Wisdom Beat

Eclectic wisdom research

The Wisdom Of Crowds Has No Use For Predicting The Lottery

By Michael Giberson | Knowledgeproblem.com

“English illusionist Derren Brown hosted a live television show last week during which he appeared to have predicted winning lottery numbers. He subsequently claimed (among other things) that he used the “wisdom of crowds” to generate the prediction.

In a follow-up show last night, watched by 3 million people, Brown said he used “a powerful, beautiful secret that can only be achieved when we all put our heads together.”

He went on to say that he had gathered a panel of 24 people who wrote down their predictions after studying the last year’s worth of numbers.

The guesses for each ball were then added up and divided by 24 to get the average guess.

Brown said it took a while to perfect the “deep maths” technique.

According to him, the predictions were correct because of the “wisdom of the crowd” theory which suggests that a large group of people making average guesses will come up with the correct figure as an average of all their attempts.”

Read the article.


September 15, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment

Aging: Moderate Drinking May Help the Brain


“People over 60 who consume moderate amounts of alcohol have a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, according to a large review of studies.

The analysis, which appeared in the July issue of The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, reviewed 15 studies that together followed more than 28,000 subjects for at least two years. All the studies controlled for age, sex, smoking and other factors. The studies variously defined light to moderate drinking as 1 to 28 drinks per week.”

Read the article.

September 10, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment

How Memories are Maintained Over Time

By Aimee Cunningham | Scientific American

The brain’s ability to learn and form memories of day-to-day facts and events depends on the hippocampus, a structure deep within the brain. But is the hippocampus still maintaining the memory of, say, the commencement address at your college graduation 20 years ago? The latest evidence suggests that as memories age, the hippocampus’s participation wanes.

In a 2006 study, neuroscientist Larry R. Squire of the University of California, San Diego, and the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System studied patients who had hippocampal damage. These indi viduals did not remember details of newsworthy events that occurred in the five to 10 years prior to their injuries, but they did recall older events.

Building on those results, Squire turned to healthy brains. His team questioned 15 people in their 50s and 60s about events in the news over the past 30 years while scanning the participants’ brains with functional MRI. To single out brain activity related to the date of the event, the researchers separately evaluated activity tied to learning and remem bering the test questions. They also accounted for the richness of participants’ recollections of events, to make sure the degree to which someone was able to recall an event did not influence the data.

Read the article.

September 10, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment

The Point of ‘Wisdom’


“What good does wisdom do in this sophisticated world, where we have to keep up with the latest technological developments and newest business and marketing concepts in order to “be part of it”? To sit around with a white beard and be wise, telling stories to the little children, and giving advice to young adults, this seems more an idea of wisdom from a past of simple village life. This world is changing in such an accelerated pace driven by business, technology and science. What does that have to do with being ‘wise’ and ‘telling stories’? We need to learn new and sophisticated skills and be PRODUCTIVE!

This sedated kind of story telling wisdom has no place in this world. There isno time for it. And even if there was time, we would not be able to connect to the wisdom point, because we are already thinking about what to do next, what we have planned; or we think about what happened before, and how we are affected by it in the future. We are constantly under stress between our past and future. Even if we had the time, we would not be able to actuallymake the kind of time that connects us to the innate wisdom of life.”

Read the article.

September 4, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment

What’s the difference between intelligence and wisdom?

By Réne Girard

“Have you ever considered the difference between intelligence and wisdom? Have you ever heard someone make a distinction between being intelligent and being smart? Smart usually involves intelligence, but the difference is wisdom.

Wisdom is the key. Wisdom is discernment. Applied knowledge. It involves understanding. How you should handle a particular situation. That’s why throughout all of time “wise men” have been revered and sought out. Because they hold the keys to man’s greatest dilemmas and inner needs.

Intelligence is often associated with having a high I.Q.. Someone who seems to know a lot, or does well in school, may have a high I.Q., but they may not be very smart. They may have “book smarts” but not “street smarts.” They may not exhibit common sense, which many people now say is not so common any more. Why? Because so many people seem to lack wisdom and understanding.”

Read the article.

September 1, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment

Wisdom for a punch-drunk Wall Street

Review by John Plender.

Henry Kaufman, the economist and Wall Street elder statesman, gives the lie to the notion that no one saw the financial crisis coming. He was not alone, but was earlier than most, in seeing the structural flaws in the financial system and in central bank thinking that led to the debacle of the past two years.

In his latest book, Kaufman once again aligns himself with those who believe that a vital task of the central bank is to take away the punchbowl just as the party gets going. That view went out of fashion with Alan Greenspan, a free-market enthusiast who argued, while chairman of the Federal Reserve, that it was difficult to identify credit bubbles, dangerous anyway to pop them and best simply to clear up afterwards.

