Intelligence

Who can think? Who can feel? Via Orion, the revelation that octopi — boneless creatures with brains the size of a walnut — seem to have immense intelligence, feelings, and personalities is…











Interesting article from Jonah Lehrer in the Wall Street Journal: How much do the decisions of parents matter? Most parents believe that even the most mundane acts of parenting — from their…





Interesting article from Robert Alison in the Winnipeg Free Press earlier in the year: Sleep is a fundamental component of animal biology. New evidence confirms that, in humans, its timing reflects intelligence….



I didn’t see the theatrical adaption of Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower (which is the most informative book I have ever read about 9/11) so I am looking forward to checking about this documentary. From the Economist’s Prospero column:

Lawrence Wright spent five years conducting hundreds of interviews in at least ten countries in order to write “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11”. The book, a best-selling history about Islamic fundamentalism, weaves the stories of terrorists, intelligence officers and government officials in a remarkable narrative that helps to explain both the cult of Osama bin Laden and the flaws in American intelligence that let him get away with murder.

“When I finished my book,” Mr Wright said in an interview with Prospero, “I had countless people asking me ‘What were they like?’ and ‘How did it affect you?’” He ultimately answered these questions in his one-man play, “My Trip to al-Qaeda”, a gripping personal account of the people he met and what it all felt like. On September 7th HBO will premiere Alex Gibney’s elegant screen adaptation, which mixes theatrical footage with more photographs and videos to help tell Mr Wright’s story about the lure of radicalism in the Islamic world.



Noah Schachtman reveals yet another confluence of public and private intelligence gathering, for Wired:

The investment arms of the CIA and Google are both backing a company that monitors the web in real time — and says it uses that information to predict the future.

The company is called Recorded Future, and it scours tens of thousands of websites, blogs and Twitter accounts to find the relationships between people, organizations, actions and incidents — both present and still-to-come. In a white paper, the company says its temporal analytics engine “goes beyond search” by “looking at the ‘invisible links’ between documents that talk about the same, or related, entities and events.”

The idea is to figure out for each incident who was involved, where it happened and when it might go down…


Well here it is, “Top Secret America,” the Washington Post‘s much-hyped critique of an out-of-control public and private intelligence disaster happening in the United States. Here’s the intro, but there’s a whole lot more at the Post‘s special report pages:

The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.

These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight…



Nick Baumann and Daniel Schulman tell how human rights advocates investigating torture ended up snooping on the CIA—and in hot water with the feds, in Mother Jones: The CIA probably doesn’t want…


From www.lifehack.org: Brilliant thinkers are very comfortable with ambiguity — they welcome it. Routine thinkers like clarity and simplicity; they dislike ambiguity. There is a tendency in our society to reduce complex…