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April 26, 2009

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There is nothing SWPL about requiring one's morning coffee in order to be able to function during the day. Nor is there anything new about it. Great-Great Granddad Sigma probably couldn't get through a day at the buggy whip factory without his caffeine boost.

As for actual neuroenhancing drugs, college students have been using amphetamines to pull all-nighters for at least since the 1960's. Is that enough to disqualify it as a new trend?

[HS: Strangely enough, my grandfather never drank coffee. My other grandfather died too early in my life for me to notice what he liked to drink.]

There's new program called "n-back task" that increases both fluid intelligence and working memory (they tend to go together, and both correlate to 'g'). The world of psychology is abuzz by it, because the results of using the program generalize to other cognitive abilities.

I think that might be more the future than neuroenhancing drugs.

"If neuroenhancing drugs become common, it’s easy to predict that this will increase the divide between the upper and lower classes, because we will see the upper classes taking these drugs in order to compete in upper-middle-class class professions, but poor people won’t waste their money on them—they don’t need better memory or concentration for their jobs at McDonalds."

The same thing will be true of embryo screening and neonatal medications.

The middle class will use embryo screening to select embryos that have genes for high intelligence and good looks. The middle class will also use neonatal drugs to boost intelligence and looks for embryos developing in the womb.

Upper middle class whites will become passionate users of these new technologies because they already try to micromanage every details of their children's lives.

Just look at how much energy upper middle class women going through IVF spend looking for the perfect, high IQ, blond, Norwegian sperm donor or how infertile upper class white women are willing to pay $50,000 for eggs from high IQ, pretty, Ivy League graduates.

The lower classes, on the other hand, will not put nearly so much planning into having children and inequality gaps will rise.

Rich Karlgard admitted on his blog on Forbes.com that he uses Claritin D as a "pep pill".

Red Bull and Coffee does the job for me. I've been putting in 14 hour days for about a month, no problem.

Try nicotine, it works. I use the patches and gum, but there is stuff called Nicogel that you can rub into your hands (I've never used it though).
Like the The Engineer, who is driving that train while high on cocaine, nicotine certainly helps with long hours and hard work. When used in cojunction with caffeine(I use black tea, not coffee, as that is too much of a "shove" instead of a gentle "push," if you get my meaning) it works wonders. No crash and burn either. Popping a few Sudafed or generic version with the above works too. Good for hangovers as well.

The difference between coffee and these new drugs is that we know caffeine is safe and effective based on centuries of experience. We don't know the same thing about new "smart" drugs.

I looked at some of the research on Provigil and I found that its approval was based on a 9-week study in which about 7% of users dropped out due to adverse reactions. Cigarettes probably wouldn't have done any worse in that time frame. What will 20 years of use do? We don't know. Current users are the guinea pigs.

>Try nicotine, it works. I use the patches and gum, but there is stuff called Nicogel that you can rub into your hands (I've never used it though).

It works, but most people will end up addicted, spending something like $5/day on some form of nicotine for the rest of their lives just to feel normal.

I think the advantages of taking drugs/caffeine are exaggerated. Caffeine forces you to stay awake, and long-term hard use (the kind of use that many people do) is harmful. Google it and you'll find lots of hits.

HS is right, lots of coffee is standard for SWPL-ers, especially Starbucks!

Btw, amphetamines are thought to decrease creativity. (even if Erdos was a fan)

So, those students who are taking amphetamines may be hurting themselves long-term.

I don't take any of these "neuro-enhancement" drugs. For one thing, I'm not convinced of their safety and efficacy. For another, I don't feel that I need them.

I do take stuff that I believe to be of life-extension capability. My daily regime includes Resveratrol (250mg), CoQ-10 (100mg), Carnosine (1,000mg), and the basic LEF mix. I get (and recommend) all of these from the Life Extension Foundation (www.lef.org).

I am also trying to identify compounds that can breakdown and remove lipofuscin from the body. Aubrey does not believe any such thing currently exists, which is why he started LysoSENS. However, I have friends who think he is wrong with regards to this, which is why I am looking into this.

If this goes mainstream perhaps the hassle over the racial intelligence gap will finally come to an end as it will then be just part of a wider phenomenon of blacks not having access to the expensive IQ-boosting drugs (yet, even then, Im sure poor whites will outscore blacks).

The life-extension movement is largely a fantasy for the IQ 130+ crowd. It doesn't surprise me that lots of people blogging here would be interested in it.

SWPL's and others who go to Starbucks looking for a caffeine boost would be better off going elsewhere. Most of the "coffee" drinks are sugared milk drinks with only small amounts of coffee.

