Monday, September 22, 2008

i have blogs elsewhere - this is just a way to show off my google reader subscriptions. That being said, most of my old blogs are filled with immaturity, teenage angst, and my frustration with formal education - and I really should make a blog that's finally free of that. I still consider myself immature and angsty, but I'm developing heuristics that should hopefully help with those over the course of the next few years.

I suppose I could start posting here - but I'd have to be persuaded first. =P So comment away if you want to see me post here. That being said, I'm becoming a slave of Google's various services and would find it convenient to enslave myself to yet another google service.

This may or may not turn into a new blog - I'm currently better at posting items than commenting on them. It would defeat the purpose of a blog just to post interesting items of interest.

Perhaps I could introduce myself here. I recently adopted the Internet name "InquilineKea" since my old name "simfish" was being taken by a lot of other people on other services. I'm a teenager with lot of respect for empirical realism and all of the sciences (including the social ones). Most of the blogs I read have a libertarian slant, although I don't necessarily consider myself libertarian or politically active. I don't necessarily agree with what I read - I'm mostly a lurker who is keeping a relatively low profile (although I trust that those who stalk me are more likely than not to like me).

While all of the sciences interest me, my primary interests concern those subjects that affect learning (namely, intelligence, motivation, and attention span). This, of course, stems in part from my previous frustration with prior educational settings. My frustration with the educational system actually stems more from lectures than from tests - I still have a lot of respect for most tests - and so I'm one of the few who likes the collegeboard more than public education. Of course I was extremely immature in the past, and so much of my frustration is my own fault, but I still believe that I would have been made much better off if I had the luxury of several years of homeschooling/unschooling. While I'm obviously concerned that genetic factors may also be inhibiting my learning, I at least realize that people who believe that their abilities are malleable *do* improve their test scores relative to those who believe that their abilities are immalleable.

I'm extremely interested in the subject of intelligence and its manifestations in both learning and social outcomes. While I believe that intelligence is largely heritable and that intelligence plays a large factor in determining social outcomes, I also don't think that perceived intelligence is the best way to predict the trajectories of *all* individuals (of course, this is coming from someone who has lashed out against the public education system). Insofar as IQ tests go, their strength lies solely in their correlational attributes, not in anything objective. Of course, tests based on correlational attributes can be better in predicting certain social outcomes than other measures of social standing, but only for *groups*, not for individuals (especially since there will *always* be "extreme" deviations from the best fit curve - "extreme" being relative to the curve of course) IQ tests may eventually be supplanted by neurobiological advances. It may be possible for lower-intelligence individuals to develop heuristics to at least partially compensate for their lower processing speed (in perhaps developing strategies to identify the sections of problems that are more g-loaded and that demand more time or some external help on).

I also have an irrationally strong interest in Chinese history - especially the Three Kingdoms period of China (so I'm extremely familiar with many of the minor officers in that period). Of course, this obsession owes itself to the numerous video games on that period. I'd still love to have new ways of analyzing history though, and so I'm open to discussions of history (I self-studied AP Euro and AP World History, and have a strong background in US History as well), especially those that don't revolve around "one damn thing after another" types of discussions, but rather, discussions involving the whole picture and all associated variables.

I'm trying to learn as much math as possible right now, even though I'm unfortunately not particularly good at it right now (but math is one of those subjects that you may suddenly "get" at one point in your early life - and so I still have a decade or so to "get" it). While I'm worried about the inevitable decline in fluid intelligence that may occur over the rest of my life, I have some grounds for believing that calorie restriction may at least slow down this decline. I do consider myself to be of chaotic neutral alignment though, so I'm more willing than others to use certain means in improving my learning heuristics.

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