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January 24, 2011

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FB got me in trouble with my lady (that's wife for the non-street)...cuz a few old flames contacted me....but then again it has been extraordinary for my family relationships and my old friends from high school...I'm gonna look you up, man!

how do you separate out technological skills from intelligence?

Why would you assume they're connected? I mean, do you make the same assumption regarding horn-playing abilities or having perfect pitch or any other area of skills?

I've never met anyone in tech circles who actually reads Dvorak; my sense is that he occasionally says crazy-sounding things to provoke a blog storm that will give his page hits and his publication ad dollars, but I could be wrong.

Since you ask: I have no "chops online." I use Facebook. I'm not over 70, but I'm getting there.

I would say more, but having already defined myself into complete irrelevance by today's standards, what's the point?

Now get off my lawn.

Here is what I use Facebook for:

I chat with my sister and nieces now and then, and look at pictures of my nieces' babies, which is a lot of fun.
I keep up with friends from college and high school.
I keep track of what my local musician friends are doing without having to spend quite so much time in bars.

Not that there's anything wrong with spending time in bars. But FB is cheaper.

I don't play any games, I don't take quizzes, I don't "answer a question" about anybody else. I have my privacy settings locked fairly tightly, I don't send or accept friend requests from people I don't know in some other context.

It works well for what I use it for.

Why would you assume they're connected? I mean, do you make the same assumption regarding horn-playing abilities or having perfect pitch or any other area of skills?

I think that one standard definition of intelligence is the ability to use tools. Having perfect pitch, or being able to play Ein Heldenleben is not something that everyone has in them, so kind of fails as a definition of intelligence.

You mentioned tech circles and I'd be interested if those people use Facebook and what they say about it. When I sent this to Gary, he pointed out this NYTimes article about the fact that Facebook has not been so popular in Japan. The article is good about possible reasons, but at my uni, there are a large number of Japanese students who use Facebook, but I think it is an influence from the exchange students they meet who have FB accounts. My policy with those students is that I will accept their friend request after they graduate, but I don't want them to be sending me a facebook message about something related to school and think they are covered.

Dvorak is an idiot. I used to read his column back when buying a dead tree copy of PC Magazine was actually something a computer savvy person might want to do.

I use FB to keep up with friends, old and new. It's easy and convenient and I use it for those reasons, but mainly I use it because everyone else does.

I do keep a Chinese wall up between FB and my day job. Nobody...and I mean nobody...that works at my regular place of business gets to be my friend on Facebook.

I, a computer security professional (with definite "chops") was socially engineered by my daughter into having a Facebook account.

Soon after I was contacted by a family member whom I had never met. So, it's something more than AOL.

As for this,

... a lack of ability with computers can often be (mistakenly) conflated with a lack of intelligence ...

In my view this is a fallacy on a par with equating intelligence with moral superiority. Or riches with intelligence ("if you're so smart...").

I think that one standard definition of intelligence is the ability to use tools.

As a software engineer, this seems...profoundly wrong. Computer systems are one set of tools with their own context and culture. Not unlike musical instruments. Some people will take to them like fish to water; others will be completely petrified. I don't think it tells us much about intelligence in either case.

I mean, I know computer scientists who don't know how to drive a car. Does that mean that every car driver or backhoe operator in the world is smarter than them? Cars and backhoes are both tools after all...

Having perfect pitch, or being able to play Ein Heldenleben is not something that everyone has in them, so kind of fails as a definition of intelligence.

Sure, perfect pitch is more of a natural ability, but mastering an instrument requires some combination of native skill, lots of devoted study and practice, learning a culture, etc. I don't see how it differs in that regard from developing fluency with different technologies.

You mentioned tech circles and I'd be interested if those people use Facebook and what they say about it.

My sense is that lots of high tech folks that I know use FB to some degree. On average, they're somewhat more wary of it, in part due to a general paranoia about data privacy and particular distrust of FB's corporate policies, but aside from that, lots of people still use it to keep up with friends and family.

I think that one standard definition of intelligence is the ability to use tools

Not all tools are the same, and not all tools require the same quality of intelligence or understanding to use.

Hammer, telescope, frying pan, paint brush, crossbow, snowshoe, shucking knife, pencil, computer. French horn, for that matter.

All tools.

I have witnessed some spirited comments between my church “friends” and my grad school “friends.” That stuff, alone makes FB that much more interesting.

I’m going to have to include many of the FB goings-on in my research. Some of the stuff that gets posted can flesh out some interesting questions for interviews.

The exchanges in FB have a whole other quality, than,… say the political blogs I cruise.

I have a FB account, but every conceivable setting is turned to its most restrictive and private, and I have never done anything with it except friend one or two people I knew from elsewhere in order to be able to see some stuff they wanted me to. My attitude towards it can be fairly described by quoting Hitchhiker's Guide: "aggressively disinterested".

It's funny--I grew up with BBSes in the late 80's and early 90's, was on the Internet before most people had even heard of it, was blogging ten years ago and on LJ in its early years, and my life used to be an open book on the net. I'm one of those people who, like Gary, has an online footprint that goes way back.

And yet Facebook is just a bridge too far for me. I don't like the scope or manner of the site's data harvesting, it is far more interconnected than I have any interest in being with most of the people I've known over the years, it encourages the kind of constant dependency on data and input that I'm trying to reduce in my life, and the gross superficiality of it just offends me on some visceral level that I can't quite name.