[HS: Starbucks does sell a hot beverage called "coffee" that's just black coffee with nothing else in it. Believe it or not!]

I've got a glass of Riesling. Cheers!

"I've got a glass of Riesling. Cheers!"

Peeting at the Korova Milk Bar again with your droogs?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8TMXdTtnNc

Dude in the article was a *history* major, for crying out loud. Must have been a viper pit of competition there.

Sigma, are you using "partying" as a synonym for drug use around other people? I often do. The archetypical slacker is a big marijuana smoker, so in that sense he's a partier.

I think the effects of such drugs are often greatly exaggerated in popular culture. Same with SSRIs like Prozac. SWPL writers exaggerate their personal experiences with them in order to make interesting stories for places like Slate.

[HS: I was thinking more of wild Animal House parties. That movie was allegedly based on Dartmouth.]

Same with SSRIs like Prozac. SWPL writers exaggerate their personal experiences with them in order to make interesting stories for places like Slate.


Maybe if you listened to it, you'd know. And have your own column in Slate.

While I can see gaming the system for points working in some cases....

Mr. Crazy Scientist is attempting to better millions of years of evolution(rats have brains to) using the intelligence devised by the millions of years of evolution.

Doing that may be harder than he thinks.

"The Bell Curve" has a nice page or so on the significant value (to the employer) of having smart people doing menial jobs...

This is one of the few non-transhumanist blogs I read.

Given the rising retirement age across the developed world, I think neuroenhancing drugs are essential, not for Harvard students who clever enough, but for black-birding oldies back into useful service. These drugs really need to put to use fighting age-related cognitive decline, which begins frighteningly early.

mnjohn: "The life-extension movement is largely a fantasy for the IQ 130+ crowd. It doesn't surprise me that lots of people blogging here would be interested in it."

Then again, maybe not:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/04/health/research/04aging.html?ref=us

Kurt9: Good program. Add fish oil. As for lipofusin, an alcoholic of my acquaintance made his "liver spots"--which are comprised of lipofuscin--vanish with DMAE and lipoic acid.

"The life-extension movement is largely a fantasy for the IQ 130+ crowd. It doesn't surprise me that lots of people blogging here would be interested in it."

Cardinal Rule of the Blogosphere No. 371:

The percentage of blogospherians who claim to have an I.Q. score in excess of 130, or some other unusually high number, is several orders of magnitude greater than the percentage of people in real life with such a lofty score.

There's new program called "n-back task" that increases both fluid intelligence and working memory (they tend to go together, and both correlate to 'g'). The world of psychology is abuzz by it, because the results of using the program generalize to other cognitive abilities.

I think that might be more the future than neuroenhancing drugs.


I've read about that too; I think it will make a moderate difference in mental ability, maybe raising a person w/ an IQ of 115 to an IQ of 130 (from state school ability to Harvard ability).

I doubt it will turn Forrest Gump into Bobby Fischer. I bet this program will be used by upper-class parents to brighten up their already bright kids. Nevertheless, it is an intriguing possibility.

"I've read about that too; I think it will make a moderate difference in mental ability, maybe raising a person w/ an IQ of 115 to an IQ of 130 (from state school ability to Harvard ability)."

Forget Brain Age: Researchers Develop Software That Makes You Smarter

http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/04/smart_software

[HS: How is this stuff different than the Simon game I played with as a kid?]

The article quotes everyone as saying that there are sharp diminishing returns as you move up the IQ scale -- dummies will benefit a lot, while the smarties who want to be even smarter won't get much.

Therefore, the effect will be to reduce variance, not increase it, as the article points out.

[HS: Sounds more like wishful thinking on the part of the journalist and the person he selectively quoted.]

Also, if you read what that consultant in Virginia eats for breakfast -- it's super high-carb, almost no fat. That's why people are having trouble focusing or having high energy levels. All these neuroenhancer stuff is pointless unless tested on people who are already eating a healthy diet, not a diet like that of starving peasants (i.e., with very little fat).

"The percentage of blogospherians who claim to have an I.Q. score in excess of 130, or some other unusually high number, is several orders of magnitude greater than the percentage of people in real life with such a lofty score."

I agree with this. Another cardinal rule is that these futurists who try to predict what society will look like any further than 10 years out are almost always wrong and are the socially inept types that probably never had too many friends. Just look at picture of him:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b8/Aubrey_de_Grey.jpg

[HS: Weirdos sometimes have a better perspective on things because they are outsiders and haven't bought into the status quo.]

