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French Scientists Link Higher BMI with Lower IQ 728

Posted by timothy
from the hey-I-resemble-that-remark dept.
Xemu writes "French scientists have linked obesity to lower IQ reports the Telegraph. In a new five-year study of more than 2,200 adults, people with a low body mass index (BMI) could recall 30% more words in a vocabulary test than those who were obese. The fatter subjects also showed a higher rate of cognitive decline when they were retested five years later. In the United States, 30% of the population is obese according to OECD. That's the highest rate of obesity anywhere. Do these high obesity rates affect the average IQ of the population?" (Of course, this sidesteps discussion of whether IQ tests measure anything significant at all.)
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French Scientists Link Higher BMI with Lower IQ

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  • BMI is not accurate (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Harmonious Botch (921977) * on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:24PM (#16446169) Homepage Journal
    The Body Mass Index is not accurate. It is basically mass vs height, and makes no distinction between fat and muscle, both of which increase mass measurements.

    During the rainy season, I don't exersize, so I lose muscle mass and get skinny, and I look - pardon me for saying it - like a geek. And my BMI is normal ( and allegedly healthy ). But during the other ten months, I am more muscular ( and probably a lot healthier ) and yet I am technically obese, according to the BMI.

    Do I feel smarter? Heck, I'm a slashdotter - I think I'm smart all the time.
  • As a fat man... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Babbster (107076) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `bbabnoraa'> on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:29PM (#16446233) Homepage
    I can speak for certain that I am not as dumber as other people.

    Seriously, though, I test pretty well for intelligence, but being fat is part of a vicious cycle with laziness and depression, leading to a lack of achievement. I wonder, in fact, if the results would be similar in the population of people with untreated major depression regardless of BMI. Based on no scientific data at all, I would suspect increased BMI as being a symptom of another problem which could be the causative factor in the poor IQ showing.
  • by jackharrer (972403) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:48PM (#16446457)
    Those experiments are not the first of the kind, and not the best explained for sure. In different ones link between obesity (it was percentage of fat not BMI) was also linked with IQ. Difference was that somebody who conducted experiments thought for a while over results (apparently that person wasn't fat - pun intetended). And result was:

    Fat people need more oxygen that goes to fat tissues, so less goes to brain. Second: less blood with nutritions goes directly there.

    They published also some proper tables with sugar and oxygen levels to prove their point. Other thing is total lack of excercise - that effectively slows down your heart, kidneys, liver, and so on. Not to mention that processing food in stomach requires a lot of energy. You know that feeling after eating a lot of food, especially fatty.
    That explains why best geeks are good at what they do plus they have a dozen of intresting hobbies and not so uncommonly train some martials arts or something similar.

    So go to the gym, NOW!
  • Re:BMI = Worthless (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Keebler71 (520908) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:51PM (#16446493) Journal
    (Of course, this sidesteps discussion of whether IQ tests measure anything significant at all.)

    Concur but I have a different take on this wording. Of course IQ tests measure something significant. The question may be whether or not "IQ tests are a signigicant measure of anything at all". My wife is an elementry teacher and we recently discussed how children are placed into gifted classes. She said that they used to do IQ testing but that has fallen out of vogue due to their being a rather politically incorrect measure (not to mention all the other types of "intelligence" (emotional, creative, et crappra)). This is sad. IQ tests are a near-perfect indicator of intelligence. That is they have a very low incidence of Type I (false positive) error. The cultural biases come into play and lead to false negatives (Type II errors). It seems the logical approach would be to use a combination of tests or qualitative assessments rather than ditching a good but non-perfect test.