I keep waiting for it to jump the shark the way most other social networks have over the years, and it may yet. But for the moment it seems to be hanging on.

As a software engineer, this seems...profoundly wrong.

Note that it is the ability to use tools, not the ability to use one particular tool. So your non driving computer scientist friends can breathe easy. And tying this into the other thread about poverty and welfare, my non-selfish argument for welfare is that the people who might be struggling to pay the rent and put food on the table might very well be, in other circumstances, might have in their number a person who figures out a cure for cancer or comes up with a better mouse trap.

And intelligence has to have some connection with the ability to deal with new situations. Otherwise, it is just practice effects.

And Russell's point about different tools require different levels of intelligence is certainly true. But a computer seems to be a collection of tools and as such, they require different kinds of intelligence.

Still, setting aside questions of the nature of intelligence, I agree with Catsy's point that FB does seem like a bridge too far and share his reservations. But it seems to fulfill something in others if not in me, so if it does disappear, I wonder what would take its place.

Of course, my interaction with Facebook is rather strange because I've not only lived in different countries, my career/life path has been characterized more by sudden changes, so when I look thru my friends, it is more like geologic strata.

i use FB to give my relatives a way to chide me for not calling them more.

i use FB to get people i havent seen in years make jealous sounds about my holiday pictures.

But then, I'm a horrible person.

But a computer seems to be a collection of tools and as such, they require different kinds of intelligence.

Whenever someone has a hard time using a piece of software, I always assume until proven otherwise that the fault is more likely to lie with whoever wrote it than with the user.

I have, thus far, managed to resist Facebook. I will hold out as long as I can.

I use FB to complain about the weather, either to people who are experiencing the same weather and don't really need to hear about it, or to people who are not experiencing the same weather and don't really need to hear about it. It's a win-win of sorts. Also, too, I like make sure everyone knows how fit I am by telling them about every visit to the gym. Then there's the sympathy garnering, when I get a cold or the flu. There's nothing that makes me feel better like seeing the words "I hope you feel better soon!" in type on my monitor after I inform everyone of how icky I feel. Of course, I need to make sure everyone knows that I like to eat food and take hot showers. And that I like "this." That's a big one.

Paint brushes, brayers,rolling pins, linoleum cutters, scizzors, exacto knives and pallettes are tools which I use for multimedia art. If I supplied those tools to Einstein, would he make quality art? If not, would that mean a lack of intelligence?

I don't like the link between tool use and intelligence. Well, as a person who can barely use a cell phone, I wouldn't, would I?


I use Facebook several times a day to keep in touch with charities I support (Old Dog Haven, Pitbull Rescue, Stray Rescue, Mill Dog Rescue), share minor daily adventures with friends and family, and post leftwing political stuff or annoy rightwing Facebook friends. My sister and I exchange photos of our respective art projects, my sister in law posts updates on books she has read, and old friend lets me know how her secret turtle raising is going...it's a way to carry on the sorts of conversations we would have if we didn't live half a continent apart.

Paint brushes, brayers,rolling pins, linoleum cutters, scizzors, exacto knives and pallettes are tools which I use for multimedia art. If I supplied those tools to Einstein, would he make quality art? If not, would that mean a lack of intelligence?

Perhaps, of a type, that is.

Leaping into the air at precisely right time and extending one arm to catch a football with one hand while simultaneously contorting the rest of your body so that the toes of both of you shoes remain within the confines of an end zone when they touch the ground while most of your body is in the air outside of that end zone, all while someone else is leaping in very close proximity to you and trying to block the ball and your view of it, requires a type of intelligence, one that very few people have, even if they have the body required to use it (also which very few people do).

Looking at someone's profile and being able to immediately pick up a piece of moldable wire and, within less than a minure, bend it into almost the exact shape of that person's profile requires a type of intelligence, one that very few people have.

Being able to multiply very large numbers correctly in one's head in a matter of seconds requires a type of intelligence, one that very few people have.

I don't feel like typing anymore. Discuss. If you want.

I don't have a FB account, and have no intention of getting one. Yes, I'm a computer professional, but my reasons are not those given above. And I'm not sure that they are for most computer professionals.

The one common reason for most computer folks IMHO is simply that we are, overwhelmingly, introverts. Which means that the desire to "get in touch" with a wider circle of people that we know, or once knew, is much smaller than average. Would I want to be sought out by people I knew in college? No. There are maybe one or two where I would be (very mildly) curious about where they are and what they are doing, but that's it. Did I go to my high school reunion (even though it was held less than 2 miles away)? No, never even considered it.

The other reason, in my case, is that there are only so many hours in a week. Once I've devoted time to my job, and some spare time to reading blogs, how much more time do I have? Answer: damn little.

I had a facebook account for about six months, and found it interesting and useful (and annoying and time-consuming). Like Catsy, I had "every conceivable setting is turned to its most restrictive and private".

Then I learned that Facebook had seen fit to unilaterally and without notice change some of those settings to something much less restrictive.

I'm a computer professional; to me, such an action is completely beyond the pale, and indelibly marks a company "never again trust these jokers with anything".

I deleted my Facebook account immediately (or at least, I carefully followed the directins to have that done, and I've heard from others that they can't even tag me in photos any more, so I think it's gone.)

how do you separate out technological skills from intelligence?

It's important to distinguish between "can't" and "don't know how." For me, intelligence is a measure of capacity, what you can learn to do; technological skills represent what you've been exposed to and were able to learn. The former is a factor in the latter; the latter isn't a good proxy for the former unless you control for exposure.