"Try nicotine, it works."

When it comes to the benefits of nicotine and reaction time/IQ, I recall reading that the benefits are limited to people with slower reaction times/low IQ.

High IQ individuals show an increase in their reaction times and drop in IQ with nicotine use.

My IQ is high enough already. What I want is a drug which will make a beta male like myself an alpha male. Alcohol doesn't do it for me.

"My IQ is high enough already. What I want is a drug which will make a beta male like myself an alpha male. Alcohol doesn't do it for me."

Testosterone.

[HS: How is this stuff different than the Simon game I played with as a kid?]

In Simon, the color and sound sequences are linked, and it is more of a progressive memory span test which augments the same sequence each round. In the dual n-back test, the sound and visual sequences are independent and don't repeat, so you have to keep a running memory of both simultaneously. It's quite a bit harder than Simon. The single n-back test, where you only track one sequence, doesn't show the IQ transfer that the dual n-back test does.

"

"My IQ is high enough already. What I want is a drug which will make a beta male like myself an alpha male. Alcohol doesn't do it for me."

Testosterone.

Posted by: Peter | April 26, 2009 at 08:18 PM"

Thank you. It's been established that working out raises testosterone. There's also this study which found that amateur wrestlers have the highest basal testosterone levels of all athletes, which is at least partly because of all that time they spend lifting. I hate these losers who act like we live in a Hindu caste system, like you're a beta for life or something. I think they're making an excuse for their lack of willpower to spend 3-6 hours out of a 168 hour week in the gym.

[HS: How is this stuff different than the Simon game I played with as a kid?]

The n-back test seems to be much more difficult than those old games you played with, but I am not an expert.

White Whale: " I think they're making an excuse for their lack of willpower to spend 3-6 hours out of a 168 hour week in the gym."

Pure moralism, based on the false notion that willpower is not a more-or-less fixed number, the way IQ and height are. Some people have lots of it, others not so much, and evidence suggests that there isn't a great deal to be done about it.

In any case, those with pre-existing high levels of testosterone find it much easier to put on muscle, which in turn means that they don't have as much trouble finding the motivation to work out. Yeah, skinny beta types can, by dint of great effort, put on some muscle, but they have to work out a lot harder than some knuckle-dragging alpha to do for more modest gains. Just as those who are naturally good at math find that they can make good grades in calculus without having to study until their eyeballs bleed, and so on.

Which is where the great equalizer, topical testosterone gel, comes in. Just stroke and repeat, my friend. Stroke and repeat.

Im in law school and last semester some girl in my class was popping her speed pills during finals. I know some guys that are considering it too for this semester, second of 1L (the most important of law school).

I refuse. I'd sooner cheat the old-fashioned way somehow. They could be addictive, and I doubt they do THAT much. If you don't know the shit, you don't know it.

Siggie, don't be retarded. The "selective quotations" were the results of a literature review on neuroenhancers that the author, Martha Farah, had just written. If you doubt that, cool, do a PubMed search, read through the lit, and tell us why she's full of it.

And it fits in perfectly with every other environmental way of improving IQ -- by giving vitamin supplements (or whatever) to deprived Kazakhstanis or Nigerians, we can get a boost of 9 or 10 points in a few years. If we did so in properly nourished France, we'd get squat.

Re: testosterone, just eat more cholesterol and fat, especially saturated fat, and cut down on non-fiber carbs. If you want to look like a Neanderthal, you have to eat like one.

As a plus, eating a rib-eye steak will make you feel more manly than eating a couple of skinless chicken breasts.

"In any case, those with pre-existing high levels of testosterone find it much easier to put on muscle, which in turn means that they don't have as much trouble finding the motivation to work out. Yeah, skinny beta types can, by dint of great effort, put on some muscle, but they have to work out a lot harder than some knuckle-dragging alpha to do for more modest gains."

Nearly all people can pack on a decent amount of muscle if they try. Like anything else, it's easier for some than for others, but it's _possible_ for almost anyone. Most people who say they are "hardgainers" and just can't build muscle no matter how much they try are: (1) not exercising as hard as they think they are, and (2) eating inadequate diets.

Yeah, actually I meant to say that testosterone isn't that hard to get, though illegally. Though I've heard that testosterone gel is useless, at least according to the people who frequent bodybuilding forums. They recommend injections.

Coffee has been around for ages. It was a standard Civil War ration. It's pretty much a go-to drug for people who have to pull long shifts and must be attentive: long haul drivers, soldiers, various techs, skilled mechanics and so on.