  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:54PM (#16446535) Homepage
    I don't lift weights or work out, other than riding my bike to work in the summer. However, the BMI also says i'm overweight. I'm not, and I don't think most people would say I was if they looked at me, but for some reason, I'm unusually dense. I sink when I go in the water. For no apparent reason. If I inhale a lot of air, I will float, but for the most part I sink, and if I exhale most of my air, I sink like a rock. I always did bad in swimming lessons because I couldn't swim the long distances required. I was in much better shape than some of the truly overweight people, yet they passed easily because they were so bouyant. So, not only does the BMI not account for differences in muscle vs. fat, it doesn't account for any differences in density. I'm unsure why i'm more dense, maybe I just have dense bones. Never had a cavity, and never broken a bone, despite being in many situations in which people with weak bones would have.
  • Re:Not hiring! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NOLAChief (646613) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @06:03PM (#16446601)
    Hooray gross generalizations. Have a counterexample: A few years ago my wife (who until that point had been a stick all her life) suddenly started gaining weight with no change in her reasonably healthy eating habits. She tried all the usual methods of losing weight (eat less, exercise, blah blah blah) but still kept gaining. Many people, including the majority of her doctors, had the same asshole attitude as yours and assumed it was her fault. The doctors finally figured out that her body had reacted to her asthma medication causing a form of Cushing's Syndrome. Her body stopped producing the hormone cortisol, which regulates weight. It was no self-discipline issue.

    She remains a brilliant (slightly biased opinion, but not by much) chemist (pretty much disproving the original article), and now that the hormone is regulated, she has lost most of the weight she gained, though she remains scarred from the experience. And trust me, were she looking for a job from you, you bet your butt you would be sued under EEO and ADA laws. You can probably plan on that anyway. Hope you've got a good lawyer.

  • by killjoe (766577) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @07:09PM (#16447103)
    My father by most peoples definition is brilliant. He is a scientist, he speaks several languages, he is a published author of several highly regarded books both fiction and nonfiction.

    Despite all this intelligence he refused to take care of himself, got obese, had several heart attacks and then a series of massive strokes. For decades his doctors told him to lose weight, to stop eating junk food, to drink more water, to exersize and he ignored not only his doctors but his family and friends too.

    Now he can barely talk, his mobility is severly limited, he has problems reading and all he does is watch tv.

    Was my dad smart or dumb? I used to think he was brilliant but now I realize that he was dumb. Too dumb to prioritize, to take care of the important things in life. The time he took to learn that one more language or to write that one more book should have been spent taking walks or something.

    I know lots of "smart" people who are actually dumb like that.
  • Re:BMI = Worthless (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AbRASiON (589899) * on Sunday October 15, 2006 @07:46PM (#16447437) Journal
    BMI may not be worthless but it's certainly not right for all people.

    I've recently lost 45 lbs and frankly somehow my body holds weight exceptionally well. I look "normal" now- not thin nor do I look fat - yes there's a LITTLE bit of fat left, I would guess I could afford to lose 5lbs maybe 10 at most and the rest needs toning but no actual loss.

    None the less, the chart seems to imply that I'm a few % points off of being obese - not just shapey, not just a few extra pounds- O fucking bese.

    I can tell you without a doubt that I have actually fit into what the chart calls ideal before a couple of times in the past when I've lost a lot of weight, each time my girlfriends (at the time) have said I was not only too skinny but looked sick - my face was gaunt and one girlfriend said she's glad I put some weight back on because I looked like "an aids victim"

  • by borgheron (172546) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @07:46PM (#16447439) Homepage Journal
    BMI is an inaccurate measure of body fat. It compares weight versus height. Keeping in mind that muscle weighs more than fat, it is entirely possible that you could have someone who is the epitome of health and have a high BMI because they have a lot of muscle.

    Also, one of the basic things that science teaches us is that the correlation between to things and a relationship between them are two entirely different things.

    Additionally, measuring IQ has never been an exact science. There has been debate regarding the accuracy of IQ tests since thier inception, and it's not likely to be a debate that is going to be resolved soon. When measuring IQ lots of things come into play, such as the person's cultural background, or their ability to take tests (while some people are smart, they sometimes freeze up during tests... it's called "test anxiety").

    So, in conclusion, we have two somewhat inexact sciences put together and some french scientist thinks that their might be a correlation between the two.

    GJC
  • Re:BMI = Worthless (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tverbeek (457094) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @07:48PM (#16447457) Homepage

    IQ tests are a reliable measure of one's ability to perform well on IQ tests. You may choose to call that "intelligence" and wrap it all up in a tidy tautology, but that doesn't really prove anything.

