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Have you ever been glad that you grew up in a time when they didn’t have Riddlin or any of these other brain lobotomizing drugs? I got to thinking about it today. I was working on some problems on AIX, some auditing issues, in one terminal session, had another two sessions open into linux to check some things, had a game of freecell going, a link open to several different sites on FPGA’s and reconfigurable computing systems, had a paper on my desk discussing the cell processor I was perusing, plus I was handling any items that broke on the systems. I literally spent my day bouncing between the different screens in this constant, random, wander.

I can’t speak for others, but I actually find that I do my best work when I have at least 4-5 things going that I can toggle between. For some reason that makes my brain work a tad better. I actually concentrate more on each item for a short time then move on to something else for a bit, bounce back, off to something else, back again. I actually get more done that way than if I try to just work on one item. Is that normal? It is for me. I can’t imagine what I would be like now if my parent had decided that a good old chemical lobotomy was in order, so I could quote, concentrate better, unquote. I may have done a lot better in school. But would that have made me better? Tough question that.

I do think about that ocassionally. Now, I’ve been reading some on these new brain enhancing drugs that are the big rage at the colleges. Would they really help a person study and learn better? Is it a good idea to do something like that? The real upside, at least to me, about them is that they are short term reactions. You take a smart pill and be able to study better for 12 hours or so. I guess having a short term effect doesn’t bother me as much as something that would change my personality for long periods of time. Now, understand, I don’t condone these so called smart pills. But you have to ask yourself, “what if they really worked?”

What if you could take a pill, sit down and study like a devil for 8-12 hours straight and remember and cogitate the information it would have taken you a week to learn normally. Is that fair to the students who don’t take smart pills? Is this like a body builder taking steroids? Or are we as a society so wrapped up in what is and isn’t fair that we would just disadvantage ourselves because we thought something like this wasn’t fair. Imagine being able to do in two years of enhanced study what it might take 4+ years to do. So, do 4 years of enhanced study instead of the 6-8 to get the knowledge needed for a PhD. Hmmmm……

Being the classic under achiever it sure does look like a nice plan. Take a few pills a week, study like hell, get good grades, graduate early, move on to other things. Or better yet. Go the 4 years and over achieve, get a Dr. put in front of your name. Just cause.

Blue sky world. Not a cloud to be seen. Sorry folks. Nothing comes without a price. Sure would be nice if it were that easy. But give it a few more years. Let the geneticists and bioinformatics folks do some playing around. Maybe we could all double our IQ’s with a little blue pill every day. Something to think about at least.

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June 2006
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