Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Iodine God

'Iodine deficiency results in a needless loss of 1 billion IQ points around the world.' Well thanks for that Nicholas D. Kristof, though I fear that such an exotic quantification may impair the undoubted strength of your case. The readers is pulled up short by a series of intrusive thoughts - 'Hang on that's only one sixth of an IQ point per person, no need for me to worry - Oh and IQ is now known to be culturally determined so how can points be meaningfully aggregated across cultures? - And, hey, what would it be like to have an IQ of one billion? - Oh, wait a minute, I have... 'People of the world, do not be afraid. I am your new god. Call me Iodine, I am here to help.'' 


  1. Great the nature v nurture monster rears its ugly head again, Personally I think the answer is both.

    I think what we really mean by intelligence is self awareness, your ability to see over the horizon.

    Personally I would not want to be flown by anyone with an IQ of less than 120, George W Bush just qualifies, if he keeps up the flying hours. Which is a combination of IQ and experience.

    The problem with our Banking Pilots is they have the brains but not the experience.

    I have a relative who suffers a mental illness and if he keeps to a mainly fish diet there is no doubt that he copes with his illness and life in general much better, if not he descends into madness.

  2. "Initiative and other aid agencies reached out to factory owners like Mr. Khan and encouraged them to iodize salt, in part to help make Pakistanis healthier and more intelligent."

    I wouldn't be surprised if his next article verifies the link between iodine deficiency and Islamic terrorism.
    There's an almost Nazi puritanism running through his article:

    "Occasionally in my travels I’ve been unnerved by coming across entire villages, in western China and elsewhere, eerily full of people with mental and physical handicaps, staggering about, unable to speak coherently."

    He could be describing huge tracts of his own country. A diet full of iodine hasn't done the Southern US much good.

  3. "George W Bush just qualifies"

    You'd actually get on a plane with Bush at the helm? You're fucking brave. Seriously, I wouldn't trust Bush to deliver a pizza.

  4. "Almost one-third of the world’s people don’t get enough iodine from food and water. The result in extreme cases is large goiters that swell their necks, or other obvious impairments such as dwarfism or cretinism. But far more common is mental slowness."
    Nice scientific term that, cretinism, will he have an 'ometer defining the degree of, say 17.5% cretinish oops, another cretin has just reduced it to 15%.

  5. Oi! Slacker! Check yer in-box, Gwyneth's about.

  6. Gwyn's about and boy, does she feel our pain. Octagonal cuff-links at $175.00 - why didn't I think of that?

  7. Actually, Bush seems to have been a pretty good pilot, racking up several hundred hours flying a rather dangerous plane. See here.

  8. Thats correct frank, and to get into that position he had take the 1966 USAF IQ test which suggests that the 50th percentile among the norm group of Air Force Academy applicants had an IQ of about 123, thus putting Bush in the 125-130 range, which incredibly says his IQ was and is Greater than the sophisticated John Kerry s, but lower than Obamas.

    Bryan will scoff, but as an former RAF engineer, I think IQ seriously matters, its not a be all and end all but it is a good pointer.