    While debating the methodology of a study is valuable and worthwhile activity, it tends to get in the way of what generalizations can be drawn from the data. Since there is a strong positive correlation between BMI and actual obesity (even if that correlation is not 1.0 due to factors such as highly muscular individuals), and there is a strong positive correlation between IQ tests and actual intelligence (due to cultural and educational testing biases) this data identifies a negative correlation between obesity and intelligence. That's interesting and potentially useful. Now it's time for studies with more precise methodology.

  • by sumdumass (711423) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @07:49PM (#16447465) Journal
    Could this study just be another chicken and egg concept and we havn't discussed wich came first?

    You mentioned when you are slimmer your less occupied with food and such. Your brain is noticibly performing better as you can notice the differences. It apears though that this study is gearded towards saying slim people are just smarter or have the ability to be smarter easier then fatter people. As if fat content in a prsons body directly reflect thier mental abilities.

    Now, What if the slimmer people have traditionaly concentrated on more mental work and less physicle work, therby training thier brain instead of thier muscles. Would this mean that a person who is slimmer is smarter because they are slimmer and less occupied with food or that they have traditionaly used thier brain more and remembering things or solving puzzles becomes more easy to them. Therefore a person with a larger build, spends more time not using thier brain and more on thier muscles, watching TV, or whatever else and thier ability to perform as well as the slim person is diminished?

    I remeber in third grade when we started multiplication. I used flash cards and could do almost any problem in my head that involved less then two numbers of two digits or less (20x7). After using calculators for a while, I could do this anymore. But I have been able to return to it becauseof vaious jobs ove rthe decades. (like roofing, framing and general construction working wich involves alot of math)

    So, from my personal experience, Could it be just how a slim person spends his time verses how a fatter person might? Obviously anyone who plays sports is going to be better then anyone who doesn't. And people playing for severla years will have somewhat of an advantage over those playing for a few weeks. Is this just the reverse were the game is a mind game instead of football? And someone with several years experience because of lifestyle differences will have an advantage over someone who doesn't exercise thier mind? Could it be that slim or fat is just a reflection of how a person spends thier time and has nothing or little to do with thier fat content outside what a fat person does compared to a skinny person.

    I would like to see this studdy done again and the occupations of the people be part of it. I would bet some one of larger BMI who does something like programing or construction were he reads blueprints, sets grades, or transferes scale to live building projects might do a little better then someone who is just fat and works at wopper floppers of america. But if the burger king employee of the month does the same as one of the others of same BMI, I would conceed that fat might have an impact.
  • MEMORY (Score:2, Interesting)

    by name*censored* (884880) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @08:30PM (#16447783)
    Aargh! For crying out loud, the test was ability to recall words, not IQ. People with amnesia/altzheimers aren't necessarily "stupid", eg, you wouldn't ever see them looking into loaded guns' barrels..
  • by buddyglass (925859) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @08:31PM (#16447801)
    There is a correlation between obesity and poverty. The average IQ of those in poverty is lower than that of those not in poverty. Simply based on those two facts, one would expect the average IQ of obsese individuals to be lower than that of non-obese individuals.
  • Re:BMI = Worthless (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rjstanford (69735) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @09:42PM (#16448229) Homepage Journal
    At 225, I would be a VERY healthy weight, but BMI says I'm a lard-ass. That scale needs to go, and we need to focus on PERCENT BODY FAT.

    Two points.

    First, BMI is effective for a large percentage of the population. And by large I'm not making a bad joke, I mean 95% plus. Not 100%.

    Second, actual body fat testing (reliable stuff, not Tanita scales) is expensive.

    This means that BMI testing is damned useful. Not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, but damned useful. And, by the way, I totally agree with your weight loss strategy - that's how I lost mine as well.
  • by mbkennel (97636) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @09:56PM (#16448315)
    I know of no comprehensive definition of intelligence that is agreed upon by a majority of scientists, but if you have evidence to the contrary feel free to provide it. Obviously, there isn't going to be any scientific definition of "success in the real world".

    This is not true.

    There certainly is a pretty well established definition of general intelligence 'g' used
    in psychometric studies which has, contrary to what some people may desire, withstood many
    challenges, and is logically and empirically consistent.