I use Facebook extensively to keep up with maybe 20-30 friends. I religiously exclude coworkers and try to keep my friends down to a minimum, and put a lot of people on a Restricted list where they can't see my posts (mostly people I can't feasibly refuse as friends but don't really know very well). I may actually reverse that and have friends unable to see posts by default and just allow those on a certain list to see them.

But I'm a big Facebook fan. I'm not that concerned about contact or photo privacy, I've been posting stuff under my real name on the internets since 1995, and Facebook has a really great UI for friend & family sharing. I like having my sister and my friends talking amongst themselves and I like having interesting conversations with friends-of-friends in comments on their posts.

For the kind of "stuff I might want to share with people from ObWi" a Page is probably about right - anyone can see it because anyone can Like the page, but it lets you post stuff that only one circle of friends is into. So I just created an ObWi page there - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Obsidian-Wings/183716061660839 - which anyone here could Like and then post stuff to. I changed the default setting to show all posts there by anyone, so that might be an interesting experiment for "stuff that doesn't quite belong in an ObWi open thread" that you think your ObWi friends might like.

That said, anyone who I'd know from here is welcome to add me as a Facebook friend (include your pseudonym for recognition if I wouldn't recognize) but I don't promise to be very interesting - all I post is work rants, boring stuff about programming, and the same political news stories all your other friends are posting.

Oh, and endless baby photos. And I do mean endless. Also, videos. Also, cute stories about the baby. Also, more baby photos.

Still, setting aside questions of the nature of intelligence, I agree with Catsy's point that FB does seem like a bridge too far and share his reservations. But it seems to fulfill something in others if not in me, so if it does disappear, I wonder what would take its place.

There's an easy answer to this, because it's happened many times: something else.

BBSes. FidoNet. Prodigy. CompuServe. AOL. GeoCities. MySpace. LiveJournal. Take your pick; there have been dozens. They differ in key ways, and most of them are still around in one form or another, but they have all been fairly prominent in their own way at their own time. Facebook had the advantage of being the right app at the right time, when technology and Internet usage have permeated the modern world to an extent that it can be woven into every part of your life if you let it.

It's a difference of degree, not kind. You know what'll happen if Facebook disappears tomorrow? Not much, probably. A lot of overwrought news articles. A bunch of smartphone apps become obsolete. A crapload of drama on LJ and blogs. An uptick in usage on other social networks as people suffering from datastarve seek their sense of connectedness elsewhere. An object lesson about overreach that other enterpeneurs may or may not heed.

In the end, Facebook is just another online phenomenon that may or may not exist five, ten years from now. I think it's a particularly malignant one in a lot of ways, and it's certainly been influential, but it's not something that's essential for society or the Internet to function. People will find other outlets for their needs, and a few years later we'll be on to the next big thing that flowed into the gap to take its place.

And intelligence has to have some connection with the ability to deal with new situations. Otherwise, it is just practice effects.

This doesn't really make sense to me. On the one hand, using facebook is not rocket science. So to talk about it as if it were indicative of general intelligence seems totally misguided. If you can feel at ease using FB, I don't think that should really boost your ego: you have not made some great accomplishment. On the other hand, there are lots of reasons that otherwise very smart people don't know how to use FB. Comfort with computers and internet apps depends on a whole lot more than just intelligence: there's a level of acculturation and, well, practice that some very smart people never really get.

There's a ton of meta knowledge involved in using something like FB. I'm talking about models and concepts and expectations. Now being able to infer all that from scratch might tell you something about intelligence, but no one ever does that: people who are comfortable with FB developed that comfort over a long period of time by using other web apps.

But a computer seems to be a collection of tools and as such, they require different kinds of intelligence.

I think that if we examine these "different kinds of intelligence" in detail, they'll evaporate before our eyes. You brought up FB. OK. Let's say that I present you with an eight year old kid who shows much greater fluency at dealing with FB than someone like, say, dr ngo. What specific behavior demonstrates these new kinds of intelligence? Is it the fact that they feel more comfortable clicking on random links trying things? The fact that they have more experience with web application patterns so they know what logging in means and how to find a login page link? The fact that they have more experience filtering out extraneous bits of information so they can more easily find what they want? If not, what is it?

None of this looks like intelligence to me, new or otherwise. It is just fluency and acculturation. That takes time and it might very well be easier for young people to absorb than older folks, just like language acquisition is easier, but it is not intelligence.

Back in the day, they used to take poor folks from the country, give them "intelligence tests" that relied heavily on cultural knowledge that poor rural folks were never exposed to, and then pronounced them stupid. This conversation is starting to give me the same vibe.

"I think it's a particularly malignant one in a lot of ways, and it's certainly been influential, but it's not something that's essential for society"

More and more of my technology friends are engaged in creating things that fall into this category. The search for the next big thing, rather than the next meaningful technology innovation.

It worries me.

Well, I'll hop out of the lurk to mention my primary reason to not bother with Facebook, etc.

Life is way too short to navigate yet another piece of crappy software. I have zero confidence in the programming community days, though most of them are all real nice folks. Too many wildly incoherent 'tools' though.

And thanks for that blast from the past, LJ. I had forgotten about Dvorak.

And what Catsy said.

I use FB to keep up with friends, old and new. It's easy and convenient and I use it for those reasons, but mainly I use it because everyone else does.

