Summary of “The Intelligence of Plants”

“Trees do not have will or intention. They solve problems, but it’s all under hormonal control, and it all evolved through natural selection.” These “Magical” notions of plant intelligence are worrisome, he says, because people “Immediately leap to faulty conclusions, namely that trees are sentient beings like us.”
Writing in The Power of Movement in Plants, he concluded that the root of a plant has “The power of directing the movements of the adjoining parts” and thus “Acts like the brain of one of the lower animals; the brain being seated within the anterior end of the body, receiving impressions from the sense organs and directing the several movements.” Darwin was talking about how plants react to shifts in vibrations, sounds, touch, humidity, and temperature-but these are just adaptive reactions.
Recently, more findings have seemed to support-or at least point toward-a more restrained version of plant intelligence.
Plants may not be capable of identifying murderers in a lineup, but trees share their nutrients and water via underground networks of fungus, through which they can send chemical signals to the other trees, alerting them of danger.
If the plants were just acting evolutionarily, it would follow that they would compete for resources; instead, they seem to be “Thinking” of the other plants and “Deciding” to help them.
If plants can “Learn” and “Remember,” as Gagliano believes, then humans may have been misunderstanding plants, and ourselves, for all of history.
If we respected nature more-the power it has to not only be destroyed by us but to destroy us in turn-would we see more clearly how imbricated we are? Would we be more hesitant about growing plants in monocultures, genetically manipulating them for our pleasure, destroying forests? Would we try harder to protect the environment, if we understood that by protecting plants and trees we are protecting ourselves?
Why not consider that plants have been doing the same for far longer than we have been around, with an intelligence that is radically different from ours?

The orginal article.

Summary of “6 Ways to Train Your Brain to Literally Get Smarter”

In today’s world, brain is worth more than brawn, and even ancient tricks can help.
The brain requires plenty of energy to function, so if you’re exhausted all the time, your mind simply won’t have the ability to learn and improve.
High nutrition foods work well to power up your brain.
Walnuts are a great source of brain food, so is fish; tuna, mackerel, salmon contain rich, fatty acids that have been proven to help neurons function.
Play Brain Games Your brain needs to face challenges to make progress.
Try brain games like memory games, Sudoku, word puzzles, and problem-solving games.
What might seem like playing and wasting time may be a thought workout for your brain.
It’s possible to train your brain and help it functioning at a more efficient level.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Are Spies More Trouble Than They’re Worth?”

Rew, who is a longtime history don at Cambridge, begins his book-as long and thorough as Diarmaid MacCulloch’s classic “A History of Christianity,” though less violent-with one of the most appealing opening lines in recent nonfiction: “The first major figure in world literature to emphasize the importance of good intelligence was God.” The Israelites’ reconnaissance mission to the promised land of Canaan is the first stop in Andrew’s tour of four thousand years of spying; the last is the American failure to anticipate 9/11. For anyone with a taste for wide-ranging and shrewdly gossipy history-or, for that matter, for anyone with a taste for spy stories-Andrew’s is one of the most entertaining books of the past few years.
Despite the spies’ strenuous efforts to provide Stalin with British secrets, the Soviets regarded them as so untrustworthy that they sent a team of additional spies to England in order to monitor them.
The old Mad-magazine cartoon series “Spy vs. Spy,” in which two interchangeable agents, one black-hatted and one white-hatted, do each other in, over and over again, without much cumulative point or purpose, seems like a reasonable picture of the whole.
In court, Ames countered that his fellow American spies spent their days cajoling, or blackmailing, Russians into selling out their colleagues.
Scientists should see hidden patterns; spies shouldn’t.
The right argument against McCarthyism, as Andrew says, was not that there were no Soviet spies but that paranoia about Soviet spies did far more damage to the country than the spies could do.
What most spies really do is not unlike the “Fundamental analysis” that investors attempt.
Were everyone to stop spying, the equilibrium of nations would be upset, and the imbalances would probably produce more panic than peace.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Stop Pretending You Really Know What AI Is and Read This Instead”