    Essentially: you have a test of a multitude of widely varying tasks all of which are at some level, obviously "mental", and you measure the performance of people on all these varying axes.

    Intelligence is the projection along the first principal component, reflecting the fact that people who do well on some of them, tend to do well, up to some degree, on most of the other ones.

    This is a highly consistent phenomenon among all human groups tested.

    It is correlated with numerous, objective, biological measurements in prospective, controlled experiments.

    This is also a falsifiable hypothesis as well, as for example, performance on a number of
    *other* tasks, most of which are probably less mental, significantly less
    correlated with 'g', except probably among the very lowest tail which reflect significant disease or genetic disabilities with systemic effects.

    Obviously, there isn't going to be any scientific definition of "success in the real world".

    No not in a comprehensive sense but you can definitely come up with specific proxies which approximate it, and quantify it fairly well. For example, 'felony imprisonment' is clearly 'not successful' by almost everybody's standards.
  • Re:IQ Tests (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 15, 2006 @10:39PM (#16448591)
    Specifically: when people are given better education, their IQ increases.


    Actually, this is pretty much entirely incorrect. The purpose of an IQ test is to measure educational potential. Specifically, IQ tests are designed to determine how well a child is likely to do in his or her educational career. They were actually initially designed to aid schools in determining where to place children in terms of their educational focus.

    IQ testing can be administered to children at ages as young as six years (and, for some tests, even younger). IQ is a normed measure that generally remains stable over time, regardless of educational exposure. To a large degree it does measure an in-born attribute - that of general intelligence as it relates to the likelihood of success in a western educational system.

    Modern IQ testing does not suggest that whites (or any other ethnic group) are inherently superior to any other ethnic group. A well designed test will take into account cultural and socioeconomic differences, and a well trained examiner will understand the limitations of the test he or she is administering. All tests, as they are designed by human beings, have limitations. However, modern IQ tests actually do a fairly good job of predicting educational success (which is what they were designed to do), and a moderately good job of predicting general success in life following schooling.

    You state Even people who could have been very successful intellectually can fail because of their surroundings. While I would not agree with this sentiment in general, I would note that, all other things being equal, the person who is intellectually more capable is likely to do a better job of coping with the surroundings than the person who is less so. Just as, all other things being equal, the person who is athletically more capable may have an advantage.

    Now, I will agree that, without a proper education, the person who is intellectually gifted will likely not reach the same level of success as the person with the proper education. However, success is relative to the environment the person is in. The intellectually gifted person living in an impoverished environment is still likely to do far better than his peers (again, all other things being equal).

    Rich folks, in general, are not innately the "smartest", but those people who have become successful as a result of their own efforts and abilities (as opposed to those who have inherited wealth) are, as a rule, quite likely to be on the higher end of the IQ spectrum.

    As for the folks inheriting their wealth, well, studies have shown pretty clearly that most traits, including intelligence, tend to regress towards the mean. Two intellectually gifted people, having children together, are likely to have children who are closer to average than they are - to have children who are less intellectually gifted.
  • by Spock the Baptist (455355) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @11:32PM (#16448901) Journal
    The BMI: Body Mass Index = m/h^2.

    Density: p = M/V

    The above formulae clearly illustrate the problem with the BMI. The BMI in SI units would be kg/m^2, whereas the density is kg/m^3. Further the m^2 is from only one dimension, rather than from three mutually normal dimensions. The purpose of the BMI is to determine adiposity. For this purpose it may serve as a semi-useful metric in statistical studies of a epidemiological, or actuarial nature.

    However, as a diagnostic metric in a clinical setting it is worse than useless. This is due to the fact that it (the BMI) does not, in any way, measure body density. It is the body density that allows for a determination of adiposity. As density is the ratio of mass to volume then a single dimension is totally inadequate to provide even a guess as to the volume of the object in question.

    Consider three men all 1.7 meters tall. A is both thin in terms of depth, and has a narrow width. B is thin in terms of depth, but broad in width. C is broad in both depth, and width. If all three are of the same average body denisty, then clearly A will have less mass than B, and B in turn will be of lower mass than C, due to the greater body volume in turn of A, B, and C.