That's pretty much my answer too. I've had a great time reconnecting with friends from grad school days, most of whom I would have lost touch with otherwise.

As for privacy: however hard I try, I can't think of anything about myself that's on Facebook that I would ever have to worry about "getting out" -- that I'm gay?* that I like to ski? that I'm a fan of Björk? the great pot of chili my partner made last night?

*Of course, being free to not care about that particular one is a great privilege, one that is not universally shared, and I recognize it as such.

For myself, I use Facebook pretty much the same way russell does, but I've also set up a few business pages for friends running their own businesses. It's great for them and is an easy and free way to get the word out about shows, sales, etc. to their customers.

I'll de-lurk for this one as well.

I have not yet created a Facebook account.

To me the primary advantage of Facebook is that it lets people find each other and communicate with each other in a standard way.

Email could have done this if there were some sort of global look up and if it were easy to send and receive emails to groups of "friends" that you found via the global lookup.

Last year when my wife created an account and started finding old friends, I thought that I might take the plunge.

But I already had an online presence in the form of a blog or two (that I never update) and a personal website that I have developed myself and maintained for 10 years featuring family pictures and pages for my various interests.

So at first I procrastinated joining facebook thinking I could research a way of neatly integrating these other websites onto my wall and pictures section.

Then I procrastinated because I wanted to get my blog going again, thinking Facebook would be a good way of "forcing" my potential Facebook friends to see blog posts and then generating a good discussion around them.

But being very busy with work and two kids, I never got around to that.

Then I noticed that what passes for communication between my wife's friends was extraordinary shallow. Mainly because the vast majority of her friends are people she has not interacted with in real life for years. I don't know, maybe it’s' just her friends, but it all seemed very dull.

Needless to say, I couldn't stand the whole Farmville, Mafia Wars and assorted other game messages.

After enough procrastinating, a funny thing happened. I found myself part of a cultish non-Facebook minority and thought - hey this is kind of cool in a non conformist kind of way. Though that is a terrible reason not to join up.

Finally, I noticed that Facebook exhibits something software engineers call the "Inner Platform Effect" where a system ends up mimicking many of the features of the platform it is designed on. In this case Facebook seems intent on re-designing the Internet within Facebook.

I get really annoyed when Toyota wants me to visit them on Facebook. Don't they alreay have a presence at Toyota.com?

Anyway, I still might sign up someday. If nothing else to find out where all those old friends are. Maybe I can even start interesting discussions with them.

By the way, in my view Facebook kind of killed Blogger in a way. Something like 95% of all Blogger blogs are abandoned because it was easier to say "I'm bored today" on Facebook than it was on a blog. And where nobody actually read said blog, at least with Facebooks your friends can say “me too.”

Alan: what passes for communication between my wife's friends was extraordinary shallow ... Something like 95% of all Blogger blogs are abandoned because it was easier to say "I'm bored today" on Facebook than it was on a blog. And where nobody actually read said blog, at least with Facebooks your friends can say “me too.”

But that is all that 90% of in-person conversations are about. "Hi, how are you?" "I'm good, how are you?" "Oh, you know, same old, same old."

The words don't matter. What's being said is "I'm here, are you here?" "Yes, I'm here too." Or: "I'm here, I'm okay, are you okay?" "Yes, I'm okay."

That's a basic human reassurance pattern. We like to know we're not alone and that if we need them there are other people around.

Complaining that most of most people's communication is shallow is like listening in to me calling my mother and complaining that it wouldn't make for compelling radio. Well, no.

The nice thing about Facebook is that you can hide all the boring people if you aren't into it.

And (possibly because my friends are all geeks) a lot of the conversations I get into are with well-informed people and are often footnoted with links and citations... kind of like ObWi.

As for replicating the internet, for most small businesses a page on Facebook is a perfectly good substitute for a real website. You can put in your contact information and a map, people can post feedback to you, you can post notifications, and you don't have to install anything or pay anyone for hosting. In fact it's significantly better than most of the websites that small businesses pay to have built for them, in that the feedback and notification systems actually work.

No doubt within 10 years we'll have a large ecosystem than just Facebook, but I don't underestimate the amount they've done to create better, simpler patterns of interaction. Clicking "Like" on an organization's page to get updates from them is a lot simpler (and therefore more likely to happen) than setting up an RSS reader to get updates from their blog.

Back in the day, they used to take poor folks from the country, give them "intelligence tests" that relied heavily on cultural knowledge that poor rural folks were never exposed to, and then pronounced them stupid. This conversation is starting to give me the same vibe.

It's interesting, because that is precisely the conclusion I wanted to avoid when I wrote:

a lack of ability with computers can often be (mistakenly) conflated with a lack of intelligence

hairshirt's point about physical ability is something that I often define in my mind as 'physical intelligence' (which is equivalent to Gardner's bodily-kinesthetic notion) . In teaching aikido, one of the goals is to have people watch a technique and then be able to do that technique. Because the technique almost always involves working with a partner, it's not simply a question of moving one's own body, but inducing the partner's body to move in a particular way. Certainly fluency and acculturation are in that mix, but the initial ability is something that might be defined as 'intelligence', albeit modified by 'physical'.