You’ve probably heard the news: AI is going to take your job.
AI is already totally smarter than us at, like, all the smart things.
Let’s consider for a second what we talk about when we talk about AI. Because I’m not sure many of us really know-or, at the very least, we’re not talking/arguing/worrying about the same things.
“You are right to be confused,” says Harvard computer scientist Leslie Valiant, because the terms artificial intelligence and machine learning “Are suddenly being used interchangeably in the popular press.” Even Trevor Darrell, a leading artificial-intelligence researcher at UC Berkeley who’s also part of a DARPA-funded project on “Explainable AI” admits that “There is no precise distinction-they overlap greatly.”
Artificial intelligence is the general label for a field of study-specifically, the study of whatever might answer the question “What is required for a machine to exhibit intelligence?”.
If the experts don’t really know what they talk about when they talk about AI, is it any wonder that you and I don’t, either?
At the very least, we might want to avoid the word “Intelligence” when referring to software, because nobody really knows what it means.
Even Alan Turing, the genius who mathematically defined what a computer is, considered the question of defining intelligence too hard; his eponymous Turing test dodges it, essentially saying “Intelligence is as intelligence does.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “How To Become A Genius”

“The fact is, intelligence can be increased-and quite dramatically,” writes behavior-analytic psychologist Bryan Roche of the National University of Ireland in Psychology Today.
David Shenk, author of The Genius in All of Us, says it’s virtually impossible to determine any individual’s true intellectual limitations at any age; anyone has the potential for genius or, at the very least, greatness.
While a professor at the University of California, Irvine, Susanne Jaeggi found that an activity known as the n-back task increases fluid intelligence, which is the ability to reason and solve new problems independent of previous knowledge.
Cardiovascular fitness can raise your verbal intelligence and improve long-term memory, according to a study from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
In a study conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Charité University Medicine in Berlin, researchers found that video games such as Super Mario benefit the brain by improving sensory, perceptual, and attentional tasks.
In a study done at the University of California, San Francisco, researchers found a specially designed 3-D driving video game boosted mental skills like multitasking and focusing in older adults.
Mindful meditation can increase the neuroplasticity in the brain, according to a study from the University of Oregon and Texas Tech University’s Neuroimaging Institute.
Researchers found the practice improved the efficiency of their brain’s white matter, significantly improving attention and fluid intelligence.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How To Become A Genius”

“The fact is, intelligence can be increased-and quite dramatically,” writes behavior-analytic psychologist Bryan Roche of the National University of Ireland in Psychology Today.
David Shenk, author of The Genius in All of Us, says it’s virtually impossible to determine any individual’s true intellectual limitations at any age; anyone has the potential for genius or, at the very least, greatness.
While a professor at the University of California, Irvine, Susanne Jaeggi found that an activity known as the n-back task increases fluid intelligence, which is the ability to reason and solve new problems independent of previous knowledge.
Cardiovascular fitness can raise your verbal intelligence and improve long-term memory, according to a study from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
In a study conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Charité University Medicine in Berlin, researchers found that video games such as Super Mario benefit the brain by improving sensory, perceptual, and attentional tasks.
In a study done at the University of California, San Francisco, researchers found a specially designed 3-D driving video game boosted mental skills like multitasking and focusing in older adults.
Mindful meditation can increase the neuroplasticity in the brain, according to a study from the University of Oregon and Texas Tech University’s Neuroimaging Institute.
Researchers found the practice improved the efficiency of their brain’s white matter, significantly improving attention and fluid intelligence.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Are You So Smart? Thank Mom and Your Difficult Birth”

A lot of our growth in intelligence is due to an increase in brain size.
A bigger brain might have been the simplest way to make us smarter.
As brain sizes grew, so did the pelvises of the women who had to give birth to all of these big-headed babies.
Evolution found some important mechanical tricks to get around this constraint: Babies’ skulls are made of pieces that shift during birth, women’s pelvises temporarily separate during delivery, and the space for the brain increases dramatically in infancy.
Another key adaptation was in how the brain itself worked.
3 As Richerson and Boyd put it, “We are the largest brained, slowest developing member of the largest brained, slowest developing mammalian order.”4 We are born not knowing much, but with an incredible ability to learn.
The brain then grows dramatically after a baby is born.
Without the pelvis limiting brain size, our intelligence might have had more built-in, “Brittle” smarts, specific to a particular environment, but less fluid intelligence.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Meet the US’s spy system of the future”

