12 Brain Hacks from Wired

April 22, 2008

Wired today offers up 12 (broad categories) of hacks to improve IQ and mental performance, and a few related articles. It’s nice to know that caffeine is better for you in small frequent doses, though I’m a little bothered by the apparent suggestion to supplement this with prescription pharmaceuticals. One supplement takes on myths about brain health: fish, crosswords, supplements, hand-eye coordination building through video games, and gum are out, though this quote suggests the author may be a little out of touch:

School principals may scoff, but the notion that gum enhances alertness dates to World War I, when sticks were slipped into soldiers’ rations.

I don’t think there are principals scoffing; these days schools pump kids with gum and candy before and during standardized testing. It’s all part of No Child’s Teeth Left Behind. Of course this is not based on the “myth” being here renounced – that the act of chewing “activates” the brain, but rather on the “fact” which Wired embraces in true geek style that a dose of sugar along with your caffeine boosts your brain power.
Someone should have chewed a few pieces of Bazooka or at least looked at a map before they wrote this, though:

You’ve mastered Africa. Now you’re ready for a real geographic challenge: Central Asia from Azerbaijan to Uzbekistan.

That is, after memorizing all 47 nations in Africa, you should move on to the real challenge of memorizing the three countries (inclusive) and one sea from Azerbaijan to Uzbekistan.


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