I tend to think that the notion that there is no such thing as intelligence is as mistaken a notion as intelligence explaining every distinction. Part of the problem, it seems to me, is our tendency to define intelligence as automatically good rather than view it as simply another tool whose value is in what it is used for rather than something in and of itself. One can resist the notion that intelligence is always good by trying to define it away or trying to expand the notion a la Gardner's multiple intelligences (and the various criticisms and problems (given on the wikipedia page) offer an interesting mirror to this)

I use it to keep track of various relatives I don't see very often. I have yet to have any old schoolmates come looking for me, which is honestly something of relief. Having a fairly common name probably helps/hurts in this regard.

Well! I have just had a success experience with a computer! ALmost by myself, too. I did have to yell for help once or twice.

I loaded a video onto Youtube. (I know. To most of you that is not an accomplishment that deserves much praise, but I'm the person who cannot operate my own TV, or Dvd player or Roku.)

It is a video of rescue pitbull Mimi, narrated by me but starring Mimi with me in a minor role. Mimi pulls me on a scooter in the video. I did not make the video! A nineteen year old did tnat and she did a great job.

The title is "Rescue Pitbull Mimi--Adopt Her!"

It worries me.

What, "Angry Birds" doesn't do it for you?

In the interest of clarity, no snark intended. I'm generally in agreement with your basic point.

Regarding FB per se, I think the basic deal is that people like to talk to each other, and they'll do that in any form that's available to them.

Face to face, smoke signals, log drums, snail mail, telephone, Facebook. Same/same. FB's advantage is that it's easy, and it has pictures.

This probably should have gone in the post, but here is a link explaining how to stay on facebook with maximum shields up
http://finance.yahoo.com/family-home/article/111929/stealth-mode-making-yourself-nearly-invisible-on-facebook

And this is seppukoo.com which used to help people erase themselves from FB, but is having a legal spat with the company. They have a map that I am assuming shows the general locations of where people using the seppukoo site are located, which, if accurate, is rather interesting (Why the huge red dot in Australia? What about British Columbia and does it spread down to the Pacific Northwest?) and a few rather creepy touches (there is a calculation of your 'popularity' by assigning points to the number of contacts who also delete their FB determined by their separation from you)

I think that one standard definition of intelligence is the ability to use tools.
Did I miss someone mentioning Howard Gardner:
Howard Gardner on multiple intelligences - the initial listing
Howard Gardner viewed intelligence as 'the capacity to solve problems or to fashion products that are valued in one or more cultural setting' (Gardner & Hatch, 1989). He reviewed the literature using eight criteria or 'signs' of an intelligence:

Potential isolation by brain damage.

The existence of idiots savants, prodigies and other exceptional individuals.

An identifiable core operation or set of operations.

A distinctive development history, along with a definable set of 'end-state' performances.

An evolutionary history and evolutionary plausibility.

Support from experimental psychological tasks.

Support from psychometric findings.

Susceptibility to encoding in a symbol system. (Howard Gardner 1983: 62-69)

Candidates for the title 'an intelligence' had to satisfy a range of these criteria and must include, as a prerequisite, the ability to resolve 'genuine problems or difficulties' (ibid.: 60) within certain cultural settings. Making judgements about this was, however, 'reminiscent more of an artistic judgement than of a scientific assessment' (ibid.: 62).

Howard Gardner initially formulated a list of seven intelligences. His listing was provisional. The first two have been typically valued in schools; the next three are usually associated with the arts; and the final two are what Howard Gardner called 'personal intelligences' (Gardner 1999: 41-43).

Linguistic intelligence involves sensitivity to spoken and written language, the ability to learn languages, and the capacity to use language to accomplish certain goals. This intelligence includes the ability to effectively use language to express oneself rhetorically or poetically; and language as a means to remember information. Writers, poets, lawyers and speakers are among those that Howard Gardner sees as having high linguistic intelligence.

Logical-mathematical intelligence consists of the capacity to analyze problems logically, carry out mathematical operations, and investigate issues scientifically. In Howard Gardner's words, it entails the ability to detect patterns, reason deductively and think logically. This intelligence is most often associated with scientific and mathematical thinking.

Musical intelligence involves skill in the performance, composition, and appreciation of musical patterns. It encompasses the capacity to recognize and compose musical pitches, tones, and rhythms. According to Howard Gardner musical intelligence runs in an almost structural parallel to linguistic intelligence.

Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence entails the potential of using one's whole body or parts of the body to solve problems. It is the ability to use mental abilities to coordinate bodily movements. Howard Gardner sees mental and physical activity as related.

Spatial intelligence involves the potential to recognize and use the patterns of wide space and more confined areas.

Interpersonal intelligence is concerned with the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people. It allows people to work effectively with others. Educators, salespeople, religious and political leaders and counsellors all need a well-developed interpersonal intelligence.

Intrapersonal intelligence entails the capacity to understand oneself, to appreciate one's feelings, fears and motivations. In Howard Gardner's view it involves having an effective working model of ourselves, and to be able to use such information to regulate our lives.

In Frames of Mind Howard Gardner treated the personal intelligences 'as a piece'. Because of their close association in most cultures, they are often linked together. However, he still argues that it makes sense to think of two forms of personal intelligence. Gardner claimed that the seven intelligences rarely operate independently. They are used at the same time and tend to complement each other as people develop skills or solve problems.

In essence Howard Gardner argued that he was making two essential claims about multiple intelligences. That:

The theory is an account of human cognition in its fullness. The intelligences provided 'a new definition of human nature, cognitively speaking' (Gardner 1999: 44). Human beings are organisms who possess a basic set of intelligences.

