All entries for August 2007

August 23, 2007

Social construction of Intelligence

Writing about web page http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/player/nol/newsid_6950000/newsid_6959600?redirect=6959630.stm&news=1&bbwm=1&nbram=1&bbram=1&nbwm=1

By chance I saw a few minutes of newsnight report yesterday.
Apparently psychologists are admitting that IQ is highly dependent on culture.

Not culture in terms of the difference between say, Japanese society and British society but more between say, peasant, hunter-gatherer, early industrial, “post” industrial societies etc.

Within the UK IQ has been advancing by about three points per decade since the 1950’s. Yet our DNA is not changing. We, as a society, are creating an environment for children which equips them to achieve better IQ scores. The suspicion is that types of intelligence which IQ test don’t measure might be falling.

I’d wish the link to the Newsnight video clip would work, but with the declining technical standards at the BBC….


August 03, 2007

Campus Expansion

I’ve just sent this off to Coventry Council’s planning office. The closing date for the consultation is end of office hours today.

Dear Mr. Reid

University of Warwick. Campus Expansion. Ref: 54044

The proposed expansion of teaching and research at Warwick University is to be welcomed. What is unwelcome is the proposed 9% increase in car parking. Although this is a smaller proportion than the proposed increase in staff numbers, it will nevertheless mean that the university will have 7% more parking than recommended by the Government’s Planning Policy Guidance 13 (University of Warwick Main Campus Masterplan Transport Assessment June 2007). Traffic levels are expected to increase by 12%.

The roads around the university are already blocked at peak periods. Road development in the greenbelt between Kenilworth and Coventry is undesirable, as is the contribution of this additional traffic to global greenhouse gas emissions and to congestion elsewhere.

Necessity is the mother of invention. Surely if the university were not allowed any more car parking, staff and students would find ways of doing their business which didn’t involve such wanton use of scarce resources as single occupancy car travel. Not only are there the alternative transport options of walking, cycling, car sharing and bus use, but in this age of advanced telecommunications many of the tasks performed by administrators, researchers and students can be easily performed off campus. Perhaps lectures and seminars could also be performed in “virtual reality”.

Yours sincerely

George Riches

The University of Warwick Main Campus Masterplan Transport Assessment can be found here


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