I would expect most of the market to be not the SWPL crowd, but the Blue/White collars pulling long shifts and needing a boost for mental acuity vs. fatigue.

WRT Coffee, America drank coffee pretty much from the start. Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett both had it as part of their rations, same with Lewis and Clark. Coffee was a mainstay in the Depression and through WWII. What happened after WWII, was a number of bad years for coffee growers had manufacturers of supermarket coffee, like Folgers or Maxwell House, gradually use more and more robusta beans (taste like crap) rather than the good-tasting but more expensive arabica beans. Thus America from say the late 1950's through the 1970's was weaned off coffee and onto high caffeine sodas.

Starbucks and others offered good coffee, starting in the 1980's, and targeting college kids. The sugary coffee flavored junk is a recent, 1990's vintage trend. Regardless old-school workman have been using coffee for decades (thermos are a standard issue on big construction sites).

I take Adderall. It does not make you smarter. It allows you to focus for extended periods of time, causes extreme dehydration and suppresses your appetite. I agree that it probably reduces creativity because your mind doesn’t wonder from the task at hand while you’re on it.

If I take it every day, I will build a tolerance to it in less than a month. I only take it on days when I need to sit down and write lengthy programs - I’m on a low dose and I’d like to keep it that way. I’m particularly sensitive to medications but I don’t notice any withdrawal symptoms when I stop taking it. If anything, it seems like if I don’t give myself a break from it eventually I start to become very moody and I feel exhausted. You don’t get quality sleep while you’re taking it, so that is probably part of the problem. That and it’s depleting all of your dopamine.

I only started taking it as an adult and I cannot image giving this to a developing child.

This is already a relatively common phenomenon. Ever wonder why all of the talking heads on TV are always so perky? It's because nearly all of them are high on these drugs.

Some scientists are currently calling for the widespread "responsible use" of these drugs; see: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v456/n7223/full/456702a.html

Some have also posited that many of the 'financial professionals' and other related personnel were majorly doped on these drugs which lead to their irrational economic euphoria...and that they are now crashing back down to earthly reality, which is leading to a general crash of the markets run by these tweakers..."The crash phase of amphetamine psychosis is now before us" - http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2008/12/tweakers-are-crashing-on-us.php

Also, Kaczynski's "Unabomber Manifesto" (actually entitled "Industrial Society and Its Future") is worth a read...check it out sometime: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Industrial_Society_and_Its_Future

Ironically, I'm pretty combative and grumpy in real life, so given testosterone's tendency to induce rage, I'm going to stay far, far away. (I've got a fair suspicion I have a high level of testosterone (I'm pretty hairy and started going bald fairly young) and just fell off the bus socially, but that's another story.)

Was the Unabomber given LSD when he was at Harvard in the 1950s in CIA experiments? There was an Atlantic article that implied that, but I can't remember if the article ever proved that.

More than a few fashionable people took LSD as a psychiatric drug in the late 1950s, such as Henry Luce, owner of Time, and Cary Grant. The movie star felt that psychoanalysis under LSD finally helped him stop feeling like poor, miserable Archie Leach on the inside and start feeling like he really was Cary Grant. He was apparently quite happy for the rest of his life after these sessions.

I am about to graduate from an Ivy League college and the whole issue of academic drugs is way overblown. Although I am friends with people who take Adderall, Ritalin, Provigil, it is far from pervasive. Most of the kids who do it are f@ck ups to begin with. These people are 1) predisposed to using drugs, and relatedly 2) hard partiers. No nerd who's primary mindset is work hard will use a drug in order to start partying as well: you use drugs to work hard when you're tired and hungover and need to write a 20 page paper in a day because you've been smoking weed and watching Scrubs all semester and haven't started on it yet. No one uses a drug like this proactively, only in reaction to your own procrastination and avoidance of work. While a good chuck of kids fit this, a large majority are fairly vanilla grinds.

You're not being clear: are the losers just the ones who mix Adderall and cocaine? Or are the guys who take it to study also losers?

"You're not being clear: are the losers just the ones who mix Adderall and cocaine? Or are the guys who take it to study also losers?"-Pigman

The former. My point was that this is mainly confined to people who have trouble living responsibly to begin with. People turn to these drugs because they allow you to keep academic good standing without fixing your personal problems. Everyone is smart enough to do the work, but not everyone is sufficiently motivated or willing to all the time.

Don't the poor at McDonald's drink energetic drinks to live some kind of social life at parties afterwards? I'm not sure if socializing with other lower class people enhances their life outcome, but they can find other means of self-improvement.

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