People have a unique blend of intelligences. Howard Gardner argues that the big challenge facing the deployment of human resources 'is how to best take advantage of the uniqueness conferred on us as a species exhibiting several intelligences' (ibid.: 45).

These intelligences, according to Howard Gardner, are amoral - they can be put to constructive or destructive use.

See also theory of multiple intelligences. This was very popularly discussed all over the place since 1983. Most of my friends had the book, just like Gödel, Escher, Bach, or any other of the pop intellectual best sellers. Is Gardner forgotten now, or do people have new theories of multiple intelligences to put forward, or debunkings?

Gardner's seemd quite standard, for the most part, in the past thirty years, I thought, but I write this quickly and casually, and there's nothing like being wrong to bring out new comments. :-)

Ah, I see LJ made a passing reference, so that's something.

So, what do we think?

I may have more to say about Facebook tomorrow, or something else.

Perhaps others have more recent experiences and can share them. But when I was growing up (mid-1950s to mid-1960s) I was in a school district which set great store by IQ tests. In fact, we got one every year or two. And what did those so-called test of general intelligence actually measure? Almost entirely, IIRC, they were actually just tests of vocabulary -- what words did you recognize, and what words did you know the meaning of.

The other thing I remember particularly was that they were invalid on their own terms. In theory (the theory of those creating and supporting the use of the tests), IQ was something that was fixed. (No, I don't know how that led to re-testing children so often.) A given individual should get a score which varied randomly, and narrowly, around his "real" IQ. So there should be no pattern to the results of multiple tests, and the scores of multiple tests should be within a range of 10 points or so.

But what did I see? My scores over time were monotonic increasing -- i.e. non-random. And spread over a range of 40 points -- i.e. not fixed. Both of which were, according to the designers, contrary to the foundational theory behind them. Oops.

As I said at the beginning, I would be interested to hear what today's tests measure, and what the theory behind them (other than Gardner's) says should be the results. All of which is not to say that there are not difference in intelligence. Just that I have some skepticism about our ability to accurately measure what we mean when we say, in the vernacular, that someone is smart or stupid.

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Thanks, cleek. Sorry everyone.

You know, this technology has been around for so long now that these kinds of comments are beginning to strike me as strange and outdated. Talking about why you don't like Facebook is like talking about why you don't like the phone. It's just another method of communication, you use it as you see fit, and it isn't even a particularly unusual one anymore.

Remember when answering machines first came into existence, and people would leave messages announcing proudly that they "hated talking to a machine?" Yeah, it kind of feels like that.

If you're complaining about people not saying anything very impressive on it, try listening to the chatter you produce and hear as you go about your day. Few of your conversations are filled with profound insight. It's mostly small talk.

I'd jump as soon as the opportunity presents itself to a social network that I trust more, that offers more privacy. But I can't see not being on one, any more than I could see disconnecting my phone or discarding all my email accounts.

Just to add, there's no reason to be on a social network if you don't want to be. But the proud yet defiant Facebookphobe vibe just puzzles me. It's just a tool.

(On the other hand, I can understand the dislike for Twitter, whose length limits make conversation trite and pointless.)

Talking about why you don't like Facebook is like talking about why you don't like the phone.

God, I hate the phone.

"God, I hate the phone."

God, I hate having to talk to people. But the phone is better than in person.

Facebook is the worst because I feel the need to be interesting if I am going to clutter up someones feed.

Twitter is just well named. Everyone on it sounds like a thirteen year old girl.

Facebook is the worst because I feel the need to be interesting if I am going to clutter up someones feed.

That is a laudable concern, and one which is regrettably uncommon on FB.

My status updates on FB, which have become more and more infrequent as my time with an account has progressed, to the point that I don't really post them anymore, were always the most absurd I could manage to come up with at the moment.

As Jacob said earlier, it basically comes down to a "I'm here. Are you there? I'm okay. You okay?" sort of back-and-forth social reassurance. But that's no reason not to get a laugh (or something extra of some sort) out of it, IMO.

Anything you write that isn't a telling of your imminent demise accomplishes the "I'm here. I'm okay" part, so you might as well yuck it up or put forth something otherwise more interesting than "I'm going to eat dinner" or whatever, since you do have the opportunity to think about what you type before you type it.

That's where FB is different, or at least can be, from face-to-face small talk. There's far more creative opportunity, but it goes largely unrealized for many.

Maybe I just have boring FB friends for the most part, and the boring ones seem to be the ones on there the most.

I hate being so negative, but there it is.

I could talk all day about how much I hate the phone.

The thing about Facebook, back on the intelligence thing and also the "It's just AOL again" thing, is that their user interface design is so spectacularly good that you don't notice how spectacularly good it is and just assume that it's "The Internet for Dummies".

I work on a site very much like Facebook. There is a gigantic amount of work and inspiration and creativity and testing and architecture and discipline that goes into making things work as well as their site does. People who claim to be technological experts who slam the site for being simplistic or dumbed down - well, it's like getting in a brand-new Honda and saying "What's the big deal? All cars have perfect fit and finish and supreme ergonomics and extreme reliability... only a noob would buy a Honda instead of a Real Car."

The thing about Facebook, back on the intelligence thing and also the "It's just AOL again" thing, is that their user interface design is so spectacularly good that you don't notice how spectacularly good it is and just assume that it's "The Internet for Dummies".

If somebody responds to a software user interface by saying "But that's so simple!", somebody somewhere did a very good job.