We now know the cost of this libertarian approach to monetary policy. As Mr Kaufman argues, moreover, that the approach was inconsistent. The Fed tended to be hands-off in the upturn but super-active in loosening policy and rescuing overextended financial institutions when asset prices collapsed. This morally hazardous double standard was a recipe for ever greater risk taking. It also helps to explain the extraordinary build-up of US household debt since the 1980s and the current threat of deflation.”

Read the article.

September 1, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment

This Is Also Why You’re Dumb


“With just a modicum of common sense almost anyone can figure out why fast-food gobbling Americans are fat. But a new study shows that our binging is not just making us obese, but shrinking the size of our brains. And this mass idiocy brought on by obesity can be the only explanation for decision to test market its Double Down Sandwich combo– a sandwich that replaces the bread with deep fried chicken. As the voiceover on the TV ad enthuses “Two pieces of cheese, two pieces bacon, and two pieces of chicken … We didn’t have room for the bread.” (Before any of you comment “MMM…bacon,” please realize that this is only available in Rhode Island and Nebraska. Of course, in addition to the fried chicken, bacon, pepperjack cheese, and Swiss cheese, the whole shebang is smothered in the Colonel’s sauce (which is really a disgusting thing to call a sandwich topping if you think about it)

Which brings us back to how this could have possibly happened. Well, the research is quite clear: a study by researchers at UCLA found that the brains of overweight people were 6 percent smaller than those of the control group, and the brains of obese people were 8 percent smaller. Further, the brains of obese people appeared up to 16 years older.

And wait, that’s not all: The research also found that the brain atrophy in the frontal and temporal lobes, which control eating behavior and metabolism, could be a contributing factor to yet more weight gain.

Read the article.

So there you have it. Those who design and market KFC’s products are clearly obese, older people out to make the rest of the country just like them.”

August 31, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment

The wisdom of definition

“A LAWYER friend of mine, grappling with a thorny constitutional matter perilously close to home time, was chided by his associate for “over thinking” the issue. There’s no proper quantity of thought, he snapped back, it’s merely a question of getting the problem right or not.

Obviously, many matters are more complicated than they first appear, especially those dealt with by highly skilled professionals.

But that’s only half of the story. As Lucy Allais, who teaches philosophy at the University of the Witwatersrand put it, people have philosophical commitments, even if they don’t realise it.

While it is often tempting to just “get on with it”, even the most practical actions are connected to further sets of beliefs. That is, theoretical assumptions are already subsumed in the decisions that people make.

As Columbia philosopher and world class wise guy, Sidney Morgenbesser, pointed out, pragmatism is great in theory, but it doesn’t work in practice.

Allais is director of the new Wits Centre for Ethics (WiCE, which you are encouraged to pronounce “vice”). The centre aims, in part, to make the study of ethics accessible to the general public, and will be offering courses to professionals.”

Read the full article.

August 25, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment

How to turn knowledge into wisdom

By Alice Landry

“Knowledge is information that you’ve been exposed to and integrated into your mind as something you know and are aware of.

Once you’ve been presented with something new and learn about it, at what point does that knowledge translate into wisdom?

True wisdom is more than just applied knowledge. You may be able to “see one, do one, teach one,” but that doesn’t necessarily qualify you as a wise person.

For example, you know you shouldn’t smoke, and you decide to quit. Yet you continue with a daily struggle, your stress level and blood pressure increases, and you end up substituting one addiction for another. Does that constitute wisdom?”

Read the article.

August 25, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment

Wisdom of the ancients

By Yang Jian

“WHEN people see the iconic China Pavilion draped in red cloth and formed in the ancient Chinese dougong architectural style at the Shanghai World Expo site, most will be curious about what will be exhibited inside the huge and fancy structure.

The pavilion is at first glance a very obviously Chinese structure. When the Chinese red veil is lifted, it will reveal a complex structure that celebrates a diverse range of traditional Chinese elements, including architecture, calligraphy, gardening and urban planning.

However, the inside will be full of modern elements. Visitors will be able to ride in a cable car, watch a movie directed by young Chinese director Lu Chuan and view a multimedia display of a top national treasure painting.

The exhibition will tell a Chinese story about a “city” and a “search.” The theme will be the “Search of the East” – looking for the wisdom that the ancient Chinese used to tackle urban problems, the design team for the inner exhibition of the pavilion revealed when it unveiled the exhibition plan in Shanghai last Thursday.”

Read the article.

August 25, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment