Intelligence and SAT’s

I’m just in the middle of Debbie Stiers ‘The Perfect Score Project‘ (recommended by Gretchen Rubin) where Debbie sat the SAT 7 times in a year to get a perfect score and to motivate her son to get good enough grades to qualify for financial support and survive the competition with all those clever foreigners vying for his future job in the current depressed economy (times are quite bad, though I’m not sure if the foreigners are the problem. I think money creation ) is the problem).

As part of Debbie’s project she underwent a barrage of IQ tests and found them very similar to the SATs, they were both developed by the same person in the US and there are tables to convert one to an estimate of the other.

Debbie then wondered if she should announce her SAT scores. She felt IQ is fixed and unchangeable, therefore personal (and she has not announced her IQ score), while SAT results are influenced by study and therefore mutable and therefore OK to announce (also as the name of the book suggests: Debbie did improve her score).

The interesting thing is that SAT used to mean Scholastic Aptitude Test and was supposed to measure something unchanging and fixed (like IQ). Once enough companies grew up promising to improve your score, and were shown to work (1975), it became the Scholastic Assessment Test (1990-93).

This ties in to Dan Hurley’s book Smarter: The New Science of Building Brain Power looking at whether you can improve intelligence. The answer (officially according to the science) used to be no, but there is a new field, only 6 years old, saying actually yes it can (a bit controversial). This contrasts with the SAT’s as similar to an IQ test which were though to be unchangeable, but are now known to be studyable, and with various friends who have assured me that a)intelligence can be increased and this has been known for years (psychology degree); b) this is rubbish and intelligence can’t be changed (psychiatrist).

It’s food, but not as we know it: Elmlea tricked me

Yesterday I happened to pay attention to Elmlea (as Morrisons was entirely sold out of double cream). ‘Double what?’ I thought as I saw the lable. Buttermilk with added oil.

The Unilver description sums up everything wrong with our understanding of food.

Elmlea is the real alternative to cream, and is a blend of buttermilk and vegetable oils and is classified as a dairy cream alternative (DCA). 100 ml of fresh single cream has 200kcal while the same serving of Elmlea Single Light has only 124kcal – so feel free to spoon some on your puddings!

The number of calories in a food is not what determines how fat we get. Wild animals manage to not get fat without counting calories. We do not need to carefully measure what we eat, carefully decide how much to exercise and make sure the number balance. That’s not how our fat cells work. We need avoid foods that mess up our natural fat regulation and appetite mechanisms (refined carbs).
Fat is not fattening.
In any case this is not very relevant as the healthy animal fat is replaced with a very similar amount of oil (around 30+% vs just under 50%).
They don’t specify which oil so it safe to assume it is the cheapest oil. Look at this description of soy bean oil.

It’s not easy getting mass quantities of edible oil from soybeans, which are small, brittle beans containing less than 20 percent oil. First you have to drench them with hexane, a toxic chemical solvent that is known to cause nerve damage in humans. The hexane percolates through the soybeans several times and is then removed from the oil (any residues that remain are small).

After that you have to treat the oil with sodium hydroxide and phosphoric acid, then bleach it with a filter, and deodorize it under heat and an intense vacuum. Then often the oil is hydrogenated or interesterified, allowing it to be more stable for frying or other high-heat conditions. Calling any of this “natural” is a farce.

(from Huffington Post , from an interveiw with Melanie Warner about her new book, Pandora’s Lunchbox.

Does this really seem like a better alternative to cream? Cheaper, with bigger profit margins for Unilever, yes. Healthier?
(However, I have to admit, it doesn’t go off as quickly, I did find a some leftover elmlea at the back of the fridge and I was surpised it hadn’t gone off).