I hope for a race to the bottom of character limit. I just remembered Harland Williams' character in "Something About Mary," whose killer app to defeat Eight Minute Abs is Seven Minute Abs. Can we get a Twitter-beating platform with a sixty character max? What about six?!?

What happened to the State of the Union ?
Facebook?, the Pres promises to assist education, create jobs, and rebuild the infrastructure that we spend billions to maintain, and we get Facebook?
These are bold new initiatives, who ever thought of federal aid to education, knowing as we do that money in education equals results. Nothing short of bold. Who would deny that by a magical process that nobody really comprehends, the government creates jobs, & I know we haven't tried before, that federal dollars do things that other dollars don't.
And of course infrastructure, which surely has nothing to do with payoffs and apart from millions already spent and wasted.
Has Obsidian Wings come to this? Facebook?
What next, a Lonely Hearts column?
Glad to see Gary is back, lost any weight Gary?
Catsy, remember me ?
My advice to all, give up politics, you've been had. Take up knitting, maybe even serious reading. No, not the Nation.
I may stop in tomorrow to pick up the rubble.

What happened to the State of the Union ?

Nice speech. If I closed my eyes, I could hear it coming from the mouth of any Republican ca. 1955.

Obama - an Eisenhower for our generation.

So, bold new initiatives, not so much. It just seems that way, in context.

If we had some of the federal judges appointed by Eisenhower (Brennan, Warren, Blackmun), and the tax rates of the 50's, we'd have a progressive revolution. So I think I'll close my eyes and dream right along with you, russell.

johnt, being in Japan, I think my take on the SOTU would be a little less enlightening than others. Also, there didn't seem to be a lot of SOTU talk on the political blogs I read, except things like this.

Russell, keep both your eyes and ears open, hopefully your mind will take care of itself.
Problem is with the Ike bit, it's not 1955.
Comparisons in government appropriations, regulations, controls, etc don't start to hold water. I'll go no further, but I could !
On my mention of mind, and "it" taking care of itself, an unfortunate trope of contemporary neuroscience which I borrowed for rhetorical purposes & which I know you picked up on.
The book to read, and which explodes this fallacy, is The Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience, by Bennett & Hacker. Just so you don't waste life & mind on politics.
Snarkiness aside, good luck.

Julian, we now have 1-D video games, so maybe there's hope!

Me, I use FB to keep in touch with family/friends I don't see all the time, share things that I find amusing, and complain about bad drivers. Anyone who wants to is welcome to send me a friend request.

what i thought weird about the SOTU was the constant insistence that the US "win" and "lead" always, forever, and that to not win or lead is a failure.

this seems absurd. why must we always be #1 at everything ? what's wrong with simply living a nice life ?

why must we always be #1 at everything ? what's wrong with simply living a nice life ?

Commie!

Seriously, though, this is one of the fundamental reasons I live in Europe and not the land of my birth. I am much more comfortable just living a nice, comfortable, secure life than in constant worry about getting ahead of my neighbors.

To the topic, I use Facebook to talk to my sister, keep in contact with folks 3,000 miles away, share photos of the marvelous things I cook to make people jealous, annoy my right-wing friends and family with my links and annoy everyone with youtube videos. I don't really worry about the security and such because I don't really post anything there, or keep any information there, that I wouldn't want to share with basically anyone.

Facebook is a tool, like any other.

It's a very complicated tool, that changes in small ways every day, more every week, and more every month, and the rate of change will only increase, and it requires, to fully understand, well, no one can fully understand it, due to the rate of change.

We each can find ways to use this complicated tool in ways that work for us, and it's very easy to use badly.

It's another of those topics where I have a great deal to say, but only as time allows.

The GUI does improve, and does have a long way to go. Everyone hates change, but Facebook requires, to use it well, paying some attention.

My best advice on it is to, when time allows, do a little random reading of the Help.

One of the worst aspects of the GUI that remains, is that, idiotically, although there's a "Help" link on almost every page, it's place on the lowest right corner, in small letters, where often people may not even see it on their screens, or scroll past it, and it's obscure.

But it's there, and it does Help, if one takes a few moments to look for answers to questions about how things work.

And it's always a little out of date, and a little ahead of date, because the changes are rolled out server by server, so people see them at different times -- and that confuses people greatly -- and so the help is always being rewritten, too, and is often a bit unreliable.

But it, too, is generally Helpful, if you're the kind of person who can read, and is willing to fit in a little time, at a time, to Help Yourself by paying attention to it, in whatever increments you can.

And if you can't, well, you bother your Friends with questions.

It's important to remember that FB is a lot like Facebook in the way that one aspect might be here one moment, gone the next, and one thing we know is that every week things are tweaked, more every month, and every so often, major changes are made.

And everyone has to find ways to make it work for them, or -- not.

And as more uses are made available, it can become yet more confusing, because the changes are sometimes steps backwards, and often the more choices they provide, as in any O/S or "upgraded" software, the more confusing it becomes.

Right now, for instance, there are multiple options for posting Photos, and you can wind up with the on your Wall, in this album, in that, duplicated on various pages, on your Profile, on your output, things should be tagged, they shouldn't be tagged, and it's all very confusing.

And then you get familiar with how it works, and just as you are, they change it again.

But the privacy issues are, I would say, dead, insofar as any such thing can be said of a company that must undergo personnel turnover, changes of policy, buyouts, etc., which is to say, all companies, and all things in life.

