains Institute and East Bay Futurists are co-sponsors.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
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This Sunday I had the pleasure of meeting up with Hank Pellissier, who used to work for the IEET, a futurist/transhumanist institute, and is now a blogger-journalist and amateur researcher at the Brighter Brains blog.

2013-09-15 16-59-15 - meeting with Hank Pellissier

As one may glean from the title of that blog, his current area of major interest lies in IQ and how you can bolster (or deflate) it. His most recent book is 225 Ways to Elevate or Injure IQ, the product of four years of research consisting of trawling through and summarizing the existing academic literature on the topic. In the meetup, he expounded upon his work.

Much of it was commonsense, or otherwise of no surprise to people who take an active interest in the topic. Some it was also of doubtful validity, with correlations not always being substantiated by a solid case for causation. But some of it was also new, counter-intuitive, even surprising. Certainly all this material is well worth publicizing and pushing into the public debate because quite apart from the intrinsic individual benefits of higher IQ’s it also leads to more efficient economies, higher technological growth, lower crime rates, etc.

Here is a list of most of these 225 IQ factors from Pellisier’s website. Below is a rough classification and brief discussion of some of the most important and interesting points from his research.

Commonsense/Well-known Factors

The big ones are:

Nutrient deficiencies: The important ones are iodine, iron, and zinc. Causes can include poor/unvaried diets and infectious diseases, such as malaria and intestinal worms. Has a ~15-20 IQ point impact on national IQ.

Cousin marriages have a huge observable (negative) impact on IQ. I suspect Pellissier and hbdchick would have a lot to talk about. Causes a ~10 IQ drop… which is really significant when half the population is practicing it, as in much of the Muslim world.

Not mentioned, but significant nonetheless: Racial/ethnic average IQ ceilings. Probably not worth talking at length about, since there isn’t much to do for it and only serves to turn more “respectable” people off from the very concept of IQ and the goal of optimizing it for everyone to the maximum extent possible.

Other commonsense things Pellissier mentions: Good prenatal environement; breastfeeding, preferably on demand, not a set schedule (~4 points); environment free of toxic metals and poisons (lead, cadmium, pesticides, etc); social connections and support; environments with cognitive stimulation (music, chess, computer strategy games – not shooters, learning new languages esp. Mandarin); exercise; sleep well.

Avoid bad things: Concussions, on the basis of which Pellissier is a proponent of banning American football – one study claims 14 point IQ loss after 20 weeks. Binge drinking alcohol; marijuana; smoking and smoke exposure; khat. But magic mushrooms are an exception and are apparently good for repairing brain damage from severe trauma or PTSD! Avoid obesity. Some studies claim fluoride in drinking water is bad for IQ – others disagree.

Questionable Factors

Spanking/corporal punishment; exposure to violence as a child – although its likely and commonsensical that severe child abuse would reduce IQ, I suspect its more likely that the kids who are spanked and/or disciplined more will have lower IQ’s in the first place (more likely to misbehave) and lower IQ parents – aka less capacity for reasoned argument, and readier to resort to impulsive, physical measures – and since IQ is hereditary and all… Anyway, suffice to say, spanking was near universal in Europe before the 20th century, and that certainly didn’t stop it from producing many geniuses.

Diet – junk food, skipping breakfast, sugar, etc., all claimed to reduce IQ – or do lower IQ children (aka with lower IQ parents) have these poorer dietary habits in the first place? I’m sure it goes both ways

National wealth – An obvious one… but I don’t think it matters much at all really (except insofar as national wealth can enable some basic level of nutritional and educational provision… but you don’t need a whole lot of it to buy children books and feed them. Studies in Italy and the US seem to show that the level of educational spending has next to no effect on performance in standardized tests (rough proxy for IQ).

Cold Weather – Great example of necessity of being really careful about rushing to conclusions in these matters. Is it the cold that makes IQ – or is it having ancestors that evolved in colder climes? Kinda doubt you’d up your intelligence much by moving to Kolyma.

Researchers at California School of Professional Psychology claim that “persons in colder climates tend to have higher IQs.” The theory correlates with data from the 50 United States.

Acupuncture – One small study in China indicated a ~15 IQ point gain in half the patients after “six months of acupuncture and other treatments” (so ~7 points overall?). Seems a bit too high. While I can readily testify that acupuncture really does promote relaxation and alleviate stress, I’m skeptical regarding such wilder claims.

