Sunday, March 9, 2014
Does It Make You Smarter?
Last Friday I took Monkey to a Teen Science Cafe for a talk on wearable robotics. Since Monkey's only 7 and the talk was actually very involved (even for fairly well educated and intelligent adults), I wasn't sure he got anything out of it. The talk was essentially about the research on and the design of a device (a boot of sorts) that helps stroke victims to walk easier.
On the way back, Monkey mentioned that now he wants to invent a robotic exoskeleton arm that would steady his arm and give it more punching power. Urghh, I thought. Here we go, the only thing he seemed to remember is the mention of the Iron Man at the beginning of the presentation.
Then today we met with some friends for a hike and a playdate at a park. The kids got to run around, splash in the water, and occupy a small rocky outcropping in the stream that they called their pirate island. Monkey's friend, D., was limping a bit (a sports injury).
Later tonight, hours after the playdate, Monkey asked me if there was an expression in Russian that went "хромой всегда умнее" (the one with a limp is always smarter). I was intrigued. I told him that as far as I knew, there was no such expression. Then I asked for his own take on this matter.
Monkey said that he doesn't think a limp would make anyone smarter. In fact, he said, it would do just the opposite because "some of the brain processing would go to figuring out how to place the foot so it wouldn't hurt". As a result, a person with a limp would not have as much brain power left to for other thinking.
When I mentioned Grandpa, whom Monkey absolutely adores and who happens to limp, Monkey said that the rule only worked with children since Grandpa, like other adults with a limp, has been limping for a while and "his brain got used to it".
Turns out, D (who also speaks Russian) told Monkey about this "saying". I think we'll discuss the Russian word хитроумный (cunning; keen) tomorrow.