Saturday, March 7, 2009

Noise Only Teenagers Can Hear (

Predictable jokes to the side (e.g. the sound of cash coming out of a wallet, the sound of pizza being delivered...), there are, apparently, sounds that are only audible to young ears.

Clever young people in the UK have turned this noise (which is also used as a deterrent in some stores) into a ringtone so they can fool teachers.

US students long ago learned to put their phones on vibrate to do much the same thing. I suspect it is the thrill of 10-15 students simultaneously getting a text message while in class as the teacher drones obliviously on that makes it worth the effort.

You can take the test yourself but you will likely need a teenager around to tell you what the noise sounds like. To be honest, if I concentrated quite hard on listening while in a quiet room, I think I heard a faint buzzing. In a normal situation, however, I am sure I would not even notice it.
  • NB: This DOES NOT mean my ears are old, by the way. They are "mature" ears.

Train Horns

Created by Train Horns

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Evaluating Intelligence...The Wiki Way! (Wikispaces)

Last week I finally finished my bit of "experimental scholarship" on the question of evaluating intelligence. One of the tools one of our amazing work study students (Thanks, Aleksandra!) built to help me with the analysis was a wiki with all of the individual statements from the three documents (One NIE and two ICAs) on individual pages. We then used the wiki to help sort through the various estimative statements.

I have decided to make the wiki public so that other students, academics and intel professionals can make use of it if they wish (I will have some specific examples of classroom activities at the end of the post).

To access the wiki you can click on the links above or the picture below. You should get a page that looks something like the picture below.
The three links in the main frame of the wiki go to the three documents used in my study. The big blue button in the main frame (labelled "2002 NIE Estimative Statements") links to all of the estimative statements in the three documents. When you click on it, you should get a page that looks something like the one below:

Clicking on any one of these links takes you to a page (like the one below) where you can make your case for or against the estimative statement. You can also just comment if you like.

You can add your comment or analysis by clicking on the Discussion tab (circled in red). This should take you to a page that looks something like the one below:

Note the space for your comment (indicated by the red arrow). You can also click on and see previous comments by others (note the links in the red circle).

This could serve as an excellent classroom exercise in evaluating intelligence. I could imagine students given several of the statements to research with the assignment to post their answers to the wiki. This way, they could see what others have to say and the after action discussion could serve as a stepping off point on the broader question of evaluating intelligence. It is also an easy and useful introduction to wiki technology.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Imagine The Intelligence Issues In THIS Technical Environment... (Microsoft via KZero)

Microsoft has just released (and KZero has compiled) a series of videos that imagines a largely visual, computer augmented version of reality as the future of work (See below for the "montage" video from the series). This vision is an outgrowth of another concept, ubiquitous computing, that has been around for some time now.

Critical to the implementation of this vision are a few key technologies. 4G wireless is the most obvious one, in my mind. Without high speed wireless data pipes, none of this visual, interactive stuff gets off the ground. Don't get me wrong, its coming (WiMax and LTE look to be the most obvious candidates for bringing it to us), but it won't be everywhere overnight and it won't be cheap at first.

Another critical technology is batteries. Battery power improvements have not been able to keep up with improvements in processing power. Even if the batteries have the power, they also have to be light so they can work in the mobile devices in these videos.

The display technology is well on its way already. The clunky head-mounted display in the future of manufacturing video in this series are likely to soon be replaced by something like the Vuzix Wrap 920AV (coming out in the fall).

<a href="" target="_new" title="Future Vision Montage">Video: Future Vision Montage</a>None of this technology is that far off, either. Likewise, the intelligence challenges inherent in even one of these technological changes are obviously immense. I have started to ask myself -- almost daily -- "What am I doing to prepare my students for this type of environment?"

(Side Note: I have been playing around with the new Wikipedia feature that allows you to create a "book" out of select Wikipedia articles. To demonstrate this capability, I have taken all of the Wikipedia articles referenced in this post and compiled them into a single "supplement" to this post. You can download this supplement from Wikipedia or directly in PDF format. You can even get the supplement printed, bound and sent to you. The function can work with any MediaWiki product. Very, very cool!)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday Funnies: What Will The French Think Of Next? (YouTube Via Improbable Research)

The Annals of Improbable Research (who award the IgNobel each year) featured this "revolutionaire" device a few weeks ago. If you are not familiar with the AIR, it is to science, research and academe what The Onion is to everything else.

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