Parental Socio-Economic Status, mother’s educational level, etc. – A myriad of studies claiming this. There are, of course, strong correlations with child IQ. But significant independent causation is quite roundly debunked in Charles Murray’s and Richard Hernnstein’s The Bell Curve.

Just correlations, not causations, and explicitly identified as such – Religion (atheists cleverer); political beliefs (liberals cleverer); monogamous males (are cleverer; aka beta males, hehe); vegetarianism (vegan hipsters cleverer than average).

Interesting Factors

Small families – On first impression, I imagined this might be a correlation, not a causational issue. After all stupid/less educated women have more children in the first place, and IQ is ~75% hereditary. But… “After adjusting for mother’s IQ, the children IQ gap is still 10 points with one vs. five or more children” (Maximizing Intelligence by David J. Armor). The theory is that IQ will be depressed when parents have to spread their attentions over many children, as opposed to just one or two.

Girls mature faster – Total cerebral volume peaks at age 10.5 in girls and 14.5 in boys; language and motors skills also mature earlier. This – my note – is a possible explanation for why girls now outperform boys in schools, but continue to underperform them later in life. They just reach their peak earlier and quicker.

Meditation – Some studies claim a very substantial gain in IQ (~8 points) while also, of course, producing other positive effects like less stress.

Wheat! – As we are fans of the paleo diet lifestyle, this I found particularly interesting. This might go some way to explaining the East Asian Exception (aka poor East Asian countries tend to have far higher IQ’s than equally poor countries from, say, the Mediterranean, where diets are grain-based):

A 2011 study of 290 Japanese schoolchildren revealed that those who ate wheat everyday had IQs that were, on average, 4.0 points lower than non-wheat eaters (i.e., rice eaters). Why? Nutritionists believe a neurotoxin in the “staff of life” – wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) – is to blame. WGA passes through the blood-brain barrier and attaches itself to the myelin sheath, the protective coating on the neurons; it’s presence there injures the growth, health, and survival of brain cells.

WGA is highest in whole wheat, especially sprouted whole wheat, and it also lurks in barley and rye. Nutritionists note that all grains contain “natural food toxins” to protect themselves from being eaten by mammals, with the average person eating about 1.5 grams daily of plant poisons. The safest grain is white rice; it’s toxic substances are largely annihilated by cooking. Japanese children who ate white rice and avoided wheat had “significantly larger grey matter volumes in several regions, including left superior temporal gyrus” and their perceptual organizational index (POI) was markedly higher.

Cholesterol-lowering statins – Are apparently a big IQ depressant, as “25% of the body’s cholesterol is in the brain, where it insulates neurons in “myelin sheaths” to create strong neural connections, an essential step in concretizing memory and learning.” Do your best not to get to the stage where you have to take statins.

Playing brain games – E.g. this one:

Supplements that increase IQ

The most interesting ones:

Piracetam/aniracetam – Nootropics. Combine with choline. I can personally vouch that they do most definitely and powerfully work. However, there hasn’t been much research on side effects, so I didn’t continue using them for long.

Cocunut oil – One of the best and most accessible natural brain supplelements out there. Claimed to be able to reverse Alzheimer’s.

Deprenyl – Prescription drug, anti-aging, improves sex drive. Can be imported from Mexico.

Modafinil – Prescription only. Fights ADHD, but French military gives it to their pilots for alertness.

Gingko biloba – Most studies say no effect; one study says very beneficial effects in older people. I tried it for a few weeks and saw no effect.

Huperzine-A – Another naturally derived nootropic; as with gingko biloba, more orientated towards preservation (not improvement) and older people.

Curcumin – As in turmeric spice. Said to combat Alzheimer’s.

Tea – In general, and esp. St. John’s Wort for older people.

Creatine – Enhances short-term memory. Verbal fluency increase seen only in vegetarians (not surprising as creatine is found in meat).

Omera-3 (DHA), Alpha Lipoic Acid – It’s basically good for everything.

Caffeine – Very accessible.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
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Anatoly Karlin
About Anatoly Karlin

I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley.

One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.

Though I consider myself part of the Orthodox Church, my philosophy and spiritual views are more influenced by digital physics, Gnosticism, and Russian cosmism than anything specifically Judeo-Christian.