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Everyone loves to delude themselves about how much self-improvement they sneak into their lives. I've got some bad news, though. Swimming through triple-cheeseburger drippings to get to your Diet Coke isn't a healthy meal. Watching pornography in ankle weights isn't a workout. Conan with French subtitles is not learning a second language, and sticking a baby in front of Mozart only takes jobs away from puppet musicians. And most of all: High-speed, second-grade math on your DS is not making you smarter. More to the point, I also put my brain through a battery of tests with every brain videogame I could find.
I remember reading that intelligence is traditionally measured in five different ways: Arkansas capitals, shot put, ham glazing, TV/VCR repair, and necromancy. I threw out these outdated, culturally biased categories and came up with two of my own. The first is Reasoning. This is a very measurable standard of intelligence based around arithmetic and logic. The other is Practical Intelligence.
Reasoning is easy to quantify; it goes from one to five. Practical Intelligence is much more difficult to measure, so pay close attention. Smart people in the wild show off their intelligence through the inverse of their knowledge of culturally shared …