A product of the National Reconnaissance Office, Sentient is an omnivorous analysis tool, capable of devouring data of all sorts, making sense of the past and present, anticipating the future, and pointing satellites toward what it determines will be the most interesting parts of that future.
It’s not all dystopian: the documents released by the NRO also imply that Sentient can make satellites more efficient and productive.
Of the more than 150 US military satellites, the NRO operates around 50.
One of these, BlackSky, uses those satellites to feed into a system that’s essentially Sentient’s unclassified doppelgänger.
In the ideal version of that process, an automated system sucks in all sorts of data, synthesizes it into something sensible, cues the satellite symphony, reincorporates the satellites’ data back into the analysis loop, comes to a smarter conclusion, points the satellites or other sensors again, and repeats the entire process.
Here’s where Sentient reenters the picture: All the images from the NRO, the military, and these commercial satellite firms, combined with other geospatial intelligence – anything that has a time tag and a location tag – create a vast amount of information that’s far more than a literal army of people could comb through.
It could perhaps gather data on how often they fly and where, or even look at news to find out whether there’s any agitation or action around Aleysk: now the system knows exactly where they should point their real-time satellites to gather the information that their client needs.
Spy satellites, like the ones used by the NRO, are primarily meant to focus on the world beyond the United States’ borders.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Emotional Intelligence Has 12 Elements. Which Do You Need to Work On?”

Her manager feels lucky to have such an easy direct report to work with and often compliments Esther on her high levels of emotional intelligence, or EI. And Esther indeed counts EI as one of her strengths; she’s grateful for at least one thing she doesn’t have to work on as part of her leadership development.
Because they’re focusing only on Esther’s sociability, sensitivity, and likability, they’re missing critical elements of emotional intelligence that could make her a stronger, more effective leader.
These gaps aren’t a result of Esther’s emotional intelligence; they’re simply evidence that her EI skills are uneven.
Rather than smoothing over every interaction, with a broader balance of EI skills she could bring up the issue to her colleague directly, drawing on emotional self-control to keep her own reactivity at bay while telling him what, specifically, does not work in his style.
Into this category fall our own model and the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory, or ESCI 360, a commercially available assessment we developed with Korn Ferry Hay Group to gauge the 12 EI competencies, which rely on how others rate observable behaviors in evaluating a leader.
These assessments are critical to a full evaluation of your EI, but even understanding that these 12 competencies are all a part of your emotional intelligence is an important first step in addressing areas where your EI is at its weakest.
Daniel Goleman, best known for his writing on emotional intelligence, is Co-Director of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations at Rutgers University.
His latest book is Building Blocks of Emotional Intelligence, a 12-primer set on each of the emotional intelligence competencies, and he offers training on the competencies through an online learning platform, Emotional Intelligence Training Programs.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Emotional Intelligence Boosts Your Endurance”

The study involved 237 runners at a half-marathon in Verona who filled out a questionnaire called the Trait Emotional Intelligence Short Form the day before the race, which involves agreeing or disagreeing with statements like “Expressing my emotions with words is not a problem for me” or “I often pause and think about my feelings.” Their scores on this test turned out to be the strongest predictor of their race time the next day-even stronger than prior race experience or typical weekly training mileage.
Before going any further, I should acknowledge that there is already plenty of hype-and controversy-about the concept of emotional intelligence.
It’s pretty clear, from what I can tell, that people who test highly on emotional intelligence tend to be successful in many walks of life.
What’s less clear is if testing someone’s emotional intelligence tells you something new about their prospects that you wouldn’t get from testing more traditional things like their IQ and “Big Five” personality traits.
Leaving aside the question of whether emotional intelligence is a new concept or a new name for old concepts, it’s fascinating either way that a simple questionnaire could make such powerful predictions about half-marathon performance.
The researchers used a multi-factor model to explore how various contributors like training, previous race experience, and goal setting interact with emotional intelligence to influence race performance.
There were some indirect links, too: those with higher emotional intelligence tended to be more optimistic and confident in their abilities, so they set higher pre-race goals but also tended to do less training in the months leading up to the race.
Even more intriguingly, they’ve started testing a mental training protocol to improve emotional intelligence.

The orginal article.