Meanwhile, privacy is extremely configurable, like everything else on FB, or almost everything, and that's the main issue people worry about, but unless you're actually using it right now, and keeping up, you're OUT OF DATE.

Privacy can be set to "Only Me," and NOBODY but the elves will see your stuff, so it can be used as a notebook.

Or you can set stuff so that any given item, or category, can be seen by just one other individual. Or two, or any specific number. Or you can Group them. Or make specific Friends Lists. Or, or or or.

It's all a matter of paying attention. Like everything in life.

I'd say that posting to FB now is infinitely more private protective -- if you know what you're doing, and they're making it easier all the time -- then anything on the internet -- loosely and generally speaking -- that isn't https, which is to say, encrypted in transmission.

People who post to a blog, but worry about FB privacy are simply out of date, and don't know it.

Your email can be read by any number of people as the packets travel. Privacy is mostly a matter of how much the wrong people care enough about you to break it. And there's only so much you can do about that, short of moving to a desert island, burying yourself in a deep cave, and living an insane life. Or slipping into insane paranoia.

On the flip side: we can only do that which we're comfortable with, we all have only 24 hours a day, there are so many social networks, they're all timesucks, and we all need learning curves to deal with any of this stuff. And then it changes.

FB is a very adaptable tool. There's nothing harmful about signing up, and doing nothing. Or you can put up the most simple contact information. Or more. Or use it wonderfully to reconnect with old friends. Or make new ones.

You can use it as little or much as you like. As well or badly as you're capable of. As time allows, and you want to or don't want to.

It's a Swiss Army knife with innumerable options.

It can be infuriating as hell.

I tend to advise that people be very cautious about posting comments to Friends of Friends: you will, by definition not know them, and assumptions, as always, are rife, and often fraught, and stupid fights and miscomunications are frequent.

You can do the same with Friends. And there's a lot of high school juvenility that comes along. The whole concept of "Friend" is a poor choice of word, because most people, if you use FB widely, are not "Friends," but "acquaintances," or less.

Or more. You can simply connect with family, for whatever value of "family" is important to you.

Divide people into categories, overlap them, separate them.

Use it to broadcast only, or listen only. Pay as much attention or little as you like. As frequently or infrequently as you like.

The baby is growing up.

Numbers:

Social media

* 152 million – The number of blogs on the Internet (as tracked by BlogPulse).
* 25 billion – Number of sent tweets on Twitter in 2010
* 100 million – New accounts added on Twitter in 2010
* 175 million – People on Twitter as of September 2010
* 7.7 million – People following @ladygaga (Lady Gaga, Twitter’s most followed user).
* 600 million – People on Facebook at the end of 2010.
* 250 million – New people on Facebook in 2010.
* 30 billion – Pieces of content (links, notes, photos, etc.) shared on Facebook per month.
* 70% – Share of Facebook’s user base located outside the United States.
* 20 million – The number of Facebook apps installed each day.

I don't vouch for these numbers, and that was January 12th, 2011, and the numbers were already dating, and rough and vaguely reliable, and depend upon definitions.

But they're suggestive.

I think I've switched to mildly recommending signing up for FB, and then either leaving it alone, or slowly making whatever minimal use you want of it. Back away when it's bothersome. Come back when it's not so much. Learn about it as much or little as you like.

Like most things: it's a lot like the rest of life. It is what you make of it.

So there are some general thoughts about FB.

And when I get pedantic on you in trying to help, please don't beat me too harshly: I screw it up a lot myself.

But generally less so, I like to think, as a trend.

Go and do likewise.

Or not.

And I make use of it as much or little as I want: I'll accept Friend Requests from anyone who passes my own personal filters, which amount to: give me a clue where you know me from, and it's helpful to offer some verification that you're not some random notch-carver, but I can usually figure that out in a few seconds if your public stuff isn't too limited -- it's not very useful to keep everything private, including allowing messages to be sent to you, and send out a Friend Request -- and either it's clear to me that you're real, legit -- there are endless signs -- or I can use Other Methods to check on you if your name isn't too generic -- though this gets a bit harder as more people sign up.

Also: try to avoid use of phony names and handles there. It's tempting, and the enforcement is necessarily random, but it does put you in violation of the TOS, and you're subject to being wiped, and that's VERY annoying. Don't put up a business account as a personal one. Don't spam people, but no matter what you do, you'll annoy folks who don't understand the software, or you don't.

Try not to take any of it too personally.

And I'd say that for now, the messaging system completely sucks, and any serious communiques I still want through regular email, myself, for multiple reasons, including my own file keeping, and distrust of losing my data on Facebook.

I know about that.

There are a lot of ways to go wrong on FB, but a lot of ways to go right. Consider giving it a try, and you can always just kill your account.

And if you send me an FR: you can know me better. And you can Hide anyone who is a "Friend" and not see what they post; you can make them a "Friend" and lock them out of everything you say or post. There's little harm in practicing both, save that then you're not able to notice if people change their own practices.

Again: it's like life and the rest of the internet.

And you should do what works best for you.

And remember: everyone sees everything out of order, in isolation, whether you use Recent News, Top News, or do anything but fanatically go to your closest friends' home pages, and study everything they say, and then scroll back, and look at all their photos, and read all their captions, and then keep up, and if you're, ahem, prolix, well, none of us can do more than pay a certain amount of attention to anyone.

Do I have to mention what it's a lot like? No, I don't.

Have fun. Do good, avoid evil, throw a virtual room party.

See you there, or not.

Be seeing you.

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