Forever Young Information

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Life in the Boomer Lane: Proof we are getting smarter. Or dumber

By Renee Fisher

Life in the Boomer Lane, in an attempt to distract herself from the current havoc being wreaked around the planet by 1) people, and 2) infectious disease, turned, instead, to psychological research to give her the lift she deserves. Researchers, who are immune to the flotsam and jetsum of political, religious, and viral/bacterial extremism, can concentrate, instead, on topics such as fruit-bat fellatio.

What she found is that:

1. Wait persons get bigger tips when they leave a mint on the table, along with the cheque.

2. Having a snack can stave off an argument between married people.

3. Humans are getting smarter over time.

While no one has to convince LBL that the addition of some form of snack product can improve any situation except, perhaps, obesity, any observation of either TV viewing habits or motorists on the road would not lead the average person to conclude that humans are getting smarter. For that reason, she did more research and learned that we are getting smarter. We are also getting dumber.

Reasons we are getting smarter:

1. If you scored people a century ago against today’s norms, they’d have an IQ of 70, while if you score us against their norms, we’d have an average IQ of 130. An estimated 97 per cent of all current school-age children have been identified as gifted. Parents of the remaining 3 per cent have filed lawsuits against school systems, charging bogus results.

2. We all own smart phones, smart tablets and smart appliances, and wear clothing constructed of smart fabrics. So, whether we are smart or not, doesn’t really matter anymore.

3. We all eat food that has been genetically modified, injected with super vitamins and minerals, and is produced by animals who live in tiny cages and spend all of their time in intellectual pursuits.

4. Previous generations had to go to the library and follow an exhausting scenario in order to get information about anything. They had to thumb through card catalogues, write silly numbers down with little periods in random places, and then find those books in the “stacks.” Since 1937, it is estimated that thousands of people are still lost in the stacks.

Reasons we are getting dumber:

1. The word “teenager” didn’t exist until 1950. Before that, teenagers were simply people who, like all other large people on the planet, were expected to tie their own shoes and then prepare for gainful employment. Now, we have an entire population of large people who are legally permitted to operate machines weighing thousands of pounds but who don’t know that we have a President.

2. A recent study by Cambridge University found that mankind is significantly shrinking in size, both in terms of body mass and brain mass. We are now 10-per-cent shorter and smaller than out hunter-gatherer ancestors. The results have been a boon to the donut and fast-food industry.

3. A recent study from the University of Pittsburgh has found that letting babies “cry it out” can lead to permanent brain damage. Parents who don’t let babies cry it out suffer brain damage themselves. Therefore, everyone is getting dumber.

4. If you asked someone in the 19th century the relationship between a dog and a hare, they’d likely go with something simple and concrete, based on their real-life experience with the two animals. Today, people in this complex, fast-moving world are taught to think more abstractly. A modern person would be more likely to say that a dog is a domesticated mammal and friend to mankind. The answer would stop there, as anyone born after 1952 would have no idea what a hare was.

5. New research suggests that Westerners have lost 14 IQ points since the Victorian era. Most post-menopausal women have, as yet, been unable to find theirs.

The bottom line is that in order to keep your brain at tip-top shape, you should stay active. That gives your body cues to devote lots of resources to cognitive function.

But what if you are a woman and don’t like to be outside and you have an aversion to the sun? This may mean that you are part of the population of the undead, and you may have issues that go beyond the scope of this post. But if you know for a fact that you are fully alive, you are in luck. There is something else you can do. A recent study found that female orgasms trigger an increase in blood flow to all regions of the brain, improving overall cognitive performance.

This news will either have a lot of older women surprising their partners for requests of constant sex, or will have them rushing to stores to buy swimsuits for the first time since the eighties. Others will convince their partners to frolic on the beach and then shed their newly purchased swimsuits in favour of beach sex. This will not only increase their brain function, it will most likely produce hordes of screaming and fleeing beachgoers.

Renee Fisher blogs at She is co-author of Invisible No More: The Secret Lives of Women Over 50.


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