    Futher, even if A, B, and C all have the same *standing* height, depth, and breadth. The ratio of their respective sitting height to standing height may differ. The one with the larger sitting to standing hight will be the most massive, with the one with the smallest sitting to standing height ratio being the least massive.

    To conclude the BMI fails to take in to account variations in in body dementions which effect the volume of a persons body where the persons body is of optimal average density.
  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @11:38PM (#16448937) Journal
    There's no such thing as wisdom. It's a concept invented by non-smart people who resent smart people. It makes them feel better to be able to say "he might have been smart but he wasn't wise".
  • Re:BMI = Worthless (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 15, 2006 @11:44PM (#16448969)
    I went through the old school 'IQ' tests (late eighties in California) and participated in the gifted program from elementary -> high school. The program started me programming in 5th grade and 6th grade centered on chemistry/math. In 6th grade we started learning 'strategies' how to crank through standardized tests and began using college-level biology and math textbooks in 7th grade. Given that this was some time ago, I am now deeply indebted to the the old-school system as I learned how to sail through higher education without even knowing that was a useful skill at the time.

    Regarding whether IQ tests are biased or not, I think people with an unusually high IQ can very quickly sense it in other people regardless of what it is called. Processing speed, or more specifically the ability to deconvolve complex information quickly, shouldn't rely on one's cultural background. As far as I recall the IQ tests (I was administered one every year for ~10 years in a row via the CA public school system) didn't seem very biased. Questions centered on permutation calculations and general problem solving, i.e. 'what do you need to change to be able to cross this bridge given this set of constraints', so I don't really buy the 'not sufficiently politically correct' argument for IQ tests.

    I am very curious to hear the opinions of other Slashdotters whom might have had a similar experience... people that had to take a lot of 'real' (not online) IQ tests, what is the rationale behind the these new arguments, that the old IQ tests are bunk?

    Am I just biased? I don't think so, but I obviously can't make that argument with a straight face (yep, I am a white male).

  • Re:IQ Tests (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Somnus (46089) on Monday October 16, 2006 @12:39AM (#16449279)
    The puzzle is that IQ shows both high heritability (by studies of separated twins) and bias towards industrialized nations (Flynn Effect).

    The obvious theory is that both genetics and child care (nutrition, education) are vitally important.
  • Re:IQ Tests (Score:3, Interesting)

    by try_anything (880404) on Monday October 16, 2006 @12:42AM (#16449297)
    I think some amount of intelligence is inborn. But nowhere near all.

    IQ is meant to measure exactly what you're describing -- the inborn intelligence that is relatively non-plastic after birth (or at least the first few years of development.) Decades of research have been devoted to this, and supposedly it works -- at least within a given race and within a given culture, in an industrialized society.

    Now, even aside from any issues of political correctness, I hope you aren't in fact claiming that, because it's been pretty thoroughly refuted. If you take someone (of any race) out of poverty and give them a good education, their average IQ increases dramatically.

    Unfortunately, that isn't a refutation. I have a white supremacist acquaintance who sends me links to articles about race and IQ, and I've done a little bit of web research to try to counter him. Unfortunately, there is really no data proving racial equality to throw at him, probably because racism skews the tests. It's easy to find plenty of studies showing that people of southern African or west African descent have lower IQs on average than people of European descent. It's of no interest or relevance that kids in Africa have lower IQs than kids in the US; the only way to control for cultural differences is to test kids raised in a white, western society. Unfortunately, in that case, everyone the kids come into contact with (including the most enlightened and liberal of people) is either fighting their own racism or unwittingly succumbing to it. Expectations of teachers and family members are too powerful. There's no fair test. Even the expectations of third-party test administrators can influence scores.

    So nothing is established about race and IQ. The racists can point to tons of supporting data from worthless studies. Anti-racists can take the Stephen J. Gould route and attack the motivation and methodology of individual IQ researchers, most of them long dead, but don't bother. It just makes you look silly, unless you really can name names and publications and know their significance in the context of the entire field of IQ research. (Trust me, it's waaaaay too big a project, unless you do it professionally.)

    IQ is decidedly not (as you claim) "mostly in-born [and] inheritable" unless you really believe that there is a measurable sense in which whites are inherently (on average) intellectually superior to blacks and hispanics in the United States.

    Trust me (again -- I'm experienced!), don't make this argument unless you're prepared to continue arguing after your opponent says, "Yes, that's exactly what I believe." That's the trap they're setting. They get most of their satisfaction and conviction from non-racists' sputtering and inability to continue the discussion rationally without depending on circular reasoning. Just point out the difficulty of doing a worthwhile study and challenge them to outline a hypothetical study that would reasonably control for all the confounding factors. If you take that route, it's pretty easy to establish that no such study has been done or is ever likely to be done.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Monday October 16, 2006 @06:54AM (#16450799) Homepage
    is not what it measures - if you put it together with "How often do you work out?" you have a pretty good idea how much is fat, and how much is muscle. People who want to delude themselves will always find a way (try blaming your metabolism, your hectic life style, "you'll never see me in the gym with those" jockophobia etc). The biggest problem is that people decide to "get in shape" and use weight as their result metric. That typically means eating less and more exercise - except more exercise means more muscle and often a greater appetite. The difference between losing two pounds of fat versus losing five pounds of fat and gaining three in muscle, both for a net loss of two, is huge. Hell, even losing two pounds of fat and gaining three pounds of muscle would typically be an improvement both to your health and your figure, even if it's a net gain. For example a good way to "offset" the focus on weight could be for example taking your waist measure - if you've lost five cms of belly and put it anywhere else, chances are you look a lot better no matter your weight. For women this should hardly come as a surprise (combine with chest and hips for the classic three). That should get the measuring straighted out a bit.

    The other question is what your BMI "should" be, but in my opinion it's fairly easy to tell when you have low body fat. People might be slender or muscular, but it's hardly a problem seeing if they have the kilos in the right place or not. It's simply a rough estimate of where your body should be given average muscles. Want to add 20 pounds of muscles? No problem. Just be sure you're not making it an excuse not to lose those last twenty pounds of fat. Check your abs, your measures, try the "jiggle" test and see if it's as firm as you want. There's plenty good metrics to use, and BMI is a good one used in conjunction with others. People that are problematizing measuring healthiness is using a Chewbacca tactic - that's not where the problem lies at all. Most of them just want a way to say "Because the metrics are imperfect, we can ignore the conclusions." That might work to disregard one dissenting metric, but if your BMI is too high AND your waist is too wide AND you aren't working out enough to build that kind of muscle AND everything jiggles when you walk then no way.
  • by Aceticon (140883) on Monday October 16, 2006 @11:34AM (#16453279)
    How about this:
    - Poorer people are fatter because they eat more junk food and cheap, rich in carbo-hydrates food (like potatos or rice) instead of healthier (and usually more expensive) food such as vegetables, lean meat, olive oil, etc...
    - At the present, intellectual work is more highly regarded and beter payed than manual work. This means that the poor tend to be those with lesser abilities to do intelectual work (people with lower IQs or those who didn't had a opportunity to get a good education).

    This could explain at least part of the stated relation between IQ and BMI - poor people are both more likelly to be those less able to do intelectual work (thus, this would include people with lower IQs) and to eat cheap food with too many carbo-hydrates and fat (ie food that makes you put on body weight).
  • Re:Memory != IQ (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Reziac (43301) * on Monday October 16, 2006 @02:03PM (#16455653) Homepage Journal
    I've known retarded people who had eiditic memories, provided it was about something that interested them. So as you say, memory alone isn't necessarily a good guage of IQ.

    IQ is really more about how well you're able to use the data that's put in front of you. I remember the IQ tests they gave me in the 1st grade -- most of it was about puzzling out how one thing related to another thing. My favourite part was the "exploded boxes" section. I had no idea boxes came apart like that, but it made sense the moment I saw it, and it was great fun working out what flattened shape equated which completed box. There was only one that I couldn't work out.

    As to TFA, I've noticed that I'm mentally "sharper" and have a better memory when I'm thinner, and I've never been obese -- never more than "wish I had 10 less pounds". Even so little (about 8% of my correct-weight body mass) makes a big difference, in my experience.

The confusion of a staff member is measured by the length of his memos. -- New York Times, Jan. 20, 1981

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